Saturday, April 7, 2012

French Food-Part II - What's not found in France and What is.

A little wine & bread with most meals!
What will we find today? 
Fresh cheese, radishes & tomatoes with a vinegarette

Another challenge I have had since moving here is what to cook...Now I'm a pretty diverse cook but we all have our staples - foods we love to make, dishes that work for a family, favorite recipes..etc..  Well, I think one of the first things I noticed here was there were certain ingredients that I couldn't find here...or certain foods that were not always available at the store.  In other words, I needed to re-vamp, re-do and re-create our menus around foods here.

I'll start first with a list of some items that are difficult to find here:

Chili powder
Whole large turkey
cranberries (fresh & canned)
cheddar cheese
mustard seed/powder
Stuffing mix
Chocolate chips
Fresh dairy milk
Peanut butter
Maple syrup
Butternut squash
Large ham (can find smaller cuts) but think Easter dinner here
Mozzarella cheese sticks

This list is not's just the things right now that I can come up with..

Now to be fair, there are items here that I've come to love that are not found in the States too easily or are very expensive:

Creme Fraiche (like sour cream but so much better)
Fromage blanc (soft yogurt cheese - ideal for dips, or can be sweeten and mixed with fruit for dessert)
Veloute (another natural yogurt - creamy and thinner than fromage blanc)
Lots of local assortment of cheeses - many kinds to choose made from goat and cow's milk
Sauccison seche (dried salami - smaller than deli salami in US - very tasty)
Hearts of Palm (exactly what is described - cooked & canned - similar to artichoke heart in concept)
Many different regional Pates  -
Limonade (French equivalent of Sprite or 7-up - not as sweet & sugary)
Grenadine syrup (mixed with water or limonade for a special kid's drink)
Duck breast
Rabbit (in addition to other interesting game)
Chocolatines (croissants filled with chocolate - kid's snack)
Madelines (soft cake biscuit - small)

Again, that list is probably not everything..but definitely a different emphasis here.  When I first walked into a grocery store here - I was amazed at the selection of yogurts - all different kinds, different textures (softer, firmer etc), with fruit, without fruit, different brands - Each store has a long aisle or more of just yogurts!  There is definitely less processed food here and more fresh foods!

Smoked salmon & shrimp salad

Of course, Quiche
It's definitely been fun to get to know different grocery stores and what they each have.  I have found that you can't count on finding all meats every week - it's what comes in that week.  Here it's been fun to try out different brands and see which one we like the best.

I've learned to cook differently, try new recipes and of course adjust to an oven that is in Celsius degrees!  All I can say here is thank goodness for the Internet the French cooking sites!

Magret du canard avec pomme de terre (Duck & potatoes)

Lapin avec riz et petit pois - Rabbit with rice & peas

1 comment:

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