Eight months ago I wrote about the new Lidl supermarkets in Cyprus, and how generally underwhelmed we were. Since then, advertising mail has continued to arrive, and been filed immediately in the recycling. In my attempt to become more health-conscious, 'green' and economical, I'm buying almost nothing that's pre-processed these days. I do the majority of my grocery shopping at the local Achna Froutaria, popping in also, perhaps once a week, to Achna Discount and/or Orphanides Express. All these shops are within easy walking distance of our home so I go on foot, as early as possible now that the weather is getting decidedly warmer.
But, about once a month, we have to do a bigger shop for things I can't buy locally, or can't carry home on foot. Cat litter, for instance, or washing powder (which I prefer to buy in bulk) or long-life milk, which I need for making yogurt. So we go to our favourite supermarket, Metro, in the car. We buy almost all our meat there, too, as it's good quality and the prices are usually reasonable. On Thursday evening I realised that we needed to do a big shop before too long, so we decided to go on Friday morning.
However... several of our friends have mentioned using Lidl, and finding bargains there. Over the months I suppose there's been something of a trickle effect in our minds. So, as we got in the car yesterday, Richard said, 'Shall we try Lidl first?'
I knew that long-life milk cost under a euro at Lidl, also sugar (which has recently shot up in price - the standard supermarket price appears to be 1.49 euros per kilogram). So I shrugged, and said yes, why not?
It didn't take as long to get there as I'd expected, and - no longer being new - the car park was fairly empty.
We found a trolley - using the key token thing we were given months ago - and made our way slowly around. I can't say I was over-impressed. There were vast quantities of junk food - fizzy drinks, pre-processed migraine-inducing packs of imported chemicals masquerading as food - and the fruit and vegetable section was small, expensive and generally unimpressive.
Still, we did find sugar (which I need in large quantities for jam-making currently) and long-life milk, and also good value white flour, though no wholemeal. We thought we would try some Lidl chocolate, too, as that seemed a good price. And we found some special offer kitchen roll. We looked at various other items but most of them seemed to be more expensive than we would pay elsewhere, or else not the kind we liked. I was pleased, however, to find some dried chick-peas, something I've been looking for (in vain) for a couple of months now.
So, it was worth going; we ended up with about thirty euros of groceries:
- which doesn't look like much in the trolley at all, despite being discounted prices!
Unfortunately, we still had to go to Metro:
Two shops in one day is not much fun... but at least we know our way around Metro. We spent about 45 minutes in Lidl - which isn't very big - just looking around and finding a few items; we were only 40 minutes in Metro. And still spent a couple of hundred euros:
And yes, it all fit in one trolley. Even a year ago we would have needed two trolleys for that amount of money.
The cost of living in Cyprus has gone up phenomenally in the last year or so. About seventy euros of that was meat for the next month, most of which went directly in the freezer, to be used in the crockpot. Being a vegetarian would be a lot cheaper. Nearly thirteen euros was Biokill insecticide, rather necessary for the summer season; nearly twenty euros was cat food and litter; fifteen was toilet rolls. But it's still a bit scary that a few other groceries - olive oil, mayonnaise (I haven't yet found a good recipe for that), tuna, eggs, milk, cheese and a few other bits can add up to so much. I didn't even buy any washing powder this time.