Category Archives: French Food

Fromage is cheese in French

Fromage is cheese in French

It’s all Rick Steves‘ fault. Or should I say: It all happened thanks to Rick Steves?   On Saturday morning, I headed to Edmonds, WA, where I had reservations for a two-hour talk by Rick. Edmonds is his hometown, and the world headquarters of fast growing Rick Steves Europe. Rick has always lived and worked…

14 Responses to Fromage is cheese in French

  1. We save the cheese and wine nights for special occasions, mostly because the lightness of the wallet factor here in the US. Thankfully we have a good French bakery somewhat close, and when the occasion does arrive we splurge on a good baguette as well. Your post today seems to have created a special occasion to celebrate, wink, wink!

  2. Love the dinner you prepared. We are much the same when thinking Greece, France, Italy or Spain – pull out the dishware, then open the wine and have a taste of our travel memories . . .sadly, you hit the nail on the head about the cost of the cheeses.. .

  3. Wine. Butter. Cheese. Nothing wrong with that. What a perfect dinner, Veronique! I do love my fromage, wouldn’t mind a little for breakfast this morning. Glad you got to dine on a little bit of Paris.

    I’ve been sketching away on your project, playing with composition. As soon as I have a few favorites I’ll send them your way.

    Happy Monday! XO

  4. you know v I can get a bit word-ey when I converse here but tonight I am speechless because I am salivating at the photos of the scrumdelishious FEAST you prepared! chin chin as I raise my glass to yours!! AS ALWAYS A PURE DELIGHT!

    • My dear g, so glad you enjoyed my *scrumdelishious* photos (Right about now, JK Rowling is sorry she did not think of this word when she wrote the Harry Potter series…) — And I am raising my glass to yours in return. Santé, mon amie de Philadelphie!

  5. Love RIck, too, lucky you! And your selections. Fortunately, we have an excellent baker from Brittany here on the Monterey Coast who makes the most delicious bread. Also loved seeing the vibrant red and the beautiful rock in your photos…! Looks very French!

  6. Dear Veronique

    It must have been delightful hearing Rick in person and then to rejoice in dining on your favourite food. You have made me hungry and now I must go and get some cheese.
    Great images.
    Helen xx

    • Thank you very much Helen. Always a treat to welcome you chez moi. Hope life is good in Florida. The rain is back in Seattle, which had to happen, sooner or later. We almost forgot what it felt like after this long, hot summer! Take care.

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38 Responses to The top 10 food products a French expat yearns for outside of France

  1. Oh Veronique! This brought back so many wonderful memories. I do miss real bread. “La Brea bakery” is good enough and my mustard has to be from France. I just think I have been in the States too long as I really don’t miss anything but my 19 year old son does. Thank God for “Trader Joe’s”, “World Market”… when cravings kick in. What I really miss are places where I can buy french books translated in english and french DVDs. “La Cite des Livres” in Westwood (Los Angeles) was wonderful but it closed down many years ago.

    • Bonjour Fellow Expat! You’re right: What would we do without Trader Joe’s and World Market? We would get ripped off online, that’s what 😉 As for French books and DVDs, best thing is to bring them back yourself – or have some kind relatives ship them. I have quite the collection of French DVDs at home. They all fit in a large plastic crate hidden under my bed so far. Bonne semaine !

  2. A l’étranger, la seule chose qui me manque vraiment c’est le pain (sauf en Allemagne , où ils en ont encore plus que nous!).Peut-être aussi le chocolat chaud, type Poulain ou Benco, on est loin d’en trouver partout, et j’en bois le matin .Pour le reste j’arrive à m’adapter .
    J’espère que ton été se finit bien et que cette rentrée, avec toutes les nouveautés qui sont arrivées dans ta vie , se passera bien . Pour moi, été “animé” , et j’en ai jusqu’au moins debut novembre ..
    Bises et à bientôt !

  3. Yes to all of these! Although we can find similar products in England nowadays, I always come back from France with the following:
    – a bottle of Teisseire grenadine (my personal favourite over the menthe a l’eau)
    – Saucisson sec. We currently have two ‘batons de berger’ from Justin Bridoux and a Cochonoux in the fridge.
    – Pistachio flavoured things, like the la Laitiere cremes.
    – Les flans Alsa: the powders to make ‘entremets’ (raspberry, chocolate, pistachio and vanilla) and also the mix to make flan patissier.

    • Thank you for stopping by, FrogAtLarge! Grenadine, of course (Lait grenadine makes a delicious summer drink too!) Saucisson: Fortunately, it can be found fairly easily in my neck of the woods, even if the selection is limited (I browsed the saucisson section at Monoprix in Toulouse this summer and almost had a heart attack!) And Alsa, of course. Classics. Thank you for your contribution. Bonne semaine.

  4. Etait-il VRAIMENT necessaire de signaler aux gens d’Albertson qu’ils pouvaient vendre leur beurre deux a trois fois plus cher..?? de facon a ce qu’ils le fassent…?? (leur beurre).. maintenant ils vont augmenter..
    A signaler, en Floride, (Wynn-Dixie, Publix), les biscuits Lu, avec entre autres les irremplacables “Pim’s”.

    • Point taken, Hervé Thomas. No, it was not necessary to remind Albertsons they could have charged twice as much for their French butter! Mea culpa. 😉 Lu biscuits, of course. As tasty as ever. Pim’s is a favorite of mine too (it’s particularly fun to try and nibble the chocolate layer and be left with the sweet jam filling…)

  5. Oooh, so delicious! Such mouth-watering delights. I used to make my own pâte brisé all the time. Getting lazy in my old age. I would love to find Marie’s version here. Do Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s sell it?


    • Great to hear from you, M-T. You are a brave woman. Why attempt a pâte brisée when our friend Marie does such a good job? 😉 Trader Joe’s may sell a French dough, but not the ones I know. They were so easy to use == and pre-rolled. Sigh. Merci de ta visite, ma chère.

  6. This is one of the many reasons we moved to France. I wish we had one of the pneumatic tubes between us like in the old office buildings. We could exchange food treasures back and forth. I could make a list of the top 10 US foods we miss… starting with sweet corn, BBQ sauce, Maryland blue crabs, (I guess I can take hamburgers off the list since they’re everywhere here now), okra, hush puppies… you probably can tell I’m from the South! Thanks for your wonderful post… it reminds us how lucky we are.

    • Stuart, you need to find the Paris Store imported foods shop (mostly Asian foods) over in Tours Nord. Okra (often but not always), pinto beans, black-eyed peas, corn meal, headed frozen shrimp etc. etc. And hushpuppies are so easy to make at home. I have recipes on my blog.

      Also, there is a little grocery store in Blois called Asia Store that has a lot of the same imported products (watch out: cash or check only). Finally, the Grand Frais specialty supermarket in the south Blois suburb of Vineuil is another place to find “exotic” vegetables like okra (des gombos in French) and other imported food products.

      Véronique, I’d have to add good hot Dijon mustard to your list. And lardons fumés. I never could find good moutarde de Dijon extra-forte or good lardons (slab bacon, for example) in California when I lived there.

  7. Wonderful photos! Luckily I live in Paris, so I can just run next door and buy these goodies. Years ago I first came to France as a student. We ate in student restaurants, and we always gave away the yogurt that was desert because all we knew was American yogurt, not worth eating. One day, my friend Jane said to me, Jo, TASTE this yogurt! And we never gave away our desert again. Josephine

  8. Very nostalgic article! I mostly miss “La Baguette”. I remember when I was growing up in a small village dans “Le Pas de Calais”, when I came home from school at lunch time, my Mom would always send me to the local bakery in our village to buy a couple of baguettes. I would eat half of one riding my bicycle back home the Boulangerie.

  9. I know I’m not a true French expat, but having lived in France and spent so many holidays there I think I qualify to miss my favourites! Firstly, only a baguette fron a good boulangerie in France has that very special taste and texture. I’m pleased to say however that our local little supermarket now stocks Président butter. We always return from France with mint syrup (and the grenadine flavour too!) and it has to be the Teisseire brand. It was during my first holiday at my penfriend’s that I discovered ‘un diabolo menthe’ at the village café. Happy memories!

  10. Bonjour Veronique. You made me miss my second home today. I miss my routine to the boulangerie. Oh man do I ever miss those baguettes and pasties! My mom would try and make baguettes when we lived in Saudi. Hee hee it didn’t last long. You reminded me of my youth with the menthe a l’eau… but I would have the fraise syrup with milk. Yummy! I haven’t had one since I was 18. I can’t believe I have never tried Kir? And creme fraiche avec un pue de sucre on top. Hurts my feelings just thinking about it. Bon Journee!x

    • Bonjour Sandy. Welcome back! I know you have experienced a lot of these when you were a child. Funny you should mention le sirop de fraise. Grenadine and Strawberry syrup were the only way my mom could ever talk me into drinking milk! Bon weekend du Labor Day in the 24 Corners 😉

  11. Excellent article, with one mistake, to my eyes at least important enough to be corrected :
    As stated, a Vittel-menthe is a 1/4 Vittel water with mint syrup.
    But the Menthe à l’eau is very far from being its poor parent. It is more like its rich uncle indeed.
    The Menthe à l’eau is mint liquor (like crème de cassis, but with mint instead of cassis), served with ice cubes and tap water. It contains alcohol and is not for kids, but imho it is a thousand times more refreshing than Vittel menthe.
    Beware though : this knowledge is being lost and many new bars will serve you vittel-menthe whatever you order. Better make sure they know the difference before to place the order.

    • Thank you for clarifying. I am familiar with the menthe à l’eau: I remember my dad being furious at a café waiter once, when I was much younger. We had ordered a “menthe à l’eau,” on a hot summer day (meaning a Vittel Menthe, since I was about 10 years old,) and the waiter finally came back with a menthe à l’eau… We will never know if the waiter did it innocently and assumed the drink was for my father; or if he tried to overcharge us!

  12. Thanks for the article. We are just coming back from France, and we’re hoping we can find some place in the Seattle/Bellevue area where we can get some fromage blanc. Have you been able to find one?

  13. I loved this article. We have biked in France for years and always miss the food when we return to the USA. Biking and good food go so well together–smile. Thanks for the memories.


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26 Responses to Mieux vaut en rire… Laughter is the best medicine…

  1. Totally brilliant and fascinating article with great pics. I couldn’t stop reading and yes, like you, I won’t be eating American fast food anytime soon. We have a McDo’s in Menton and in Monaco. Oh dear …

  2. C’est bien de finir avec l’histoire du lama! C’est vrai que ça a fait rire et sourire tout le monde , dans cette periode de morosité intense. Et c’est une histoire qui en plus finit bien.
    Pour le reste, Starbucks vient d’ouvrir un 2eme établissement à Nice, et depuis samedi dernier nous avons aussi un Hard Rock Cafe! Sinon, jamais entendu parler du chou frisé dans la region en tant que projet culinaire, et Burger King a plié bagage depuis longtemps .
    Ici, rien ne devrait détrôner notre socca et nos pissalaldières :o)
    Je crois que dans les régions culturellement fortes , la resistance à l’envahisseur, qu’il soit américain ou “hollandais”, reste très forte ..
    Passe une bonne semaine! Bisous!

    • Bonjour Marie. Le Hard Rock Café existe encore? Je ne le savais même pas. A une époque, la chaîne appartenait aux “grosses pointures” américaines, comme Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, etc. Ils ont du vendre il y a longtemps.

