Remember the Roast Chicken Flavored Potato Chips? That was five years ago, already! Anyway, we’ve been traveling recently and road trips mean coke bottle gummies, ice cream bars and even more unhealthy food alternatives like crazy-flavored potato chips. We couldn’t help but notice the usual suspects like BBQ, plain, Roasted Chicken Chips (Lays are good!) but there seemed to be a new kid in town: Cheeseburger Potato Chips! We couldn’t resist.
These are…perplexingly excellent. They taste EXACTLY like a McDonald’s cheeseburger, and while I haven’t eaten one of those in so many years I don’t even know how many, I liked these (I almost hate to admit it) and was happy they didn’t give me a stomach ache like the real cheeseburgers did. So, there you have it. It does make me wonder, though, why there aren’t typical French meal flavored chips. Wouldn’t it be fun to have Croque-Monsieur chips, Cassoulet chips, Steak-Frites (in pepper sauce) chips and Tete de Veau chips? Confit de canard chips, boudin noir chips, moule frites chips, rabbit terrine chips…
I shot this video on a pedestian shopping street in Arles, France one day and just stood in one place with my camera while people watching. Sorry I ddin’t have a tripod so it’s a little wobbly! I really love how the video turned out with the live music (accordion, violin) in the background, the two guys shaking hands but not stopping to chat with each other (does that happen in the U.S.? I dunno.), every day flower buying in the foreground, but what I love especially here is that everyone ignored me completely. I love being ignored! Really. This is what I love about France haha. It sort of reminds me of New York (being ignored) except there’s prettier architecture.
Shouldn’t you go to the little shops BEFORE you buy all your groceries? Nevermind, these “lockers” for shopping carts are still a great idea. Just leave a deposit and get it back when you return the locker key.
I grabbed this camembert in the market the other day to try and found that it was pretty tasty, so I thought I’d recommend it to you. It’s an AOC cheese from Normandy’s E. Graindorge, made with raw milk (lait cru), and hand ladled, if that makes a difference (I’m not sure). To me, camembert is not camembert without being made with raw milk. It tastes so much better. A warning: it can, however, emit a funky smell in the fridge but don’t be afraid, it’s all good.
Although the government is about to reduce the subvention amount for environmentally smart home energy, it began offering a different incentive for electric bikes. Receive 25% off (up to 400 euros) if you purchase an electric bike in Paris. For the moment this offer is restricted to Paris and Paris residents only, which means you’re supposed to have a Parisian address to qualify. We were lucky to receive this offer when we purchased our first vélo électrique, which is awesome. We bought this bike here.
I’m not sure if this offer will apply to other French cities.
If for one reason you come into Maison Larnicol, the brainchild of Master Chocolatier and MOF, Georges Larnicol, it’s to marvel at his playful, colorful chocolate creations.
Oh but you should taste as much as possible, too. We dropped by his shop in Saint Malo (Brittany) but he has a whole slew of shops in these cities Auray, Bordeaux, Concarneau, Guerande, La Baule, Locronan, Nantes, Pont Aven, Quimper, Rennes and Saint Brieuc.
The kouign amann (an oh-so-amazing buttery, baked Breton pastry), macarons and chocolate were heavenly. There are no additives, preservatives or artificial ingredients in the baked goods.
The mini kouign-amanns called kougnettes are so cute and come in 14 different flavors.
The only regret we have now is that we didn’t try every single item in the shop. There’s so much more to grab here: cookies, lollipops, galettes…
6, rue Saint-Vincent
35400 Saint Malo France
Telephone Number: +33 (0)2 99 40 57 62
This is a guest post from Why Travel to France contributor, Patricia. (Thanks, P!)
I thought readers would appreciate this funny, French item I found in a supermarket the other day. It made us laugh out loud but somehow I’m not sure any French person would notice it. It’s an ironic twist on air fresheners: a foot! Just guessing, but I have a feeling who ever came up with this item, was another marketing exec who had no idea that some consumers (like me) might see it as “funvertising.” I mean, using a foot to freshen a car … is brilliant, isn’t it? I love it. Frenchies, you are priceless, and you made my day when I found this Smelly Foot Air Freshener.
Maybe the tagline should be: Rafraichissez l’intérieur de votre voiture avec un pied qui pue...
Wait a minute. Do French people LIKE the smell of feet? I didn’t think of that.
After having left the south of France for Burgundy, finding cheddar cheese where we live was ambitious if not impossible. We’d resort to grabbing a huge block of it from Phillippe Olivier in the north of France. Of course, that meant that we’d have to drive a long seven hours to get there. (Nevermind that I could visit my in-laws at the same time!) Now, it’s a little easier, seeing that I’ve stumbled upon Seriously Strong Cheddar cheese (from Scotland) at a nearby supermarket, which is part of a huge chain.
