Today I’m fighting off a bit of a cold (maybe due to the sudden chill outside), so I figured it would be a good time to update all the assorted food-related posts I’d been meaning to make.
First, a word on markets:
Herbs and spices
I have several options when it comes to groceries: I could go to a marché (outdoor farmer’s market held on certain days), one of the two halles (an indoor daily farmer’s market), a supermarché (smaller than American supermarkets, but the same idea), or I could pick and choose from many little stores specializing in fromage, pain, vin, etc. For a foodie like myself, each option is a little adventure. I love comparing the products to the choices we have back home. In most cases, France wins.
Olives, nuts, oils, and mushrooms at Marché des Arceaux
Appetizers from the marché: herbed olives, fava beans I cooked myself, and a steamed artichoke with butter
Tourte aux herbes, made with fresh eggs and greens from the marché. Pre-made pastry crust from Monoprix saves time but tastes delicious.
Tomatoes and squash baked with rosemary, thyme, and parmesan (thanks for sending the recipe, Mom!)
The one thing I truly miss from the States is Trader Joe’s, the love child of the God of Good Deals and the Goddess of Yummy Snack Foods. I will survive half a year without veggie & flaxseed tortilla chips and peach salsa, but it will be a struggle. Ok, I know I’m getting a bit dramatic here (I can envision the comments: “You’re in France! Stop complaining!”) but every now and then I do get a tiny craving for some of the food back home.
On another note, I have to dispel a stereotype we Americans have about the French. Contrary to popular belief, they do not always eat more healthfully than we do. The products may be different, but the nutritional value is about the same:
Soda is still carbonated sugar water
Do I spy French Cocoa Puffs?
Nutella. A beautiful thing...but to quote Rhoda from the Mary Tyler Moore Show, "I don't know why I should even bother to eat this. I should just apply it directly to my hips."
One last thing. I know it’s not exactly food, but I’ve been introduced to some interesting forms of alcohol here. There are endless variations on the classics: wine (especially vin chaud, a spiced hot red wine) and beer (Belgian beer I’ve found is infinitely superior to American), and of course cocktails that I can’t afford. But then there’s cidre (which I wrote about in my crêpes post), and now I have tasted the ancient drink of my Nordic ancestors: Mead. It’s a wine made out of honey (about 8-18% alcohol). A bit too sugary for my taste, but a unique experience nonetheless!
A bottle shared between friends is the best way to drink...especially when someone else buys the bottle!