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How do the French get their food?

It will be interesting to see if the trend toward locavore that is now here in the States translates into more regional distribution and more farmer's cooperatives. The article about European cooperatives pointed out that they have a long history in Europe; certainly less so in the US which is definitely a factor.

We just picked up our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and although they don't grow any fruit, we do get a wonderful array of vegetables. We stopped at a local farms stand on our way back to look for local peaches. The one's they had were from Virginia, not exactly local, but closer then California where most peaches are grown.

We live in a rural part of southwest Ohio and, although I appreciate all of what we DO get, I know that if this were rural France, there would be a LOT more.

Jul 28, 2014
antonia2 in France

How do the French get their food?

Parnasien,

I believe you are right! When you google "Farmer's Cooperative in France", one of the things that turns up is a 127 page Report commissioned by the European Union that talks about the important and strategic role that farmer's cooperative play throughout Europe in making sure that farmer's produce gets to market, that there are markets that are prepared to distribute to small and medium sized enterprises that then sell to consumers. Thus the demand for good fruit and vegetables is able to be satisfied.

There is also a smaller article that says 75% of French farmers are members of these Cooperatives.

Now I know!

Thanks.

Jul 27, 2014
antonia2 in France

How do the French get their food?

This continues to be an interesting discussion. If I can summarize, I think the main points are:

1. There is a better appreciation for ripe, delicious, fruit and good food in France vs the States. There are a number of reasons for this, not the least of which is because French children are fed great food from the get go.

2. Distribution remains an issue, as Sandiasingh points out.

I just read an article on the US Department of Agriculture website about how to get "local" meat to consumers who are increasingly demanding it. Meat must be processed and inspected and a barrier has been lack of processing and inspection plants that smaller farmers can use, i.e. are not too far away and will process relatively small amounts.

The article profiles 6 small/regional processing plants and how they work. The bottom line is it is all about commitment on both sides to deliver for the other and consistent follow through. This means the farmer agrees to deliver X amount of cattle to the processor who agrees to process X amount of beef and there is good and on-going communication between farmer and processor. More of a partnership between the two.

It is being done, however, and their might be hope for peach farmers and consumers in Georgia, to say nothing of cherry farmers in Michigan and consumers (me) in Ohio.

3. Price is an issue for now, at least, but might be helped by better distribution systems.

Jul 27, 2014
antonia2 in France
1

How do the French get their food?

Supply and demand is almost like chicken/egg, which came first?

It is very clear that the French have much higher expectations of what their food should be like. As others point out, Americans (so far) do not. Hence the demand side.

But, I sense this is changing. Certainly the larger farmer's markets, like the Union Square Market, are part of this, as are the increasing number of artisanal (spelling?) cheese makers, bourbon makers, maple syrup makers, etc.

But, access to these special products -- and the cherries from Michigan instead of Oregon -- still seems to be hard to come by. Unlike French consumers, we can't exercise choice, even as we are demanding more and more choice.

Meeting that demand requires some kind of infrastructure.

Again, I ask, how do the French ACTUALLY do it? Is having a central market, like Rungis make it possible to supply those delicious raspberries on the streets of Paris? Where actually do those small street sellers get their fruit, vegetables, etc?

Are there regional markets/middle folk in the countryside and other cities where the street seller can buy excellent fruit/vegetables and then sell them to the French consumer from the smaller shop?

Without that infrastructure in the middle we here in the US will be limited to the hard, but shiny tomatoes at the supper market, or the cherries from Oregon when they are also grown 300 miles away in Michigan.

How do I get access to those cherries?

Jul 27, 2014
antonia2 in France

How do the French get their food?

We are back from a three week trip to France, one week in Provence and two weeks in Paris.

We are curious about how the French food delivery system works. For instance, there are small market stalls in many neighborhoods in Paris that had absolutely delicious fresh fruit: cherries, raspberries, strawberries. Ripe, tasty, and very inexpensive compared to costs in our neck of the woods (Ohio). And we can't even find such fruit, not in our farmer's markets nor the high end groceries and there is nothing "in the middle".

