I Could Never Live In France, I Would Miss Too Much Of The Things Back Home
This is something a small number people said to us before we moved and at the time, you start thinking if that will be the case and small doubts about the move come into your mind. Being the kind of person I am, I did not let it put me off and off we went !
Nothing Missed, Honest !
At the time of writing this, I have being in France for over 3 months ( it seems longer, the UK does seem a distant memory now ) and I can quite genuinely say that there is nothing I am missing on the food & drink side and having cravings for.
As in the UK, when you go into the French supermarkets, you come across sections on the shelves for different regions and cuisines. We are currently in the Limousin and there a number of British people here ( not hundreds of thousands but at a guess 20,000 or so ) and so the supermarkets try and cater for these with favourites from home.
When I go to the supermarket, I will look at these sections but not once have I seen something there and thought I must have it. When we first came here we went looking for Hellmans mayonnaise but did not find any and so got the French mayonnaise which turns out to have a lot more of a mustard flavour . Yes, it was not what I was used to but it was fine to have.
When In France
One of the reasons me & Hazel wanted to come to France was to experience a new lifestyle and culture and that included the food. For us, we have tried to base our food shopping on how the French would buy. We have not gone out to replicate what we had at home back in the UK, we have bought what was good value in the supermarkets and what was fresh and in season.
This has meant trying different fish & meat, buying fruit and vegetables that was in season and to break the mindset we would have had in the UK of expecting all fresh ingredients to be there 365 days a year.
Top Things To Buy In France
So, in the time here, what have being the types of food that I have really enjoyed which seemed better value than the UK ? :
- Cheese, as everyone knows, France has many different types of cheese and this is reflected in the shops. In the chilled section you have a very wide selection and always a large number of local cheese
- Fruit. You can always tell what is in season and for fruit, the supermarkets will have several choices of one particular type for that 3 to 4 week period. Simply divine and also great value. I remember buying a tray of peaches for €3.50 and today I have just bought a kg of grapes for €0.95
- Vegetables. Again, very seasonal but you get great value for example when the green beans are in season or tomatoes are in season. You get many different choices of fresh tomato for example.
- Fish. Always worth checking the prices for the fish but mackerel and tuna have being particularly good value.
- Wine as you would expect is great value in France and you see very little non-French wine on the shelves. What you will see is wine from different regions of France and once again, large emphasis on regional wines.
- Meat. A lot of the meat seems more expensive than the UK but then you do feel that it is predominantly French. Again, be prepared to consider cuts of meat you might not had got in the UK
- Pate. The supermarket shelves have large sections for pate and you have a great deal of choice. I avoid Fois Grais for ethical reasons but you can easily get pate with duck, pork, rabbit & boar.
What Am I Missing ?
Having said I am not really missing anything food related in this piece, these would be nice haves :
- Pork scratchings. Not seen them in the shops but had some at an event in Montmorillon where The Ginger Cat Brewery were serving beer.
- Salted peanuts. The French just do not seem to do these as well as you can get back home
- A Hull Pattie. You will need to do some research on this if you are not from Hull but the next time I am back in Hull, I will make sure I have several.
- A pint of bitter. Not being a serious lager drinker, I do miss the simple things in life such as a pint of Tetley or John Smiths or anything with a head on it.
Having mentioned some foods I would like to see in France, not having them is not a problem and is probably a good thing for my waistline. Certainly have no regrets in making the French move.