Thursday, July 05, 2007

Shopping in Gib

For some reason, that I have never really understood, lots of British people who live in Spain cheerfully drive miles to buy sliced white plastic bread, sausages, bacon and jars of sauce.

Invariably to Gibraltar where there is an excellent Morrisons (formerly Safeway). There is also a small Food Hall at Marks and Spencer in Main Street.

Part of the attraction of living abroad is that everything is different. So driving more than 200 miles for a round trip to buy a few items of British-style food strikes me as bizarre. Especially when Eroski and Dunnes Stores sell more and more "International" food.

There again, we don't smoke or drink spirits. Perhaps that has something to do with the shopping pilgrimage that others make to Gib. Although the duty-free limit for bringing goods back into Spain is only a litre of spirits and 200 cigarettes per person. Not that it stops people taking more across the border.

Smuggling I think it's called.

I would not like to be caught by the Guardia Civil exceeding my limit with a load of tabs and a few bottles of spirits. Still, if people think the rewards are worth the risk - that's up to them.

Anyway, when you are in Gib, there are some things worth buying. Sacarello's coffee. The firm was founded in 1888 and still roasts its own beans in Gib.

You can buy the coffee - beans or ground/molido - all over Gib. It is dearer than coffee in Spain - but it has a smooth and subtle flavour. One of the few coffees I have ever had that tastes as good as it smells.

Cheese is much cheaper in Gib than in Spain. Especially when Morrisons have a two for one offer. My favourite happens to be white Cheshire, but it would be - my parents (and me) spent years selling it on the market. Although not in plastic bags - it came from real Farmhouse cheeses. Still, cheese out of the plastic bags is better than nothing.

Gib Produce - fresh fruit and veg grown on the rock. Delicious raspberries - mmmm.

Other veg - cauliflowers - always cheaper than in Spain. Small new potatoes - can't get them in Spain where we live. And there is often some organic produce too - especially the beetroot. Yummy.

Vegetarian products - tofu, quorn products (now with free-range egg), veggie sausages, deli-slices for sandwiches. All much cheaper than in Spain. Although I've not seen tempeh and seitan which are easy to find in Spain.

Organic tinned tomatoes - not cheap, but delicious.

Morrison's also has an interesting selection of cider.

On your way out, don't forget to fill up. Diesel was 58p a litre on Monday this week, around 90 cents I think.

So those are my tips. I wouldn't make a specific trip to buy these things, but when I go I think they are worth buying. And if you drink spirits and smoke.....Try the shops in Main Street. Especially if you like Larios.

Oh, and the drive down is nice. Especially if someone else is behind the wheel.

The sea, and the beach....

Sohail castle at Fuengirola

1 comment:

Freda said...

Hi Itchy,

Freda's secretary (FS) here. Your essay on Gibs shopping reminds me of our shopping trips in Porto last November. It was always an adventure, the good kind, especially for us Yanks.

During our 18 months in Melbourne, 1974-1976, shopping consisted of the baker, the butcher, green grocer and milk bar. Then Safeway arrived, trying to change the experience.

Our first trip to Safeway was not fun. After paying for our large array of goods we looked around for paper or the dreaded plastic bag. “Oh, you are suppose to bring your own bags.” After hefting home overly large cardboard boxes, we quickly found a shop selling the webbed shopping bag, which rarely left our side while shopping.

Then the 'Mall' arrived in the suburb of Burwood, which introduced Victorians to mall shopping. We much preferred the 'Arcade' shopping in the 'City'.

At about that time, 'Farmers Markets', which disappeared in the thirtys, began reappearing in the U.S. After 30+ years they have evolved into something similar to European and Australian markets.

Strange how Americans seem to need something better, only to find, in many cases, that the old is better than the new.

I really enjoy your blog. It brings back good, and the not so good, memories of our experiences overseas.

Thanks. FS