My grandmother used to say for food: “if something is too good to be true it likely will be” and times and over she has been proven right, yet let’s be honest there are a few things in France that cost a few pennies and are of great value. Since crêpe is far too obvious here are a few others:
The first one is dead easy and can even be prepared in a hotel room.
“The Parisien”, it’s THE baguette sandwich, you should know that we sell 1.2Bn Parisien per year and that is only counting the ones sold, not the ones homemade.
Ingredients are extremely easy to get your hands on, for two people:
- Freshly baked baguette (would advise a baguette “Tradition” or “Campagne”) 1.3$
- 2 slices of Jambon de Paris (white ham from the butcher) 3$
- Salted butter with salt crystals from the cheese store 2$ for 125gr
- French pickles (smaller than US and actually not sweet) a jar for 1.5$
So for 4$ per person you end up with an utterly fresh sandwich of half a baguette.
You can as an option add a few leaves of lettuce, a fresh tomato sliced and some emmental cheese cut in thin sticks or camembert in slices.
Other sandwich that you can enjoy a lot are pâtés sandwich, I know pâté doesn’t really have good press in the USA too often mistakenly compared to Spam, trust me this is soooo different, pâtés are a tradition and in land dedicated to food should that food been not nice in the past it would have been dropped from the dishes, the pâtés haven’t and for a good reason there is for all tastes here.
You must choose pâté de campagne from the butcher this is a must and a guarantee of quality, this type as of course liver as part of the preparation but in a small quantity more as a flavouring than a base, it is then a mix of meat, fat and seasonal or local ingredients (olives, figues, peppers, peppercorn etc…) the meat will be pork, but also duck, rabbit, boar, deer, pheasant etc… There is a recipe for a pâté de campagne per season per grandma.
Try any of the following in a fresh baguette with or without pickle:
- Pâté au piment d’espelette (Spanish red pepper not hot but fragrant)
- Pâté de porc aux figues (pork and figs, what can go wrong)
- Pâté Provençal (southern style with green olives and green and red peppers)
Or let you guide by the local butcher and it’s seasonal one, a slice is per weight and roughly 5$
Another great meal always available in bakeries or butchers, the “Quiche”, the traditional one is the Quiche Lorraine (from the named region) this one is only eggs/milk/cream and lardons but you can find several variations including cheese, salmon and spinach, chicken, goat cheese etc… They often cost 5$ or so and you can ask for them to be reheated.
Also if you can pick a place where they sell a slice rather than a small round one you will get value for money and you can directly see the quantity of ingredients.
For Quiche and Tartes, I always go to Les Petits Mitrons, on rue Lepic near the Moulin Rouge and Amelie’s Café “Les deux Moulins”
If you stay at place where you can make your own do try it, get the dough from the baker (often they sell some dough) and ask for shortcrust pastry, get the cream and grated emmental cheese from the cheese store along with the eggs and I would advise you to get from the butcher dices of ham rather than lardons especially if you put some cheese this is will cut down on the saltiness.
Tip of the day if you pick your own eggs from a supermarket go for the organic ones, by law, all eggs have to the engraved the type (1 to 3), the country of laying (FR, CH, SP, UK etc…) and the code of the farm, the number you want to see are either 0 or 1
here this one is 0-FR-XFN1 juste after LOUE
- 0 the hens are free range (26 sqft/chicken, no antibiotic, no GMO food)
- 1 are also free range and no antibiotic the rule on the food is less hard than 0 but GMO are banned too
- 2 the hens do touch the ground but 9 chicken for 10 sqft (it doubles in category 3 for the same surface but in cage), are kept in good health and fed
- 3 you don’t really want to know, the luckiest live on the third floor of the pen, and their lives is rythmed by turning on and off the light for the daylight cycles, told you you did not want to know, most of the food we get from supermarkets (desserts, cookie, ready meals etc…) that contain eggs get them from the category 3, yum !!!