Grocery shopping tips continued…

Second part in series
Gourmet Marche – Porto Cupecoy

There are four markets in the ‘Marche’ chain, and Porto Cupecoy’s Gourmet Marche is the closest to AUC. It is also the newest (opened in April 2010) and most attractive.

You can buy all your groceries here, or if you are picky like me, you might have to go to Grand Marche next to Cost-U-Less to get certain items. Enter the store and you first see the excellent produce section. You will find all your run-of-the-mill fruits and vegetables, and depending on the time of year, you could also find exotic items like star fruits or dragon fruits. You might experience sticker shock in the store because the price in bigger, bold font is in guilders (the converted dollar price is in the corner). Also, the prices are per kilogram, not per pound.

The meat section comes next. Fish, chicken, pork, and different cuts of meat can be found here. Unfortunately, ground chicken is not here (that is an item I must buy at Grand Marche).

In the center aisles, the selection of snack foods, candy, drinks, canned goods, spices, and baking items is more than decent. The store has limited shelf space, so if you are looking for something very specific, like Fat-free pudding mix, you need to get that at Grand Marche. Surprisingly, however, you can find a plethora of Asian food ingredients, such as bean thread noodles, nori, and shiitake mushrooms.

The dairy/egg section is also well-stocked with all kinds of milk, yogurts, cheeses, hummus, regular eggs, Egg beaters, etc. Sometimes there will be “Shortdated promotion” sale prices on items that are nearing their expiration date. If you don’t mind eating a container of cottage cheese in a day or two, you could buy a shortdated tub for a dollar instead of the regular price of $4.00.

Gourmet Marche has a nice frozen section as well, with vegetables, fruits, ice cream, and some microwavable meals. You can even find Ezekiel bread here and pitas. One might think that prices at Grand Marche and Gourmet Marche would be the same, because they are part of the same chain. However, certain items are more expensive at Gourmet Marche. For instance, whole wheat pitas are $1.66 a package at Porto Gourmet Marche and $1.36 at Grand Marche on Bush Road.

Personal hygiene products, baby food, paper products, and cleaning products can be bought here as well, but I would buy them cheaper at Cost-U-Less.

Liquor could also be less expensive elsewhere, but the selection takes up an entire corner of the store. This is somewhat hidden in the liquor corner, but some kitchen items are here, such as can openers, vegetable peelers, and toothpicks. Really fancy pate and gourmet items are somewhat hidden in this section as well.

I discovered recently the deli in the back of the store. One could pick healthy sides like vegetables or splurge a little with pasta as a side. The main dishes vary every day. You can ask for spare ribs or the chicken dish of the day, or if you are feeling adventuresome, try the goat curry or oxtail. I believe a plate with a non-seafood main dish is $7. A plate with fried tilapia or salmon as the main dish would be $11 or $12 though. Once I asked for just a square of lasagna and only paid $3. The portions are generous and the food very tasty.

Lastly, when you pay at the cashier, you will see a sign saying that the packers are not Gourmet Marche employees, so they appreciate tips. Some people pay for their groceries and if there is quite a lot of coin change given back, they will give that to the packers. Others will be more generous and give the packer a dollar or two, especially if there are a lot of bags to pack. Perhaps if you just buy one or two things, you do not need to tip, but definitely tip them if they help you with your bags to your car!

Transportation: To get here, you can walk from campus (15 minute walk). Or call 580-2465 or 546-4888. I have never tried this, but I have heard that an employee will pick you up within Cupecoy. He can drop you off after you shop as well. Make sure to tip this person!
Hours:  Monday to Saturday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
AUC discount: Mention you are an AUC student/spouse and you get 5 percent off.
Payment: Less than $20 purchase = cash; Purchase more than $20, you can pay with credit card.

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