Hallo! My name’s Michelle, and I recently moved from NYC to Berlin, Germany. One thing that fascinates me about my new country is how different its supermarkets are compared to what I was used to. Here are a few examples:
1. In German supermarkets, the bread aisle is way more varied than an American one.
That’s because Germany is home to
more than 3,000
types of bread. My personal favorites are pistachio Brötchen (a small roll), sesame Brötchen, and Vollkornbrot, a hearty brown bread.
2. A standard German beer bottle has almost a full cup more liquid than an American one.
German bottles = a half liter. The craziest part of this difference is how easy it is to get used to. I’ll never forget the day I heard an American beer bottle referred to as “baby-sized.” Now I’m that person!
3. Haribo gummies are a HUGE thing here. You’ll find them in every animal shape, flavor, and texture imaginable.
As the birthplace of Haribo gummy bears, it’s no surprise that every possible flavor is available here. From sour spaghetti and smurfs-shaped gummies, to grapefruit and sour black licorice, there’s a Haribo flavor for every preference. There’re even creamy gummies and yogurt-flavored ones!
4. Almost all grocery stores are stocked with super efficient recycling systems that’ll reward you with €.08 for every beer bottle, and €.25 for every plastic one.
You’ll often spot shoppers lugging huge bags full of plastic or glass bottles, eagerly printing out vouchers they can redeem at check-out. This system is called
, and refers to the deposit cost that’s built into every glass bottle purchase.Germans’ devotion to recycling is even more obvious in homes, where a majority of people maintain (at the minimum) three separate bins for paper, compost, and everything else.
5. Speaking of recycling, you’re not a true German until you’ve repurposed 20 food jars of various sizes.
Glass jars are Germany’s packaging of choice, and I’ll admit there’s nothing more thrilling that taking dried goods out of their paper packaging and pouring them into a perfectly sized jar.
6. Even sausages sometimes come in jars. 👀
The Frankfurters here are sold in the States as well — but packaged in plastic instead.
7. Speaking of sausages, they come in every size, flavor, and color.
And before you comment below, I’ll also mention you can get them freshly sliced by your local butcher, too.
This abundance of alternatives also applies to restaurants. You can easily lead a meat-free life without even trying here.
9. There’s no real “ American aisle” — but there are lots of (kinda sad) replicas of things I might find in the U.S.
I do miss having 30 kinds of peanut butters to choose from. 😔
10. Like in many other European grocery stores, eggs are not refrigerated.
Keep in mind that Germany keeps salmonella at bay by
vaccinating its egg-laying hens
. In the U.S., hens skip the vaccination step and have their eggs washed instead. Same result, different strategy.And yes, the fact that Germany doesn’t wash or refrigerate eggs means you might find a feather or two in your egg carton. NBD!
11. German grocery stores are where I learned that Germany produces more cheese than France. 😱
Germany produces more cheese than France
, the better known cheese-loving European country!! At most grocery stores, you’ll find refrigerated aisles packed with tons of stinky, holey, and hard varieties. Next to the butcher, you’ll often find another stand where you can get fancier cheeses sliced to order.
12. The cold cuts here are just as varied as the cheeses.
With the crazy number of sliced meat varieties, you’d think that excessively stacked sandwiches were a huge thing. But a simple butter-bread roll — topped with your cold cut of choice — is usually the move here.
13. German and American grocery stores are both obsessed with pickles.
Options are great, but carrying these heavy, impractically sized jars home truly requires a dedication to the stuff.
14. It’s a great thing that I love muesli, because it makes up probably 70% of the breakfast food aisle.
Protein muesli, muesli with seeds, chocolate muesli, fruit muesli, they’ve got it all. And yeah, I’ll admit it, I’ve never been more regular in my life. 🙃
15. My all-time favorite part of grocery shopping here is — hands down — the chocolate.
When I think about all the “chocolate” I used to eat back in the U.S., I mourn for all the hours I spent trying to melt chocolate squares in my mouth. How could I have known that it’s impossible to savor chocolate when it’s usually just a few ingredients away from being a block of sugar? When I bite into a bar of chocolate
here, it instantly melts onto my tongue, flooding my mouth with rich, creamy flavor. There’s no comparison!
16. And when I say chocolate, I really mean Ritter and Kinder.
I’ll be honest, despite the dozens of affordable chocolate varieties, I mostly stick with the tried-and-true Ritter and Kinder brands. Americans might know Kinder as the chocolate eggs containing kitschy little toys, but have you heard the good word about Schoko-Bons or Happy Hippos?!
17. Groceries are exceptionally affordable here — at least compared to the U.S.
18. Bagging your groceries will almost always be the most anxiety-inducing task of the day.
I couldn’t get a video of this because packing your groceries into your bag requires extreme focus and emotional resilience. But the thing to know is that German cashiers have the magical ability to scan like, 10 goods in a single second, and if you don’t keep up with their pace, you risk experiencing extreme side eye, holding up the line, and general shame. My proudest moment in the last year of living in Germany was March 23, 2020 at 6:34pm, when I packed all my goods in my bag BEFORE the cashier announced my total.
*bows* Source: Buzzfeed