Expat Advice: The Goods to Bring

Post by Lauren

We have guests coming this week.  It is great to see the familiar faces of our friends and family.  But you know what is also a perk?  TREASURES!

My mother in law is so very sweet to bring a few items we have been coveting.   For those expats who have yet to move, I wanted to share our TREASURE list so that you could maybe be smarter than us and bring a supply with you during your move!

# 1 – ENCHILADA SAUCE

We can get quasi Mexican products in Geneva.  However, they are overpriced and don’t taste the same.

Here are the prices:

6 pack of wheat tortillas or 8 pack of corn tortillas – 6 CHF  / $7 USD

Refried beans – 5 CHF / $6 USD

Black beans – 2 CHF / $3 USD

Guacamole jarred – 6 CHF  / $7 USD

Salsa that tastes like sugar – 6 CHF  / $7 USD

Fajita seasoning that tastes awful – 4 CHF / $5USD

While I have gotten over the fact that making a Mexican dinner at home costs 40 CHF, what is missing is enchilada sauce.  They do not have it at all here!

I have found it is best to buy the cans and put them in Ziplocs and then in my boots and shoes for better success at traveling.  Also, recently, my friend N told me you could buy McCormicks packets to save space.  I plan to stock up on these when we are back in the U.S.

BAKING GOODS

They don’t have the same rules here for baking. Everything I bake turns to S&^^.   For example, take a look at some cookies I tried to make recently with what I thought was cocoa powder.  It wasn’t.

Fail. Icky cookies

I also attempted to use brownie mix from a French grocery store for a cookie exchange.   They turned out awful.  I didn’t have time to make more. I had to beg people not to take what I had brought…I told them they’d thank me later.

So, I recommend that very expat moving to Europe should bring:  Baking powder, Baking soda (like Arm & Hammer), Crisco, Canola oil, Karo syrup & Vanilla Extract to help you recreate any recipes you know and love.

Better yet, pack a years worth of cake mixes, muffin mixes, and brownie mixes so that you can have easy-to-make treats.

COOKING SPICES

They don’t always have similar spices here in Switzerland.  Chili powder being a huge example.   We love making chili in the winter, so a stockpile of chili powder would be something to bring when you move.   I also to use Lipton soup mixes in recipes so I find these helpful to have in Geneva.

We aren’t ranch-lovers, but my friends A & A always stock up on ranch powder when they go home. Also, I know a few ladies from Louisiana who stockpile their special Cajun seasonings.  You are definitely not going to find anything of that genre in Switzerland.

CLEANING SUPPLIES

Bring your gloves, magic erasers and other things you are used to.

TOILETRIES

Makeup, shampoo, toothpaste/floss, and razors are 3 times as much here.   Bring a two year supply of all your favorite items!

OTHER FOOD

We are pretty lucky that we don’t have too many things that we miss from the US.  I know a few folks who are addicted to a certain type of cheetos, or candy bars, so this takes up prime real estate in their suitcases.   For us, I have noted that we have coveted:

–Kashi Almond Flax cereal (Gabe’s favorite).  We saw a empty box in a recycling bin at a hostel in Interlacken and actually tried to go on a mission to find it thinking that maybe it was available.  Unfortunately, some backpacker probably just brought it from the US.

–Stuff for making smores – graham crackers and marshmallows.  Not necessary but good to have around!

–Crystal Light – I know this isn’t good for me but I am addicted. Particularly the Target brand of Margarita Lime.  This is how I make margaritas on Mexican night 🙂

 

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