One thing that makes any trip stand out to me is the food! As our European van tour has a strict budget, it does mean that we don’t really eat out very often – we try to limit it to once a month to fairly cheap but local food. Although saying that, I am also aiming to go to McDonald’s once in every country we go to (I usually persuade Ross when I’m on my period and feeling wretched!) as I find the menu variations fascinating. And I’m a sucker for Maccies fries…
Anyway, it means that we end up visiting a huge variety of super/hyper markets as we travel, which I also find really interesting as each country/region will stock entirely different things from each other. As a note, hypermarkets are literally just bigger supermarkets and almost like warehouses mixed with a small shopping centre. They’re huge basically. We tended to go to hypermarkets when we could because they always had toilets (two birds, one stone)!
We’ve been to three beautiful countries so far – France, Spain and Portugal. They were all so wildly different from each other and this really showed in their supermarkets. Today I’m going to share with you the things I noticed about French supermarchés. Some of them are obvious, and some more surprising!
1. Yoghurt Galore!
The French love their yoghurt. I always thought that we had an unhealthy amount of choice in British supermarkets, but the French have outdone us with a real plethora of yogurt brands and flavours. This is to the degree that at least 2 full aisles, filled on both sides, will be dedicated to this creamy treat.
2. Baguettes Are Cheap As Chips
Oh how happy we were to find baguettes were as cheap as 27 cents in some places! It meant that while in France, we had them everyday for lunch without having to break our bank! They were much cheaper in the supermarchés than the bakeries too (which we think is where the majority of French people buy their bread)!
3. They Smash That Mash
You know that weird powdered mash potato in a packet you can buy? In the UK, you’ve got to really hunt for it. But in France, they have huge boxes of the stuff that fill up half a huge aisle! It’s crazy, they must really love it.
4. The Hunt for Fresh Milk
The French don’t seem to buy much fresh milk from the supermarket. They’ll only stock one or two kinds and they’ll be hidden in the shop – either amongst the yoghurts or cheese, or in a completely random section of the shop…
5. Tins, Tins, Tins
They have HUGE tins (I’m talking several kilos) of pretty much every vegetable you can think of, taking up a couple of aisles. At least they will be well stocked on cans in an emergency! But…
6. Bring Me Some Beans!
They have only white kidney/haricot beans in cans in France whilst in the UK, you can find butter beans, chickpeas, baked beans, cannelini beans and pinto beans etc. It means it’s almost impossible to make a five bean chilli in France!
7. Say Cheese!
The French love their cheeses and believe me, you can smell them a mile off. But they don’t sell any cheddar (bar a bright orange cheese pretending to be cheddar in the rare supermarché). Omelettes were never the same…
Now if you pop along to France to do a food shop, you won’t be so surprised!