Who doesn’t love French food? I admit I became a French-food lover later in life, when I came to Paris a year ago. I’m a Mexican woman with a Franco-Mexican husband and my move to France changed my life in so many ways. Even though this was not my first time in Paris, being a tourist is not the same as trying to live your life as a local.
The truth is, I arrived with almost no clothes in my luggage but with two big suitcases filled with Mexican food (candies, mole, tortillas, horchata, chiles, sauces, beans and more), hoping I could find more in my new home.
Problems began the moment we arrived…
Food Glorious French Food
France has stores for everything! Pâtisseries, boulangeries, torréfacteurs, boucheries, charcuteries, fromageries. There are so many products and ingredients, I almost cried at the sight of this big city full of food.
I remember my first time at the supermarket. This was a whole new world for me and almost a paradise for my celiac problems, because back in Mexico, it’s not possible to find a lot of gluten-free, organic, sugar-free food. I think I spent hours reading every label and in my mind, everyone was laughing at me.
Also at the supermarket, I found some “tex-mex” food, but for Mexicans, that’s NOT authentic at all. So, quickly I realized I needed to ration the Mexican food I brought in order to survive.
No plastic bags at the supermarket? This was a new continent, a new country and a new city, but for me it was a new planet. Really, adapting myself to the differences was a big deal. Later, I saw and understood that everyone carries reusable shopping bags, an eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags.
Who would have thought lunchtime would upset my habits so much? In Mexico, we have lunch at 3pm not at 12:30pm like in France. At the beginning, this was really complicated, but now I love this new schedule. It makes me feel healthier.
What a Difference a Year Makes
For me, there were also amazing things to discover. So, let’s talk about fromageries. This is one of my very favorite stores in France. You’ll find every kind of cheese you could imagine, from raw to pasteurized, fresh to aged, sharp to mild, sheep to goat, hard to soft. Almost all cheeses in Mexico are made from cow’s milk and a few from goat’s milk. Mexican cheeses are made at home, in small farms or ranches and they are not as strong as the great stinky French cheese. In truth, I have a love-hate relationship with French cheese, because I love eating it, but I hate the stinky smell in my fridge. But deep-down, I’m a cheese lover! So, if I can’t find Mexican food, I can live on cheese.
Also, falling in love with French pâtisseries was the easiest thing ever. On every corner, you can find a new sweet spot and each baker has their own specialty. The problem is that sometimes they look too pretty to eat! Croissants are a totally different world over here, the kouign-amann was my addiction during my Erasmus exchange in Brest, the mille-feuille is a delightful cake for a nice afternoon, and for the coffee and chocolate lovers, L’Opéra is a heaven on Earth. But, what about weight gain? Well, I wrote a post on my blog: “This time I’m not going to be fat in France”, which states that moderation is the key to combatting that!
I told you about my celiac problems, well Naturalia and Bio C’ Bon became my favorite shops. The big difference between Mexico and France is that in Paris I can find everything gluten-free, organic or sugar-free. This was a really big event for me! And thanks to my mom’s visit, I realized that Naturalia is more than just a food store. I found Eucalyptus Tea and Echinacea, both really good for a cold.
After nearly one long year, I am adapting to my new French lifestyle. I still miss Mexican food, even though I found some good Mexican restaurants such as Itacate Saveurs du Mexique and Azteca Restaurant Mexicain. If you’re an expat like me used to certain foods cooked a certain way, I can tell you that French cuisine is delicious. Try to be open-minded and taste everything from escargots, foie gras, coq au vin to macarons, éclairs, crème brûlée, crêpes and more. If you’re looking for a restaurant for a special occasion, I recommend the Michelin Guides. It’s the oldest European hotel and restaurant reference guide, and you can trust its recommendations.
I’m quite sure this won’t be the last time you read about my passion for food. My appetite for new foods grows by the day and I want to share my discoveries with everyone!