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favourite French supermarket products

Like most everyone here, I love markets, and small food shops, but it is also fascinating to visit supermarkets when visiting or staying in different countries. In France, aisles of everything from varieties of sardines to many wines, and interesting non-food products too.

What are your favourite supermarket products in France? Any own brands or product ranges you like?

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  1. Really not much.
    The bloc de foie gras in jar form by Reflets de France.
    France has the kind of fabulous fresh foods available in the markets that poeple in many countries can't buy with money.

      1. I think if you Google a bit here and elsewhere you'll find lots of threads on "What to bring home from France?" etc.
        Since i've been living in France (versus 1953) when I go to the states, I bring back nothing but stupid things like soap, Rhodia pads and self-sealing envelopes from the Monoprix. Oh and Holywood gum for the lady in my academic office who is much smarter than I with software.
        In 1953 and on though I admit to bringing back Perruche raw sugar and Ricard for me and over-priced Fauchon mustard three-bies for my staff.
        But as Parigi says, or implies, if you live in a major metropolitan area, it's all there.
        And before i get attacked about the necessity of bringing back raw milk cheese, which one "cannot get in Boise," let me note that it is also almost non-existent here too (7% according to Ptipois's favorite source http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/01/sun...).

        6 Replies
        1. re: John Talbott

          Perfect!
          After 30 years there are now only two things we bring back.

          Rhodia pads and soap. Lately it is down to soap since Rhodia pads are now pretty widely available in the U S of A.

          Oh yeah. Sometimes sel gris for our friends.

          1. re: jock

            Rhodia writing pads have been available in Québec for decades. I do love them.

          2. re: John Talbott

            John Talbott, Which Rhodia pad do you bring back?

            1. re: sweet100s

              Bloc # 11, 12 and 14. Don't ask.
              I just Googled them and suppliers have them all.

                1. re: UPDoc

                  Mouse pads and 2 x 3 (or so) pads with the Rhodia orange vinyl pad cover. Keep one in my handbag.

          3. It depends where in France you are.

            In the regions, supermarkets are often the best way to stock on local and artisan products at a fair price. Supermarket distribution at a regional level is truly awesome in France. If you're in the West for instance, any "système U" will have Beillevaire butter, Challans chickens and ducks, etc. In Brittany, dairy products from local farms are available at Leclerc and Carrefour supermarkets.

            I love Paris supermarkets too (you do not buy everything from markets), but it would be too long to list the interesting products*. Some chains have better wine selections than others, some have fantastic generic brands (Reflets de France for Carrefour-Auchan). The larger Monoprix (Beaugrenelle, Montparnasse, Saint-Augustin...) are really awesome.

            * Just to name a few:
            Cornichons indeed
            Mustards
            Olive oils
            Canned sardines
            Canned cassoulet & confit

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ptipois

              From the OP's spelling "favourite" not "favorite", I suspect he/she does not have a Trader Joe, Whole Foods, etc., or local boutique around the corner, so you are correct to advise buying Cornichons, Mustard, Olive oils, Canned sardines, Canned cassoulet & confit, but for folks going to back to the states that voted for our President, I think for 20 cents more, it's not worth the schlep.

            2. Like you, I love to browse the supermarkets when I am traveling. In Paris, cheap pates including tete de veau, celeriac remoulade in plastic containers, canned soups, lentil de puy, condiments of all types. In the fall, buy lots of wild mushrooms at Monoprix, especially when we had an apartment near r Daguerre in the 14e. Much of it is from Spain but good and priced well. And we always bring back a couple jars of Bonne Maman rhubarb jam; excellent and only about 1.5 euro.

              2 Replies
              1. re: PBSF

                Bonne Maman had a rhubarb in it's Intense line of jams, far less sugar. Regretfully have not seen the rhubarb for @ 18 months.

                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                  The Bonne Maman rhubarb jam that we buy at the Franprix in the 5e seems to be their normal line: similiar label, cap and price (1.7 euro) as the rest. Besides being a big fan of rhubarb, the jam really taste like rhubarb and not overly sweet. One can easily find the regular line in US but we have never able to find the rhubarb flavor in the San Francisco Bay Area where we live. We haven't find anything comparable even at 3 times the price.