As we think about it, we suspect it has something to do with the food delivery system. Of course, France is a smaller country than the US, but why can't I get strawberries from neighboring southern states, or cherries from Michigan (they come from Washington state), or local raspberries?

The folks at the small stalls weren't farmers. These are not "farmer's markets". And my memory is that even the local Monoprix had great fruit -- and of course great cheese and miles of yogurt.

So, any thoughts on how the system works?

Jul 26, 2014
antonia2 in France

Provence, Vaucluse

This part of Provence is less well known so it was much more challenging to find places to eat (much less places that would accommodate our large crowd. We were very lucky in the great advice we had from our French contacts. Cotteaux et Forchette in Cairanne was one of our favorite meals in the entire three weeks (including Paris). And La Poem was just charming (and delicious).

Jul 17, 2014
antonia2 in France

Helping in narrowing down the Paris list

This is interesting, because we read Chowhound so we can find the "off piste" recommendations. It is easy to find the new and trendy-- the NYTimes is well-known as sources for this information. We look to those of you who live/eat in the cities/towns we visit (Bethlehem, PA just before France) for exactly those kind of recommendations. Of course, Paris IS much more of a challenge then Bethlehem PA!

Jul 15, 2014
antonia2 in France

Helping in narrowing down the Paris list

To be honest, we didn't find the service so impeccable. Actually found it quite ordinary, which certainly matched the food. The setting was nice, but Fermette Marbeuf can't be matched in THAT category.

Jul 15, 2014
antonia2 in France

Helping in narrowing down the Paris list

Wow, coming from you all -- Chef June, Parnassien, and Prigi -- I am feeling very grateful for the nice comments. Someone should do a piece on the "nice eateries that don't get enough attention." At least for us, these turned out to be among our favorite experiences.

Jul 15, 2014
antonia2 in France

Helping in narrowing down the Paris list

We are so glad we stumbled on it as well. One of our favorites. We really will never forget walking in and seeing everyone so happy they were dancing. I'm still grinning . . .

Jul 15, 2014
antonia2 in France

Helping in narrowing down the Paris list

Mangeur,

Thank you for the nice comments. Chowhounders have been so valuable to us in our travels from Allentown PA to Paris France and we wanted to share our own experiences.

Jul 15, 2014
antonia2 in France

Provence, Vaucluse

This part of Provence is not well discussed on Chowhound, so I thought I would post a note about three restaurants that we ate in during our week living in a villa in Grillon with 17 of our nearest and dearest family and friends plus our two grandchildren, aged 2 and 1/2. That number of people plus the children meant much arranging before hand and it certainly paid off. Plus, one of our party is a wine importer, and he used his connections in Chauteuneuf du Pape and Gigondas to help us find great food and wine.

La Poeme in Grignan. We essentially had the entire restaurant. Lovely dinning room in small delightful village near where we were staying. Three course menu with wine and two amuse bouche, plus pasta for the children. Delicious food, extremely well prepared and served with charm and courtesy by the single waitress (who might have been the wife of the chef?). Delightful way to start our week in Haute Provence.

Second meal was a lunch at Coteaux et Forchettes in Cairanne. This might have been our favorite meal in all of France (including a subsequent two weeks in Paris). Absolutely amazing food, fabulous wine, and gorgeous looking restaurant. We ate at two long tables in the beautiful garden. The vinter who recommended Coteaux told us that this restaurant could have a Michelin star, and that was not an understatement. A spectacular meal!

Similarly, on the recommendation of the winemakers, we ate at L'Oustalet in Gigondas and also had a great lunch. Of course the wine was fabulous as was the food and service.

The staff at these three restaurants were universally kind and generous to the small children in our group. We felt very well cared for and had memorable food.

Jul 15, 2014
antonia2 in France

Helping in narrowing down the Paris list

Paris.

