OBERAMMERGAU, Germany — I’m lucky enough to have my best friend stationed in southern Bavaria so I can visit winter wonderland during the holidays. My family and I just returned from a visit to the German Alps, and I’m sharing a few store checks with you.
We always go to V-Markt on Friday. Why? It’s because the Hoxe guy is only there on Fridays. If you’re not familiar with Schweinehoxe (basically rotisserie pork knuckles of crunchy deliciousness), you’re missing out. And in a tiny village like Oberammergau, where there aren’t many restaurant options and the ones that are here are open sporadically (and never when we’re trying to eat, it seems).
Back to the store check: V-Markt is a pretty small format, but has a big selection of high quality produce, especially organic items. I’d put them head to head with Edeka, but in this town my money’s on V-Markt. The Edeka in nearby Garmisch is much larger.
One thing I notice at almost every store is a heavy emphasis on sustainable packaging, or no packaging at all. Most lettuces aren’t misted or refrigerated. Cucumbers aren’t waxed or wrapped. I’d like to visit in the summer when berries are in season, to see if they carry more clamshells or if we’re always in a flow wrap over punnet situation.
Apples in Europe are hit and miss, from the point of view of a spoiled American. Even when I’d consider it to be peak apple season back in the states, most stores only carry a few varieties, and they’re a little sad. I did notice Honeycrisp, marketed as Honeycrunch here. My American friend didn’t know that, and she was happy to hear it.
This store was insanely busy as it was the Friday before a holiday. People were stocking up because nothing will be open all weekend — including restaurants.