Tuesday, 4 March 2008

What to bring back from France

Frantic last-minute packing - no idea why it's always this chaotic.

However enough time to zap down to the local supermarket (Intermarché) and stock up with a few foods (and the odd drink) that are more expensive in England than France. Or which it's not easy to get hold of back home.

I didn't buy all these but made a hit list:

Cheaper than in England
Top of the list is Dijon mustard - far, far cheaper here than in England (.56€/43p for 320g, less if you buy a bigger jar)
A string of garlic. Better price. Better quality
Ground coffee. Much cheaper - €2.95/£2.26 for 2 packs - don't know why
Saucisson sec (not a great deal cheaper but nicer. And good for picnics en route)
Jambon sec (ditto)
Small jars/tins of paté - these can be incredibly cheap - I spotted some at €1.75/£1.33
Tinned fish, especially mackerel in white wine (€2.11/£1.62) and aged (yes, really) sardines (€1.11/85p)
Tins and jars of beans and chickpeas (Spanish ones are particularly good if you can get hold of them - about €1.32/£1.01 for 540g - enough for 4)
Dark chocolate - I spotted an offer today of 2 x 200g bars for €3.29 (£2.52)
Cheap Nutella substitutes - if you're addicted
Olive oil - sometimes. Not always cheaper than in UK
Wine. Obviously. Buy local.
Vin doux naturels (port-like wines) such as Banyuls. Ridiculously cheap at €4.32/£3.31 for 75cl
Cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) - €3.75/£2.88 for 75cl
Non-alcoholic 'sirops' for cocktails and mixed soft drinks (see also below. As little as €1.46/£1.12 a litre)

Hard to find in England except at an exorbitant price
Herbal infusions such as Verveine (lemon verbena) and Tilleuil (lime blossom)
Jars of fish soup and rouille
Tins of cassoulet and/or duck confit
Cornichons - Look like but taste better than gherkins. I like the fact one brand is called Christ.
Jars of white asparagus (about €2.89/£2.22 for 395g)
Aperitifs such as Guignolet (cherry-flavoured aperitif - about €4.65/£3.57 a litre) St Raphael and Picon bière
Artisanal rums from the French Caribbean (about 16€/£12.27)
Orgeat - almond-flavoured syrup for cocktails

One thing you might make a mental note to bring with you next time you come to France is tea. They just don't get it here.

Will now be on the road until the end of the week. Next instalment from Bristol.

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