We had an amazing time eating our way around Paris and I wanted to thank everyone for helping to make our eating time so enjoyable. Here's where we finally ate and our thoughts on the food/restaurants.

Spring. Well, we didn't love it. Our first meal in Paris and it somehow didn't hold together well. We did the tasting menu (without wine pairings) and found each individual dish interesting and creative, but . . . and the "but" became more obvious as we ate at other, similar restaurants, like David Toutain.

Two of our party had eaten in lots of brasseries during a trip to Paris in the 1980's and insisted we try one. On the recommendation of the experts at Chowhound who had serious reservations about the idea, we went to Le Grand Colbert,. And our friends learned a lesson. Never do that again. C+ at best. But a learning experience.

David Toutain. Loved it. Again the tasting menu. Design of the restaurant is peaceful and lovely with a slight "Japanese" feel to the minimalist decor. Service excellent and food delicious and inventive. One of our favorites. Better then Springs (and less costly).

6Paul Bert. Very different from above -- much more lively (read noisy), but food delicious and a nice wine from Languedoc

Chez Des Anges. Not on our original list, but we were looking for something less "new French" and this was in Michelin. Excellent meal in lovely modern setting.

Youpi et Voila. What a find. I had the reservation for Le Verre Vole mixed up and when we arrived they told us it was the next night. Asked for a recommendation and they called Youpi. Wow. We walked in (restaurant still empty at 8:15) and the two chefs and one waiter were dancing !! in the tiny kitchen which is right in the tiny dinning room. That set the tone for the entire meal/evening. Lovely meal and atmosphere and the enjoyment of the staff showed in the food. A must if we ever get back to Paris.

Le Verre Vole. Great meal and very helpful staff. Tiny restaurant (although bigger then Youpi, which isn't saying much.) Delicious meal, again at reasonable prices.

And speaking of meals. We found that for the two of us, it made sense to share an appetizer (entree), choose our own main dish (plates) and share a dessert. We also stuck to glasses of wine or half bottles. This method not only satisfied our hunger, but kept the calories at bay.

Ze Kitchen Galerie. Again, wonderful meal, fabulous service and beautiful decor. Someday, I will return and steal the curtains.

La Fermette Marbeuf. Not on the list, but recommended by a friend of our friends as a visual experience with decent food. Restaurant interior was truly amazing (it is a landmark) and food was pretty good.

We also ate at a lovely restaurant, Aux Enfants Gates, near where we were staying in the 14th. Very, very nice food and atmosphere with wife in front, husband the chef. Small, and very pleasant.

Last meal, at Marie Louise also in the 10th. Again delicious food, nice atmosphere.

Final words. Universally, the staff at all the restaurants were extremely helpful in explaining the menus, recommending wines, and we were very well treated. And despite the fact that it was cold and rainy for our last week in Paris, we enjoyed ourselves immensely. Thank you everyone for all your help. A bientot.

Jul 15, 2014
antonia2 in France

Paris trip report & thoughts for those going next

we didn't go into the restaurant -- just ate on the street. Sounds like there are lots of good falafal places -- and the price is definitely right!

Jun 29, 2014
antonia2 in France

Paris trip report & thoughts for those going next

Well, with all due respect since I am not a falafel specialist, we loved L'As du Falafel. We opted for not eating inside, since the line was very long, and ate on the street. The falafel was delicious -- crisp, not burnt, filled with vegetables. Truly delicious and fun to eat. Falafel is a good street food and we loved the experience and taste.

Jun 29, 2014
antonia2 in France

Eating on a boat in Paris

Thanks everyone. We looked at the Calife dinner cruise and it is just too much food for us, although the ship looks lovely. So we will look for an evening cruise without food. Any suggestions? (at the risk of being off topic)

May 29, 2014
antonia2 in France

Eating on a boat in Paris

My husband is very interested in taking a boat trip on the Seine in the evening, preferably with dinner included. I know that this is not likely to be the best meal we eat in our two weeks in Paris, but are there any thoughts on doing this? Choices of boats?

