Friday, 12 July 2013

Celebrate Bastille Day with Ocado's French Food Shop !

You probably know that 14th July is Bastille Day in France (although they don't actually call it that in France - it's just called La Fête Nationale or Le Quatorze Juillet) - but do you know why that day is celebrated or what the Bastille was? Well, let me put my teacher head on for a moment ! The Bastille was a prison in Paris which had come to symbolise the oppression of the French people by the king, Louis the 16th, who had absolute power which he wielded with total disregard for his lower-classed subjects. On 14th July 1789, the Parisian revolutionaries stormed the Bastille, a symbolic event which marked the beginning of the revolution, the end of the monarchy in France and the birth of the French republic with its new values of "liberté, égalité, fraternité" (freedom, equality, brotherhood) which you still see written above the door of all French town halls.

I was intrigued to hear that Ocado, the online supermarket, have a French shop-in-shop boasting the largest selection of French foods in the UK. They promise that you can stock up on authentic gooey cheeses, buttery biscuits and fine wines, allowing French ex-pats and Francophiles to celebrate Bastille Day in style. They offered to send us through a selection of goodies and I was keen to see what we'd think, as a genuine French/English family.

Well, I have to say I was very impressed when this little lot arrived. The first thing that leapt out at me was the Reflets de France brand, as this is an authentic range that you can buy in Carrefour supermarkets in France. The Madhouse Mini-testers immediately jumped on the Prince de Lu chocolate sandwich biscuits (£1.59 for 300g) and the chocolate BN biscuits (£1.50 for 295g) with their cheeky faces !

The gorgeous thick peach juice, made with Rousillon peaches (£2.50 for 1l) accompanying the buttery Gâche brioche (£3.60 for 400g) and the Jacquet Toast Français (or Biscottes as they're called in France - I've never actually heard anyone use the term French toast in France ! £1.25 for 200g), spread with beautifully sweet jam (£3 for 325g) made a delicious French petit déjeuner. I'm really looking forward to trying the chestnut spread (£3.25 for 250g) as it's a product I've often seen in France but never had the courage to try !

If you fancy trying out some traditional French delicacies (don't worry, I'm not talking about snails, frogs' legs and horsemeat !), you can buy Roquefort or Saint Agur cheese (my mother-in-law makes veal fillets in a cream and St Agur sauce), Cassoulet (a very rich casserole of duck meat and beans), Montbéliard Sausages, savoury buckwheat pancakes (heat one in a frying pan with a slice of ham, fried egg and cheese for a traditional Galette Complète), Reblochon cheese, which is perfect for making Tartiflette, or Raclette.

And if you want to stock up your pantry with some authentic French storecupboard essentials, I recommend you try the deliciously crumbly Barquette biscuits, sweet and crumbly Palmier biscuits, crème caramel, ratatouille, Apericubes (although the flavoured ones are better than the plain ones), caramel jam and the Teissere cordials.

Bon appétit !

Disclosure : I received a selection of products in order to write an honest review.

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