Having spent 3 years in France, I realised the other day some of my eating habits have changed. Which led me to think about what I enjoy most in France, what I miss from Belgium and what I miss from both in terms of life expectations.
I still can’t live without my Belgian “Côte d’Or” dark chocolate. Whenever I go to Brussels I bring back loads of it for me and milk chocolate for the hubby. We can find it here in the supermarket but for some reason it doesn’t taste the same at all and is more expensive. Substitutes won’t do, I tried. I’m not one to say this is better than that. But in this case, Côte d’Or beats any chocolate. And for the connoisseurs, I’m not talking about the high-end type, just the regular chocolate you eat on a daily basis and use for baking absolutely delicious cakes!
As I haven’t been back very often this past year, my visitors know what to bring in their suitcase!
The second thing I can’t live without is cherry beer, known as “Kriek”, the Lindemans one is my favourite. It is a sweet beverage made of cherries, it contains alcohol but is not a hard core drink. Its pink colour is beautiful, the white foam on top just makes you want to take a sip! It is a nice beer for those who can’t take the bitterness of the regular ones.
The funny thing is that when living in Brussels, I enjoyed a Kriek once in a while but not that often. As soon as we moved to Chantilly, I craved the damn beer! Go figure. What you can’t find becomes what you desire most!
That’s about all I really miss in terms of available products! Not much if you think of it! Which is quite good. I’m a very adaptable person and can’t think of any other item I bring back from my grocery shopping in the capital of Europe.
Since living in France, my consumption of certain products has risen to some scary unprecedented levels!
Cheese for example. I always liked cheese but would only eat it at my parents and would actually never buy enough to present you with a cheese platter. I would never think of ending a dinner with friends by offering a beautiful cheese selection.
I must say that nowadays, on Sundays, we sometimes go to our local cheese shop and spoil ourselves. They look amazing, they smell divine (well, not all of them) and they taste delicious!
We then go to the baker and get “baguette tradition”, to complement our smelly acquisition.
Baguette tradition is the best. We do have them in Belgium and call it, wait for it: “pain français”!! Or at least we used to, today it is also baguette but you can still hear it from time to time. When I was little, going to France and asking for “pain français” at the baker made you feel quite silly! But hey, we didn’t know any better.
In France, one must recognise they master the art of baguette. It is crunchy on the outside, smells delicious and the breadcrumb is just perfect. When still warm it is not possible to resist and often you arrive home with a good piece of the bread missing. Go figure what happened on the short way back!
The third thing I enjoy more than before is a good glass of wine. I catch myself asking for a glass of red at the restaurant when in the past it would usually be a bottle of water.
Those three new discovered love didn’t help my diet and my scale is not happy, but my stomach and my mind are. You can’t have it all, can you?!
And for the rest
Although France and Belgium are neighbouring countries, they are as different as apples and pears. Not everyone realises this, thinking Belgium is just another type of apple. Well it isn’t! And at the moment, I really want an orange or an apricot!