We are often asked, “Is there anything you miss from the UK?” And in all honesty, apart from family, the answer has to be “No.”
“But what about food?” you might ask.
Well, there is very little that can’t be bought locally. The Chalais Intermarché has a British aisle, and there are a couple of shops within striking distance that cater for the huge number of local ex-pats.
One of them is an Iceland outlet, the other a British shop and café.
But you pay a premium to buy familiar foods from home. So when people offer to bring us stuff back from England we can usually come up with a list pretty quickly.
Here are the top five foods from home.
If you’re a lover of Marmite there is no substitute. We have tried to replace it with Vegemite on visits to Australia, but it doesn’t even come close.
£2.40 / 7,89 €
Heinz Baked Beans
I thought I had weaned myself off Baked Beans, but it only takes one tin to rekindle that most basic of tastes.
Yes, you can get the French equivalent – haricots blancs – but without the Heinz tomato sauce they just taste like … beans.
£2.00 / 4,28€
We get through a lot of tea bags, and pride ourselves in only ever having run out of them once in thirteen years. The main reason for that being that we have generally bought them in catering sacks of 1200 or so.
PG Tips were always our first choice, but just lately we have been wondering whether they taste as strong as they used to, so we have recently taken delivery of some Yorkshire tea.
And let’s face it, if they grow them in Yorkshire they’re going to be pretty strong.
£2.99 / 5,81€
How is it possible to live in a country where you could eat a different cheese every day of the year, yet still not find anything that is as versatile as cheddar?
Comté is good, has flavour and a similar texture, but on toast it just doesn’t work.
And add Baked Beans on top of your cheddar cheese on toast and you have an instant classic.
£4.00 / 10,45€
Another one of those products that you can buy locally, but that is barely recognisable from the delicious, thick slices of back bacon from home. The French equivalent is paper-thin and shrivels on contact with the pan.
The only downside? It needs to be kept chilled on the drive down here.
£2.00 / 3,05€
There were a few other items that nearly made the Top 5, among them Peanut Butter, Ryvita crackers and Cadbury’s chocolate. Oh, and Bakewell tarts.
But now we’re just getting greedy.
The Shopping List
All the above
From the UK = £13.39
In France = 31,48€ or roughly = £27.70