Buenos Aires Grocery Shopping
Insider tips for grocery shopping in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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Grocery shopping in Buenos Aires can be an adventure or a headache depending on your language ability and need for specific items. In most of Argentina people still buy groceries the old fashion way . . . no they donít trade tomatoes for sausage; they shop in a dozen different stores for different types of products.  In Buenos Aires you can also go on the hunt and gather shopping spree, but depending on your location you may find it difficult to locate certain types of shops.  At my first apartment in Buenos Aires we could easily find a butcher and a vegetable stand, but trying to find cheese, bread or poultry was impossible.  My second apartment had a bakery next door, a cheese and wine store around the corner, a vegetable stand about three blocks away, but no meat within a reasonable commute.  There is a solution to this hunt and buy madness Ė Coto!!! 


Groceries from San Pedro - 83 Pesos or $28 USD
Jack Daniels Whisky 53 Pesos or $17 USD

A one stop-shop, like Super Target

Coto is a massive grocery/consumer goods store.  It is a little like Super Wal-mart or Target, but not quite as nice.  The first time I discovered Coto, it was like an angel shinning a light on Buenos Aires just for me.  I had been in Buenos Aires for a month, and was tired of fruitless searches for imported items and household goods, like fans!  From the outside, Coto looked like just another grocery store.  Maybe it was a little larger and brighter, but not enough to walk the 15 or so blocks from my home to go grocery shopping.  I went inside to see if they had tampons, of course they didnít, but I was wowed by the selection of various products and how the store seemed to never end.  Now this probably isnít going to excite the average American who regularly shops at Publix, Target, Wal-mart and so forth, but for an American deprived of brand name choices for a month . . . well it was heaven for me.

The Coto I stumbled upon was on Charcas, just East of the pedestrian walk of Charcas.  It was a single story, but it went on and on forever.  They sold everything; fans, refrigerators, TVs, 20 different brands of toilet paper, fresh meat, a variety of wine and alcohol.  I couldnít believe it!  You could find anything you needed in one single store!!!  As tempting as it was to buy two cart loads of items, I knew the walk home would be too much, so I purchased my soft toilet paper and a notebook and made my way to the checkout.  That is when I learned Ė Coto Delivers!!!  All you have to do is shop as normal, then tell the check-out clerk you would like it delivered.  Make sure you know your full address, and a few hours later your groceries items will be brought to your front door.  They have air conditioned vans that drive around the city making deliveries, so you donít have to worry about spoiling meats and vegetables.  It is only a few pesos, plus a tip to the delivery boy.  Isnít Buenos Aires Wonderful?

Supermarkets = Supermercados

There are other grocery stores in Buenos Aires, like Disco, Dia Supermercado and Norte.  My favorite (after Coto) is the Disco.  It is usually well lit and well stocked.  The Discoís can vary from one neighborhood to the next, but overall they are much nicer than the other supermarkets.  At the Disco you can find everything you NEED to make a nice dinner, but you may not find everything you want.  For example, we wanted pepper, plain black ground pepper, but all we could find was peppercorns so we had to buy a grinder.  At Coto they have many different types of pepper, even our usually McCormick black ground pepper we always buy at Publix.

Shopping at Coto or Disco can be an easy, relaxing experience, but I wouldnít make it my only grocery shopping destination.  I believe there is something romantic, like stepping into the past, about having to interact with people before taking home your groceries.  I really enjoy talking to a butcher to get your meat, tasting the cheese at the local cheese and wine bar before you make a purchase, and having freshly baked bread from the neighborhood bakery.  Not to mention, the food always taste better after youíve walked to five different shops to buy it. =)

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