      En ce qui me concerne, je resterai fidèle aux pissaladières (et à cette incroyable tarte aux blettes sucrée) lors de mes passages à Nice. Ce qui n’exclut pas une bonne glace au Negresco pour le dessert, en bonne compagnie, bien sûr. Bisous.

  3. So sad to read of the cultural erosion in France. Thankfully I’ve experienced very little of it in the east of the country, where we have our petite maison. “Fast food” is something which comes from the boulangerie or a vendor at the local market!
    Warm regards

    • Sounds like a great place to spend a few months a year, Elizabeth (just not winter months, since we are referring to that part of France…) How is “La Petite Folie” coming along? Have you sacked – or flogged – those lazy contractors yet?

  4. LOVE ALL THE OBSERVATIONS and the way you have woven this post- ALWAYS a delight and informative too-my favorite part was the llama tale and the spirit of forgiveness from the circus owner-that is tres Bordeaux non

    • Merci beaucoup g. Glad you enjoyed my little tales… That llama story is priceless, isn’t it? I am not sure the owner was that forgiving, but when he realized thousands of people were behind the young rebels, (and since Serge had not been hurt,) he decided to go along with the crowd. I am personally happy for that old Llama he got to see the world, even if only from the inside of an urban tram. How many circus animals get to escape their cages for a few hours? 🙂

  5. Dearest Véronique,
    Oh, if you mention those beurre sandwiches, you make me drool as we too served them in The Netherlands. With ham, cheese, roast beef and with beef tartare… It is so good and I would take it anytime instead of a greasy burger. Also we have the veal croquette and that inside a fresh baked whole wheat bread-bun… Yummy!
    Dreams… But yes, the social media is very rapidly creating one world taste, one world food, etc. etc. Not very positive as a lot of things will become forever lost. A shame but nobody seems to be bothered by it.
    Sad story about the French journalists…
    Hugs to you,

    • Veal croquette, eh? That sounds good to me, Mariette. I would not worry so much about the social media jeopardizing local cultures. Paris is a big cosmopolitan city where people have traditionally enjoyed new trends and fads. Things are very different when you leave the French capital and reach culture-proud regions. See my friend Malyss’s comments above. Hamburgers may be popular now, but who knows if they will still be around in Paris in 10 years? Halloween, another American import, was big for a few years. Today, it’s all but disappeared in my homeland. C’est la vie…

  6. This post definitely counts as one of your very best —- I laughed, I cried…. I, too, am worried for my belle France. I just want France to remain as she is (or was) and the US to do the same. Is that asking too much? Perhaps it is.

    I have never been able to eat and walk at the same time. I cannot eat unless I am seated at a table. Am I missing a certain street gene? Hmmmm. Oh well………mieux vaut en rire. It’s better to laugh than to cry.

    Big bisous, ma grande, M-T

    • Ah, M-T. I just can’t see you eating and walking either, my elegant friend! 🙂 France will be just fine. Paris has always enjoyed experiencing new things, and it needs to evolve a bit, just as London is these days. From what I saw last summer traveling around la Belle France, WiFi may be available almost everywhere now, but the [French] lifestyle as you and I knew, is alive and well. And that is a good thing.


    OK, this post touches my heart in more ways than one. Even though I am not French-born but have adopted not only the language but French culture, it makes me very sad to know that the American way is slowly creeping into France. When I was in France 11 years ago (YIKES! I better get myself over there again soon!), I was INTRIGUED to find how different I found things from here in the states. I know I cannot be the only Francophile/tourist who finds a beauty and charm in seeing THE DIFFERENCES that make us, well…..DIFFERENT! But to think that the American market is slowly going in to change the French landscape and eating habits makes me angry. I want to go to France or any other country for that matter to see how THEY LIVE, not a mirror of how I live….oh it just kills me. LONG LIVE THE FRENCH WAY! And I was so glad to know LES BOYS and all of that fiasco turned out: Tout est bien qui finit bien, bien sûr!


    • Bonjour Anita, et merci de ta visite. Take heart my friend, cultural differences abound, and I know I am in France as soon as I land at Charles de Gaulle airport (probably my least favorite place in Europe, by the way…) France has so many (strong) regional cultures, and there is still so much regional pride left. As demonstrated by recent current events, Asterix and Obelix would feel right at home if they returned to Armorique (sorry, to la Bretagne…) today! Good luck to fancy hamburgers and kale chips. I personally hope they make outside of Paris. We would not want good old McDo to enjoy the whole [fast food] cake by itself, now, would we? Bon weekend!

  8. Wow, I had no idea Burger King was a legend. I must get out more often! I just think of it as an overrated, inexpensive, unhealthy way to consume calories. One of the delights of visiting France is to eat “their” fabulous cuisine. The locals must be bored?

  9. Firstly, just seeing the first image has reminded me again to reread my Astérix books! Secondly, it’s lunchtime here and how I wish I could eat a sandwich like the ones piled high in your photo. Le jambon-beurre will never be boring!! I’m astounded that France is McDonald’s second most profitable market – I had to read that twice to make sure I had understood. Clever marketing from Burger King too. Great post which kept me entertained from start to finish,
    PS Thank you so much for your comment on my Doha post. I always appreciate your visits and thoughts! Merci Véronique!

  10. je découvre ton blog, il est très sympathique et j’adore lire tes rubriques, certaines sont parcellaires dans le contenu mais j’adore la façon dont tu te moques gentiment des Français! j’aime beaucoup cela m’amuse!
    Have a nice day! Cath. (je vis près de Reims! en champagne à côté de Paris)

    • Merci beaucoup et bienvenue chez moi, Cath. Je suis nostalgique de la France, et tu t’apercevras en lisant mes billets, surtout les plus anciens, que j’égratigne de temps en temps les Français (surtout quand ils le méritent, comme avec l’histoire des hamburgers 🙂 Nos amis Américains ne sont pas épargnés, comme cette semaine – même si je le fais toujours avec humour et courtoisie. En effet, je n’aime pas les expatriées qui crachent dans la soupe (et j’évite leurs blogs comme la peste!) Je file faire un tour chez toi pour découvrir ton blog. A bientôt j’espère…

  11. Hello. I am late with this comment but just found this post. Thank you so much for including me in your post about the demise of France when it comes to fast food (that yes, I will admit is marketed by horrible American companies and I never personally eat). I’m a bit confused as to why myself and The Kale Project are included in a post about corporate companies that promote processed, fast-food. All I have tried to do is work with local, French farmers to grow a légume oublié that has European origins and increase supply so people can buy it for their own home cooking. We do not all live in the country where it’s grown for rabbits or cows. I’ve never said it is American “thing” as it’s just another option of cabbage for people to buy and eat. I’ve never once said that I’m trying to change French food culture or teach French people how to eat – clearly a silly, stupid American would never do such a thing! But I do not think chou frisé non-pommé and hamburgers/processed food trucks belong in the same discussion. How am I in any way harming or hurting your home country? Thank you. Kristen Beddard

  12. Dear Kristen. Thank you for stopping by. If you have been hurt by this story, I apologize. First, let me reassure you: I do not believe that you, “the Kale Crusader” (gotta love the New York Times,) are harming my country in any way. This post was not intended to bemoan the “demise of France,” either. I think France will survive Mc Do, Burger King, trendy food trucks, and yes, kale chips, just fine.

    If you are familiar with my stories, you know I enjoy commenting on new trends in French society, or on cultural differences between our two countries. The reason you are mentioned in this lighthearted story is because your name came up online when I researched the current obsession with kale, kale chips, and everything kale, especially in the US. Nothing more, nothing less.

    As such, you are part of this post. I have not linked you in any way to fast food, or American companies, or accused you of trying to change French food culture. I did quote people who might have thought so, however. You are on a mission. Good for you.

    If I did poke fun of someone in this story (as I have been known to do on occasion,) my target was French people, in particular Parisians, who will adopt anything as long as “C’est très Brooklyn.”

    I am sorry you do not agree that “chou frisé” and “processed foods” do not belong in the same discussion. When I wrote this story, I thought they did. As did Serge the llama.

    Good luck in your endeavor.

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46 Responses to Orangina, the other French fizzy drink…

  1. Hello Veronique

    I found this post fascinating. I enjoy Orangina and loved learning about the marketing behind the product. Hope the sun shines this week in Seattle.
    Helen xx

  2. Orangina used to be quite readily available here in Northern California but to my great dismay it is disappearing from shelves and being replaced by San Pelligrino orange and lemon drinks. We used to have it for our Bistro but can’t get it anymore. Have a great week.

  3. Je n’aime pas la boisson elle même mais j’ai toujours aimé les pubs, celles en affiches des années 50/60 puis la saga de Chabat , absolument geniale.Les dernieres , avec les animaux, me semblent avoir perdu de vue l’esprit du produit. Mais vu que ça a été racheté par des Japonais , ce n’est peut-être pas étonnant, il faudrait leur rappeler d’où vient le produit, son code couleur, ce qu’il symbolise.. Ce que fait très bien ton post!
    “Secouez-moi, secouez-moi” est un slogan mythique, dès qu’on l’entend on sait de quoi il s’agit!
    J’aimais bien “Culture Pub”, une excellente émission comme on n’en fait plus .
    Merci pour les petits spots , ça met de bonne humeur de les revoir!
    Bonne semaine!bises!

    • Il y a tant t’Histoire et d’histoires derrière la petite bouteille ronde! Une sacrée invention. Un de ces jours, je m’offrirais bien une reproduction d’affiche de Villemot. Ce serait un coup de chaleur garanti dans nos climats nordiques! Chabat est génial. On n’en attendait pas moins de lui, et moi aussi, j’aimais bien Culture Pub. Bisous

  4. Now I really want some! I also love “Orangina rouge” (red Orangina) with blood oranges. And the ads were hilarious: “Mais pourquoi est-il aussi méchant? — Parce queeeeeeeeeee” (Why is he so mean? — Becauuuuuuuuuuuuuuse!)


  5. This post brought back a lot of memories for me (well, from like eight years ago lol). When I was in college, there was a fabulous little French bakery/cafe built inside of an old silent film theater near my university. It was such an adorable, charming cafe, with all the old decor still in place from the 1920s. Jonny and I would go there for lunch almost every day and we always got Orangina. I collected the bottles and would use them as piggy banks or vases for small flowers.

    Well, a couple years after we graduated, I read in the news that the place burned down. The entire building was gone. And instead of rebuilding the cafe, the owners simply sold the land and now it’s a row of high-class bars. 🙁

    • Bonjour Jenny. Thank you for stopping by.

      Something tells me I would have probably seen you at that little café inside the old silent film theater. You can bet the new high-class bars only sell [bad] Champagne these days… Pffff… As the French say: “Ils ne savent pas ce qui est bon…” (they don’t know what’s good…)

  6. Hi Veronique – I loved the links to the advertisements for Orangina, and I loved the shot of the giant Orangina bottles in the square. But most of all I love Orangina – I grew quite fond of it while in France. Not as fond as I am of Cotes du Rhone you understand, but close!

    • Well, Craig… To each his own. There is a time for Orangina (a hot summer afternoon,) and a time for Côtes du Rhône (a delicious meal with family and friends…) There is no law saying you can’t enjoy both… in moderation, bien sûr!

