Lucky Charms

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Alexis and I were grocery shopping in Nîmes one afternoon and we came across Lucky Charms in the international section.  Alexis loves Lucky Charms and we were a little excited about taking a box home with us until we saw this:

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That’s right, 9,49 euros or $10.69 for 16 ounces of Lucky Charms!  They were not that enticing after seeing the price tag and they did not end up in my shopping cart!:(

Condiments

French condiments are a little different than in the States.  For example, Aaron, Sophie and I sat down at a little outdoor cafe, in Vars, to get some hot chocolate and a snack. The waiter brought us some tartine.  Tartine is an open face sandwich, and at this little cafe it was slices of delicious french baguette and condiments on the side to spread on the baguette.  The condiments consisted of little jars of Bonne Maman confiture, small packets of delicious french butter and little packets of Nutella!  That’s right, Nutella!  I love this!  America needs to get with it and start serving more Nutella!  (I have Nutella in my food storage back in the States!)  You can always find Nutella everywhere here!  Ice cream parlors serve Nutella ice cream, most dessert menus have something with Nutella, the grocery stores carry large jars on multiple shelves and locations, every holiday has some type of chocolate with Nutella/hazelnut… the list goes on and on.

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Another fun condiment that one can find here is dijon mustard.  I have been known to sneak miniature jars of dijon mustard out of a restaurant just because they are so cute and irresistible!  I love dijon mustard.  Instead of the typical little plastic packages of yellow mustard, I can enjoy little glass jars of dijon to put on a sandwich!  Love it!

Happy New Year!

I know it is already January 23rd, but I want to record our first New Years Eve in France! Our family has a tradition of having a raclette party New Years Eve.

Raclette is a dish indigenous to parts of Switzerland. The Raclette cheese is heated, either in front of a fire or by a special machine, then scraped onto diners’ plates; the term raclette derives from the French word racler, meaning “to scrape,” a reference to the fact that the melted cheese must be scraped from the unmelted part of the cheese onto the plate.

Traditionally the melting happens in front of an open fire with the big piece of cheese facing the heat. One then regularly scrapes off the melting side. It is accompanied by small firm potatoes (Bintje, Charlotte or Raclette varieties), gherkins, pickled onions, and dried meat, such as jambon cru/cuit (dried ham) and viande des Grisons.”  (Thank you Wikipedia for this quick explanation!)

This is our France raclette machine:

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As you can see, the small hot plates are inserted on top of the heating device, in the middle of the whole raclette machine.  The meat then goes on the heated top cooking surface.  You put your slices of raclette cheese onto each small non-stick plate, insert it above the heat, wait a few minutes while your meat and cheese cook/melt and voila, you scrape off the melted cheese on top of meat and all the other fixings!  Everyone loves this! (Except for me!  I am not a lover of cheese, so I forgo the cheese and enjoy all the rest!)

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One of my first home cooked french meals in France was raclette.  It was with our good friends Joseph Professo and family in Saint Etienne!  It was such an interesting and fun experience for me!  And, of course, Aaron had this meal often while serving a LDS mission in France and Switzerland.

Back in Logan, it was sometimes difficult to find raclette cheese.  If I did find raclette, it was usually a small square that cost anywhere between 5 and 10 dollars.  Here in France, I can find raclette cheese at every grocery store.  I noticed during the holidays, the stores had a larger selection of raclette cheese.  They also have different flavored raclette cheese. For example, we tried raclette with pepper, raclette with onion and a “country” raclette. The cheese here is definitely cheaper than in the States.  It was so fun to continue our tradition here in France!  Plus, everyone said the raclette cheese was so much richer and better here in France!

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When I was shopping at the Carrefour one afternoon, close to the holidays, I came across a section of celebratory items for ringing in the new year.  There were HUGE bags of confetti!  I did not see the usual firework display that is so common in Utah stores.  But, I did find these awesome confetti canons!  I bought two of them and they were the coolest thing!  It is a long heavy stick filled with confetti.  You twist one of the bottom ends and “bam” confetti goes shooting accompanying a loud “boom”.  It was awesome!!!!

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Here Sophie is holding one of the canons!  Everyone felt like it was a rainbow of confetti when the “bomb” went off!

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The confetti was so bright and colorful!  The next day our yard was filled with all the colors of the rainbow!  It was a fun and new experience for us!!!

To finish off our night we celebrated with a traditional Italian cake that our friends, the Serrano’s, brought back from Italy.  It is a Pandoro, which is a traditional italian sweet bread.  It is shaped like a pyramid with an eight pointed star section.  It is dusted with powdered sugar to resemble the italian alps.  The cake comes in a beautiful pyramid box. I saw these desserts in the stores here around the holidays, but did not know exactly what they were.  I am so grateful we get to experience these little things that are a part of french life that one hardly ever gets when you are on vacation!

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Pickles

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Pickles!  This is one product in France that is different than the States that I want to record for my memory.  The taste is a little different due to the way they are preserved.  When you buy a jar of pickles in France you are buying a jar full of flavor!  The pickles are packed with spices and onions.  They are dill pickles with a little bit of sweet!  My kids love these pickles!  I have never seen the “gigantic” pickles here like you would find in any grocery store in America.  You do not find ovals, spears, stackers or other types of pickles, just good gourmet pickles in a jar!  They are the size of gherkins in America.

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Another awesome characteristic of these pickles is the packaging!  There is a plastic green ring at the bottom of the jar that the pickles sit in and then there is a little handle attached to it so you just lift the pickles out of the liquid and grab one.  No more spoons or forks trying to “fish” out those pickles swimming around in the juice!  It is genius!

Simple Treat!

I stumbled upon this the other day in one of the grocery stores:

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It “only” cost 1.50 euros per can, which is $1.77 per can!  (I bought 3 cans for our family to share!)  In the States, we are not a big soda drinking family.  I do not care for it and I try not to get it for my kids.  My Dad used to call it “rot gut”!  I personally agree with him!  I never feel good when I drink soda.  But, when you don’t have access to something it seems like the desire is stronger.  Since being in France, there have been a few times when I have said, “I would sure love a root beer”, even though I don’t drink it often in America.  Funny how things work like that!  The above root beer tasted delicious and who knows when I will stumble upon it again.  (Side note:  the French usually do not like root beer.)

I do see Dr. Pepper in the international section of the grocery stores.  I should note, that each grocery store has a small international section divided into countries.  For example, USA and the English are a combined section, Spain, Oriental, Middle Eastern, sometimes African section, etc.  This is where I am able to find French’s yellow mustard.  The French only have dijon mustard, which I love!  They even have a small section for “mexican” food.  It is a mixture of Old El Paso products that do not taste like the same products in the States, but, hey, when we can’t get any Mexican food within hundreds or thousands of miles, we’ll take anything that slightly resembles spicy flavors.  We like the chili tortilla chips, but the salsa here is way to sweet!  We all miss our homemade garden salsa stored away in our cold storage in Utah! :(  If and when Aaron goes back to the States, he will definitely be loading up on salsa!

As a family we find ourselves talking about the food we miss in America.  But, we are also treasuring the delicious food we are partaking of here in France!  Do you ever associate life with food?  Do you ever plan a vacation based upon food?  Our family does!  Just like our trip to Belgium was influenced by food we wanted to try!  What food/foods would you miss if you didn’t live in America for a year or more?