Supermarket Sweep | In the Dark

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Supermarket Sweep | In the Dark


Since I’m in a self-catering apartment here in Sydney, I’ve needed to scout out the local shops. It turns out the nearest supermarket to my residence is called Coles. When I was buying a few bits and bobs there I showed the name on my debit card to the person at the checkout, but they wouldn’t even give me a discount.

Coles is one of the two big supermarket chains in Australia, the other being Woolworths. I was a bit surprised by that as the UK Woolworths went down the tubes some time ago. I’ve tried both stores during my stay here and it pains me to say that I think Woolworths is the better of the two; it also has the highest market share. There’s also an Aldi near me.

One thing that surprised me about both Coles and Woolworths is that neither sells alcoholic beverages while Aldi does. It turns out that both have associated businesses, Liquorland and BWS respectively, usually located right next to the supermarkets. For some reason it has been decided to keep them separate from the general stores. I’ve sampled a couple of wines while I’ve been here (one red and one white, both mid-price) and both were nice. Imported wines are available, but I’ll be sticking to local producers while I’m here. Of course the grape varieties are of European origin, but grown in Australia. The red I tried was a Montepulciano and the white a Riesling.

Other than that the main difference between supermarkets here and in Ireland (or the UK) is the much greater selection of Asian food and ingredients. Most groceries are of Australian origin, though, and even brands that are familiar back home (e.g. Heinz) are generally made here under licence. Anyway, I didn’t come all the way here to eat what I would eat at home, and it’s been fun sampling some of the local delicacies, such as Barramundi.

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