    • Bonjour Mariette. Thank you for your kind comment. I did enjoy the “waiter’s” commercial series (the black and white ones.) They were hilarious, and never failed to make an impression. Everyone still remembers them, 40 years later! Pretty amazing marketing if you ask me…

  7. I love Orangina, but I didn’t know the history about it. Thank you for your research (and I am sure I will be thinking of you when ordering an Orangina in a provencal restaurant next time 😉
    Bisous, Monika

  8. Summers in La Rochelle with my tante Hélène, tante Colette and les cousins. Ahhh, Orangina…brings back memories. Thank you for the stroll down memory lane. I still love it.

    Big bisous, M-T

  9. I always think Orangina is so European even though you can find it in our grocery stores. It was fun to learn more about it! I”m going to forward that tv show to my daughter who is boning up on her French at college in Francais Deux(is that right?). Hope you are well Veronique!!! Happy Spring!



  10. The nuns packed Orangina in a lunch for me when I was on a travel study tour of Europe in 1969. It was love at first sip! I have some fun mid-century memorabilia that I collected along the way. My most revered piece is a menu from the Eiffel tower. I’m a Seattle girl that moved to Tacoma 33 years ago.

  11. What a wonderful post! Just seeing the cute Orangina bottle immediately transported me back to France and more happy memories. I can remember the first time I tasted it and thought it was so delicious and different with the bits of orange pulp. It was many years before it finally arrived in England. I don’t think I have seen these wonderful adverts before and I loved the giant bottles too. Of course I’m a huge fan of the other famous French bubbly drink too! A very entertaining post, Véronique. Merci beaucoup!

    • You’re welcome, miss b. You are correct: Orangina is a different kind of drink, and stands apart from the rest of the soda family. The cute little bottle makes it stands out too… Have a great week in England… or in Dubai, once again? 🙂

  12. LOVE!! The first time I had an Orangina was in Paris. We’d been walking EVERYWHERE and needed to use the bathroom. Went into a tiny place and they said buy something first. So that’s what I bought (not a soda drinker, ever, and that seemed the healthiest choice). Then confronted with a Turkish toilet in tight jeans. So not going to do that. The Orangina was good, but created a serious emergency 😉

    Fun post. You’re such a great writer, Veronique!

    • Thank you Suzanne. I loved your story. 🙂 Ah, the Turkish toilets. I *almost* miss them 🙂 They were always sure to provoke fits of laughter among my foreign guests when I showed them around Paris and France… The good old days!

  13. I have not had Orangina for a long time, reading this post made me pause to add it to my grocery list! Fortunately a few stores around here carry it. Thank you for such an interesting history of Orangina!


  14. Veronique everytime Aimee and I go to my favourite French cafe Aimee has an Orangina, there aren’t too many place in Perth where you can buy it so she never misses that opportunity 🙂

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For the love of French candy

For the love of French candy

This story was written in 2013. It has been updated. Les bonbons. Les bonbecs. I miss you, sweet (and not so sweet) candy of my childhood. My teeth did not like you as much as I did. I associated with you too often, and spent many Thursday mornings (the French school children’s day off at the…

62 Responses to For the love of French candy

    • I know what we have in common – most of these candies! How fun. You totally took me back to my childhood in Toulouse. My favorite were the Fraise Tagada! I was totally addicted and had to be stopped as a child. Thank goodness nobody can stop me now. Next time I’m in France, I’m going to buy a few bags. I probably could get some online n’est pas? 😉 Now I’m going to listen to the song. Do you remember the song Alexandrie Alexandra? =)

    • @ Splendid Market: Thank you for the kind comment. How is life sur la Côte d’Azur? You have certainly made the most of your stay there. I enjoyed your last story on “Blanc Bleu” at Marché Saleya. Great pics.

      @ Sandy: I have learned you and I have a lot more in common than just candy. Don’t forget my hometown is Toulouse, too 🙂 Fraises Tagada and Les Oursons are truly sinful. I am almost afraid to start sampling them again…

  1. What a “sweet” post. I’m sure junior has his own special memories of favorite Bon bons. I used to love when our grandpa would give us money for penny candy. My favorite gummy cinnamon bears!

    • A “sweet” post indeed. My teeth are threatening to fall off any second due to the sugar exposure! I am pretty sure France does not have gummy cinnamon bears. Cinnamon was never as big over there as it is here in the States, but things are changing, I have heard…

  2. I had forgotten about all those sweet treats, particularly “bonbons acidules”. But very often, I still dream of “petits oursons”.
    This brings back so many memories. Thank you Veronique!

    • I know Veronique, I have been here too long and feel more american than french now. I even cannot stand cold weather anymore. But you have to know that I had the best childhood (in France from my birth until we moved to Paris when I was 10 years old) and if it was possible, I would go back in a heartbeat.

  3. Bonjour ma très chère amie,
    Je suis très heureuse de te retrouver… Merci pour ton très précieux message.
    Je viens de passer un moment fabuleux en te lisant et en revoyant certains des bonbons qui nous faisaient saliver et qui me font encore baver de plaisir !
    Il m’arrive parfois d’acheter une boîte de nounours à la guimauve/chocolat. (pour accompagner le petit café pris au lit le soir!!)
    Mais ce qui me manque toutefois, c’est l’atmosphère que nous procurait le fait de rentrer dans la boutique, de compter et recompter combien de bonbons on pourrait s’offrir avec une ou plusieurs petites pièces, tout en espérant que le marchand puisse être généreux ou ne sache plus tellement compter!! Le marchand de bonbons de mon enfance s’appelait monsieur Philippon et je n’ai jamais oublié son nom, ni son étalage de friandises… Cependant des pièces je n’en avais pas souvent, mais rien ne m’empêchait d’aller coller mon nez sur sa devanture ! Parfois, si monsieur Philippon n’était pas occupé à distribuer ou à surveiller les choix des enfants, il sortait et me donnait un petit bonbon et me disait : “Allez, file!”…
    Tu réveilles aujourd’hui des souvenirs précieux enfouis dans ma boîte…
    Un gros bisous à toi…

    • Welcome back Martine! Merci d’avoir laissé ce gentil commentaire, et de partager avec nous ces souvenirs d’enfance . Ils sont toujours personnels, mais beaucoup reconnaitront “Monsieur Philippon,” j’en suis sûre. Peut-être fera-t-il un jour l’objet d’une de tes belles peintures? A bientôt. Bises à Leo le Toucan.

  4. Merci for the delightful and poignant blog about candy. I have favorites from my childhood also, such nostalgia. You have such a tender touch as you reminisce, so enjoyable. A sweet trip down memory lane…
    A bientot – Cherie

  5. Les colliers existent toujours , et finissent de façon toute aussi degoutante:o)
    Il y avait aussi les bâtons de réglisse, qui ressemblaient à des bouts de bois , et que l’on machouillait pendant des heures; et les longs tubes en plastique remplis de microbilles sucrées; et les “cacahuètes”, qui n’en étaient pas mais y ressemblaient;et les berlingots, vendus dans de grands bocaux…. je me souviens qu’on glanait 5 centimes par ci ou par-là,par exemple en rapportant les bouteilles de verre à la consigne, et qu’on pouvait alors aller à la boulangerie , où chaque bonbon coutait UN centime! …
    Tu fais vibrer des cordes nostalgiques , aujourd’hui, et revenir des souvenirs enfouis!Les bonbons , ce sont nos madeleines de Proust!
    PS: vu Happiness Therapy. Délicieux moment! Bradley Cooper joue vraiment bien, de Niro est carrément sensationnel, et l’ensemble du film est … un vrai bonbon!
    Bonne semaine , je t’embrasse!

    • Les bâtons de réglisse… un grand classique en effet. J’ai eu du mal à faire des choix, tu l’imagines… Les bonbons en madeleines de Proust. Il fallait y penser. Absolument d’accord. Oh, et ravie que tu aies aimé le film avec Bradley. Je pensais bien qu’il te plairait. Bises du Grand Ouest américain, pour ma copine M. et ma chère Nice…

  6. What lovely memories and pictures. I still love liquorice and those very sour sweets that make you look as thought you have sucked on a lemon.
    When I was in the USA I found everything much sweeter than in France, the sweets, the cakes, the soda’s. They were so sweet they set my teeth on edge. The chocolate was so sweet I couldn’t eat it and I am fairly addicted to chocolate.

    • Bonjour Kerry. I agree with you. Our American friends enjoy life on the sweet side 🙂 Too bad i don’t enjoy sour candy as much as I used to as a child… but I will still be happy to get my hands on les Fraises Tagada, les Oursons au chocolat, et les Carambars, of course, when I return to Europe… Bonne fin de semaine dans le Sud de la belle France…

  7. Veronique, I can attest to the fact that they are every bit as good today as they were in your childhood. 🙂 when my girls were small I especially appreciated being able to buy a small amount of candy at the bakery. It was nice treat, a small amount never did them any harm and I didn’t have to buy a huge box and listen to them asking me every five minutes at home for just “one more please, Maman.”

    • Bonjour Victoria. Good point you are making. Being able to buy a smaller quantity of candy is both cheaper, and wiser, and it is still possible to do so in French boulangeries… I am sure you remember the size (and price) of candy boxes in North American movie theaters (usually enjoyed with half a gallon of soda, bien sûr…) 😉 —

  8. A wonderful post again, as positively nostalgic as the fabulous Renaud song ! My youth was spent in Sweden, so my memories are not linked to exactly the same sweets (less “international” those days), but are somehow similar. I never found any “oursons”, “nounours”, then, but today, a bit later, I have become a very good client!

  9. I wasn’t allowed sweets as a child, but as an adult I am partial to Haribo – especially the licorice. I’m not sure if should admit this, but on a recent trip to France I spent an afternoon in the south at the Haribo factory and left with metres and metres of licorice straps (conveniently curled up into round plastic containers) and boxes of ” ‘strawberries”. I was in a hyperglycemic trance for weeks! Bisous.

  10. I remember rock candy, flip chips, peanut brittle and sponge candy covered in chocolate. Of course if given a choice as a child I loved raisins and salted cashews more.

    • I was trying to picture all these, since I am not familiar with them, except maybe peanut brittle (please tell me that was not covered in chocolate, as well!?) — Salted cashews sound pretty good too. I enjoy them on a regular basis. Thank you for stopping by!

  11. A sweet post Veronique; I loved your tale of your first business efforts selling candy on the beach and look forward to hearing about your next brainstorm. For me, I am partial to chocolate over all of these bonbons. Have a great day. A bientot.

    • Bonjour Michel. Merci de ta visite. Wait until you find out about the rest of my French entrepreneur career! You will not believe it! I think my adult tastes have drifted more towards chocolate as well, but I am picky. I guess this means my taste buds have not completely been destroyed by all the sour and chemically processed Bonbons I enjoyed as a child! Phew.

  12. Most French candy–other than chocolate, bien sûr–didn’t interest me, as I don’t like licorice or tart flavors. But I never heard of the Petit Ourson, and I’m wondering how in the world it got by me!?!

  13. sweet! and my kids are obsessed with carembars here. and of course the kinder eggs. i will be trying les petits oursons for sure! merci veronique! 🙂

  14. What a beautiful post, even though I did not have then, nor do I have now, a sweet tooth. My p’tit pêché mignon was a big box of American sweet tarts. Still is, if I’m to be completely honest, and the occasional red licorice twist. I have always gone for the sour and the tart in my candy selection.

    What does that say about me, I wonder?

  15. Hello Veronique

    You brought back wonderful memories of childhood. We had some of those sweets in Ireland too. I love your first foray into retail and I can just imagine you with your little box secure around you neck as you sang out your inventory.
    Incidentally, thank you also for the movie suggestion, Silver Lining Playbook. Well worth seeing, we loved it The music was also uplifting.


