Remember how much I loved the supermarkets in the U.S.? It is not like I am an avid grocery shopper, actually I buy the exact same things at the same store each week. But I am amazed by a well-sorted grocery store with a pleasant atmosphere. German stores are okay but they are hardly an exciting experience if you are not into the adrenaline rush packing your stuff more quickly than the cashier will throw them at you at the check out.
The answer, ”Only what we have on the shelf“ is often given when you ask for something a little out of the ordinary, in the cheap stores things go out of stock on a Saturday night, and generally, you just want to get the shopping over with.
But now – a new giant supermarket opened in central Düsseldorf. It is not just a supermarket, it is an attraction. For months, maybe years, they have been building it. It was all over the media last week when they opened. They say it takes ten visits before you really know everything that it is in there. Did consume-loving Helen have to go there? Of course!
Luckily, this buyers‘ paradise lies just a short walk from my office so I could use my lunch break for a reconnaissance visit. They advertised their new store as the place where you could find a great variety of everything and also very special things. I had my first real life encounter with aloe vera and yam roots there. They sell everything from ginger-flavored hazelnut crisp bread to quince juice. They have any candy you can ask for, including the nostalgic PEZ thingies, and endless rows of chips. They have an entire counter just for mozzarella and a champagne bar where the most expensive bottle costs 888 euro. Of course, you can buy handmade pasta there, too. This food mecca offers 65.000 products on 10.000 square metres. Needless to say, they offer maps at the entrance.
It is bizarre and gives you a sensory overload, yes. But until I can go back and marvel at an American supermarket, I now have an alternative to look at. And if I ever need to get fresh aloe vera, I now where to go.