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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ten British Foods I Miss Like Mad




Whilst I love the fresh food available here in Poitou-Charentes, there are times when my body seems to crave stuff that British residents take for granted. Some things you just can't get here, and some which are displayed in the tiny ‘British food section' of the supermarket which would be more aptly titled ‘daylight robbery section.' The ‘range' of goods on offer hardly sets hearts racing (spam anyone?), and frankly I don't know if supermarket managers are privately having a giggle at us desperate Brits.

Compiling this list had me drooling and whimpering like a hungry dog. It took me some time to arrive at my own top-ten, because at each item I seemed to drift away, almost able to taste the items in question. Anyway, grab some tissues to mop up the saliva, and check out the list of what I miss the most:
Cheddar Cheese - The French are luke-warm on this British favourite, but we can't get enough of it, the stronger the better! You can keep your Roquefort!
Cadburys Chocolate - This is the best chocolate in the world. Milka, Toblerone and Lindt simply do not compare. Don't even think about comparing it with the imposter you can buy from Nestle. Only Cadbury's will do. Preferably a Dairy Milk the size of a mattress!
Bacon - Who do the French think they are kidding. Bacon is not circular, and is not paper-thin. It is almost guitar-shaped and requires more than 10 seconds in the pan. The edges should go crispy, and it should be served on thick sliced white bread....
Takeaways - If I had a euro for every time someone has muttered ‘I could murder a decent takeaway' I'd be a rich man indeed. Unhealthy, full of additives and sugars, and invented for the downright lazy amongst us, but sometimes, just sometimes....
Walkers crisps - Cheese and onion to be precise. This flavor has been attempted here, with credible results, but none can match Gary Lineker's favorite.
Baked Beans - The local equivalent product has a label that translates as "baked beans in dirty dishwater." It's missing that thick tomatoes sauce like you find in Heinz or even popular supermarket brands.
Proper bread - I like fresh crusty baguettes, but there are times when a decent thick sliced loaf of white bread is required. You can buy ‘recette Anglais' here, but it is ridiculously priced, and nothing like a decent Hovis or Warburtons.
Real Ale - Why don't the French go for proper beer? Why is it that only lager or white (wheat) beer is available in the local bars? While I am not a big beer drinker, there are times that a pint of Snecklifter, Old Peculiar or Speckled Hen would go down a treat.
Crackers for Cheese - We served up a selection of crackers to our French neighbours recently, and they didn't really know what to do with them. Certainly, the Scottish Oatcakes drew puzzled looks. "Aren't oats for horses?" one person offered. Another used one as a coaster. Philistines
Branston Pickle - Chutney schmutney! There's nothing out there to beat the ‘small-chunk' version of this British classic, home-made or not. A perfect partner to the aforementioned cheddar cheese.
Guide2PoitouCharentes
your indispensable guide to the sunniest region of western France

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