Before Brexit and the coronavirus, obtaining French food was simple. Just go over to France and pile shopping from Auchan, Carrefour or PG into the boot. Other than flashing a passport at bored Customs officers and driving on the right, it wasn’t that different from visiting a British supermarket. The alcohol would be always be cheaper and sometimes the diesel too. Many times, the savings on these alone, paid for the ticket.
It’s too difficult now, to contemplate a day trip.
So where to buy French food ?
Bear in mind that all of the food and other goods come from France. This can mean that they are more expensive. Other products seem reasonable. It’s easy to find what you’re looking for and in most cases, ingredients are listed in English and French.
Essential French words are bio (organic) and for coffee, moulu (ground) or grains (beans).
Grand Mère Café Moulu Familial 250g currently on offer for 2.70 (06/08/21) is a good price. Decent everyday coffee.
Brocéliande Côte Echine De Porc BIO Origin France £3.89 175g 3.89 for an organic pork chop certainly isn’t the most expensive price found in the UK.
Navet Bio Boulé d’Or 500g and at 3.90 not expensive for 500g but 250g is also noted.
Charal Bio Steak Haché 5% fat 6.75 (2 x 100g) 200g seems to be not quite as expensive as the Picard French bifteck at Ocado Picard 4 Organic All-Beef Hamburgers 7.99 and Picard 8 Organic Beef Burgers 13.99 but the Picard is £2 per 100g and 1.75 per 100g which is better than the Charal 3.375 per 100g.
Perard Fish Soup Imported Direct from France 5.49 780g this is the real soupe de poissons but over the years, the recipe has been tweaked to add ‘natural colour’, modified starch and monosodium glutamate. Disappointing as it used to be an amazing taste of France. Suggest buying one, then making your own, after that. Rascasse is mis-translated as redfish, it should say gurnard,
Rascasse is essential for a soupe de poissons. French Click may suggest croutons but on the Côte d’Azur it was usually served with thin slices of toasted but unbuttered thin baguette. French Click does sell the important Perard Rouille de Poissons £2.45 for 60g but I prefer the smoother Bénédicta Sauce Rouille Saveur Ail et Poissons £2.35 for 240g even though it contains vegetable oil, sugar, modified corn starch and natural flavourings. Another Bénédicta sauce which I love is Bénédicta Sauce Aïoli Pulpe D’Ail on offer 06/08/21 1.99 for 260g
As a teenager, I would cart kilos of Banania Cacao Instantane 5.55 for 1Kg which was much cheaper in French supermarkets, as well as Chocapic BIO 375g which costs 4.75, considerably less than some of the GMO-laced American cereals found in American grocery stores in UK.
French Click is excellent for cheese. One of my favourites is Maroilles AOC Picardie 4.35 for 200g and the other team member likes Mini Babybel Bio (x5) 100g which is £4 compared to 1.95 at Sainsbury’s, if you can find it. It’s certainly worth experimenting with the cheeses.
Isigny Ste Mère Crème Fraîche Epaisse Entiere 40cl is gold standard crème fraîche but a gold-plated price at 3.65. Waitrose has the 20cl pots for 1.60 each Isigny Ste Mère crème fraîche d’Isigny 40% fat | Waitrose & Partners but it isn’t always available.
Mozzarella Biologique 1.85 for 100g isn’t bad, that’s a mid-range price at Waitrose.
If you’re finding it hard to get organic whole milk, French Click sells Lactel.
Lactel Lait Entier Biologique UHT 13.99 for 6x1L
When we contacted Lactalis UK, they said they had no plans to increase the President butter range. This butter Président La Motte Beurre au Sel de Mer 3.85 for 250g is now available at Waitrose Président Butter with Sea Salt Crystals | Waitrose & Partners 2.50 for 250g but £2 until 24/08/21
Our favourite everyday butter, if we lived in France, would be Président Beurre Doux Biologique, Plaquette 250g which is 3.70 at French Click and not available in British supermarkets.