Thursday, August 2, 2012
#Grocery shopping in #France
The trip to the grocery store in France, is an amazing exploration in discovering new foods. But it can be very time consuming and, at times, a bit frustrating, especially if you happen to be in a big LeClerc or Carrefour store (avoid the Super U and Hyper U, they have poor quality) on a Saturday afternoon while the entire town is in there getting their groceries for the week. Remember- stores are all closed on Sundays.
I have often told people that it is like going to Superstore or any of those large pack your own grocery stores x100. Where else can you buy books, clothes, jewellery, washing machines, furniture, alcohol, and of course food all in one store?
Before entering make sure you have your bags, and get a cart from outside. Now the carts in France roll differently- forward and backwards like here at home but also sideways so the trip from your car to the store can be interesting.
I always start at the book section. Mini-Lili grabs 5-6 books to read for the shopping "trip" and off we go.
If you are staying at a gîte you will need to buy toilet paper. You know you are in France when you buy the pink toilet. Next- off to the bakery section. I normally buy my baguettes and croissants from a boulangerie, but if you are off to a picnic and need a baguette there are usually 10 different ones to pick from. From there you can head to the yogurt isles. Normally 3- yes 3 entire isles of yogurt, cheese sections (again at least 3), meat (beef, duck, goose, pig, goat, horse- yikes Mini-Lili don't look) and seafood counter, produce section. You have to weigh your own produce here on a scale and attach the ticket to the bag before you head to the checkout. (I found this out the hard way during my first grocery shopping trip.)
The centre isles contain a chocolate bar isle (yes, a whole isle!), cookies, crackers, pizza and tarte doughs, dessert pudding isle (rice puddings, tapicoa, tiramisu, etc), everything we have at home and way, way more. This is your time to try new foods.
Off to the wine section. In every grocery store you will find numerous bottles from the local area. You will never see a selection like this back at home. You can buy excellent bottles of wine for 3.00 Euros.
Off to the milk section where it is all UHT (long-life) milk. Each kind of milk (homogenized, 2%, skim, etc) has a different lid colour. Mini-Lili prefers the red lid (homogenized) and we buy "bio" (organic because some habits are ingrained).
Next to the milk, is another "you know you are in France when" section- the bottled water section. French people buy litres of water. Again there are varies brands and for 6 long 1.5 litres you pay 1.20 Euros. Everyone tells you tap water is fine to drink and yet they buy litres of bottled water.
Off to the check out, where you should be prepared to stand in line for a long time. But it is a good time for people watching! Pack up your groceries and guide the sideways rolling cart back to the car. Now off for that picnic!