TRAVEL with pat and lew

Archive for the ‘food’ Category

* food shopping in Collioure

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 1, 2007

Our main source of food is SHOPI, a small supermarket in the center of town, which has a very nice selection of fresh and packaged foods.

Of course there are delicious cheeses, and we’re experimenting our way through them all. There are canned goods, including Geant Vertz (Green Giant) corn, cookies, bread for toast, soda (Coke and ginger ale), and beer. We’ve learned to interpret what is printed on the cans and boxes, and are only sometimes surprised when we open them.

An aside … our French toaster makes toast perfectly, unlike every toaster we have ever purchased in America, and … when done, the toast pops right out of the toaster, sometimes onto the plate … it’s utterly remarkable what the French can do when it comes to food.

Shoppi also has real food … small packages of fish, shrimp, hamburger, and steaks. A few days ago, I saw a package of salmon steaks, which they don’t always have. Cooked on our tiny electric grill, they were excellent.

We will not go hungry, although we do wish we could find just one can of Campbell’s tomato soup.

For the best bread we’ve ever tasted, there is the small boulangerie next to Shoppi. It took many visits and many bonjour Madame’s, but now we receive a genuine smile in return. We practice our French for this simple task … Je voudrais une baguette et un pain d’raisins.

In France, you buy a baguette every day, since they harden quickly, but Pat has learned that warming the rock hard bread in the oven both softens it and produces a delicious crisp crust. The only problem is that bread is my downfall, and I’ve gained 5 pounds. Maybe the cheese has something to do with it. 

The farmer’s market on Sunday and Wednesday mornings is our main source of fresh vegetables – pepper, onions, lettuce, and olives.

Carrefours in neighboring Argeles-sur-mer is a major supermarket with a wide variety of packaged foods, cosmetics, paper goods, etc. We get there by train from Collioure (4 minutes) and taxi (5 minutes). Then we have the lady at the customer service desk call the taxi for the return trip to the gare dans Argeles.

We can only carry two shopping bags each, so this is a limited voyage, and we schedule large shopping runs to Carrefours whenever we have a rental car for some other reason.

Pizza and ice cream are staples in Collioure. There are several pizza restaurants, as well as one terrific take-out place. Ice cream in dozens of flavors is sold from freezer bins along many streets in town. I still prefer vanilla, and you get “French Vanilla” without even asking for it.

I should mention shopping bags. They don’t give you any in the stores, so you have to bring your own or buy one. We have forgotten enough times so we have quite a collection, but lately we seem to remember.

Posted in ... 2006, ... France - COLLIOURE, food, shopping | Leave a Comment »

* instant oatmeal

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 1, 2007


Oatmeal is filling, which helps me eat less bread, and it also reduces cholesterol, so this is an important topic. It took several trials, and thus several errors, but success has been attained.

First, to find the ingredients. In the U.S., Quaker offers a wide variety of pre-packaged instant oatmeals – apple & cinnamon, raisins and spice, strawberries and cream, and my favorite, maple and brown sugar. In France, no such packages exist.

There are a variety of Quaker oat cereals, and, I’m excited one day at Carrafours to find, a box which proclaims QUAKER OATS Flocons d’Avoine, which Google Translate later tells me is “rolled oats.” On the side of the package, three cooking methods are offered – au micro-onde, caisson traditionnelle, and, glory be told, instantane. 

Still, under instantane, there is mention of delicieux dans du lait froid, delicious in cold milk, which is not my idea at all.  So I start with caisson traditionnelle, heat milk in a small pot, add the cereal, mix it about, and create an generally unsatisfying mess. 

Boil water in the pot, it occurs to me, like you do in Key West. Cereal in the bowl, along with the cassonade (brown sugar), and pour on the boiling water.

Better, but still not quite what I’m looking for. 

Finally, the perfect method (méthode parfaite). Cereal in the bowl, pour in the boiling water, mix thoroughly and allow to stand. Then add the cassonade, lots of cassonade. Voila! Toss in a few almonds. This is delicious. 

Thus we bring our American tastes to Collioure, adding to the pleasure of our daily adventure. 

Now if I can only find maple syrup.

Posted in ... France - COLLIOURE, food | Leave a Comment »