Let’s face it: despite the amazing cuisine that Spain has to offer, as an American, sooner or later — and maybe sooner than you think — you’ll find yourself craving some of the flavors from back home. It’s true that initially you’ll be more than happy to try anything and everything that comes your way — from cocido madrileño to oreja a la plancha, from morcilla ibérica to callos. Of course, being in a foreign country and trying all the local gastronomy is one of the best parts of being abroad, and especially in Spain, a country which is renowned for its quality cooking. Eventually, however, your taste buds will feel the need for something familiar, and even more so, your heart. So, before you get desperate at the thought of going months or even years without drinking Dr. Pepper or chewing on some Big Red, here are some stores that can cure your cravings whenever they finally hit you.
Taste of America in Madrid
The most well-known American store in Madrid, Taste of America opened its doors fifteen years ago on Calle Serrano, 149. Nowadays it has grown to nineteen locations — and not only in Madrid, but also in Barcelona and Valencia. They offer a wide variety of products and are the exclusive distributor for several brands including Pepperidge Farm and Newman’s Own. Craving Aunt Jemima pancakes and syrup? Been a while since you’ve had vanilla Coke? Is it almost Thanksgiving and you just don’t know where to get cranberry sauce? If this is the case, Taste of America is definitely your one-stop shop for all American product needs. Just about anything edible that you miss from home can be found here — just make sure you’re willing to pay for it!
La Tienda Americana
Gotten into baking recently? Whether or not this is the case, you’ve most certainly noticed the craze that has taken America in the last few years. Although always a part of our culture, it seems that baking — and cupcakes especially — has made a comeback. It may be true that among Americans, cooking is becoming somewhat of a lost art, but the science that is baking is more popular than ever! So, does moving to Spain mean that you have to give it a rest until you get back? By no means! For all of your baking needs head to La Tienda Americana. Started in 2003 as The American Store, and at the time exclusively an American supermarket, the business has recently shifted its focus to baking. Having received distributing rights for Wilton, La Tienda Americana not only sells products, but also has set up a school where they offer classes on how to bake. They have recently moved to a larger facility which is located on Calle Martín de los Heros, 63,<M>Argüelles. If you enjoy baking, La Tienda Americana is a must!
Originally a German supermarket, Lidl now possesses over ten thousand stores and is present in twenty-six European countries. An economical establishment, here you can get high-quality, no-name products at an excellent price. Due to its origins, the best products are by far those you would expect to be outstanding: milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, chocolate, and beer. In the same line, Lidl sells quite a few American-style products, but of course, good-quality, unknown brands at a low price. If you’re going to be on a budget while here in Spain, this is the place to go to get items such as peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies, barbecue-flavor potato chips, and so on. What’s more is you probably won’t have to go out of your way to get them either, as Lidl has so many locations throughout Madrid. So, if your craving American food, but at a reasonable price, now you know where to go. As their motto says: Quality doesn’t have to be expensive!
So, here you have a few suggestions for when you feel you need some homegrown flavors. Keep in mind that with each passing day — whether the locals admit it not — American food is becoming more and more popular and many grocery stores are beginning to carry more American products. Once you get in town, take a look around — you may be surprised at what you can find and where you find it!