For an industrially produced cheese wrapped in plastic, it’s actually pretty good. It’s crumbly, which supposedly means it’s a high quality cheese. (Info I’d gotten from a cheesemaker in Vermont). The one I bought said it was aged for 12 months, and while its brand name claims it’s strong, I didn’t find that it was particularly strong at all, but that’s okay it tasted good. I’m not fond of when the cheese is so sharp, it stings the palette in your mouth. In any case, this will be good for cheeseburgers, Mac n Cheese, Cheddar Cheese scones and just with bread or whatever, when you’re looking for variety away from the home grown French cheeses.
By the way, mature hard cheeses (Mimolette, Comté, Beaufort, Tome de Savoie, etc.) develop their sharpness in flavor because of the millions upon millions of dust mites inside them (not just on the rind). In fact, many of the master cheese makers trade these microscopic bugs, which has been a well-hidden trade secret for a long time…and for obvious reasons!
The grace and beauty of window design in France never ceases to amaze me all year long. But with Christmas being one of my favorite times of year, I MUST get out to see the festive displays. This is when true artistry emerges. The beautiful window display below is from Fabrice Gillotte, who happens to be a MOF of chocolate. Not only is he a master of his craft, his stuff is cute! And different. I LOVE his Santa.
Fabrice Gillotte, Chocolatier
21, rue du Bourg
Telephone +33(0)3 80 30 38 88
NOTHING about Châteauneuf-du-Pape is sleek or polished. It’s a rough-and-tumble wine, sometimes ungainly and fierce, but just as often warm, open, generous and full of pleasure.
It can be intense and complex — it’s not at all simple. Yet it sometimes can be as friendly as a big good-natured dog. Occasionally, it’s too friendly.
I was thinking about the overbearing side of Châteauneuf recently after the wine panel had completed a tasting of 20 bottles from the 2007 vintage. For the tasting, Florence Fabricant and I were joined by two guests, Vanessa Treviño Boyd, sommelier at Adour, and David Gordon, wine director at Tribeca Grill, which offers what is most likely the widest selection of Châteauneuf in New York.
We found some wines we liked very much, yet on the whole the 2007s left me unexcited. Stylistically, they presented Châteauneuf’s too-friendly side. Châteauneuf is always a big wine, but these wines were huge — full of lush, opulent fruit with powerful, jammy flavors.
We’re getting ready to take off to spend the holidays in the U.S. so we’ve been frantically buying gifts and stocking stuffers. We came across these kitschy boxes of liqueur-filled chocolates. Unlike those little sugar bottles filled with God knows what liqueurs (we got those too!), these use dark chocolate without the sugar crust, they explain what the liqueurs are and where they are from in France AND they are in cute little shapes. Here’s what’s inside: Armagnac du Sud-Ouest (in an armagnac cork), Marc de champagne (champagne cork), Kirsch d’Alsace (cherry), Mirabelle de Lorraine (mirabel plum), Calvados de Normandie (apple), Cognac de Charente (barrel), Pastis 51 (bottle).
It’s a fun gift and perfect stocking stuffer. You can probably find them all over the large French supermarkets like Carrefour, Auchan, etc..
By the way, these have the real deal inside, no watered-down anything.
I think I’ve lived too long in France because when I saw this ad booklet from a supermarket chain, everything looked fine, nothing out of the ordinary. No French person would find anything unusual about it except my sweetie. Click on the image to enlarge it
He screams, “foire au gras! foire au gras!” Me looking at the ad, “et alors?” (So?) He continues, “for your blog!” Me: “It’s just an ad.” Him: “Yeeessss, but it’s GLORIFYING fat. Does that not seem blogworthy?” Me: “Fat is good, though.” Him: “They’d never celebrate and dedicate the virtues of FAT for FIVE pages in an American food ad, EVARRRR. Let alone sell tubs of fat, which they’re doing here.” Me: “Oh yeah.”
Apple today opened the first of a series of stores planned for Paris. The first, located near the famous Louvre art museum, coincided with the release of the Musee du Louvre iPhone app showcasing among other exhibits, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
The Paris store, first reported in 2008, includes a 7,700-square foot two-story layout with diamond-shaped windows.
Apple will quickly open a series of stores in France, including a location in Montpellier in the southern portion of the country. By the summer of 2010, the Cupertino, Calif. company hopes to open its third location in France, near the Garnier opera house.
Ron Johnson, an Apple retail senior vice president, said France could witness the fastest growth of the company’s chain of stores.
