Mary Ann Ellis

Ever since my first trip to France, I have been a fan of Brie, a creamy French cheese that pleases my palate and cannot be found on the shelves of the local grocery stores, either of them. When we planned a trip to Richmond to visit our youngest son, I planned a side trip to a larger, more cosmopolitan grocery store for some Brie and who knows what else. 

Friday found us in Wegmans, an amazing grocery store the likes of which I’ve never seen before. We had a list and I went off to find a red pepper for a new dish we were making for the first time later that night. Right before my eyes appeared a myriad selection of peppers, red, green, black, purple, yellow, etc. I had to find a clerk to help me select my peppers. Of course, many of them were organic but the clerk told me to move on down the aisle for an even larger selection of non-organic ones. Josh had gone off to find a flank steak for our main course. 

I moved off to browse while I waited for him to return. Two aisles over, I found granules of various colors in several five-gallon buckets. My nose insisted on sniffing each bucket’s contents. The smell and the sign helped me to figure out that you could make your own soap from those granules, according to whichever bucket your nose chose. After inserting the right amount in the pressing machine, you could purchase your very own bar of soap for $14.95. I decided to stay with Ivory.

Soon Josh returned and we went off in search of buckwheat flour. Larry’s nephew has convinced himself and Larry that pancakes made from it are healthier and tastier than any others. Now where nephew Bill got his information I’m not sure but probably from the internet. If it appears on the internet, it must be true, right? We wandered several aisles and finally resorted to asking a clerk who was seated on the floor putting away items on the bottom shelf. She generously arose and led us off to find it. It’s now carefully packed in the trunk of the car. Next week I’ll be able to tell you if the pancakes taste better or not. We shall see.

Next we were off to the cheese aisle. I haven’t seen that many cheeses since last I was in a French grocery store in downtown Paris—France, that is. I found my Brie first and then went browsing. So many of them looked delicious that I had a really hard time choosing a couple or three. In addition to my Brie, I chose a goat cheese with cranberries. And then there were the various toppings for the cheeses. Yum. I finally selected one with black cherries soaked in balsamic vinegar. Might I add they were all delicious. 

We had just about finished when I realized we hadn’t bought any fruit. We returned to the fruit section and I bought some Anjou pears. 

“Look at these, Mom,” Josh said, holding out a strange looking thing to me. It was hairy all over with a reddish colored skin underneath. “Let’s buy these just because we’ve never seen them before.”

We also grabbed a bunch of red bananas on our way out the door. We’d never tried them either. Josh paid an astronomical sum for our selections and we left. Once home, I asked Google how to peel and eat those Rambutans, the hairy fruits we’d just bought. They are native to the Malay Archipelago and their name comes from the word “hairy.” The reason is obvious. The taste is quite similar to that of a grape.

The red bananas were not ripe so Josh used one as a thermometer holder to check his oven temperature. Maybe he can let me know later what they taste like, or I might have to take them home with me. Nonetheless, my visit to Wegmans was quite the learning experience. Furthermore, my Brie is truly delicious. Mission accomplished.