Since my post on 13th January lamenting the cream situation in France – LOOK WHAT I FOUND!
In an ordinary ‘SuperU’ supermarket too.
So, expats, immigrants and general lovers of fresh double cream – where are the French hiding the best cream?
In the cheese section of course.
I know I know, you are wondering ‘which cheese section’?
Which cheese section?
If you’re not familiar with French supermarkets – there are several cheese sections. Not unlike a good UK supermarket or any other European supermarket I’ve visited to be honest. Just a wee bit bigger…
Cheese section #1
There’s the sealed cheeses section, usually found near yoghurt and often abutted by the extensive crème fraîche zone. That’s where you’ll find standard boxed camemberts, ‘Vache qui Rit’ and other soft processed cheeses, ‘Baby Bel’, vaccuum-packed ‘Mimolette’ (some kind of edam-like orange cheese my children like) and this sort of thing. It could be worth scouring the crème fraîche zone for what I call normal cream – I did find some 30% fat cream there that wasn’t crème fraîche. But only the one and it took about ten minutes of staring at packaging to locate. If you’re feeling patient and determined, go for it!
You might also want to check the part of the ‘fridge area where the fresh milk is kept. Good luck finding that section if you’re never looked before. So when you DO find it, take a moment to make the most of it and familiarise yourself with what is paired with fresh milk. You never know…could be CREAM! (Tip: The fresh milk is, in my experience, never anywhere near the shelves full of UHT milk – usually first up after the fridge bit, and next to or above which you might find the UHT creams, but not always…in our local ‘Carrefour Contact’, for example, the UHT cream is all in the ‘fridge with the yoghurt, while at the further-away SuperU it’s by the UHT milks.)
Cheese section #2
Then there’s the cheese counter where you ask for specific amounts of whichever uncut cheese you fancy. Here’s where it’s good to buy un-packaged ‘raclette’ cheese, which the fromagier or fromagiere will cut into the necessary thinner oblongs for you, ready for melting. Yum! If yours is a very good cheese counter it could be worth asking about ‘normal cream’ as they may have some, or be able to get it for you from the dairy. Try asking for creme entière.
Cheese section #3
Often there’s a third cheese section in French supermarkets, usually near to the cheese counter, where there is a selection of cheese from that region, either whole or pre-cut and glad-wrapped (cling filmed) and priced. Tucked into this area is where I found, on all its creamy lonesome….
So the one on the left is UHT and has some gunk in it, but the one of the right is the real thing. Pure an unadulterated (except that it’s pasteurised).
Unless its’ some kind of gruyere cheesy double cream, but I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure ‘Gruyère’ is only referring to the town of Gruyères in Switzerland whose cows it’s from and nothing else to do with the cheese they also make. Excited as I was to find this wonder, I am not in fact currently in need of double cream and am trying to keep the shopping bills down in the wake of Christmas and our €1000 quarterly electric bill. It is no cheap to live in France – and I must get onto the agent and really get to grips with our under-floor heating, which ‘the man’, when he came, told me we can’t set on or off and just does it’s own thing. It was enough at the time to manage the conversation about the ins and outs of our overly complex heating system in French, and it wasn’t until he’d long gone that I realised it must, surely, be possible to switch it off, and that I should have asked. Since we don’t want to be paying to heat the house when we’re on holiday. Anyway…cream…
There we have it. Double cream IS available in France. I’ll buy some over the next couple of months and post a little review!
Thanks for visiting my blog. If you’re lost in your local French supermarket and can’t find things in what you think of as their logical places, panic not. I will post a guide soon!
If you’re new here – thanks for trying it out :-). See you again soon. And feel free to comment.