Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On buying weird yogurt at the Ajman Carrefour

The grocery shopping learning curve here is pretty steep. Here's a sample of why it takes me seven times longer to get the food we need into the shopping cart (or "trolley," as they call it here, and the first twenty times one of the Carrefour employees asked me if I wanted a trolley I didn't have the slightest idea what he was talking about. Come ON, Bridget).

We went to Carrefour today and it took me twenty minutes to get down just the yogurt aisle. In Syria, I swear to you there was no yogurt aisle. There was a yogurt corner of a neglected, under-chilled dairy case. And in that corner were a few bottles of Syrian Aryan plain yogurt drinks and, IF YOU WERE LUCKY, two or three cast-off European yogurts in weird flavors like apple currant or mulberry custard.

Anyway, today, here in the UAE, I came home with this assortment of chilled, creamy goods:

Clockwise from the red stuff on the upper right, you've got Danone kids' yogurt drinks, Actimel mixed fruit yogurt drinks (for Jeremy and me), green Creme Dessert stuff in what I believe is pistachio flavor, Danette (pudding? custard?) in "brownie" flavor, Carrefour brand similar stuff in caramel flavor, and the coup de grâce, the mystery item of the day, Fermented Milk au Bifidus, Citron Flavor (translation mine).
When I saw it, I couldn't NOT buy it. I am dying to find out what it is, what it tastes like, why its name sounds like a disease, etc.

So you see how grocery shopping takes seven times as long. Now - in addition to (as I've said before) keeping one fourth of my brain focused on preventing Magdalena from falling out of the shopping cart, one fourth making sure Miriam doesn't wander away, one fourth answering Miriam's incessant "why?" questions, and oh yeah, one fourth comparing prices and products and sizes and colors and tallying it all with the shopping list and/or coupons. All while keeping the pace snappy so no one gets hungry, sleepy, or has to go to the bathroom during the shopping trip - I have to read labels with a magnifying glass to make sure it's what I'm looking for.

But it is nice to throw caution to the wind and gamble on fermented citron bifida milk every once in a while, too.

9 comments:

Kathy Haynie said...

Haha - be sure to do a follow-up at some point, to let us know what these products are. I love the name "trolley." It sounds so...friendly (jolly?) compared to "shopping cart."

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Mmmm, lemon flavored fermented milk. Not sure about the bifudus. Maybe related to acidolphlus?

Fromagette said...

Guessing by the color, it looks like a store brand Activa yogurt, bifidus being the bacteria and probiotic that makes it special. Why they called it "fermented milk", in french no less, instead of yogurt, I have no idea.

Fromagette said...

Oh and I loved, loved, loved lemon flavored yogurt while I was in France. When you eat it, think of me being jealous! Oh, to have European style yogurt again...

JosephJ said...

I suppose a more tame way to translate that could have been "Cultured Dairy Milk with Probiotics."

Bifidus. You know, Bifidus Regularis. This is a local equivalent to Activia.

BTW, I'm seeing lots of British influence in your descriptions UAE. I wonder if along with trolleys, people go to university, visit the solicitor, and keep garden bowls in the boot.

JosephJ said...

Yeah, what S. Fromage said.

Liz Johnson said...

I like the name "Activia" better. "Fermented bifida milk" almost made me lose my lunch.

Patricia said...

Shopping carts are called "buggies" in Alabama--or at least they were 26 years ago when we lived there. Shopping in another country is always an adventure.

Andrew said...

Egypt had Danette—it's pudding. There are four flavors. Chocolate and, um, the lightish brown one (probably carmel) are great. Vanilla is pretty meh. The cookie flavored one is the most interesting of the lot… it taste like cheap cookies, only in semi liquid form. Yeah. Fun times.

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