Shopping in France
Are you off to France this year? Are you driving there in order to stock up your cellar with wine and champagne? Don't forget to pop into a supermarket if you are. I thought I would share some of the useful items I buy in French supermarkets which one can't find in the UK yet.
Being half french, I spend a lot of time driving in between London and the Loire Valley. The journey might be a little longer by car, but so worth it because it means I can fill my boot with yummy, useful things.
Personally I love a E.Leclerc supermarket because their wine selection is very good and they often have great offers on. So I tend to leave my husband browsing the wine shelves with one trolley while I explore the rest of the shop with my own trolley. As dangerous as that may sound, I try to only buy things I can't find in the UK or may be less expensive in France.
Here is a list of bits I would recommend:
If you have children:
- Coquillette pasta (the pack that cooks in 3 minutes) - the pasta size is great for little ones and it is ready in minutes.
- Big pots of fruit compotes: If you are the perfect housewife, you would make the compote yourself but I can't be bothered. Unfortunately in England you can't find big pots like these, so it's definitely worth buying a few. The kids love it and also useful when you are hosting a playdate.
- Petit Beurre biscuits: simple biscuits that melt easily in the mouth, perfect for weaning babies and snacks for toddlers.
- Gervais Petit suisse: sold in perfect sized individual pots, this thick natural yoghurt is a perfect pudding for little ones. Its fresh so it will only last a couple of weeks following your trip.
- Biscuits rose de Reims: I love making a Gateau Rose for pudding to serve at a dinner party. However to make this, you need Biscuits rose. So I always bring a pack home.
- Confit de Canard: For a delicious and easy dinner party, buy a few cans of confit de canard. They are delicious and can be kept in your larder for months (a great "go to" if you have unexpected guests for supper and nothing in the fridge.)
- Herbal teas from La Tisaniere
- Cooking Chocolate Menier: you can get it in the UK but at a price... This chocolate makes the best chocolate cakes and puddings.
- Sachets of Taboule Parfume: really useful in the summer. While the barbecue is on, you just have to add a little water. Leave it for 45 minutes in the fridge, flake it and add a little olive oil and lemon juice before serving it. So easy and feeds the masses.
- Confiture de Mirabelles or Confiture de Myrtilles: I love a good jam and tend to find all sorts of flavours not easily found in the UK
- Gesiers de Canard Confit: These can be found in the fresh section but freeze very well. They are so useful for a summer lunch to scatter over a salad.
- Boudin Noir and Boudin Blanc: Again these are found in the fresh section but freeze very well. Served with cooked apples and a potato puree with mustard on the side, they are delicious. The french version of bangers and mash.
- A garlic tress: Not always found in a supermarket however often sold in markets during the summer months, bring back a tress of garlic. It will last you the winter and is a great present to give to someone.
- Saucissons... but of course...
- Fresh pastry: I wish I could be bothered to make my own pastry but I can't. I don't know about you, but most of my moulds are round. So when I bake a quiche or a tart, I need a ready rolled pastry cut in a round shape. In France, they are naturally sold like that but in the UK they are rectangular. So I tend to bring some back and freeze them. (anything to save time)
I'm sure I've missed hundreds of things because my trolley is always full to the brim by the end of my shop but it's a good start. I hope you find these little tips useful.
If you have a few tips of your own, please feel free to add them in the comment box below.