5 fun facts about French supermarkets

Okay, so they’re not all “fun” and they may not exactly be “facts,” but my desire for a title with arguably excessive alliteration won out in the end.

One of my favorite things to do in France is go grocery shopping. That may sound odd, but there’s just something about the food stores here that draws me in. Even if I don’t really have anything to buy, I end up wandering through the aisles, passing the bread station with a smell so heavenly that it makes me go weak in the knees, and normally leaving with a square of really dark chocolate. From Monoprix to Carrefour to E. Leclerc to Saveurs de la Terre to Leader Price, grocery shopping never gets old.

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Lately on Instagram: colorful creations

However much I’ve tried to deny it, winter is officially in full swing here in France. The temperatures are dropping, Christmas lights are turned on, and the winter coat is making its debut. Sounds wonderful and charming, right? Well, not entirely.

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a taste of persimmons

The first time I noticed persimmons I was navigating through an over-crowded outdoor market in Sète on the last day of my late-October vacation. Signs of the off-season were everywhere: windows with navy blue shutters intact, boats docked, and sails wrapped securely around the boom with thick white rope. It was a time when the breeze off the sea held the promise of a slight chill and the south of France should, in theory, have been slowing down. But the market was as alive as ever.

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beating to a different rhythm

It seems like every market I visit around this time of the year is bursting with crates and crates of squash. Butternut, acorn, spaghetti… you name it, and France has it. I’ve boiled it, roasted it, mashed it, and seasoned it with various herbs and spices to bring out the fullest flavor of this iconic autumnal ingredient. Now, I was ready to stuff it.

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eating mindfully

At first, I thought the hours of travel, heavy suitcase lifting, and subsequent jet lag were the culprits behind my changing appetite. After a few days, however, I was completely adjusted to the time difference between New York and France. And then a few weeks passed, and then months. Still, something had changed. Why wasn’t I hungry in between meals?

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Lately on Instagram: small victories

I officially have a French bank account, cell phone number, and library card. Anyone that has lived, or even visited, France will likely understand the associated bureaucratic nightmare and appreciate the fact that accomplishing such feats called for a well-deserved celebration. In other words, macaroons at Feuillette.

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why I’ll never buy almond butter in France again

About three weeks into my eight-month stint here in France, I began craving almond butter. I missed slathering it on apple and banana slices, drizzling it on top of hearty smoothie bowls and, I’ll admit, eating it straight out of the jar with a spoon. At first, I tried to suppress these cravings because I had heard time and time again that any form of nut butter is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find in France. I was just going to have to get used to it, or eventually convince my mom to send me some from New York.

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the french and their amour of baguette

It comes as no surprise that the French love bread. If it wasn’t for the baguette, they would have nothing to spread their fromage on every night after dinner and they wouldn’t have anything to dip into a hearty beef bourgonione. Ah, quelle horreur!

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market day in Vendôme

I reach out to grab what looks like a fugi apple but could also very well be gala or or McIntosh for all I know. Selecting one from underneath the pile, I run my finger vertically from the stem to the base and back up across the waxy surface.

The green skin around the stem slowly fades to a light pink right around the top curve of the fruit. Half-way down, the pink intensifies to a deep radish red only rarely permeated by thin ripples of green. Grabbing the apple by its stem, I prepare to give it one last spin to check for any major blemishes.

“On ne touche pas, Madame!”

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a taste of fall, featuring spaghetti squash

For the past few months, I’ve been on the zoodle bandwagon. It’s a delicious, healthy, and incredibly easy dish to prepare. However, to celebrate the changing of the seasons, I decided to switch it up a bit by swapping out zucchini for spaghetti squash. Continue reading “a taste of fall, featuring spaghetti squash”