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Expert recommendations and insider tips for first-time visitors and locals alike from ARTĚL’s founder, Karen Feldman, who has lived in Prague since 1994. Click on the links below for detailed reviews – from Feldman’s own unique perspective – of all the best that Prague has to offer...

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Retro Week: Yes, Czech Milk Once Came in a Bag!

Published on April 14th, 2016 in Shopping

  • Lidl Retro Week (Retro Týden)

  • Lidl Retro Week (Retro Týden)

  • Lidl Retro Week (Retro Týden)

  • Lidl Retro Week (Retro Týden)

  • Lidl Retro Week (Retro Týden)

  • Lidl Retro Week (Retro Týden)

  • Lidl Retro Week (Retro Týden)

  • Lidl Retro Week (Retro Týden)

 

The European discount supermarket chain Lidl has been cashing in on the Czech nostalgia for ’70s and ’80s Socialist-era design for a few years now with their popular Retro Week (Retro Týden) promotion.

 

The third annual Retro Week took place from March 29 thru April 4, and as I was sadly out of town and had to miss it I sent a Czech friend to see what all the fuss was about – and to load up on retro cosmetics and treats from days gone by.

 

This event tends to get a lot of hype on social media. Czech people truly can’t get enough of it! In fact, the promotion was such a success last year that over twenty grocery items were added to the 2016 line-up.

 

But as confirmed by my friend who braved the nostalgia-hungry hordes, you better have a good reaction time or those beloved products are likely to vanish before your eyes.

 

Speaking of these wonderfully bizarre artifacts from yesteryear, what seemed to be the greatest hits among shoppers?

 

According to our brave volunteer, Májka lunchmeat in a can (think Spam), Metro Dezert Klasik (Czech cousin to Little Debbie snack cakes), Vitacit instant drink powder (kinda like Kool-Aid), and potent rum-filled pralines, all in the original packaging, were flying off the shelves.

 

 

 

 

 

But for him, nothing was more of a relic from the former Czechoslovakia than milk in a bag, which even required a special pitcher for holding the bladder-like sack while you snipped off a corner for the spout.

 

I, too, am very nostalgic for this item; milk was sold this way when I moved here in 1994 – I had my very own milk-bag container!

 

Throwback beauty products were also a hit: vintage Nivea cold cream, Jelen brand (Czech for “deer”) soap and lip balm, and Alpa Francovka, a product whose use I’ve never been entirely certain of, though do know it works as both a shaving tonic and alcoholic beverage for the desperate.

 

A number of Lidl stores in Eastern European countries, including Hungary and Croatia, take part in this gimmick, claiming that aside from the classic packaging, whenever possible the original recipe is used as well.

 

While I am not so sure that eating lunch meat from a can or lathering up with toxic-looking shampoo actually offers much enjoyment, the old-school look of the packaging is a huge draw for design enthusiasts.

 

I’ll have my net shopping bags ready for next year!

 

 

 

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