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Nov 27, 2009 06:17 AM

Peanut butter in France

Is it true that you can't get "north american" style peanut butter in France? I've also heard plastic wrap, tin foil and ziploc bags are hard to come by. Is this true? Is there anything else a "north americanized" family with kids would need whilst living in France for a year?

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  1. Not sure where you heard all this. Plastic wrap, tin foil and ziploc bags can be found at any better super market and department stores. As for the peanut better, you may have to go to a store that specializes in American food.

    Once your kids will be hooked on pains au chocolat, madeleines, etc. they may less miss their PB. You even may run into slight trouble once back home, where real French pastries may be hard to come by.

    Enjoy your year here!

    PS: Will you be in Paris or 'en province'? (Could make a difference re. your questions.)

    12 Replies
    1. re: Dodo

      My experience has been the opposite.
      In the supermarkets (Champion, Shoppi, Franprix) in my deprived Paris neighborhood (the 9th),I can find peanut butter easily. I can't for the life of me find ziploc. I can find plastic wrap and tin foil,but they are not as user-friendly as the kind found in the US.

      1. re: Parigi

        Parigi, I think that explains your problem, these are all small "corner shop" supermarkets, you need to cross the Periphique and get to one of the big hyper-markets. We used to do this every now and then to stock up on basics you couldn't get, or that were very expensive in "central" Parisian supermarkets.

        1. re: PhilD

          Touché on my problem, which is that I don't "do" 'burbs.
          But will make such an expedition for ziploc.

          1. re: Parigi

            I think there is still a very big Auchan at La Defense (I say think because the shopping centre was being revamped when I worked there) that may be a good bet as it is on the Metro.

              1. re: Parigi

                I think the massive Carrefour at Marie de Montreuil is not that heinous, and should be convenient, but I think the Monoprix at Place Leon Blum has all these things and will allow you to preserve your street rep.

                1. re: Busk

                  "I think the Monoprix at Place Leon Blum has all these things and will allow you to preserve your street rep."

                  You mean my street cred, right? Or maybe I should start "crossing the périphérique" - as Phil suggests - and cultivate my mall cred.
                  I want to clarify an already boring point: It is not that one cannot find plastic wrap in French stores. The wrap here does not have a user-friendly tear system, which defeats the purpose. As for ziploc, every time I fly to the US, I try my best to steal a maximum from US customs. I mean a maximum of ziplocs.
                  Another précision: peanut butter is by no means only for kids, or only for Americans. It is an important ingredient in many sauces and dips in Asian recipes.

                  1. re: Parigi

                    I do not believe it's a crime to take more than one ziploc at airports but having taken only two law school courses, I suggest you don't use up one of your phone calls on me from jail. Parigi raises an interesting point I agree with, that is, that ziplocs and wrap are better bought in the US than here, but, counter evidence, sample of 1, last time I exited CdeG, the security lady was dismissive about my Dulles ziploc and gave me an ADP one and ya know what? It's bigger and better. Vive La France!

            1. re: Parigi

              One year, we had two grand-kids living with us and made a weekly run (in our car) to a hypermarche for all such items including big-sized items, diapers, soap, etc., (but indeed it was just beyond the peripherique) except ziploc bags and Planters' roasted peanuts which I still schlep over when needed. I happen not to like the French brands of shrink wrap as well as Saran too.

              John Talbott

          2. re: Dodo

            We are going to be in Vaugines in the Vaucluse region.

            1. re: CdnFoodie

              You may have to go to Aix for the PB... or tell anybody coming from the US (or are you Canadian??) to visit to bring you some.

          3. I second Dodo on the tinfoil etc... you can buy them in any supermarket.

            As for peanut butter, you can find it in bigger supermarkets (I see it at my local Carrefour and Géant), and they also have it at my local health food store. Unfortunately, it's all American-style PB (like Skippy), not my preferred all-natural nothing but peanuts-and-salt type PB. :(

            Maple syrup is expensive here, I always bring a bottle back from NA.
            And Mexican/Tex-Mex food is horrible here, you can get limes and cilantro and a couple of types of fresh chilies, but if you like Mexican food, bring along some dried chilies and canned chipotles in adobo.... you won't find them here anywhere!!! And taco sauce.

            1. The original comment has been removed
              1. Available in Carrefour, Hyper U, and Leclerc:

                (Roll mouse over photo and click)

              2. Hi:

                If you have suggestions on where to find these items, please do post about them. However, general discussions about whether or not one should eat peanut butter, or other non-French items while living in France are off-topic for this board, and we have removal several posts on that topic.

                Thank you.

                5 Replies
                1. re: The Chowhound Team

                  I don't think those comments are off topic at all. When you visit other countries you should at leats make some attempt to follow those countrie's mores. Else, why do you travel?

                  1. re: RonfromLaos

                    The France board has a very narrow focus: where to find great chow in France. If you want to discuss the topic of making attempts to follow the mores (as related to food) of the countries to which one travels, you are welome to start a thread on the Not About Food board.

                    1. re: The Chowhound Team

                      if you're in paris, you don't havr to cross the peripherique to but peanut butter. It's available in most supermarkets (Franprix, monoprix...) You'll find, in jars, an american and sweeter take on this speciality, and in tins, the more african and unsalted and unsweetened 'pâte d'arrachide'. In areas with an African population, you'll even find it in the convenience stores.

                      1. re: vielleanglaise

                        That's what I said, in fact in the 1st reply to the OP. (I think others are teasing me for being the kind of Parisian who never crosses the périph, which is quite ok and sort of true.)
                        But I like your tip re the African kind.

                        1. re: Parigi

                          .....but surely only to get to Roissy, Orly, or in a TGV?

                2. Close to Vaugines is the Hyper U in Pertuis. You don't have to go as far as Aix.

                  Refer to my above post for photo of the available peanut butter.

                  P.S. Beautiful fountain in the square in Vaugines, it was the inspiration for the classic "Jean de Florette" and the sequel "Manon des Sources".