15 November 2006

More from the Intermarché ads

The Intermarché advertising flyer features duck this week, but there are of course other products on sale. Still, I just counted and there are 18 duck items shown in the brochure, including whole ducks, trimmed ducks, duck legs and breasts, terrines and pâtés, and tubs of fat. It's the theme.

There are almost no vegetables featured in the ads. I think that's because vegetables are just a given here, and because they are sold at market price, which isn't set in time for the publication of the ads.

Endives for a low price (prix bas)

People buy vegetables, that's for sure, and there is always a good selection at Intermarché and the other supermarkets, not to mention in the outdoor markets. One vegetable that comes onto the market in the fall here is what we call Belgian endive in the U.S. Here it isn't a high-priced luxury product — it's standard fare. You can buy endives for about two euros a kilo, or a dollar a pound. These are grown in France.

This ad reminds me that I need to go buy some. There's nothing much better than gratin d'endives au jambon on a chilly winter day. It's endives braised, then wrapped in a slice of ham, and cooked in the oven in a cheese sauce. And here's another idea, using fish.

Pinapples for €0.75 each if you buy two

The situation with fruit is the same as with vegetables, but there is one ad for pineapples at Intermarché this week. They come from the Ivory Coast in Africa.

Do you want cheese with that? Here are a couple of cheeses that are on special this week.

Farm-style Reblochon cheese for $5.85 a pound

Reblochon is a cow's-milk cheese produced in the Alpine region called La Savoie, on the border with Italy. Notice that this one is made from unpasteurized milk (lait cru, or raw milk). Using raw milk gives the cheese it a better, more natural taste, just like in the olden days.

Did you know this? When the label says that a cheese is 45% butterfat (matière grasse or MG), what it means is that if you completely dry the cheese out, so that there is no water left at all, then what you have left will be 45% butterfat and 55% milk solids. The amount of butterfat in the cheese when you eat it is actually much smaller than that — maybe 20%. Even so, don't overdo it. A little bit goes and long way, and it tastes so good.

Do American cheeses carry a label telling you how much butterfat they contain? I can't remember.

Tomme du Beaujolais at $4.89 a pound

I've never heard of Tomme du Beaujolais before, and it's not listed in my Larousse des Fromages, a cheese reference. It's also described as being "45% MG" so it contains the same amount of butterfat. It's produced in France and is made from pasteurized milk (since the label doesn't specify that it was made with raw milk). This is what is called an industrial cheese, because the label doesn't say it's fermier, or farm-style. It was made in a "factory" or big industrial dairy.

Rye bread for 90 U.S. cents a loaf, or $1.38 a pound,
or country-style bread for just a few cents less per lb.
even though the loaf costs more (it's bigger)

Here's some bread you can have with the cheese, country-style (campagne) or rye (seigle). I'd be more likely to buy rye bread to eat with raw oysters, with some sweet butter to spread on the bread. The pain de campagne — country-style bread — is a little coarser and probably healthier than the standard baguette made with white flour. The pain de campagne would be especially good with cheese.

It's time for lunch!


  1. I love these tours of the supermarket ads! I'll have to check at TJ's to see if the good local cheeses mention the amount of fat. I'll bet they don't; Americans are fat-phobic.

  2. What beautiful endive -- I'm very
    envious. Our supermarket charges
    $3.99 a pound, and they dont't keep
    them covered with that dark green
    paper which helps to keep the leaves blanched, so they are like
    green lettuce within a day. And then, of course, no one wants to
    buy them. What a waste!

    By the way, isn't it about that
    time of year for stocking your
    freezer with mutton? Or did you
    decide after last fall that it was
    just too much trouble? You did
    enjoy that 7-hour roast, though.

  3. I wish duck were so plentiful here... just can't get a good duck anymore...

  4. Cheryl, I used to find good frozen ducks at Andronico's in San Francisco. Trouble is, you have to buy the whole bird. It's nice here that you can buy parts.

    Sarah, my friend who had lambs doesn't have them any more, so no lamb or mutton this year, at least not in quantity. Our friend is getting older and sold off her small flock last spring. None of that will keep me from making the 7-hour roast lamb again though.


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