    • Bonsoir Helen. I am so happy you, too, enjoyed the Bradley movie. I am going to try and catch it again before the Academy Awards, that’s for sure.

      As for my first business, wait until you hear the end of the story… Some kids play in the sand when they go to the beach in the summer. I was too busy becoming the next Donald Trump 🙂

  16. Mmmm! I have many wonderful memories of the candy from my youth! 🙂 We had those candy tart necklaces too. They were my faves i think. (I say i think, because i had many favorites when it came to candy then.) Still do, in fact. I also like what we called ‘red hots’. They were super hot indeed, and they colored my tongue bright red. I never had a cavity though. And to this day, i have no fillings! Not one. I think i’m pretty lucky.. Love this post, btw. It’s lots of fun!

    • Bonsoir Mary. You’ve got to love candy necklaces. I might have to buy one (again) this summer. I have forgotten what the different flavors were, so I need to investigate further… Extremely important 🙂 No cavity. No filling. Lucky indeed. It was probably the result of all that yummy fluoride you American kids get in your drinking water! 🙂

  17. A lovely trip down memory lane! We actually call les bonbons soucoupes ‘flying saucers’ and I used to love the sherbet inside and unravelling the liquorice wheels too. In the North of England we often called liquorice ‘Spanish’ – I’m not sure why! Maybe because liquorice was imported from Spain or I’ve heard that Spanish monks in Yorkshire (our neighbouring county) cultivated liquorice root! As soon as I saw those Carambars I was transported back to France! I always bring some back to England with me! The Renaud song is so touching and so very appropriate for this nostalgic post. Bon week-end, Véronique.

    • Bonjour miss b. I knew the French and the Brits had a lot more in common than an underwater tunnel and the Hundred Years’ War 🙂 Glad you enjoyed “Mistral Gagnant.” – -I have been watching old Renaud songs on YouTube this week and realized how much I still like his music. Do you remember the great song he wrote about women where he totally CREAMED Margaret Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister? 🙂

  18. Dearest Véronique,
    Aha, so many things I do recognize, even though I never really did eat candy. Maybe that’s why I still have all my teeth? Only 4 fillings from age 14… Haribo we had and framboise, poire candy. And you forgot the nougat… Or the Côte d’Or chocolate… We also had cinnamon and peppermint cushions that I got at the grocery but did always give away to my siblings at home. Fun childhood memories!
    Hugs to you,

  19. Il est clair, Véronique, que toutes ces friandises nous rappellent notre enfance. Ces souvenirs sont dans un petit carré de notre cerveau, et c’est toujours agréable de se les remémorer.
    Bon week-end!

  20. I’m wondering now which country introduced these candies first? I ate the same ones in the U.S. only with a different name. I went each Saturday with friends to the movie theater, and the best part was buying candy and eating it during the film….so much to choose from then.

    • A big manufacturer like the German Haribo probably did and they spread to all the other markets is my guess… No matter who did it, I certainly am glad “candy globalization” was already en route, Mem. Bon weekend!

  21. A lovely taste of childhood Veronique.
    I’ve been away from blog land for a while and am pleased to find you well.
    I shall keep reading. Best wishes to you and your family.

    • YEAH!!! Craig and Boris are back! I’ve missed you guys. So good to hear you have been busy, and the new landscaping looks fab. Sometimes, you’ve just got to keep things in your own hands! Boris is even cuter at 10. What a lady killer that furry thing is. Come back soon, y’hear?

  22. Oh je viens juste de faire un delicieux retour en arriere…je me suis rappelee de tout mais egalement les boules de coco et les grandes fraises….l’enfance en France que de merveilleux souvenirs xx

  23. You could write a guide for us Veronique!
    This wonderful and fills in a lot holes in my French candy knowledge.
    So much to learn…so little time and over 600 regional candies in France!
    More candy than cheese.
    Merci Carolg

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France loves burgers (le am-ba-ga)

France loves burgers (le am-ba-ga)

This story was originally published in 2013. It has been updated. A few days ago, an article on the French site of the Huffington Post caught my eye: “Burger King opens in Marseilles with a roar…” The fast foot power house had left France in 1997, defeated by its two main competitors, McDonald’s and Quick.…

85 Responses to France loves burgers (le am-ba-ga)

  1. I just love this post! When I lived in Paris in the 1970’s a lot of us homesick Americans would visit a restaurant called Mother’s Earth. It was a kick to watch the French eating le Am-ba-ga with a knife and fork!

    • Bonjour, Connie from San Diego (see, I remembered, this time!) 🙂
      I have never heard of Mother’s Earth… There weren’t that many hamburger restaurants in Paris when I still lived there. Apparently, things have changed a great deal. You would feel right at home in the French capital now!

    • Mother’s Earth was a crazy little spot run by a couple of Dutch hippies. I wish I could remember where it was. I actually don’t eat burgers any more but a lovely cafe au lait and a tartine!! Bravo McDo! Still laughing over the Steve Martin!

  2. Oh, for a good hamburger! I’ve not been to McDonalds in Paris. Will try one the next time I get back to Paris. 😉
    Enjoying the book! Thanks again ~ Sarah

    • Bonjour Sarah. So happy you are enjoying your book!

      I am not sure I would actually recommend visiting McDo in Paris… unless you want to experience cultural shock and practice your French. Apparently, most sandwiches have French names 🙂

  3. There’s even Starbucks in Paris now. When I was in Paris a few years ago, only Fauchon offers take out Coffee. But only foreigners and tourists order the take out coffee. There is still pleasure in hanging out in a Cafe, sitting down to drink the cafe while watching people pass by or just enjoying the view.

    • Hello Pamela. I beg to differ: Many French people (especially the younger generations) order to-go coffee. Then again, my Dad told me just the other day that he will die before he drinks his “express” in a paper cup, let alone while walking in the street. And that, Pamela, is [probably] a good thing 🙂

  4. I’m still trying to process macarons at McDo! Wow. I’m impressed by the commercial–as with most of what I saw of McDo in France, it seems like better quality than in the US. They had to raise their game a little to satisfy that market, I think.

    • Dang macarons. One can’t escape them, it seems. Paris will experience macaron overdose before a real Am-Ba-Ga revolution happens, trust. 🙂 Isn’t that commercial the best? France has always had very creative advertising, so in this case, it is a great thing McDo “raised their game.” — Everybody wins, n’est-ce-pas? — Bonne semaine.

  5. I agree with Alison. The gay commercial is very cool and probably would never air in the US. Grass fed, hormones free meat is very impressive.
    I used to be “jambon beurre” and “croque-monsieur, salade verte”, but I eat differently now. I guess “Forks over knives” hasn’t been shown in France yet? (Steve Martin is very funny).

  6. Dearest Véronique,
    This is hilarious and I love the exclamation; Sacrilège and the pronunciation I can imagine is funny. I never forget when my Québecoise friend Hélène tried to order ‘(h)alf a pound of … at the Atlanta Dekalb Farmers Market’s meatcounter. She did not speak English and I had to rescue her.
    But yes, it is bad food and they ALL are copying the USA, as much as they pretend to hate it, they ALL want to become exactly like them.
    Both of us don’t care for any fast food, never have. Maybe twenty years ago, on the road we would get a cheese burger; that’s it.
    It made me grin how McDo is playing the culture card in France for making he interior more appealing instead of a true fast food. Well, without knife and fork, you have to eat FAST… or else you cannot come home as you are!
    Hugs to you,

    • Great comment, Mariette, thank you. I wonder what McDo offers in Holland? I am sure their menu has been adapted to reflect local taste as well. Playing the [local] culture card has certainly worked very well in the French market! A bientôt!

    • Welcome back Elizabeth. How is your French folly coming along? I hope the year is starting off right for you. Macarons at McDo? It’s funny: French fries is what gets me to McDo here in the US. To each his own 🙂

  7. Tu oublies je crois quelque chose de tres important , qui a attiré les Français chez MacDo au depart: c’est le seul restaurant où l’on peut amener les enfants! Ici, pas de risque de casser la vaisselle, il y a des espaces jeux pour eux, des menus expres pour eux, avec des petits jouets..Ce concept de famille a tres bien correspondu a qqchose de tres français aussi.
    Une autre chose tres appreciée, quand on voyage beaucoup, MacDo est un repère: on sait ce qu’on v y trouver, quel que soit le pays. Souvent, le 1er soir, quand on n’a pas encore exploré la ville où l’on arrive, trouver un Macdo , c’est etre sur de manger pour pas cher qqchose de correct, et de pouvoir le commander , il suffit de montrer l’image au serveur.
    Enfin, ils ne font PAS QUE DES HAMBURGERS!
    la diversité de l’offre, (poulet, poisson, salades..) , est un autre atout important.
    Par ailleurs, il y a quand même beaucoup de VRAIS Français qui parlent mieux anglais que Steve Martin! :o)
    Bonne semaine! Bises!

    • Bonjour Malyss. Tu as raison, j’ai oublié de préciser que McDo jouait avec succès la carte familiale. Après tout, je n’irais jamais chez McDo, ici, aux USA, si ce n’était pas pour faire plaisir à mon fils (euh– enfin, si, de temps en temps, pour les frites. Je ne peux jamais résister aux frites, chez McDo ou ailleurs…)

      Quant au repère McDo, ça rassure peut-être nos amis américains quand ils voyagent, mais je dois dire que ça ne m’était pas venu à l’esprit. On peut éviter McDo sans mourir de faim, même dans les pays étrangers…

      Eh non, ils ne font pas que des Am-Ba-Ga, mais le sujet de l’article est l’engouement des Français pour les steak-hachés-coincés-entre-deux-tranches-de-pain, alors… 🙂

      Bonne semaine, et… Cocorico! 🙂

    • J’ai bien compris le sujet de l’article, mais je voulais dire que la diversité de l’offre aussi a servi a conquerir les Français, alors que dans les autres fast-food il n’y a QUE les hamburgers, du coup ça marche moins;
      Par ailleurs, Quand tu arrives tard le soir, en Lituanie ou en Pologne par exemple(exemples vécus), la vue d’un macdo te fait plaisir! le lendemain, tu iras chercher le petit restau local pour gouter les specialités du pays, certes , et avec plaisir.Mais là , crevé , et sans connaissance de la langue,tu es bien content (enfin , JE suis bien contente Ü)de trouver qq chose de connu pour me retaper.Mais ça n’engage que moi, of course!

    • Alors, là… j’en reste baba. Malyss en fan de McDo… en Pologne en plus! 🙂 Je n’ai pas encore eu besoin d’être “secourue” par McDo en terre étrangère, mais on ne sait jamais… Je me souviendrai du conseil! (Bon, je te taquine, là, hein!) — Au fait, McDo n’a rien inventé: Tu oublies le menu très riche du concurrent, Quick! Salades, panini, desserts et même un sandwich au foie gras! Oh, la, la. Avec toutes ces options alléchantes, on se demande si la gastronomie française va survivre aux Fast Foods! — Bisous

    • Mac do c’est vraiment le secours pour les 1ers soirs, parce que , malgré tout, tres vite, je sature..Quant à Quick, je ne sais pas si c’est de la malchance,mais chaque fois que j’y ai mangé, j’ai été malade!alors je n’y met plus les pieds.
      Dis donc, 74 coms,même avec tes reponses, le sujet est porteur, qui l’eut cru?!!
      Allez, bon week-end!

