Price Check is a series of posts from every destination we visit that could serve as a shopping list to stock the kitchen at the start of your stay, as well as a cost of living index in a way. We’re including some basic items to get you started plus a local specialty or two from the place.
Shopping may not be a highlight of a visit to Kotor, but shopping for food here can be fun. There is a tiny communal market every morning except Sunday just outside the city walls, a few small supermarkets in the newer parts of town, and several neighbourhood grocery stores in the surrounding villages, such as Muo and Dobrota. Although oddly enough we’ve only found one bakery so far – a shock after Paris, where there are a dozen on any street. There’s a small shopping mall here too but who wants to shop at a mall in a historic town like Kotor?
The communal market is a tad odd, with the permanent shops inside being operated by Panto, the supermarket chain, but the stalls ran by local producers opposite and under the umbrellas outside are more interesting, selling everything from local cheeses, salamis and prosciuttos from surrounding villages such as Njeguski to fresh flowers and potted herbs, which are better value than bunches of herbs if you’re renting an apartment for a while.
There is not much difference in prices between the supermarket and market, and the cheeses and prosciuttos are more expensive at the market, although I’d rather give my money to an independent producer than a supermarket chain.
What is fun about shopping in the supermarket is seeing all the different products from the surrounding Balkan countries such as Serbia, Croatia, and Macedonia, things we typically associate with this region, such as gherkins and salamis, but also things we didn’t expect to see, such as Turkish Delight, although it makes sense considering the Ottoman influence. They also have delicious-flavoured potato chips (crisps), including green paprika and grilled sausage.
Shopping is easy in the supermarkets here as many people speak a little English, or some Italian or French, and most speak Russian. While most of the labelling is in Serbian you’ll probably find a translation in fine print somewhere on the package. The supermarket staff are not very friendly, but don’t let that deter you. Despite their grouchy faces, I persisted with saying dobro (hello), hvala (thank you) and do videnja or ciao ciao (yes, that’s Montenegrin for goodbye), and after half a dozen visits I eventually got a response, and after a few more visits a smile.
For our Price Check shopping list, we’ve surveyed the ubiquitous Panto supermarket for prices, rather than the market, as supermarkets provide a better yardstick for comparing prices between different cities and countries, and sometimes supermarkets may be your only choice for getting started, especially if you arrive on a Sunday. One thing we love about shopping in Kotor, shops stay open late, and our local Panto is even open 24 hours!
Please do let us know if this list is helpful or if there are things you’d like to see added. We’re finding it a fascinating exercise. What about you?
We’ve used today’s currency rates below from www.xe.com rounding up/down.
|1.5 litre water||€0.35||£0.30||US$0.45|
|1 litre milk||€1.05||£0.90||US$1.34|
|Bottle of local wine||€3.60||£3.10||US$4.59|
|Beer: Niksicko Pivo||€0.47||£0.40||US$0.60|
|250 g Doncafe||€1.25||£1.08||US$1.59|
|Lipton’s tea 50 bags||€3.35||£2.89||US$4.27|
|1 kg sugar||€0.75||£0.65||US$0.96|
|Jar of cherry jam||€2.59||£2.23||US$3.30|
|1 loaf of bread||€0.40||£0.34||US$0.51|
|250g quality butter||€2.80||£2.41||US$3.57|
|200g Njeguski cheese||€3.00||£2.58||US$3.83|
|500 ml olive oil||€5.70||£4.91||US$7.27|
|1 dozen eggs||€1.00||£0.86||US$1.28|
|1 kilo tomatoes||€2.40||£2.07||US$3.06|
|1 kilo onions||€1.10||£0.95||US$1.40|
|1 kilo apples||€0.95||£0.82||US$1.21|
|250 g pistachios||€4.65||£4.01||US$5.93|
|250g jar Ajvar||€3.29||£2.83||US$4.20|