Frozen food French v British attitudes

Did any of you hear the Food Programme today? Here’s a link they looked at differing attitudes to it in France and UK and featured French frozen food giant Picard. Apparently, in the UK it’s rather looked down upon, whereas in France it’s seen as quite acceptable. I’m amazed to find that French people buy pre chopped onions…the time it takes you to walk round the shop and drive to and fro, you could chop several kilos…We only buy frozen peas, everything else in freezer comes from the garden or is produce of batch cooking, particularly pasta sauces, ice cream and bread. We also buy fresh meat and fish and freeze it because we don’t have a butcher / fishmonger nearby.

I did actually do some deep fried Mars Bars as a ‘Scottish Surprise’ (as it was billed on the menu) for a Burns night dinner. Guess what? - they were delicious with cream, and once people had got over the disappointment that the Scottish surprise didn’t involve anyone with a kilt, everyone really enjoyed it!!


They’re a Scottish speciality… on sale in fish and chip shops.

If you’d like to run up a few yourself, I found a recipe for you :slight_smile:

Deep fried battered mars bars???didn’t know that existed!! no idea where you could find them
Personally I think pre-chopped frozen onion from Picard is a great idea! saves you from all those weepy eye moments.

Good point S and will do!

I’m sure you won’t be surprised when I say that I think Picard is as one friend said to me, the M&S of France. We tried a fillet of Biche & Ostrich steaks as a special treat at Christmas, they were wonderful. The cooking instructions (recipe ideas) worked really well. They have a good range of Organic frozen vegetables and I’m in the group that says it’s best to either buy totally fresh (i.e. within a day or 2 of being picked after which its nutritional value deteriorates) or Frozen, so I buy Frozen as I can’t get to the market every day and we don’t yet have a garden. (soon I hope x)

The mixed apero boxes are good for emergency visits when you have guests drop in and you don’t have time to prepare anything or get to the shops, as is having an emergency dessert like the Opera chocolate cake which is reasonable value at 9e considering it’s contents, I would struggle to make such a luxe dessert fresh for that price.

Of course if you go in there buying the prepared whole salmon stuffed with foie gras then be prepared to sell your house.

I guess the view on the price depends on what proportion of your income is spent on food & dining. If you eat out a lot then you would easily spend far more than those who eat in. We tend to eat in more now with the bambinos so having a special treat from Picard is nothing compared to what we used to spend eating out. If you would pay 20e each for a 3 course meal eating out then why would you not pay half of this to eat in? It’s a luxury yes, but one worth paying for from time to time.

Oh and did I mention they do home delivery?

For me, it’s an easy way of getting quality food delivered when I can’t get to the shops & an opportunity to try things we wouldn’t normally try on special occasions.

Try it - you’ll be surprised too!

It is good for the more usual frozen veg (not too pricey) and occassionally and I mean occassionally the Chocolat Molleux (yum). Everything else I agree is ridiculously pricey.

Or were you planning to go shop lifting? (Sorry meant redistribution of wealth and deep fried foie gras)

Blimey! You are well off then if you can afford Picard.

My father in-law is a scientist and he’s always debating with me on fresh vs frozen. His point is that the fruits and vegetables are picked at their ripeness and frozen soon after to lock in their nutritional value. Often fresh foods are pick prior to ripeness, ship from all over the world, and delivered at our grocery stores after their long journey. How can they be called fresh? But my argument is, that sometimes the fruits and vegetables seem to loose their texture, color, or freshness. Am I wrong, is it just my perception that they are more fresh?

Is it really any wonder that frozen food is looked down upon in the UK when frozen tends to be synonymous with Iceland! Not really a bastion of quality but rather quantity of heavily processed foods. I can’t say that I see the logic of paying for chopped frozen onions though but am rather partial to young fava beans(pre shelled) and frozen pureed pumpkin, dearly loved my children.

It is a false economy to buy frozen herbs since it is so very easy to chopped and freeze in ziploc bags. I buy kaffir lime leaves, thai chilies and and lemongrass only a few times a year on visits to China Town in Paris and then freeze these and use at leisure. Even thai basil is freezable (though it involved picking the leaves off the stems before freezing). I really need to have access to such ingredients without making an event of it, to satisfy my need for worldly flavours.

The first time I stepped into Picard I thought it would be like Iceland and have cheap frozen mince. Boy was I quickly disillusioned! I stepped out, amazed by the prices. The quality might be good, but you definitely pay a lot for it. I just buy frozen peas too, from Carrouf. I never go to Picard. I used to have some van come round - Toupargel or something, but you had to buy lots and the prices were still pretty high, so I stopped, as well as the boys not liking anything I got from them.

I have a friend who swears by Picard though and gets as much as she can. She lives on her own and they have a lot of stuff she can use. When she did a lot of entertaining she used to have bags of stuff in the freezer to save on cutting things up and cooking (aubergine). I don’t do much entertaining so none of that worries me.

Hi Wendy, yes I did hear the food programme today (R4 is one of of the few things from Blighty I can’t do without) and it struck a chord with me.

I don’t buy veg (except for a very good mushroom mix) as like you we have a freezer full of our own but I do confess I make use of Thiriet (more present here in the NE than Picard) just like my French neighbours. Their ice-cream is fantastic and they do a great line in little apèro goodies which are especially good when you’re too busy in the garden to rustle up something exquisite when the neighbours come round. Also handy when I’m away and other half is left to fend for himself.

I justify all this to myself as part of my Frenchification - all my French friends (good cooks one and all) do it, so why shouldn’t I if it makes a busy life a bit easier!!

Our “M. Thiriet” comes round once a month, and delivery is free. Not bad at all.