  8. Jacques and I are not fast fooders at all.. we”ll pack a small homemade sandwich and take along instead of stopping a fast food resto..
    I must admit to twice a yr fries at Costco:)
    And taking my grandsons..while stealing a McNugget:)

    Love the French McDo ads..We say McDo too of course and pretty much the same way:)

    Moi aussi..I need atmosphere to want to eat with Jacques somewhere..

    • Improvised picnics with homemade sandwiches are always so much fun… and when the local boulangerie offers delicious options to go, it would be a crime to resist. Then again, the children do not get these funny little plastic toys with their meal; there is no free WiFi on a parc bench; and let’s not mention the lack of French fries… What to do, what to do? 🙂

  9. There’s nothing like going to McDo for a beer and French Fries in the late afternoon in Paris. My friend and I were surprised but delighted to find beer at McDo.

  10. Great post…last time in Paris, I walked into a McD but I just couldn’t talk myself into buying anything. (I gave up fast-food joints except in an emergency)

  11. Hi French Girl, and I got here thanks to Nadege, who kindly posted the URL to this piece on my blog. This is a sumptuously illustrated post and yes, McDonald’s has had a hard time conquering the French market, but they have finally succeeded.

    I’ve lived in France for 25 years and have followed McDonald’s marketing strategies here for many years, which is why I too wrote about it a while back. It’s here, in case you’d like to read it.

    Right, I’m off to have a look around your blog. If Nadege is a fan of it that’s good enough for me! Have an excellent day,

    • Ah, McDonald’s. What can you say. They are sort of like the food equivalent of Bill Gates’ Microsoft. People say they don’t like the ethics of either, but most of them use or consume their products with more or less pleasure.

      I go there about once a month, most particularly in the afternoons of summer days when I’m out and about on my bicycle and work up the need to eat at a moment when restaurants are shut. So I order from the takeaway window at my favourite McDonalds, which is in a pleasant street and right next to a beautiful fountain. And I sit on the edge of it and greedily absorb the carbs in my Big Mac and Small Fries.

      Macdo is like anything else in life. There’s nothing wrong with them, but at the same time il ne faut pas en abuser non plus.

      Bonne soirée a toi et a tou(te)s.

  12. Gack! Say it isn’t so! 🙂 Burger King? McDonald’s is much ‘better’. Ahem, not better for us.. but i think it tastes better. Though i always heard that Whoppers are ‘flame broiled’.. or something. I try not to eat the fast food anymore, but once in a blue moon i get a craving. I try to resist, and most often.. i do. But there IS something about a burger with cheese. I think when i finally make it to Paris, though, i’ll skip McDo’s. 🙂 And double GACK! Is that a rotund Mona Lisa holding… fries??!! Eeekkk! lol.

  13. Such a funny post Veronique, I laughed so much at Steve Martin trying to say hamburger, he is hilarious anyway but with a French accent even more so oui! It is a little disconcerting to hear that the ‘am ba ga’ is so prevalent in Paris, quelle horreur! Although I feel sure and for certain (and you’ve shown us here)that even though it is just a ‘am ba ga’ it will be a lot more chic than anywhere else haha!

  14. B’jour Mam Véronique,
    Fun post as always and straight to the point: fast food is a hit / hot topic for both American and French people.
    Opposite views at home about fast food meals / burgers: son #2 is clearly addicted to it and the rest of the family is more “boeuf bourguignon” and “salade niçoise” (as for Noisette, she is happy with either French or American food). One thing I have noticed though: fast food places in France are more attractive than in the US. Do you agree?
    Thanks for the fun video about Steve Martin. I saw the movie at the theater when it was released and, believe it or not, each time I have to pronounce “hamburger” I am in trouble and I giggle… Call it a trauma!
    Anne Touraine (Playing with Scarves)

    • Bonjour Anne. I am not surprised most of your family (well, with the exception of son #2) is more “boeuf bourguignon” and “salade niçoise.” With a cook like you in the house, it would be sad if they preferred Am-Ba-Ga’s 🙂

      As for fast food places in France, I did notice *some* restaurants were nicer there than in the US, especially if located in fancy neighborhoods (the McDo near the Louvre is a good example,) but I have also seen restaurants (McDo, Quick,) that look as drab as they do here. Have you visited the McDo on the Champs-Elysées lately? Beurk.

    • Next time son #2 is in France, I will ask him to make a review of the place for me – while I will wait for him outside. McDo is not really my “tasse de thé”…
      Bon weekend ma chère Véronique 🙂 Hugs to you and to the yellow dog too of course!

  15. Bonjour Veronique. J’espere que ca va bien. Hard to believe that people are making such a fuss over the Burger King at the Marseille airport. I will be curious to see what it’s like when we fly into that airport the next time. I have only been “inside” one McDonald’s in France and that was at a rest stop off the autoroute between Aix and Nice. I definitely noticed that the seating and ambiance was much nicer than the McDonald’s I have seen in the US.

    • Merci Michel. Ca va bien, et toi? Please do report back next time you fly into or out of Marignane airport. I still can’t believe people would wait that long (let alone drive to an airport) to enjoy greasy burgers! Have the French lost it???

  16. This is a really funny post. I love Steve Martin trying to say hamburger. Oh it is cruel and we would only way burger now.
    There is a lot of patriotism when it comes to burgers in France the D’où vient ton McDo? campaign really helped I think showing that it was all French produced.
    I am not a big fan of MacDo as when I eat out I prefer to go to a restaurant that cooks something I couldn’t do at home, or couldn’t be bothered to do. My daughter and husband like it. My husband works away a lot and if he is working late he knows he can get a MacDo anywhere. He (along with many other French people) will have a three course meal starting with a salad or nuggets entrée then a sandwich and then desert and coffee. He misses the bear now you can’t get one any more in MacDo.
    When I talk to my students about it they don’t like the Mac Baguette as they find the bread too hard for a burger meal. I find this surprising. I have never tried one but I had assumed it would be like French baguette.
    I am not sure if the French have ‘lost it’ but MacDonalds hasn’t they make a fortune here. My local is next to LeClerc and is always packed to the gills when I go to shop.
    Nice post – great fun

    • Bonjour Kerry. Love that you mentioned that French McDo customer habit: Going to the fast food place BUT still eating a three-course meal, sitting down at the table! 🙂 Ah, the French…

      I had heard about the “D’où tu viens?” campaign… I need to look it up online and see what commercials or ads Mc Do came up with.

      A bientôt!

  17. This reminded me of a visit to a McDo several years ago in France when I was amazed to see salads. It was some time later before they finally arrived in the UK branches! I see they continue to adapt to the host country – le petit déjeuner looks rather nice and ….macarons!!!! I wonder if they will ever reach our shores….maybe I need to visit McDonald’s and see….now that would be a surprise and worth a special visit. Steve Martin is so funny in the clip. I must watch that film again sometime. A fun post! Lovely to see you visiting my blog today – the food at the tea salon really was delicious!

    • Bienvenue, miss b. Le petit déjeuner – and some of the desserts – are the only things I would get there if I set a foot inside a McDo in France 🙂 I have tried their sandwiches before and have not found them that stellar to be honest, baguette or not. Then again, I only have the grilled chicken sandwich here in the US and without mayo, so…

  18. Ummm if the French version of McD’s came to the US, I would eat there EVERY DAY. How come we don’t have macarons??! The only places I can find those here (in KC) are at fancy bakeries where each one cost like $4! Grrr!

    Oh, and I think it’s amusing that people who live in a country that is known for having the best cuisine in the world are excited about eating McDonalds. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side? Lol. You know what I would love to see here? A french bakery/cafe on every corner instead of McD’s.

    • Ha! Ha! No you would not eat there every day or you would DIE, Jenny. As for your real estate plans for America’s street corners, I approve: Let’s get them French bakeries everywhere! Enough of that vile sandwich bread, for crying out loud! 🙂

  19. “Let’s get them French bakeries everywhere!”

    Hi French Girl, and I find myself obliged to say that I am pas d’accord moi! 🙂

    It’s an unfortunate fact that boulangeries in France are not what they used to be. Far from it. Only 25% of them are authentic these days. The rest? They are ‘points chauds’ (where they reheat or bake baguettes etc which have been prepared in factories and delivered to them), big-money flour producers’ mandated recipe outlets, and other ersatz establishments.

    Hope you’re well and happy, have an excellent evening, and hey, do you have a contact email address?

    • Dear Fripouille. It is easy for you to say, from your corner of France… I think 25% of “authentic” French bakeries is better than no French bakery at all, and since I have spent the last 17 years buying average bread in my corner of American suburbia, I will reserve the right to say – and say loudly – “Heck, yeah! Bring them French bakeries, authentic or otherwise, over here pronto!” After all, driving 45 mn one way into Seattle to buy decent bread is no civilized way to live – PS: Email address is listed on the blog’s main page, under “Questions? Contact Moi.” — Bonne soirée. Hope you find a decent baguette for breakfast in Lyon tomorrow morning, poor you! 🙂

    • “I think 25% of “authentic” French bakeries is better than no French bakery at all…”

      Okay okay, your’e right. Agreed. after all, as a boy my mother would often (and quite rightly) counter my demands for more candy with the wise words “50 percent of something is better than 100 percent of nothing.”

      Jesus. No wonder I rarely won arguments against her.

  20. I never eat at McDo in the US, and have never considered doing so in France, although my cousin, Gérard, in the Vendée, used to take his grandchildren there for a “special” treat when they were small.

    I do admire McDo’s tenacity and its marketing expertise and the way it always seem to adapt so beautifully to its customers’ expectations, which is really the secret to a thriving business.

    What a great post, and the videos were just so spot on.

    Gros bisous, M-T

    • Bonsoir M-T. Little kids love McDo around the world, I think 🙂 I, too, respect McDo’s marketing and business moves in foreign markets (well, the ones that show a willingness to adapt to local taste and culture, at least…) — Back in the 1990’s it was fascinating to watch Disney’s numerous faux-pas/mistakes when they opened the Paris park. I guess McDo was observing too, as their business started to grow quickly right about then…

  21. Just found your blog which is wonderful! It always amazes me how McDonald’s in other countries is so different from the USA. I went there every Saturday as a child, it was a treat for me, but now I mostly get an iced coffee. I look forward to more of your posts in 2013.

    NYC Style and a little Cannoli

  22. Hello Veronique

    I am not a customer of McDonalds and find it interesting to see their success in France. Their marketing is clever and the baquette looks delicious.
    An informative post, thank you


  23. Wow Veronique!
    I wish we had McDos French style in our corner of the world. With interior design like that and ingredients and menu like this it would be considered an upscale French cuisine and I’m afraid priced accordingly.
    But obviously the success of McDos happened for a reason, clever and a delicious one.
    Thank you.

  24. Love this post! And I love going to a French McDonald’s when I’m in France – at least once! It’s a different experience than the American version and a better spin off I think. My favorite part is I that I can order a beer at McDonald’s…nobody ever believes me! xx

  25. It is true that McDonald is good at adapting to each country’s taste. In England we had hot tea and crumpets at McDonald and in Indonesia we had special sweet corn pies. I also read that their recipes change according to the countries. For example they use a lot less salt in France and England than in the US, and their meat is also different, as well as their cheese. So, even though people think all hamburgers are created the same – well, they are not.

  26. Okay I will admit it. I like McDO! I never took my kids there much, but since we have retired we stop a lot there when on the road. Love their Southwest Chicken Salad. And their chicken snack warps are just the right amount of food. There I said it!
    That Steve Martin video cracked me up…and Mona Lisa needs to lay off the ha ba gas and fires and order a salad !

