You can spend quite a lot of time in the Baltics reading packaging. The small size but interdependent nature of the local markets and major retailers means that it’s not uncommon to pick up a packet and see the ingredients, marketing blurb, EU-required info and manufacturer details written in all three Baltic languages plus Russian and perhaps English.
This results in space being at a premium, and the whole business can get messy with stickers pasted over each other in a sort of fight for linguistic supremacy.
But sometimes a little fun can be had if you’re prepared to read through the various texts. Experience has taught me that apparently every bottle of wine soled in the Baltics has a fruity character and goes well with meat, fish and pasta dishes, regardless of its provenance.
When buying an Estonian product such as Saaremaa cheese in a Lithuanian shop like Maxima in a suburb of Riga, it’s quite amusing to see what’s been done to the packaging, particularly if you bought the same product a week ago in Lithuania or Estonia.
Maybe I need to get out more.
But best of all is the earnestness with which potential purchasers are encouraged to consider the merits of a particular product. I came across a classic of the genre this week, so will simply reproduce it here.
The item in question is a dried fruit and nut mixture produced by “Alis Co” which proudly announces that it has been in business “Since 1994” as an opening gambit.
Always beware companies that tell you when they were established, if that date is less than 100 years ago. But here’s the, er, kernel of the Alis Co sales pitch for their bag of nuts and raisins:
Alis Co Classic Products line belongs to Premium Products category and is meant for those who appreciate themselves highly and pay strong attention to quality of product choosing it. The main difference of Alis Co Classic Products line is that there are specially selected, bigger nuts and dried fruits. We wish our Product to give you energy and joy of living!
So there you have it. The secret of joyful living is revealed at last: bigger nuts.