Foreign Exchange

We just recently got back from Chatel, France where we went skiing with our travel buddies from the UK and Amsterdam.  Good travel buddies are hard to find.  Being good friends with a person does not automatically make them a good travel companion. In fact, many a good friendships are ruined over vacation incompatibilities. So when you do find that special person or persons with whom you can successfully seek out adventure without too much additional drama, you make sure to nurture that relationship and put it to good use time after time.

We have tested our travel relationship with Andy and Lis (from South of London) and Niels and Minna (from Amsterdam) over the years by exploring multiple cities in the US and Europe.  Dean can be credited with cultivating these relationships after he lived in Amsterdam for 6 months during college.  I always had a bit of the travel bug, but got it full fledged after attending each couple’s wedding in their home countries. Then, we went to Florence, Italy and Javea, Spain. We missed a very good trip to South Africa when we first moved to Austin but enjoyed the couples visiting us as we moved from state to state before settling here. Recently, we have taken two ski trips to the French Alps. The first to Samoens in 2009 and this trip to Chatel.

Over the years, we have become attached to certain things from each other’s countries. In our bag this trip, we packed:

1) Twinkies: always a favorite.  Maybe it’s due to the lore that they have an indefinite shelf life. Maybe it’s the sweet mix of creamy and spongy goodness.  But we can always count on Twinkies to represent the best America has to offer. Wink. Wink.

2)Breakfast Tacos: These were a little harder to pack. Just kidding. But I did have to bring a package of flour tortillas and a can of chiles in order to make the breakfast tacos. Breakfast tacos are unfamiliar to many of my friends outside of Texas no less outside the USA. They were particularly impressive to Niels and Minna so we decided to reinvent them this trip.

3) Green Chile Mac ‘n Cheese: By that same token, we introduced Niels and Minna to Green Chile Mac N Cheese at the Alamo Drafthouse this past fall while they were visiting Austin. They seemed to enjoy it, so I snuck a couple of cans of green chiles and jalapeños into our luggage and Dean recreated the popular dish in France.  Mexican cheeses were impossible to come by as was jalapeño jack, but it was a decent attempt.

4) Baby Ruth: These became a favorite of Lis’ a few years back, and who can blame her what with the peanuts, caramel and chocolate nougat. Mmmm.

5) Goldfish: Now that we have kids in the mix, we have entered a whole new terrority. Andy and Lis’ son Harry calls these golden rockets. Juliette is apt to agree at the rate at which she eats them!








In exchange, we receive the following:

1) Lion Bars: These are my favorite. The bar consists of a filled wafer, caramel and cereal covered in chocolate. The combination is sweet, crunchy and delicious. I do not know why they do not routinely sell them over here!

2) Frey Chocolate: in our quest to take home some Swiss Chocolate, we came across Frey in the Geneva grocery stores. Not an upscale brand but still yummy, we will be going back for more of these.  The milk chocolate truffles were my favorite.

3) Ice Cube Bags:  I get poked fun at over my obsession with these convenient ice cube bags.  You fill the bag with water and then pop or shake out the ice.  Yes, I have an automatic ice maker. I also have ice cube trays, but these are cute and so very nice for taking on picnics or to the beach. Minna always brings me a supply and I horde them, only bringing them out for special occasions.

4) Tuc crackers: With fun flavors like cheese, paprika and black pepper, these are more of a delicious snack than a plain cracker.

5) Crisps: Chips are so much better outside of the US. Maybe it is because they are referred to as crisps. They are way crunchier and boast of flavors that I can only describe as “lovely” such as parsnip and feta cheese.

6) The Flu: Yes, we came home with the flu. It seems that foreign germs are even harder to fight off as all 3 family members were down and out for a week. Boo! What a way to end a vacation!




Fortunately, I can relish in the fact that it is a marriage made in heaven, this product exchange we have going on.  I can’t wait for our next trip and our next new foreign product discovery!


3 thoughts on “Foreign Exchange

  1. I really enjoyed this post :). I remember how mad you got the time I ate one of your Lion bars from your cabinet! Good to know there are more to snag 😉

  2. Pingback: Foreign Exchange Part II « While Everyone Else Is Sleeping

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