Pristina - Post Report Question and Answers

How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Groceries are easy to get and prices are pretty good. The produce is amazing in season. The major grocery stores will take of the VAT if you bring in the embassy forms. You can have groceries delivered from (but you pay the VAT.) It is impossible to find non-scented cleaning supplies, so put those in your consumables shipment (along with coconut oil, peanut butter, Asian/Mexican condiments, etc.). You can find almost anything here, but not always when you need it. - Aug 2021

The cost of everything in Kosovo is much less than anywhere else in Europe, not to mention the US. Produce is very seasonal, and finding specific products is tricky. The general rule of thumb is if you see something that you want - BUY IT - because you don't know when you'll see it again. You can only find pork at a butcher shop in Gracanica (south of Pristina) or you can buy it in Skopje. The shops have increased their variety quite a bit over the last year and if we can't find something here we can either: order on Amazon, go to Bondsteel (very limited selection), or go to Skopje. We chose not to do a consumables shipment and are still happy with the choice. - Jul 2019

Most things are available, though you may not find the brand you are used to. Prices vary. Local products, seasonal fruits and vegetables are about 1/3 to 1/2 price of Western Europe. Meat (except chicken) is more expensive. Imported goods are more expensive. Whipping cream (made from milk, without sugar) is not available. Pork is available from butchers in Serbian communities (e.g. Gracanica). You will not find a choice of cheeses like white cheese, Kashkaval, Gouda, Emmental cheese, Parmesan; Mozzarella and blue cheese are more difficult to find. Soft cheeses, like Camembert, Brie,... are hard to find and only occasionally available. Balsamic vinegar is very sour; better bring your own. There is a limited range of spices. - Nov 2016

There are 3 groceries within 1-2 miles of home, plus a plethora of small "mini-mart" groceries within a short distance of the apartment. Prices are comparable to U.S. or better. Very near the Embassy are these grocery stores: Viva Fresh (smaller than its larger parent store located off the M2 Hwy, but it carries all that you can feasibly obtain from any store locally. It has a large variety of products and produce and meats. It is one of two stores carrying U.S. style ground beef). Other comparable but smaller stores are: Vipros, Conad, Meridien and Tregu. - Jun 2016

Produce here is great and cheap, but seasonal. You aren't going to find American brands, but if you look, you can find most things here. You do have to be selective about where you buy meat; fresh chicken is pretty easy to come by (packaged and imported from Slovenia) as is fish. I've given up on beef; the cuts are strange and unless you go to a halal butcher, it's hard to know how old it is. We eat well and entertain and spend about US$100 a week on groceries (which includes alcohol.) There is a commissary and there's Camp Bondsteel, but we only use it to buy bacon. Local cleaning supplies, paper products, etc are fine, though if you want unscented products, you should probably include them in your consumables shipment. Otherwise, the only thing I wish we would have sent more of are ethnic ingredients (sesame oil, rice vinegar, hoisin, etc.), beer, and uniquely American things like chocolate chips, shredded coconut, vanilla extract. The quality of baking/cooking supplies like parchment paper, aluminum foil, saran wrap is poor here. - May 2016

Variety of produce is seasonal. Fresh chicken is only available at specific places -- most grocery stories carry frozen chicken imported from Turkey. If you are willing, you can get good beef and chicken from local butchers. Pork and fish are harder to find. Variety is lacking and its easy to fall into a rut. Some people took advantage of Camp Bondsteel to get American products, but we found the base disappointing. - Aug 2015

A bit less than in DC. You can purchase giant bags of potatoes, onions, etc. for about 99 Euro cents. Staples are relatively cheap as well. However, you will miss cheddar cheese and pork (go to Gracanica if you have a craving) and bring any kind of comfort food with you if you can. American products are virtually non-existent. - Jun 2014

Your perception of whether or not there is a lot available will depend on where you're coming from. If you're coming straight from the U.S., you may be disappointed with the variety. If you're coming from a post in a developing country (as we were), this will feel just like the U.S. to you. Embassy employees can join the employee association and have access to an on-compound commissary that helps to fill in many gaps, and we can do bulk commissary orders as well. We have DPO shipping for embassy families, so Amazon is a good resource for filling in the gaps. Also, many things that are not available here are available in Skopje, Macedonia, less than 2 hours away with an easy border crossing. - Apr 2014

Same as Washington, DC. You can get pretty much anything you need. We mail ordered for quinoa, sun-dried tomatoes (without salt), pine nuts, dried cranberries, and any special American stuff. Just a sign of the salt: after you buy your first package of salt at the grocery store on arrival, you will never need to buy it again. It is about a one-pound box. - Apr 2013

Decent for both. Produce is mostly seasonal and delicious. You can get slightly more expensive produce out-of-season. Several European brands of cleaning supplies, etc. are available. - Sep 2012

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