swedish knäckebröd and french applesauce

When an airline graciously allows me to travel with checked luggage without having to pay more, I always leave a little room (okay, quite a bit of room) for smuggling food. Food is a medium for strong expressions of culture. For this same reason I always make a point to visit local grocery stores and markets when traveling. How else does one learn how much the French value packaged ham and flavoured yogurts, or which sausages a German state prefers? 

When I was back in Gothenburg I stocked up on my favourite knäckebröd. The chili and sesame knäckebröd is addictive and I like it best with a soft goat cheese (perhaps one with a crust of mixed pepper). Over the weekend I was off to visit family in Saarland. One of the perks of driving to Germany's smallest state is being able to stop in Strasbourg to have lunch and raid French grocery stores (sorry Germany, but France still has my favourite grocery stores. You'll understand why once you see the size of the yogurt section). When I was an au pair in the south of France I kept a stash of applesauce, Swiss chocolate cookies and red wine in my room. The French just seem to be into good flavour combinations when it comes to applesauce. Apple-rhubarb is quite something, and apple-pear is just a classic.   

The New York Times also knows about the joys of smuggling food and a while back featured reader's photos of their edible souvenirs. Oh, the joy of travel!

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