Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Finding France near you

Since living in France I've developed a new hobby: scouring the store shelves for American products. It's like a game of hide and go seek - and I'm very happy when I win. (Just yesterday I spotted Dr Pepper in a local grocery store for the first time since arriving in France five years ago!)

On my last visit back to the US, I changed the rules of the game and kept an eye out for French products. I didn't find many, I'm afraid. So I took my research to the internet. Lots of companies specialized in importing French products, but what I wanted were products that were already on the shelves.

A little research and digging later... voilà! Below are some items that you may find at your local grocery store in the US. I'm sure there are more, so let me know as you find them! If you are friends with a francophile, consider making them a gift basket filled with items from France.

(And if you do buy one of these items, be sure to exclaim "Oh là là!" excitedly as you toss it into your cart.)

Bonne Maman is the number one imported line of preserves and jellies in the United States. And if you’ve ever tasted them, you know why. May I recommend the apricot or raspberry? That said, they’re all délicieux. You can find them at Kroger.

Côte d'Or chocolates are available at Bed Bath and Beyond, Cost Plus, Safeway, WalMart and nine other stores. My favorite is the Noir Orange (deep, dark chocolate with orange chocolate-truffle and pieces of candied orange zest). For an added treat, try their chocolate pairing ideas.

The Maille mustard sold in the US is a milder version of what's available in France, but apprently the recipe works for the American palate because it comes out on top in tasting rankings.

LU biscuits, founded in 1850 by Monsieur LeFevre and Mademoiselle Utile, began as a small family operation in France that grew to become a market leader. LU cookies are available in th US, including favorites like Le Petit Ecolier. Look for them at Harris Teeter, Kroger, Publix and Target. (Buy enough for the kids to try them too.)

No French shopping cart is complete without yogurt - but I don't recommend it for a gift basket. I don't usually eat much yogurt in the US, but French yogurt is a totally different thing. La Crème by Dannon is a good example of this. Click here to find it in a store near you.

Nutella - the chocolatey hazelnut spread known around the world. I love this stuff. On crêpes, bananas, bagels, waffles, a spoon... Click here to find it in a store near you.

Wash it all down with...Evian, of course!

To round out a French gift basket, you may want to include some Savon de Marseille or other goodies from Savonnerie de Bormes. I actually bought some of their muguets (Lily of the Valley) spray recently in a shop down the street, so I can attest to the fact that it really is made and sold in France. These are available from Cost Plus World Market.

No comments:

Post a Comment