Evian releases a limited edition bottle annually, and this year’s contribution is from British designer Paul Smith. I like the colorful and light-hearted edition with five different color bottle caps, and I definitely appreciate that it’s not plastic.
The bottles are not available to purchase at the moment but will be during the holidays.
Although I don’t know when they were ever in, the timeless designed Palladium Boots are apparently back! In 1947 the legendary Pampa boot was born, and the functionality, comfort and durability were so outstanding that the French Foreign Legion adopted it for their use. The Foreign Legion put the boot to the test in the harsh desert conditions of North Africa, and throughout the rugged terrain of the Atlas Mountains.
There are few things more fun than wandering around toy stores in France to see what they have here that they don’t have in the U.S. In most cases, however, I find few original French games; I suppose it’s much easier to sell games that are translated rather than creating new ones, but that is okay, and even fun, too. Here’s the ever popular board game, “Operation.” Remember that one? I do. I love what the French called it: “Docteur Maboul.” Docteur Maboul means Doctor Crazy (and crazy doctor). It’s not funny but it cracks me up for some stupid reason.
We just returned from Spain and noticed this newsworthy item at the Orly Airport in Paris and thought it would be a sweet tidbit that might come in handy one day: There’s a La Duree Cart at the Paris Orly Airport, so macaron fanatics can grab their last minute fix on their way out of town – or grab some on their way to town, for that matter.
Now I know why it can be hard to find unusual and real antiques and meubles de métier here in France. They’ve been shipped to the U.S.!
Based in San Francisco, The Butler and the Chef offer an enormous and impressive collection of French antiques and other collectibles for people looking to add some functional French style to their homes.
The Butler and The Chef – French Antique Showroom
290 Utah Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: 415.626.9600 Fax: 415.626.9601
With the most famous landmark in Paris as his muse, designer Alexander McQueen, reinvents the Eiffel Tower to put a new spin on women’s apparel. The leggings cost 85 euros, the matching top is 125 euros.
A sugar company doesn’t usually, for any particular reason, merit much attention but Belle de Sucre is so very different. Their various forms and sculptures, are truly works of art and are boundlessly creative and playful, perfect for weddings, promotional items, food photos, theme parties, fashion runways, even to put a little fun and color in daily life. The assortment and craftsmanship of their sugar is so absolutely mind-bogglingly enormous. I just love these works. (no, I don’t work for them!)
Promotional company sugar
Companies are always looking for fun promotional knick-knacks. These are just that and functional, too.
These brilliant necklaces might not be very easily wearable but they will attract attention.
Dazzling window displays for stores. Who wouldn’t want their windows dressed in sugar?
Paris Landmarks and Monuments
These are adorable and tiny Eiffel Towers, Arch de Triumphs, and Pantheons, and might be perfect for Paris B&Bs and for unusual souvenirs for tea drinkers!
The fun button sugars would be so excellent for a party of fashion designers.
Do you spoon?
Aren’t these cute?! I can just see them in Bea’s photos.
“Apple is extending its European reach by confirming the opening of two retail stores in France. One of these we’ve known about for a while, and will be situated in Paris. The other is more of a surprise, as Apple has chosen Montepellier, found on the south coast, as its second store location according to ifoAppleStore.
The exact location of the Paris store has been confirmed as being inside the underground shopping mall, Carousel de Louvre. Apple have gained about 7,700 square feet of floor space from the two previous stores that occupied this space, Lalique and Résonance. Design and construction of this new site has already begun, according to local people around the area, and it’s quite possible they’ll be following the new plans for Apple’s retail stores.
The second location, in Montepellier, has not yet been confirmed. Montepellier has its own university, and we all know how much students like Apple products, whether their student loans can afford them or not. Place de la Comédie, the city-centre features many elegant buildings, that you could see with an backlit Apple logo above the flush glass front.
It is expected that both of these stores will be open at some point over the summer. Whichever is the first one with its doors open will be the first Apple store in France.” [source]
Found this Eiffel Tower Dome Pendant Charm Cluster Brass Necklace Kit at one of my fave places to waste time, Etsy, and thought I’d share. Here’s the link: Eiffel Tower Necklace. It’s available for $7.50.
Santa Monica California-based artist, Eva/Effunia, makes the most adorable custom-made mushroom plushies ever. This one is called Le Champignon Jean-Michel, who sports a removable painter’s palette, paint brush and beret, with a requisite black and white striped shirt. The moustache is perfect. The polka dotted head is brilliant and reminiscent of the mushrooms in Mario games. This French mushroom’s favorite colors are red, blue and white and his favorite drink is a cafe au lait. His favorite expression? C’est la vie!
