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It’s a strange and wonderful life when all a girl thinks of in Paris is yogurt. Pots. Because the French are up there with the Greeks and Turks in making super delicious, thick-set yogurt as this young lady (me) found out recently. In my fine opinion, they beat all the competition primarily because of the fine receptacles the said dairy comes in, arguably the finest glass and glazed terracotta pots ‘moi’ has ever seen.

And I’m not the only one who thinks so, Carolyn Jung of Food Gal says:

See that creamy, dreamy yogurt above? (She shows a photo)

People drive miles and miles for it. Because once you’ve had full-fat French yogurt, there’s no going back.

IMG_4365Put them on your list of things to bring back – full or empty. I did just that, and for a quarter of the price I would have paid elsewhere. A four-pack of Carrefour yogurt cost me under a euro. Cheapskate me all you want but they make nice storage jars for pesto, desserts and all the others.

IMG_6142The ceramic ones were a pair for under 3 euros and my lilac set and bright leaf green pots are amongst the prettiest colours you ever saw. Pretty enough to risk missing your flight for.

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Thankfully everything and everyone made it home in good time.

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So, what if I was thinking desserts and verrines and just collect, collect, collect. You know I’m a hoarder right? As a child I used to collect stamps, now I collect buttons, fabric, pots, pans, cutlery, props, recipes and a host of others. There were some spices too. Piment D’Espellete. White Cardamom pods and Colombo spice. Before I bought anything, I walked the aisles of the magnifique Carrefour on the Place D’Italie, across the road from my hotel. I said to my heart, ‘Be still’. Please don’t be fooled by the white cardamom pods like I was, only to find out they were bleached green cardamom pods – nothing new, nothing special, no great undiscovered flavours or scents. The Colombo spice mix is lovely, a blend of curry, cumin and other spices. I love the fragrance, especially in a tomato sauce.

IMG_4153I spent an evening at the highly recommended Le Grande Epicerie, the fine food hall of   ‘Le Bon Marche’, reminiscent of Selfridges and the like. Unfortunately, nothing really took my fancy, except the veggie cooler where gusts of mist kept produce as fresh as day. I checked the prices of the spices – they were more expensive than at the Carrefour, for the exact same bottles. IMG_4264I bought nothing, walking from aisle to aisle, trying to forage out the ‘new’, till a shop attendant chastised me ever so gently ‘Non, madame, No photos’.

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I slipped my black Canon into my pocket….

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….and cantered out the door.

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I loved the market on the Boulevard Auguste Blanqui, where I tried some stuffed vine leaves and some tomato-spiced taboulleh. When I walked past it in the morning on my way to the WIN conference, they were setting up. By lunchtime, when I went out for fresh air, they were shutting down. Just. It was nice to walk in a French market, my first French street market.

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You know I love all things French. Next year, I’ll take cooking and language lessons in France, I’ve promised myself.

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It was lovely to just get a ‘feel’ for the city and I think seeing the market opened the door a notch. There was so much I wished I could try but time and tummy space didn’t permit.

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I did bring back some cured sausages, which are waiting in the fridge for something good to happen to them!

IMG_4386I didn’t bring back any cheese though.

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I reckon we have more than a fine selection here in the Netherlands.

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Not wanting to leave somewhat empty-handed, I bought some of what was left in the market in a hurry – a  kilo of damsons were wrapped up and ready to return home  with me. Where they ended up in a chili jam.

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Finally, I bought my spices at the Monoprix on the Champs Elysées – for the lowest price, though that wasn’t my objective of being on the French tourist highway that day. But it worked out very well – I got Disney Princess outfits for my girls, a ‘Woody (Toy Story) one for the boy and my spices.

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It was a nice trip, Paris was.

Now would you believe that I’m headed somewhere really special. Somewhere I haven’t been for months and years. A place called home. I am pinching myself…..cause I can’t believe that in only a few short days I’ll be sweating with tropical heat, hearing a cacophony of voices in familiar tones and hopefully eating my way through a lot of childhood favourites. I’ll do the best I can to bring you some photos……of home cause I’ll only be away for a short time…….

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Take care X X X

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