  27. I loved this post. I was smiling the entire time I was reading. We didn’t make it to a McDo when we were in France last fall and it is definitely on my “to-do” list when we return this year. I’m dying to try the French version. My husband claims he had the best hamburger he has ever had at a French bistro in Paris!!!

  28. The first time I saw a MacDo in France I was floored. I giggled until I walked inside. The one in Nice has a chandelier!! Proper knives and forks are served with the burgers, and the burger costs 7euro. Truth be told, I think that the MacDo’s in France are much better quality than the ones in it’s originating country!

  29. McD was a life saver for us in Cognac when France Telecom would leave us without broadband for no reason for days on end. I used to go there twice a day to use the wifi and have an excellent coffee and pastry in the morning and a McFlurry as a treat in the afternoon!
    The restaurants are much, much classier (and cleaner) in France than in the USA.
    Oh and I love the “Come as you are” ad!!

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A French Girl masters the art of French cooking with a little help from special friends

A French Girl masters the art of French cooking with a little help from special friends

Julia Child would have been 100 years old this fall.  In her honor, I read the excellent new biography by Bob Spitz, Dearie. This made me respect Madame Child even more. How adaptable, fun-loving, and determined she always was, as she enthusiastically embarked on the roller coaster of life! When I reached the end of…

56 Responses to A French Girl masters the art of French cooking with a little help from special friends

  1. Oh Véronique,
    Your post made ma laugh so much!!!
    Next week I am teaching… a French cooking class, a scarf styling class, and a “dress thin and elegant class”… all these topics which are truly – or not truly – French.
    So I read your post with the greatest interest and I have so many comments that I am afraid I’ll be stuck in front of my computer all night long…

    – Julia Child: she was a real stitch.
    Yet, between you and I, her cooking recipes are freakingly complicated even to someone who loves French cooking. I once looked at her boeuf bourguignon recipe… endless and discouraging (whereas it can be the simplest recipe in the world). Julia Child was a perfectionist but all her recipes are an ordeal… No wonder why Americans still don’t get French cuisine after reading her books…

    – No, not all French women are stunning cooks. Yet, many I know are doing a pretty good job compared to other friends I have in the US. Sorry to say. No offense to our beloved American friends who have other talents!

    – Yes, some French women do get fat… No further comment on this sensitive point!

    – Scarves? Please acknowledge that Parisians are pretty good at tying scarves…

    – Cooking tools
    . Crockpot? I am with you!!! After a few miserable attempts trying to use the one I bought, I finally gave up…
    If anyone is interested in getting one for free, please let me know…. JE LE DONNE AVEC PLAISIR!!!
    . The raclette and crêpes Tefal dishes: so many fond memories come back to my mind from the time I was young ( my “studio” was rue Cambronne – 15e)
    . Rognons: the best deal ever, here in the US. Cheap, cheap, cheap and so good. Unfortunately, I was never able to convince any of our American friends to eat “rognons à la crème fraîche” flambléed with cognac. Oh well… My husband and I can easily work on one or two packs of rognons for dinner!

    Now about the cooking tools we couldn’t live without? Mine is a wok…
    Not really French but perfect for so many recipes. One of my favorite cooking classes is called: “cool French cooking in a wok”. A hit ( and a personal ode to my mother-in-law whose Brittany fish stew in lobster bisque is to die for!).

    OK, enough with all these frantic comments I made… Hope I didn’t bother.
    Thanks for this fun post. You are the best!
    Bien amicalement,

    • Ha! Loved your comment, Anne. Thank you for taking the time! I knew you, of all people, might react when reading the scarves part of the post 🙂 It sounds like I will have to come and visit you in Florida soon. I am very curious about that “rognons” recipe, and that fish stew in lobster bisque… Miam! Bon weekend!

    • For you Véronique and for all our friends who love good (and easy) French cooking:

      My mother-in-law Brittany fish “bouillabaisse” (serves 4). Bon appétit!

      . 8-9 cups Lobster bisque or fish soup
      . 2 pounds firm flesh fillet cut into big chunks (salmon, tuna, mahi-mahi, grouper, snapper, swordfish, monkfish)
      . 8 shrimp, uncooked
      . garlic croutons
      . 2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese
      . 4 big potatoes, cut into 4 pieces

      Peel the potatoes and hard boil them.
      In the meanwhile, heat in a wok on medium high heat the lobster bisque. Add in the fish chunks and the shrimp. Cook for 10-15 minutes.
      Serve in individual plates with the garlic croutons, the shredded Gruyere cheese and the potatoes.

    • You are welcome, Véronique:-)
      Other cooking dishes will work too BUT the good point with a wok is that you can use it on the table and “cook” in front of your guests/ family members. That’s another reason why I love a wok. It’s perfect for fun and convivial cooking.
      A bientôt,

  2. My mother had a pressure cooker that she used mostly for artichokes. I’ve been pondering one, may have to take the plunge. My issue is NO time to cook, at least during the week. I’ve never had much luck with crockpots either. My in-laws were fans of raclette, and we inherited at raclette machine from them. Will definitely put it to use this winter.

    • Well, it sounds as if you could use one of these cute pressure cookers. How about the Nutricook? I would LOVE to get it, but I fear it is not available outside of France. Let me know if you “take the plunge,” and how things turn out for you. I can recommend a couple of good recipe books too.

  3. Dearest Véronique,

    This is hilarious! You and I could be sisters… for using Le Creuset and so many French things in the kitchen. Guess what? We had an outlet in 240 volt built into our kitchen so I could use all the kitchen appliance that I brought from Europe. I was not going to sacrifice them. Works fine, still does. I’ve never had a crock pot either… even though certain friends pressured me. One friend’s daughter moved to Brussels and was missing her American crock pot so badly. Funny world.
    Enjoyed this story, you are a great writer!
    Hugs to you,

  4. I never cared for the crock pot or the mush that comes out of it, but you have sold me on the pressure cooker. I’ll take one in Framboise, someone tell my husband, please 😉

  5. Oh my, you are going to roll your eyes at this American but the cocotte-minute freaked me out so much that I got rid of it! 90 € out the window!!! I think I did indeed have Audrey on the brain. Sigh. Oops.
    Bon weekend!

  6. Ha! You remind me of my second French host parents. They both told me if I had come hoping for some of that famous French cuisine, theirs was not the right household for me. I was changing host families, from one where Maman made a delicious soupe aux légumes nearly every night in her pressure cooker. I’m kicking myself today for not paying closer attention!

    Never fear, though, I did not starve with my second family. In fact, they taught me the proportions for a basic vinaigrette, which is certainly a sign of culinary elightenment, n’est-ce pas?

    • Well, you have got to appreciate your host parents’ honesty AND they did teach you how to make the perfect vinaigrette! The pressure cooker makes soup making a snatch. Too bad I am the only one in my house enjoying la soupe aux légumes!

  7. Oh dear..sorry you haven’t had much luck with the new crockpots. I’ve had my slowcooker for about 15 years now. I only ever make soup in it…I don’t like mushy food at all, so soup is about as mushy as I will go…mine’s probably the older version, perfect soup every time…back to the long way of doing things for you it seems… Have a great weekend!

  8. First, that behinds the scene look at the show is INSANE.

    I remember pressure cookers. My dad used to use one for cooking Indian food all the time when I was a kid. But he doesn’t anymore, and I don’t know why. All of the sudden, the pressure cooker disappeared one day. Hmmm…I need to investigate that.

    I think you’re spot on about today’s crock pots. My mom invested in a new crock pot and she hates it. It burns everything and doesn’t work the way her mom’s old one used to. The one she sold in a garage sale to get a new one. Lol.

    • Bonjour Jenny. Isn’t that a great photo of Julia “and crew”? It takes a village, as they say…

      Do let me know what happened to Dad’s pressure cooker. We already know it did not blow up in his face. You would have remembered seeing contractors all over the kitchen to repair the damage! Ha! ha!

  9. So much here made me smile particularly not all French women can tie a Hermès scarf twenty ways ….and some even get fat! I loved the film and have the paperback version of Mastering the Art of French cooking. You reminded me about my old Crock Pot at the back of my cupboard and the Raclette machine. I must get them out again -ideal for this time of year. I do like my kitchen gadgets (my friends laugh about my growing collection!)and I would definitely like one of those crêpes machines.Now I wonder if they sell them in the UK……..

    • Welcome back miss b. There is nothing wrong with loving kitchen gadgets. I don’t like slaving away in the kitchen (you had already guessed that part,) so any contraption that is going to 1. keep me entertained and 2. save time, is ALWAYS welcome!

  10. So much turf covered here…
    But I can get over you once had a 240 square foot studio in Paris
    ! ! ! !
    this is like palatial in today’s Paris – a loft practically.
    Even 24 meters is huge for many places – I think I stayed in 12 last time – very convenient but tiny by comparison..or is it
    meters vs. sq ft.
    qui sait?
    now I want some melted cheeeese!

  11. omg
    Originally I was going to say before being distracted by yr huge apart in Paris that I almost got DEARIE yesterday but thought it too big to read in bed (500+ pages)
    Now I shall have to go back and give it a whirl

    • Remember the new French word I gave you yesterday? Well, here’s a great use for it. This is a reply with several [epaisseurs!] Ha! Loved reading your comments this morning before I head out to the local community college where I will be teaching my travel workshops all day. Bon weekend et bonne lecture!

  12. We must have been channeling Julia at the same time this week. I watched Julie and Julia all over again. I will tell you my daughter prefers Ina Garten’s beef bourguignon to Julia’s and I”ve had it and it’s divine. Have I made it? NON.

    I can still hear my grandmother’s old pressure cooker whistling away and will admit I was always afraid the top would blow off and cover the kitchen in pot roast, as we all had heard the tales of that happening…somewhere.

    Great post today dear. Thoroughly enjoyed it and as only Julia could say it….”Bon appétil!”

    • Bonsoir V. Your daughter and I see eye to eye. I think Ina may understand the modern woman better than Julia (sacrilege, I know…) Her recipes are so easy to make, and yet so delicious – probably as a result of the ENORMES amounts of butter and cream she uses, always, but to quote Ina, “How bad can it be?!” 🙂 Come back soon!

  13. Ma chère, this post really brought back soooo many memories. Where to begin?

    My Mother brought back a pressure cooker from France when they moved to the US with little “moi” in tow. She was always afraid of it and never used it.

    We cooked our artichokes in a big stock pot in boiling water with a touch of red wine vinegar and a bay leaf. To this day, I would sell my soul for a perfectly prepared artichoke, and I prepare them the same way my Father did, with a vinaigrette (dijon mustard, vinegar, sea salt, pepper, chopped shallots and a Extra Virgin Olive Oil) to dip the leaves and that fabulous “coeur.” I have never bought a bottled dressing in my life. Why would you when you can make a fresh vinaigrette so quickly and so easily?

    Someone gave me a crockpot when I got married 35 years ago, and I gave it a valiant effort (repeatedly), but everything always came out gray and mushy. I do use it to keep things hot when I serve food buffet style for a party, but only after the food has been cooked.

    Oh, raclette, I simply adore it, but it’s just not the same here as in France. Maybe it’s the ambiance and the tradition.

    I can’t wait to try Anne’s recipe. Oh…..and I have a somewhat simplified version of a cassoulet from Jacques Pépin, if you’re interested. It’s an absolute winner.

