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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Here are the hard-to-find comfort foods gringos crave

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Maggie Cale
Maggie Cale
Maggie Cale was born in the United States and has lived most of her life in Pennsylvania. She has a social work degree from Penn State University and finished her career in Washington, D.C. working with families. She moved to Yucatán in 2017 and has worked part-time ghostwriting for bloggers. She lives in Itzimná with her two dogs.
Border Munchies in Mérida. Photo: Courtesy

We may love Mérida, but we foreign residents still occasionally crave comfort foods that are not easily available. 

What are you craving? Sauerkraut, dill pickles, spices, candy, snacks, specialty cheeses, or baked beans? During my hunt, I found some shop owners to be accommodating and resourceful. This means if you don’t see it, ask.

I started my search with bread because I am a bread fanatic, and the store-bought variety doesn’t usually work for me. 

L’Amour du Pain in Mérida. Photo: Maggie Cale


L’Amour du Pain: They make a delightful loaf of chia bread or baguette. Francoise the owner states, “All my bread starts with a sourdough base. It is best to order a day ahead so we are sure it is ready for you.” facebook.com/Lamourdupainmid, 999-921-2450, Calle 20 Circuito Colonias #223, Miguel Aleman

Escargot Panadería Artesanal: They make a great baguette that is crusty, crunchy, and warm if you arrive early. Their croissants melt in your mouth. There are three stores to find your perfect bread: Santa Lucia: Calle 53 x 62 y 64 #504; Santiago: Calle 68 x 57 y 59 #491, Parque de Itzimna: Calle 18 #98a facebook.com/escargotpanaderia

Monique Bakery and Fermentation Lab: Their pumpernickel and rye bread are authentic and in demand. Make sure you order ahead. They are easy to freeze and use as needed. facebook.com/moniquebakery, Calle 79 #191A Montes de Ame

Mercado de Pan in Mérida. Photo: Maggie Cale

Mercado de Pan: A great small bakery in Itzmná. Their whole grain loaf has a great texture and flavor. The bread is fresh out of the oven daily by 10:30 a.m. facebook.com/mercadodepan, Calle 17 #102A x20 y 22, Itzimná 

Spices and Beans

I was always looking for baked beans, kidney beans, and spices. Especially spices that are not in a gallon container. Here is what I found.

Sembra in Mérida. Photo: Maggie Cale

Sembra: This is a fairly new store in Itzminia.The owner has bins of spices and beans. Dried kidney beans are usually in stock. Ground ginger, fresh honey, local lentils both big and small, and lots of other great finds. She is always adding to her supplies. You can bring your own container or small bags are provided. facebook.com/sembra.granel, Calle 18 # 98 B, Itzimna

La Epicure Boutique Gourmet: “I try to stay current with requests and current trends. I usually carry baked beans, dried blacked-eyed peas, and a large variety of spices for curry or hard-to-find spices for that special recipe,” says Patricia Westrick, the owner. facebook.com/La-epicure-boutique-gourmet-217701922453423 Calle 59 #573, Santiago

Asian Mart: I simply love browsing in this store. I found special spices which change weekly. My latest find was an Italian meat rub and pumpkin pie spice. For Asian cooking and fish, this is a great stop also. This is definitely one of those stores where if you don’t see it anywhere, just ask. facebook.com/asianmartmid, Calle 25 #92 x 18 Col. Mexico, 999-277-2126

Pickled Items

If it is pickled I want to try it. I crave pickles and sauerkraut and not always in that order.

