Pining for Penny Market
My recent post on fab finds at Family Dollar got me thinking. What other stores do I enjoy bargain shopping at, and what are some of my favorite deals from each? One chain that came to mind is a European one I used CONSTANTLY when we lived in Italy. I’m talking about Penny Market.
How many European countries is the Penny Market chain in? I’m not sure. I do know I’ve found them in both Italy and Germany, and that this particular store chain was instrumental to maintaining our household budget on a regular basis. Bonus? They carry AWESOME products for cheap. Yes, there are lots of the basics here as well, but a fair amount of gourmet grocery items are there as well. Here is a list of my favorite Penny Market deals, based on the prices I remember paying when I lived there. I welcome hearing about yours as well.
1. Fresh and dried pastas.
The dried Barilla brand in various shapes was consistently available for around 25 cents a pound. Extra large packages of fresh ravioli, tortellini and tortelloni were usually around the equivalent of one USD. Gotta love that!
2. Pesto and other fun sauces.
Some of my favorites? A cashew and pecorino sauce and pesto of sun dried tomatoes, in addition the classic pesto. USD equivalent? About fifty cents.
3. Smoked salmon.
The large packages of this stuff were a bit pricier, but still under five bucks.
4. Specialty cheeses.
Two of my favorites were the miniature balls of buffalo mozzarella and the large bags of Grano Padano cubes that were just the right size for our hand held rotary cheese grater.
5. Twin packs of baguette bread.
These were around a buck a package.
6. Bar stocking items.
For those of you who haven’t checked this place out yet, Penny Market is a great place to stock your bar! Amaretto, grappa, wines, liquors, certain hard spirits, beers and more were always available for super prices, comparatively.
I remember paying about fifty cents a dozen here, which was a great price even at that time.
8. Produce and potted herbs.
For items I didn’t want to wait for in my herb garden, Penny Market consistently had seasonal herb plants for less than a buck. I’d bring them home and get them started in my herb garden for a head start. Produce was always cheap, if somewhat limited. Certain things they always had though, like bags of pre-washed mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, lemons, apples, eggplants and more. I remember paying in the one-three dollar range for larger packages of these items.
9. Tuna salad in a tube.
This was one of the most unusual things we found there, at least from a Stateside perspective. The entire mixture was sold in a non-refridgerated (at least until you opened it) tube that was slightly larger than a tube of toothpaste. It made making lunch sandwiches super easy.
Some of the no-brainer meal items we prepared from these items? Deviled eggs, buffalo and tomato salad with torn basil, penne with salmon and freshly grated Grano Padano, bruschetta and other toasted appetizer combos like cream cheese and salmon, angel hair pasta with pesto, fresh tortellini with mixed green salad and a table wine . . . man, we ate well over there. These are just a few bargain ideas off the top of my head. There were many others at this store for sure. Even though the prices have likely risen a bit since we lived there, I can’t imagine that this chain isn’t still a great deal. For those of you that have access to this chain, congratulations! As for me, I’ll just continue pining for affordable Grano Padano, smoked salmon and dirt cheap fresh pasta.