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Carrefour – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

December 4, 2007

Let’s start off with the ugly because I’d rather end this post on a positive note rather than a negative one.

The Ugly: I like their chicken salad sandwich in a baguette. It’s great for when you’re low on time for lunch. We sat down for lunch, I took a bite of the sandwich and felt something hard. I spit it out and found a very sharp, pointed piece of plastic, about an inch long. It looked like it was from part of the packaging. I checked the packaging and it was in tact. Thank God I chew my food really well before swallowing. Anyway, I contacted customer service, they gave me the manager’s cell phone and I suggested he have all the other sandwiches checked, etc. and he was very kind about it. But still, it’s kind of scary.

The Bad, Part 1: A few months ago I bought donuts from the bakery, the round ones, no holes. My son likes them (and so do I) because they remind us of the “graffe” we ate in Napoli. We bought the plain ones and brought them home, I rolled them in a little vanilla sugar to make them taste even more like a graffa. I ripped one apart and it was raw in the middle. I opened up another, and the same thing. They were all raw in the middle. They got tossed. (I also informed the manager of this problem.)

The Bad, Part 2: I’ve been going there for over a month looking for the Carrefour brand flour. It’s amazing. It’s like pastry flour, and reminds me of Italian 00 type flour. It’s awesome for cakes, cookies and mixing it with other flour to make pizza dough. They’ve been out of it for a while now and the only other flour they offer is Homepride Self-Rising flour and flour to make chapatis or something. I asked and one person told me that no, they weren’t going to sell it anymore, that it was only there for the opening. I asked the manager (he must hate me by now) and he called back saying that they’re awaiting a shipment from France which should be arriving in 2-3 weeks. Now, this is a major chain. How can you be out of something like flour?! Also missing for a while now is the Carrefour brand of peeled whole tomatoes. They’re not that great, too much sauce but high in flavor and low on acid and that tin taste you get from canned tomatoes. I can’t imagine walking into a Carrefour in any other country and finding that they’re out of an item for over a month. Bad, bad, bad.

The Good: It’s so much cheaper than other supermarkets. I walked out with a ton of stuff the other day and it only took KD30 out of my wallet. I like that. I’m also obsessed with some of their products, mostly the Carrefour brand.

  • As mentioned above, Carrefour Flour is great. It’s pastry flour and you can use it recipes for cakes, cookies, bread (I would mix it in with all-purpose flour). It’s very fine and soft.
  • No. 1 canned peeled whole tomatoes. Now, you have to check each tomato because I have found quite a few with some skin still on, and hard tops but the effort it worth the taste. This is the best available in Kuwait, followed by Carrefour brand (but very saucy). The two worst: Del Monte and Jolly Green Giant.
  • Carrefour Madeleines Longues. Dunk these babies in some tea with milk and you’ll never have anything else for breakfast again.
  • Carrefour Kids’ fromage fois. Great taste, great texture and comes in two sizes. My son prefers the smaller ones.
  • Carrefour mozzarella balls. In the dairy/cheese section. Made in Italy, they’re fresh-tasting and oh so good. You’ll only have to spend about 700fils for one.
  • Carrefour organic frozen vegetables. Awesome. You can cook them in a little olive oil, add a little water, cover with foil until tender or they can be cooked until crisp-tender. The only let down was the creamed spinach.
  • Carrefour Riz au Lait. Rice Pudding. Yum.
  • Carrefour Plaisir Fruite. Applesauce, but comes in a variety of mixes, such as Pomme Fraise (Apples and Strawberries), Pomme Poire (Apples and Pears), etc.
  • Baguettes from the bakery. I like the “traditional” or “country” style of baguette – the ones that are wider than the usual baguette.

Products I’ve found at Carrefour and nowhere else include: tomato paste in a tube and anchovy paste in a tube.

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6 comments

  1. This post is amazing. I read it while slowly sinking into an induced state of culinary bliss, because you spoke my language: i.e. tipo 00 flour, petite madelines, and mozzarella balls ( if only they were bufala – are they?). Any chance they have some Parmigiano Reggiano – the real stuff? I haven’t been to Carrefour yet, believe it or not, but I am pulling on my faux cowgirl boots and jeans (I am pretending it’s winter) as I type this to go get myself some of those madelines…


  2. Ahhhh Ms. Baker, if only I was able to go with you to Carrefour. Can you imagine? I might embarrass you though. I’ve been known to let out loud gasps if I see something good.

    I’ll be on the lookout to see if they have real Parmigiano Reggiano during my next trip. I usually get mine from TSC down the street. (Heads up though, sometimes TSC sells Grana Padano as Parmesan.)

    Let me know if you find anything of interest. ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Oh I got lots to say about Carrefour. We went on June 2nd and they actually had semolina flour! Yes the type to make pasta! The type I have never ever seen before in this country. So while I’m piling in all 10 sacks of the stuff in my cart, my always helpful son announces “It expired on May 31st. Rats I new something was going to screw this up. So off to find the manager and He was so nervous about it all ‘Oh it was stocked by mistake I will get some new ones here TONIGHT. Fools! we weren’t born yesterday and even though he was nervous about being caught he still has the you know whats to lie to us. I went back a week later and nothing, except polenta that I snatched up but no flour and to this day they haven’t brought any. They seem to run out of everything we like from them while the rest of the shelves are overflowing.


  4. Gail – I swear I’ve seen semolina flour at Sultan Center. Anyway, you’re absolutely right. They run out of the things we like while they always have more than enough of the crap we would never buy. I’m disappointed by the fact that it seems substandard compared to Carrefour in other countries.


  5. I have seen tomato paste in the tube in that little gourmet shop in shamiya COOP but that was a while ago I’m hope the Oil and Vinegar in Avenues have new products but I need to find a huge amount of time to scour that place properly. I’m always in a rush when I get to that mall.


  6. Oil and Vinegar is OK. I was expecting really good olive oil there but didn’t find it. I did buy a jar of bruschetta mix: dehydrated (is that the right word? busy day..)tomato flakes and herbs. You add water to it to rehydrate, then add olive oil. I thought it made a good dip but my husband said it tasted like tomato paste and was so acidic he had to add sugar to it. Like you, I’m usually low on time so I didn’t have a chance to really check out everything in Oil and Vinegar.



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