Thanks

May 28, 2014
antonia2 in France

Paris strategy/help s'il vous plait

I think we may have inadvertently stumbled on a solution. I think one of the reasons that restaurants continue to see having a noisy place as a positive, is that too few of us have the guts to either complain or to request that the sound be turned down.

As Parigi recounts, too often people feel intimidated to request something that most likely everyone wants (including the staff who are there all the time).

I for one will learn the very polite way of requesting that the volume be turned down.

May 19, 2014
antonia2 in France

Paris strategy/help s'il vous plait

Good for you. I would do the same. Maybe I should my French for, "please turn down the music."

Toni

May 19, 2014
antonia2 in France

Paris strategy/help s'il vous plait

This is an interesting phenomena in the US. We live in a very small town in Ohio, but we have an outstanding restaurant, The Winds. Food is fabulous, great wine list, nice service. However, the sound level is distracting at best; ear-splitting at worst. We know the owners and they deliberatly keep it this way (I know, I've asked) in order to keep the atmosphere "lively." That means lots of wood, stone, etc. Not music, but a built environment. It hasn't stopped us, but it does make us pause.

Lively conversation is fine; having to yell at your table mates is awful Hopefully 6 Paul Bert is the former

May 19, 2014
antonia2 in France
1

Paris strategy/help s'il vous plait

I understand that, although some restaurants make a point of having a "lively" atmosphere that often means it is intentionally very loud no matter who is in the room. This is a trend in the US and for me, at least, distracts from the experience. I had read a review of 6 Paul Bert that said that this was an issue, although John Talbott has reassured me that it is not so.

May 18, 2014
antonia2 in France

Paris strategy/help s'il vous plait

Our original plan was to eat at 6 so we will now stick to it.

May 18, 2014
antonia2 in France

Paris strategy/help s'il vous plait

John,

Thanks so much. I do trust your judgements on this.

Toni

May 17, 2014
antonia2 in France

Paris strategy/help s'il vous plait

I just read a review of le 6 Paul Bert that said it was very, very noisy. This is a big no no for me. Is Bistro Paul Bert, which I thought was different from le 6, also noisy?

May 17, 2014
antonia2 in France

Marseille, Nice, and Aix-en Provence

I wonder if the Chow folks could also help us with some recommendations in Marseille as well. I have been watching the posts about Marseille, but we have a specific need. We will be there one night with our 2 year old twin grandchildren. Is there a good place to take them that also has great food?

Mar 21, 2014
antonia2 in France

Helping in narrowing down the Paris list

Thanks Parnassien -- and everyone.

We have eliminated Cafe des Musees, substituted Cuisine de Phillippe, but kept Aux 2 Oliviers.

Nothing is perfect . . .

Feb 06, 2014
antonia2 in France

best brasserie in paris

One of our friends who visited Paris many years ago remembers brasseries as being great places to eat. I have tried to disabuse her of this, because few people on Chow mention brasseries when talking about good food. But I wanted to find out what people on Chow thought when actually asked about brasseries.

Certainly sound like great places to eat lunch or have a drink and watch the world.

Feb 05, 2014
antonia2 in France

Helping in narrowing down the Paris list

Ok, we've narrowed it down to 7 restaurants. Here's the list:

Aux 2 Oliviers
Cafe des Musees
David Toutain
Goust
Le 6 Paul Bert
Les 110 de Taillevent
Maceo
Spring

Any FINAL thoughts?

Feb 05, 2014
antonia2 in France

best brasserie in paris

We are looking to eat at least one meal at a great brasserie. Any suggestions?

Feb 05, 2014
antonia2 in France

Helping in narrowing down the Paris list

John,

I did check on your website to see if you had gone and saw the great review. We've added to our list!

Jan 19, 2014
antonia2 in France