This is only one of many cute plushes she’s made. You can order from her directly from her Etsy store. Her blog is here.
When we first moved to France in 2002, I was a big snacker, as many Americans are. It was part of life and when I began searching for French snacks in Nice, it was a huge disappointment. In fact, I remember blogging about how we were able to find potato chips but only “au parfum paprika,” and other so-called different parfums, which in fact all tasted exactly like BBQ potato chips. Not knocking those, but I wanted different things to munch on, some variety in textures and flavors, artificial flavors and ingredients notwithstanding.
In the U.S., we’re used to variety, so much of it, that’s it’s hard to decide what to snack on. Having choices is good. It’s great for someone who must have a full spectrum of junk food, whether it’s good for zee health or not. Wasn’t I relieved to find Roasted Chicken Flavored Chips in France? Anyway. Another thing I’m used to, as an American, is volume. Gimme some tortilla chips, not just individual lunch bag sizes, but JUMBO, heaps of mega amounts of genetically modified corn substances and oils pressed together in the shape of triangles. Throw some in the oven with cheese and add salsa, guac, black beans, jalapenos, sour cream, onions and more cheese and voila: yummy nachos. I can eat an entire pan in one go, whereas in France, this portion would be served to at least 10 people.
On the sweet side of junk, I also needed volume. An example: I was very much a M&Ms with peanuts kind of person. Gobs and gobs and gobs of them, I would munch all day if I could.
During the early years in France, the biggest bag of M&Ms with peanuts held approximately 15.3 M&Ms with peanuts. PFFFF! I was like, “don’t make me laugh, France. I could eat 100 bags of those itty bitty things. Gimme more!” Where was the humungous bag to fill my ginormous American belly???
Recently, we saw some XL bags of M&Ms in Auchan. My sweetie noticed them and squealed XL! So, yeah, it was pretty big for French standards considering these didn’t even exist a few years ago. I was mildly impressed, but this French EEKSelle was a mere 500 grams (about 1 pound). Frenchies would probably say, “Ouah. Enorme!”(wow. enormous!) while ogling the outrageousness of its packaging. I say, “PFFF! That’s a Barbie portion.”
Last month while shopping at Costco in L.A., we saw some bags of M&Ms. Each weighed 1587.6 grams (3 pounds and 8 ounces)! Now, THAT’S what I’m talkin’ ’bout! To be honest, even I was shocked at the magnitude of the bag. But! In the back of my mind, I was thinking, “I bet there’s one that’s EVEN bigger!” I’m so American. I’ve probably watched way too many episodes of The Simpsons. (You know what episode, I’m talking about.)
We bought several. Not for me because these days I don’t eat as much junk (remember junk food is BAD for you!), but rather, for a few of our French friends who we know are ravenous M&M addicts. They were all shocked and happy with their supersized gifts, exactly what we were hoping.
But just afterward, it all made me a little worried. I hoped those M&Ms last a while and aren’t eaten right away…
While I complained about the dinkiness in size of M&Ms bags and other snacks, and the lack of variety in France, I was, at the same time, relieved that I would not have the challenge of resisting eating these as well as other junk in grand quantities. Like many people, I can’t eat just 1, or 10 or even 15. The French were known to be bafflingly skinny for many reasons, but namely because of a lack of junk foods and specifically a lack of large quantities of junk foods, or food in general – with the exception of meat at BBQs.
Sadly, times are changing in France. We found these M&Ms in the store the other day. They were size “Maxi” (whose name would obviously NOT work in the U.S.). The maxi bag is 1000 grams, just over 2 pounds. France, you surprise me sometimes. So, it’s big but there’s still a difference of about 587.6 grams, about 1.2 pounds, to catch up with their American counterpart. But 2.2 pounds is fairly large for previous French standards.
I know! This is what I was hoping for, but not really.
M&Ms is just one example but there are thousands of products that can also apply here to the obvious conclusion: an increase in product sizes will lead to an increase in consumption, which leads to obesity. This happened in the U.S. which is partly why one third of Americans are obese.
Obesity is rising already in France but I’m afraid it will only increase exponentially with the supersizing of portions and with the imports of industrial foods. In 2002, when we first moved to France 9.4% of the French population was obese. Just four years later, that percentage increased to 12.4%. That’s nearly 8 million obese people in 2006. I don’t know more current stats on obesity in France but I’m fairly positive that it’s more than 12.4%.
We seem to be running into strange product names lately, and these licorice candies are no exceptions. As an English speaker, an edible product called, “Rotella” just does not inspire consumer confidence, even though I do really like black licorice candy. In French, I don’t think it works either but what do I know. All being said, I would still rather eat these Rotellas, (rotten sounding and all) than this licorice stick.