Those trips barely scratched the surface of my European wanderlust. In fact, they left me an insatiable travel itch.
Barbara Rice, who writes terrific travel columns here on anewscafe.com, has a lot to say about Americans and European travel. She’s preaching to the choir with me. In fact, I’m planning a fall trip to the Czech Republic to see son Joseph, who’s now a resident of that country, where he lives with his brilliant/beautiful wife Marie and my two grandpets, Barbie and Neffie. (Psstt …. impress a Czech; don’t call it Czechoslovakia).
Here in the U.S., the Redding Grocery Outlet Bargain Store is my go-to place for terrific, inexpensive GO picks, starting with the Liqueur Cakes from Germany that come in all kinds of flavors, like Cointreau. I love to slice these cakes into large slabs and cover with liqueur-soaked strawberries and spiked whipped cream for a grown-up strawberry shortcake. GO sells this cake for $2.99; elsewhere it’s sold for $4.99.
Also, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw these taralli from Puglia, one of my favorite places on the planet (at least from my limited travels). These are hard little bready circles, intended to accompany wine. What kills me is that when I visited Puglia nearly three years ago, I bought about a half a suitcase full of these to bring home. They’re not sweet, and barely salted, but have various flavors, like fennel seed and rosemary and onion. (Fennel’s my favorite.) The price: an unbelievable 50 cents a package. (No price available of tarelli sold elsewhere.) Don’t be surprised if these are gone, but so it goes at the GO.
What separates a regular shopper from a devoted foodie is the latter’s ability to use her imagination and think beyond an item’s designated use. Take Christmas stollen from Germany, please. I did. GO sells the stollen for $3.99; it’s sold elsewhere for $6.99. Yes, the “enjoy by” date expired April 4, but the cake is still fresh. I ignored the Christmas photo on the box of the stollen, and bought for two reasons: 1. French toast, and 2. Bread pudding. Wunderbar!
Finally, as long as I’m choosing bready items, I may as well include these Italian cookies, which are round biscotti, perfect to dip in coffee or wine. These come six to a pretty gold box, and cost $1.99 at GO, but fyi, they taste just like cookies I bought in Italy. Elsewhere they’re sold for $3.99.
These items are just a fraction of the Redding Grocery Outlet Bargain’s store’s imported items. I often buy olive oil from Italy and wines from Spain, Italy, France, Australia and New Zealand. As usual, because the Redding GO’s inventory changes quickly, all my GO picks may not be around when you get there.
Independent online journalist Doni Greenberg founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Greenberg was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.