My expat shopping list

When I lived in the States you couldn’t pay me enough to spend a precious Saturday afternoon at Costco, stocking up on bargain-sized products. These days, my husband and I daydream of going to such a super store and filling an oversized cart with all the things we miss back in the States. We even keep a running shopping list–which has become so long at this point, we’re going to need an extra suitcase just to haul it all back to the Alps. The list includes:


Not to be a total stereotype, but we love peanut butter! We’ve only found off-brand, sugary versions at our local “American store” for about 18 francs. Quel scandale!


Does the land of chocolate have chocolate chips? Nope. I love California’s own Ghiradelli.


Maybe it’s the lack of BBQ sauce, but the Swiss don’t seem to need Tide To Go pens. We do.

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 20: Various hot sauce brands are photographed in New York, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. (Photo by Damon Dahlen, Huffington Post) *** Local Caption ***

While we’re on the subject of BBQ…hot sauce! At least the Swiss have Tabasco and Siracha.


We love our ‘Pancake Saturdays,’ but cannot find a true syrup in Switzerland.


Trader Joe’s brand products! Any and all. I wonder if I could open a branch here…


Classic Steno Pads for reporting. Surprisingly difficult to find here.

The list gets more cerebral as it goes on…(affordable pedicures, my mother’s linguine with clams, margaritas from El Chucho)…but I don’t want to bore you! While in the States in January, we reconnected with friends living in various other countries and compared expat shopping lists–it’s fascinating to me what is difficult to find in some countries and not in others. What is on your expat shopping list? If you moved, what would you miss?


2 thoughts on “My expat shopping list

  1. I could talk about this all day…

    We get peanut butter every time we go back! In fact, it’s now a staple in our Christmas stockings (creamy for Adam and crunchy for me). Cheez Its are a must as well, and if I can squeeze in a box of mac and cheese all the better. I’ll be bringing back chocolate chips and brown sugar this time to make cookies, and I’ll load up on Tide Pens too. We also make a point of stocking up on meds while we’re at home: Advil, Sudafed, and Mucinex. Seriously, so much stuff it’s absolutely ridiculous. 🙈

    1. We have the biggest jar of Advil ever in our medicine cabinet, so we’re set for a while 🙂 but I do wish I’d brought an odd assortment of other meds. And Cheez Its! I hadn’t even realized I was missing them until you mentioned them. Noooooo!

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