After spending two weeks in Europe, I was very curious about the new German Supermarket Lidl. The chain opened 20 stores nationwide in June. Of those 20, one is in Greenville and two are in Spartanburg. The European shopping experience is very different from the typical superstore that you find here in America.
Typically, at least in the city, refrigerators are much smaller, so Europeans do not buy the volume of food that we buy in one trip. Like other European markets, Lidl is small, in fact, only six aisles, but the aisles are wide and of the things they do have, there is a great selection. You may not find all of your favorite brands — 90 percent of products are their store brand. That is actually what I liked best about the store. The lack of familiar brands to fall back on encouraged me to try new things. Here are seven things that are worth the trip. Don't forget to bring your own bags.
Cheese: Just a small amount of high-quality cheese can add huge flavor to a meal. Lidl carries cheeses from all over Europe. They are labeled with the country of origin. While you will find common cheese like cheddar and mozzarella, you will also find some unusual ones such as manchego,a white cheese made in the La Mancha region of Spain from the milk of manchego sheep, montasio, mild white cheese produced in Italy and goat cheese bathed in red wine.
Sauces spreads and dips: There is a wide variety of international curries, sauces and marinades. The curries and greek spreads look amazing. There are several I plan to try! The balsamic vinegar glazes, common in Europe offers a richer flavor than most supermarket balsamics.
Spices: Bottled spices can be expensive. Not so at Lidl. Many spices were priced as low as 55 cents.
The bakery: Come hungry- wait, that could be a bad idea! The smell of homemade bread when you walk into Lidl will draw you to the bakery. Once you are there, chocolate croissants, donuts, pastries and bread will make your mouth water!
Organic products: If you like to buy organic, but don't like organic prices, you will love Lidl. Lidl carries organic fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy and packaged food items. Organic milk is a particularly good buy at $2.95 a half gallon.
Beer and wine: There were many different craft beers and wines. The company took 101 different awards at the LA International Wine. In the store, you will find a wine guide to help you choose the right flavor profile to accompany your meal.
Surprises: It seemed a little bazaar, but in the middle of this food store, was a section labeled surprises. It had really random things. The day I shopped, I saw a digital meat thermometer, blue tooth speakers and inexpensive cycling gear. You don't have to be totally surprised though. The online sales circular advertises some of the surprises ahead of time. New products are stocked on Thursday and if it is a particularly good buy, it will go fast.