Pickle Chicks: They carry dill, sweet and bread-and-butter pickles. However, they also pickle just about everything else: including asparagus, pineapple, cucumbers, and beets. Kelly and her mom work hard to create these products right from their kitchen. Kelly states, “The pandemic was hard, but we are going strong bringing our loyal customers their pickle products and then some.” facebook.com/picklechicks, 999-279-0268

The Sausage Lady in Mérida. Photo: Courtesy

The Sausage Lady: I found by chance that she makes her own sauerkraut. So along with everything else she carries, don’t forget the kraut. facebook.com/TheSausageLadyMerida, 999-258-1093

Walmart: They need to be included because they have been carrying more pickles and almost always have sauerkraut. They are in the last aisle with the ketchup and mustard. Ave. Perez Ponce and Paseo Montejo

The Chedraui Selecto Norte in Mérida. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Chedraui Selecto This store always has a nice stock of Mount Olive Pickles as well as pickle chips, dill pickles, spicy pickles, and sweet pickle varieties, so stock up. Calle 60 #301 Col. Cordemex

Specialty Meats and Cheeses 

If you are looking for fresh lamb, homemade sausage, pepper bacon, pastrami, black forest ham, or sharp cheeses, the following have a great variety:

Morbiere cheese can be found at Le Epicure in Mérida. Photo: Courtesy

La Epicure Boutique Gourmet: Patricia carries a nice selection of unusual cheeses such as Morbiere and raclette. She also carries pastrami and a great salami. facebook.com/La-epicure-boutique-gourmet-217701922453423 Calle 59 #573, Santiago

Meyer’s Deli: For sliced deli meat and cheeses, this store has a great variety. We cook most of our meat ourselves or import it, the clerk told me. The black forest ham is especially delicious. They also carry salami, pastrami, olive loaf, and sausages. The sliced mozzarella, Swiss, and provolone are amazing. They also have the hard-to-find potato salad and coleslaw. facebook.com/meyerscarnesfriasm, Ave. Jose Diaz Bolio #111, 999-926-0117

The Sausage Lady: This lady’s sausage is homemade, grills well, and freezes great, so stock up. She carries bratwurst, kielbasa,  andouille, bangers, and Italian sausage with different levels of spice. She also offers hot dogs and bacon. Be sure to ask what she has each week because it changes. Orders can be placed on WhatsApp or at Slow Food Nortefacebook.com/TheSausageLadyMerida, 999-258-1093

Rancho Haltun Xiki: The proprietor, Jennifer Underhill, states: “We provide grass-fed organic raised lamb and local pelón pork. Recently they are making lamb and pork sausages and pulled pork. They also make meaty dog treats. If looking for holiday hams, order ahead. At Slow Food Norte each Saturday, facebook.com/RanchoHaltunXiki, 999-127-2259

Mi Granja: A free-range farm that raises chicken. Their chicken is really fresh and they have a variety of cuts or serve it ground. Delivery available. facebook.com/MiGranjaYuc, 999-200-6985

Candy and Snacks

Finding a favorite snack can be a challenge for foreigners living here. However, the few I have found I cherish.

La Epicure Boutique Gourmet: Patricia carries Twizzlers (licorice candy) most of the time and an assortment of other candies. I have also found pudding mixes, Butterfingers, imported chocolates, and some different cake products. facebook.com/La-epicure-boutique-gourmet-217701922453423, Calle 59 #573 Parque Santiago

Chedraui Selecto: This giant supermarket can be hit or miss at times. Last I checked they had several flavors of Goldfish crackers, Wheat Thins, fudge-striped cookies, ginger snaps, dark chocolate brownie mix, and Bugles. Calle 60 #301 Col. Cordemex

Border Munchies in Mérida. Photo: Maggie Cale

Border Munchies (“Snacks R Us”): This chain, which opened a Mérida branch this year, has it all as far as snack food and candy. All flavors of Oreos (even the Double Stuff gluten-free kinds), Cheez-Its, Cheetos, Hostess Cupcakes and Twinkies, Little Debbies, Sugar Babies, Sweet Tarts, Chips Ahoy!, at least four kinds of Lucky Charms and Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme. It is amazing, so you might want to limit the amount of money you bring. facebook.com/bmmerida, Plaza Palmeras, Ave. Andres Garcia Lavin x 43 y 45, San Ramón Norte

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