    • Bonjour M-T. What? Your mother, a FRENCH woman, was afraid of the pressure cooker? It sounds as if she was ready to move to the United States all right 🙂

      Your recipe for artichokes sounds perfect to me. As for the Jacques Pepin cassoulet recipe, I would not mind taking a look at it. I like Monsieur Pepin and trust his skills dans la cuisine.

    • Don’t be too surprised about my mother. She’s only half french. She may be bilingual and binational, but she was raised in the US and her mother was British and never at home in the kitchen. My father, who was indeed 100% french and raised in France, was a fabulous cook. Sadly, he died too young, but everything my brother and I learned about cooking we learned from him. Grandfather Eugène was the head chef in a very high-end restaurant in La Rochelle (I don’t remember the name).

      I’ll pass along the Pépin recipe via separate e-mail. It’s sooo easy, and you can add your own special French touch.

  14. Oh my gosh, you really cover a lot of ground here, like slugs at night in the garden, only, errr, aren’t escargots snails ??? Snails I can stomach, indeed I love their little chewy bodies in garlic butter sauce… but slugs, no, never, not in a million years…

    Can remember seeing Julia on TV as a kid, so this brought back lots of memories. But of course we are shocked that you spilled the beans, and funny, Le Silence des Agneaux was on TV here very recently, speaking of which, un bon gigot d’agneaux peut être une vraie délice, non ? MMMMmmmm, je commence à avoir faim tout d’un coup !

    Merci pour toutes ces saveurs!

    PS May I ask if could be so wonderfully kind as to vote for a photo I entered in a contest here in France ? The link is here :

    From the US you may have to enter a fictitious phone number on the voting form, in French format, ten digits, no spaces, and starting in 01 or 06 or whatever… Mille fois merci…

    • Oh, Mr Toad. Slugs, escargots, quelle difference? They are all slimy, aren’t they? And who is going to be able to tell them apart once they are immersed in that delicious garlicky butter sauce? 🙂

      This post made me hungry too. I have been using la cocotte minute all week. Cooking a garlicky lamb stew right now, in fact…

      Bonne chance for the photography contest. I did vote.

  15. Oh Mon dieu ce n’est pas possible! Some french ladies can’t cook and get fat?! 😉 This was another wonderful post and thanks for sharing your kitchen experience in Now you have me drooling for dinner. What to make that’s easy?=)

  16. Hello Veronique

    You certainly have mastered the art of the pressure cooker and you are right to stay with it. Your results look delicious.
    I succumbed to a crock pot two years ago and used it twice and decided it was taking up too much storage space, so disposed of it this summer.

    I used like when Jacques Pepin cooked with his daughter in the tv series some years ago.

    Have a great week

    Helen xx

    • I wish these were actual photos of my “creations,” Helen, I really do… I remember Jacques cooking with his daughter Claudine. He was pretty strict with her as I recall. He never tried the same tricks on Julia, though. She would not have put up with it! 🙂

  17. Hi Veronique!

    This is a wonderful post! Great pictures and a bit of history 🙂 I received the Julia Child DVD’s for my birthday last month. They are great aren’t they? My favorite picture is the one in her small Paris apartment.

    Her battle with breast cancer was news to me! She never allowed anything to stop her from following her dreams. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all had such a will to succeed?

    The crock pot.. I do have one put don’t use it much. It’s so bulky and difficult to store.

    Enjoy the start to a new week!


  18. Goodness, thanks for the warning! I was just eyeing the shiny slow cookers at the store the other day. Now I know that I can stick to my trusty Le Creuset cocotte!

    I loved reading this post about Julia, always an inspiration, but even more so as I dive into Dearie!

    • Et voila. Just saved you $50 at least. Aren’t you glad? 🙂 Did the same for a lady I saw at the store last week. She was about to buy one for her daughter. Hope she got her a pressure cooker (or a Le Creuset) instead…

  19. Lots of fun “fooder” Love the behind the scenes shot with Julia and all of your fun stories. My mother used a pressure cooker. I think I am the only person who doesn’t have a crock pot, all my friends rave about the meals they are able to make in them, with ease. Bon Weekend!

  20. I’m totally with you on this one Veronique..Most of my girl friends and both my sisters have le Crock Pot..pas moi, way too scary, on saying this so to is le pressure cooker haha! Love Julie Childs, Meryl Streep played her so well in the movie don’t you think?

    • I love Meryl in the movie. I just found a fun montage on YouTube where you can see Meryl and Julia side by side saying the same lines. I thought she did great, but not everyone agreed apparently… Oh well. Can’t please everyone I guess.

  21. You write so well.:-) I have a newer crockpot..tout blanc..but also have the second one in your photos:-)
    I love being in the kitchen..and now you have made me think of s Presto:-) My mom loved hers..the knob scared me.I see big differences..cute cute!

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The French and dessert

The French and dessert

Asterix et Obelix: Deux Gaulois gourmands… Fact: Les Français sont gourmands.  Gourmand (goor-mahnd,) noun 1. a person who is fond of good eating, often indiscriminately and to excess. 2. a gourmet, epicure. 3. a person with a sweet tooth.  (source: and French Girl in Seattle)   Asterix and Obelix, (our ancestors the Gauls,) many French…

59 Responses to The French and dessert

  1. As someone who often doesn’t have room for a full dessert but enjoys just a taste of sweet after a meal, I applaud the new tradition of café gourmand. We enjoyed this on several occasions on our recent trip to France. And it’s true, never trust a politician who doesn’t eat! ;-p

  2. It seems like everything in France, from the culture to the food, is a class act.

    For years I have heard about French food being the most exquisite cuisine. I mean, it’s a known fact the French are complete geniuses when it comes to the culinary arts. But it wasn’t until I went to a French restaurant for the first time (for my mom’s 50th b-day) that I actually understood what all the fuss is about. It’s a real art.

    When I see French pastries and desserts, such as the ones you’ve pictured here, it makes me really sad and annoyed that so many Americans spend their calories on Little Debbies and Chips Ahoy. Personally, I’d rather gain a little weight eating hand-crafted French pastries than processed garbage. Because I wouldn’t regret a bite! 😉

    Fabulous post!

    • Welcome back chère Jenny.
      Little Debbies and Chips Ahoy, eh? You forgot to mention Hershey chocolate 🙂
      Whatever rocks your boat I guess, but I am afraid Little Debbies do not stand a chance when placed next to the Millefeuille pictured in the post.
      See, I told you… One more reason for you to visit France one day: Desserts!

  3. Bonjour Veronique.. 🙂 What a scrumptious post this is. I have to say, the new tradition of the cafe gourmand sounds delicious and full of variety, (and better for my waist and thighs..) but i don’t think i could resist that final dessert either! There is just something about salted caramel. And with delicious hard cider?! My mouth is watering. It would be a struggle to forgo a grand dessert in favor of a small serving. Could i be sensible enough? LOL. Someday, we will see!

    • Well, Mary, I guess we will rename this post: “Le billet gourmand de Veronique” 🙂 I have never been able to resist salted caramel (or dulce de leche here in the US.) I do not have that many sweets – well, if you exclude the occasional spoon dipping in the Nutella jar that is – but caramel… Ahhhhh…

  4. Ah c’est pas possible! Your pictures of desserts always hurts my feelings! I cant just get into my truck and find these desserts French girl! Thank you. You actually have inspired me to make some at home avec un cafe. Hey it might not taste the same but I can dream. =) Fun post.

  5. Le Normal Prez, avant de le voir manger ou boire, on voudrait surtout le voir faire quelque chose d ‘intelligent, voire quelque chose tout court.:o)
    Je suis surprise par l’allure de ton mille-feuilles:dans le midi, le dessus est un glaçage blanc; C’est vrai, ton regard aiguisé a surpris une nouvelle tendance: bien vu le café gourmand!
    Je viens de finir “Une année en provence” (quel regal) et l’auteur partage ce point de vue ,sur les Français passionnés de nourriture.J’y ai réfléchi , et je me tourne vers l’histoire: des années de disette et de famine , peu de produits disponibles, ont peut-être généré un besoin de bien manger et une habileté à bien préparer tout ce qui nous tombait sous la main. C’est juste une hypothèse!
    A bientôt !

    • Pôvre Flamby. Il n’a pas la côte chez toi, on dirait, Marie? 🙂
      Pour le millefeuille, tu as raison, le glaçage est souvent blanc (c’est une de mes pâtisseries préférées avec le Baba au Rhum et la tarte au fruits.) Celui que nous avons dégusté ensemble place Gallieni était délicieux d’ailleurs…
      J’aime bien ton explication “historique” pour les origines de la gastronomie française. It makes sense, comme disent les Américains!

    • You are correct, Carol, and my friend and I did get plenty of atmosphere – and excellent service – au Café de la Paix. It did not hurt that the food was delicious too, but “le cadre” alone is worth a visit.
      La gourmandise describes the guilty pleasure of les gourmands (see definition in the post.) A famous French saying: “La gourmandise est un vilain défaut…” (not that it stops most French people from indulging in it…)

  6. I love the post. I am a big fan of the café gourmand and order it without fail if it appears on the dessert menu. I keep trying to convince the chefs at our Bistro Des Copains that we should offer a café gourmand on our menu too. So far no luck. Have a good day.

  7. Ah, the French version of high tea, n’est-ce pas? Yes, it’s about time–and so perfect.

    But the last couple of paragraphs of your post remind me of something I noticed in Paris last summer. It seemed to me that portion sizes had grown in the past dozen years since I’d spent time in France, approaching American-size “entrees” (not les entrées). I remember walking out of Parisian restaurants in the late 90s feeling satisfied, but not stuffed. Last summer les assiettes were so débordées, I frequently could not finish my meals! Is it age, my imagination, or have portion sizes in France really grown?

    • Alison, you may very well be right about portion size in France. It does not make any sense culturally (as explained in the post,) or even because of the recession that has been hard on restaurateurs, but I would have to agree with you. Portion size has definitely increased in some places. Come to think of it, the average Frenchman’s waistline has as well, according to recent statistics… Hmmmmm….

  8. What a delicious post Veronique with very funny intro about correlation president-meal-trust. That’s the spirit!
    This last visit in July we splurged on patisseries (and baguettes by meters). Y-yes costly, but happiness is priceless, non? Just less spaghetti Bolognese and choucroute. Cafe Pouchkine was the best.
    Please visit the sweetest .
    This guy will flood you with inspirations for your next homeland pilgrimage.

  9. As someone who is known for having a sweet tooth, this was the perfect post for me! I’m a fan of these mini desserts and I’ve enjoyed them in a number of restaurants – ideal when I can’t decide what to choose. However, one of my favourite occupations in France is to visit a salon de thé and have a full size millefeuille – the French certainly know how to make delicious pastries!

  10. Delicious post, Veronique! I will certainly miss your comments, but I will be sure to stop by Le Blog from time to time and see how things are going!! Let me know if you are ever in Philadelphia; likewise I will look you up if I ever venture to Seattle! (which I hope to do!) xo

  11. Veronique, this post is bringing back memories of my years with a French boyfriend with Parisian parents… the saying around the table every night was “demain régime”… but tomorrow never, ever came. The mother, though, was always as thin as can be.

    I always loved that little bit of dark chocolate with my coffee… I guess I’ll have to bring my own in my purse the next time I visit…

  12. Dearest Véronique,

    Great read and I LOVED to once more see the delicious (BIG) Tom Pouce dessert that we always used for treating colleagues. As said before, my Province of Limburg is known to be very bourgundian, something that remained after the French left…
    Hugs to you,

  13. Dear Véronique,

    This post is absolutely “délicieux”. Which I would translate both by delightful… and – if you allow me this approximate translation – delicious 😉
    My mouth is watering just looking at all these photos. J’AI ENVIE DE TOUT!!! QUELLE TORTURE !!!

