We love France (you’ve probably gathered); we love it because it offers the things we appreciate, fine wine and stunning scenery. Countless towns and villages that have retained all their quaint past whilst still never being far from the more modern sides of life – we have a wealth of different places we can visit for major outlets, our nearest being Villefranche de Rouergue but it’s also nice (and sometimes cheaper) to go further afield.
Not that our neighbours always understand this philosophy and I still haven’t been able to get the correct French words to explain why we travelled to Montauban to buy a new washing machine, printer, hoover, house windows… “C’est moin cher.” just didn’t explain it adequately to someone who would just buy from the local store five minutes out of town and I was flummoxed when it came to talking about the latest products, wider choice etc. How will I ever explain a washing machine that weighs the load to decide the optimum amount of water never mind I can programme it from my smartphone?
I thought I had everything sussed when it came to getting best deals – shopping at the markets and getting to know the locals (and where the locals shop) so that I can purchase high quality meats and vegetables (that taste of something) all for just a few euros – but I was wrong. We don’t buy absolutely everything at the markets, we couldn’t, so we still make trips to our local supermarket – it’s a typically French one, long queues at the single checkout, people paying by cheque and a minimal amount of aisles stocking the quaintest of things – but we love it.
Last week, amongst other things, I bought a string bag with four red onions and four pieces of locally grown and cooked Confit de Canard. I could not believe the price of the duck, so much so that I checked my bill on returning home. A meal for two of ready cooked duck legs – and confit takes at least two hours cooking – and it was just €1.99, that’s Euros not pounds. And there it was, on my receipt, confirmation that that was all I was charged.
And right next to it the thing to wipe the smile off my face – that string bag of red onions – that cost €4.99! Imported from Italy.
That is why we need to be seasonal and check the price of things before we purchase. Always.