Monday, April 12, 2010

Dispatches from the Grocery Store: The Series

Welcome to "Dispatches from a (German or Mexican) Grocery Store" week at Smashandsniff, dear friends and readers! Smash and I are both foodthropologists when it comes to snooping around the aisles of any market, grocers or convenience store in a new or foreign country. Goodies, oddities, rare finds, particular treats and things that are not exported for a reason - we track them all down for you this week.

Today, I have two for your consideration. First, behold the bacon streifen.

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe just because I am a Bourguignon doesn't mean France is my native homeland. Maybe Germany is my calling after all. I mean any country that offers these little bacon strips - and I don't mean doggie treats - must have a lot going for it, right? Even though they are imported from Denmark, the pork producing capital of Europe, and even though they do exist in France under another name - lardons - which by the way is a very poor and extremely unimaginative moniker for these tasty treats - I mean, do I really need to see the word "lard" written there on the package to remind me? I need only look at these little morsels to see that they are about 75% fat, thank you very much.

Danish, French - whatever. They are stocked at my German grocers and I am eternally grateful. They make everything taste better and I look like a better cook as a result. Just don't call them lardons.

And second, presenting bärlauch. Literally translated, "bear leek", and properly translated ramson or "bear's garlic" or "wood garlic" (which I only learned when I looked it up for this post), this cousin of the chive indigenous to central and western Europe looks like the stems and leaves from a bouquet of tulips and tastes like garlic. Raw, pungent, intense garlic. It is absolutely and subtly delicious in soups, with meats and fish and -my favorite- in pesto. As the parks get greener, so does my grocer's produce aisle because bärlauch is now in season. And in season smells like - whooaaa- bärlauch.

Come back tomorrow to see what Smash finds at her Guadalajaran grocer!

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