    About François Hollande: not sure his rating approval would go up even if he was eating and drinking like Chirac used to do when visiting street markets…
    About “French women don’t get fat”. What a great marketing success! No further comments…

    Have a great weekend,

    • Bonjour Anne. Merci beaucoup. Virtual dessert eating: that’s what this post is about! Dessert without the calories:-)

      Good luck to Monsieur Hollande. He has been nicknamed after a famous French dessert, after all. Bonne chance, “Flamby!” 🙂

  14. Great pics, I absolutely loved the caffe and those desserts, I love cooking and french cuisine it’s always an inspiration.
    I’m hosting a great INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY you may want to enter.

  15. J’arrive bien tard, et en suis désolé… en fait, je viens de me faire opérer par laser les deux yeux, et j’ai dû passer un petit moment tranquil, avec moins de temps devant l’écran, je reprends petit à petit.

    Mais devant ces desserts j’ai les yeux gros comme des assiettes à soupe !!! 🙂 Ah, la mousse au chocolat, une bonne tarte au citron méringuée, des éclairs (café ou choco), et pourquoi pas un café liègois… j’aime tout cela ! La vie serait fade sans desserts de folie.

    Et en espérant que tu me pardonneras, je ne peux pas m’empecher de dire qu’à propos de M. Chirac, j’ai cru comprendre que oui, il adore manger, mais aussi il adore les poules, pas forcement au pot, et qu’elles aimaient le lapin chaud. 🙂 Mais bon, ce n’est sans doute que des bruits de couloir tout ça. Au moins il était plus discrèt que DSK, n’est-ce pas ? Sans parler de feu Mitterand, et ses appetits en dehors de la maison familiale… un gourmand lui aussi ! 🙂

  16. Within a short walk from old historic downtown Monterey is a bakery, Parker-Lusseau and a crepes place at the entrance to the old wharf–both owned by men from Brittany…and very good. And a popular Paris Bakery…also enjoyable and festive. Am not that gung-ho on deserts and pasries….but appreciate something small, well done and French, of course!

  17. I would definitely go for the Café Gourmand as I am more of a tapas girl about food. I would rather have many small tastes than a whole serving of anything. I love caramel au beurre salé macarons and I am dying to try that last dessert. There is a stack of crepes in my freezer that I made about a month ago and they are begging for that salted caramel! I am not so sure about the cider but willing to try.

    Poor Flamby…


  18. GREAT POST:)I will go to Nice(france) next weekend, Im very happy for it.
    Your blog is so wonderful and Im following…I hope you follow me also:)

    If you want some cute swedish decor inspiration…check out my blog:)

    Have a great weekend dear

    LOVE Maria at

  19. Hello Veronique

    A great post. I particularly love crepes and the last image has me wanting this.

    I am currently in Ireland and noticing how portion sizes have increased enormously. Is this the case in France too?

  20. J’adore the cafe gourmand idea Veronique, such wonderful and as you point out, less expensive way to experience BLISS! I also read somewhere that the French public are not unhappy if their President has a mistress, if of course it is tres discreet…so very civilized haha!

    • I think French people have seen it all, bless them. They are pretty cynical about the personal lives of their leaders (and until recently,) weren’t really interested in them. Things are changing, though, and I fear there has been more and more scrutiny of politicians’ personal lives, especially with the last president and the current one… Dommage…

  21. My favorite is the Tarte Tatin with Crème Fraiche! I have had it many times, in many different restaurants, and it is different in every one.


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26 Responses to La Baguette (French Icons series)

  1. well v –another absolutely great one….i love bread with every meal, but agree finding a good loaf is a job in and of itself….the birds have been generously fed in the search of my perfect loaf! finally- a local produce store stated to carry bread (only 2 types) rather large loafs- so what the heck i gave it a try—-and now it is the bread of choice….i still get a loaf of rye in case someone needs a regular type of bread for a sandwhich(like my dad- )artisan types of bread “scare” him -so glad my mom made us try stuff as children…oh i digress- i even purchased a cloth baguette bag to transport said purchases from the store. i so L O V E the pictures of the baguttes stuffed with meat or veggies-i am hungry for lunch right now and haven’t even had a proper breakfast yet! with all my heart thanks for a wonderful beginning to the day and week!-your faithful reader from philly-the city of brotherly love!

  2. Fantastic! Bravo!!
    (I have about 20 seconds to walk to my boulangerie and get my daily baguette… but today it’s Monday and it’s closed.)


    (I have to post as anonymous, as a few blogs seem not to accept my normal google-profile.)

  3. Ha, que j’aime quand tu fais ça! Oui, la baguette, le truc evident , quotidien, que tu remets dans son histoire, dans son contexte, dans son image internationale.Il faut être loin peut-être pour pouvoir porter un tel regard sur les petites choses qui emplissent notre vie française. Peu de choses me manquent à l’etranger, je m’adapte à peu pres à tout, mais c’est vrai que le pain en general, et la baguette en particulier, c’est qq chose dont j’ai du mal à me passer.
    Un très joli post, encore une fois!

  4. it seems from Doisneau’s and Wily Ronis’s photos that the baguette is getting shorter. What about Gontran. Very easy on the eye. So thrilled I just have to go to the corner. Carla x

  5. One of my favorite things about visiting France was being able to walk around the corner and find a boulangerie, pick up a tasty, crusty baguette, then walk a little further to a fromagerie, and then a little further to find a patisserie. Voila: perfect picnic lunch!

    You’ve probably heard about the new baguette “vending machines”?

    Certainly a very American concept…convenience over quality, perhaps? I wouldn’t know, I’ve never tasted one of these baguettes, but I do wonder about them…

    Bonne journee! 🙂

  6. My mother also missed “la baquette” the most when she lived in America. She gets nervous when she comes visits… but Mexican food helps her forget for a little while.;) Great post. I miss my grandmother’s- oeuf à la coque et mouillettes the most!=)

  7. Hi V., lovely post, well balanced… it is not always easy to find a good baguette in France, so many industrial models out there. Glad to see you included a link to Poilane’s site, I’m guessing you know you can order bread on the Poilane site, and it arrives very fresh delivered next day in the US by FedEx ? I’ve sent bread that way to my parents a few times, they love it. (and surpisingly good french cheese can be ordered and delivered in the US on but you know that also, I’m sure)

    Was just at Poilane’s shop in the 7th the other day after a trip to the Musée quai Branly. There little apple pies are out of this world. MMmmmm, and their nut bread, was just eating some this evening with a lovely St Félicien cheese from the Ardeche. Heaven.

  8. J’ai bien aimé tes posts sur le béret et la marinière. Aussi, tu as de la chance d’avoir des amis près de chez toi. Ici, je ne connais personne pour ainsi dire – c’est un peu pour ça qu’on voyage. Une bonne baguette bien chaude, ça me donne l’eau à la bouche! Je vais chez Costco ou il vendent des batards chauds. Je les coupe et les met au congélateur, et le matin je décongèle un morceau – que je toaste et avec mes confiture de figue – maison – c’est bon avec un bol de café bien fort!

    Mais je suis un peu triste – je viens de lire sur le blog de mon amie Claude que Robert Lamoureux était mort dernièrement. C’était un bon comédien. Elle a mis un youTube de lui sur son blog (

  9. When my daughter and I came out onto the Italian Boulevard in Paris after taking a flight, I bought her a baguette, and she said “I’m in heaven now.”

  10. Well written 🙂 I truly enjoy reading your posts. Once you have traveled to France and had the real baguette, you can’t go back! In Vancouver, the worst is the Canadian version of the “baguette” sold at local grocers..white bread shaped like a baguette and the foolish people buy into it. The good news is…there is a wonderful place on Granville Island, the owner, French – makes a great baguette and wonderful pastries, and locally, I found a great European who knows how to make a true baguette. Yum, a favorite at my house daily.

  11. Oh I just had a Paris moment and could actually relive the wonderful smell that greets you as you walk into a boulangerie! Heaven. We use to laugh at the French walking along nibbling the top of their newly purchased baguette until I bought one that was still warm one day and barely made it back to our flat without having a big bite! Oh la la is right.

    And thanks for the Ronis /Doisneau photos. Wonderful

  12. I thoroughly enjoyed your post (so interesting) and the fantastic photos (made me feel hungry!). You are so right – there is nothing quite like a real baguette bought in France from a village boulangerie and a real sandwich au jambon is also my all-time favourite!
    PS Thank you for your comment about the Lake District!

  13. My stomach is seriously growling right now. I am SO HUNGRY! I want a baguette!

    There used to be a little French cafe right by my apartment (it had been there for 100 years) and they had the best baguettes in town. I would buy the ham sandwiches and then pick up a loaf to have with dinner almost every night. But then the cafe burnt down to the ground a few years ago and the owner (grandson of the original founder) decided not to continue the business. The location is now a bar. My heart still aches…

    I loved learning more about this amazing French bread. And I wish our McDonalds were as cool in the US as they are in France!!

  14. Bonjour, faithful readers– Once again, I am humbled (and tremendously pleased) by all your comments. It seems we established a few things this week:

    1. Everyone should know what a warm, fragrant French baguette tastes like (a perfect excuse to fly to Paris soon for some of you.)
    2. Most of you are passionate about bread and know where to find tasty bread local, but, if not…
    3. The Poilane company will Fedex fresh bread to you every morning from Paris (prepare that credit card!)
    4. “McDo” is a lot cooler and trendier in France than in the US.

    And finally…

    5. I am sad to report that charming Gontrand Cherrier has not contacted me yet. Does anyone know if he reads this blog?

    A bientot, les amis.

  15. Thanks for the link to our blog post – your write up here is quite thorough! Excellent blog, I will add this to my Google Reader.

    Brett (from Foreign Detours)

  16. Wonderful post… there is no doubt that there is something very special about a favourite boulangerie and waiting in line for the morning’s bread… I love how the French know just how they want their bread baked… well done… not so well done… and point out a particular one they want to buy… as if life depended on that choice… Have a happy weekend… xv

  17. So pleased this icon series is continuing – and yes I have become a daily baguette girl already in France – an enterprising baker in Paris has opened the first baguette “ATM” so you can purchase them 24/7!! Hope this series continues Veronique regards from the Riviera…

  18. My goodness! Where did you find that MacDo photo? Is it really part of an ad campaign?! So amazing.

    What a wonderful post Veronique! I too have never met a jar of Nutella that I didn’t love. J’adore votre blog! I love this series that you have going as well.


  19. The baguettes and pain au chocolat are like a drug. Even that I live only a few months in France I miss everytime when I go away.

    The boulangerie is for the French as bar is for us Italians: once you’ve found your favorite is love for a lifetime.

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Ces merveilleux commerces de proximité! Wonderful specialty shops! – PART 1

Ces merveilleux commerces de proximité! Wonderful specialty shops! – PART 1

Yesterday, as I was looking at the bright, big, shiny -and relatively tasteless- produce at my local supermarket, I could not help but miss the wonderful shops that make convenience shopping such a delightful experience in France. My countrymen use them daily, oui chaque jour, to get fresh bread, as well as meat, fish, fruit, and…

One Response to Ces merveilleux commerces de proximité! Wonderful specialty shops! – PART 1

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