Heading off on your holidays to France soon? Can’t ever seem to find anything in the local shops with screaming kids and moaning husband in tow?
Here’s Love French Style Blog’s quick guide to finding your way around a French supermarket while you’re there!
” CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION. In all French shops you are currently required to wear a mask before going into the store and there are automatic hand sanitizing units at the store entrances. Some shops also have a red and green light system and in all, use your common sense and keep a metre apart from the next customer. “
Weighing Fruit and Vegetables
I cannot tell you how many times I have been caught out at the till in a French supermarket because I’ve not realised that you often have to weigh your own fruit and vegetables. Unless previously priced on the packaging or the price is “à la piéce” which means per item them you usually will need to weigh and label your fresh fruit and vegetables before heading to the checkout.
English Teabags, Chinese Noodles and Marmite
Should you so happen to need these items whilst on your French holiday, then head to the Exotic Foods section – yes, I know you heard it here first, Marmite is an exotic food from around the world! You’ll also find Japanese food and coconut milk in this area.
Steering clear of croissants and baguettes whilst on holiday? If oats are more your thing for breakfast then you will find these in the “Diététique” section of the supermarket in France along with foods suitable for diabetics.
Gluten Free Bread and Crackers
If you follow a gluten free diet, the good news is that in France there are many new products finally available! You can order gluten free baguettes or pain in some boulageries or can buy ” long life ” breads and crackers in the supermarket. If you’re wondering where on earth you might find these then head to the “Diététique” section as above.
Ice Cream Cornets
I absolutely have to share with you where to find ice cream cornets in a French supermarket as it has taken me 18 years to find them , I kid you not! In the fresh bread area, you’ll find ice cream cornets with the sablé biscuits, vol au vents ( yes, they’re still a thing here ) and other sweet pastries. Some larger supermarkets have these above the freezers but not many.
Frozen Croissants and Pain au Chocolat
If you aren’t staying close to a boulangerie or get up too late to get their fresh croissants and pain au chocolat then I would thoroughly recommend buying the frozen raw versions of each in the supermarket. You’ll find these usually near the ice cream in the freezers and as long as they have a decent, high butter content, these taste every bit as good as a fresh croissant. TIP, always put the croissants on greaseproof paper and into a cold, not hot oven to give them plenty of chance to cook in the middle and rise without just burning the outside.
Tampax, Mooncups and Sanitary Towels
Not where you might think, next to the loo rolls, these essential sanitary products are actually found in most French supermarkets with the baby products and nappies!
Contrary to what you may read or hear from some ex pat community blogs, fresh milk does exist in most supermarkets and can usually be found near the butters and cheeses. The same applies for fresh cream too although there are A LOT in the chiller cabinets that are sterilised too. If you’re looking for whipping cream then try buying Créme Professionel which has a higher fat content for making chantilly etc.
If you’re planning on making a huge pot of chilli for the family and want sour cream, you won’t find it. Créme Fraiche is a very good alternative – a naturally sour cream but very thick. You’ll find it with the butter and cheese next to the milk and pouring cream. It’s also DELICIOUS with a Tarte Tatin!
In some supermarkets you will find a product actually labelled as Cottage Cheese in English but in many, the closest thing you will find to this is Faisselle. This is a type of fresh, soft cheese that comes in a liquid like you get feta or mozzarella only it sits inside a little plastic cage inside the pot. If you drain it off and leave it inside the cage then you will end up with a cottage cheese product after a few minutes. It’s not quite as tart the flavour so you may want to add some salt and pepper to it or freshly cut chives.
Vegetable Milks, Soy Milk etc
These are available as long life products in the French supermarkets and you’ll usually find them lurking somewhere close to the eggs and flour or occasionally in the “Diététique” sections of the supermarkets aswell.
Commonly labelled as Huile Végétale à Tartiner, you’ll find these in the chiller cabinets next to the butter.
Making Pizza? If you’re looking for anchovy filets in tins and have been searching without fail next to the cans of tuna, in French supermarkets these are always in the fridges with the smoked salmon and trout eggs etc
Hope you find this helpful and it saves you time wandering aimlessly around the French supermarket when you could be enjoying some down time with the kids by the pool! If I’ve missed anything, please let me know, I’d be happy to help X