Wednesday, 6 February 2013

A vegan walks into a French supermarket...

and it's not as bad as said vegan might expect.

A recent message from a reader reminded me of one of the questions I have before visiting any new city: can I shop and cook for myself easily there?

In Paris, vegan food shopping is surprisingly easy. In addition to all the wonderful street markets, independent grocers, 'ethnic' food shops, and organic shops (posts to come!), even a basic supermarket can meet many of your oh-so-tricky vegan shopping needs.

The two largest supermarket chains you're likely to come across are Monoprix (expensive) and Franprix (cheaper). In even the smallest branches, you can get hold of vegan-friendly essentials such as:

soya milk
vegan margarine: St Hubert Bio brand

soya yoghurts (often only the plain variety in small supermarkets)
veggie burgers

A very useful fact is that anything made by Sojasun is sure to be vegan. I wrote to them a while ago to ask about the sources for the calcium, vitamin D etc. in their products, and everything is vegan, so knock yourself out.

The 'ready-meal' type things available in larger supermarkets are overpriced, but the veggie burgers and yoghurts are rather nice and not too dear.

Many larger supermarkets also stock cool stuff that you may not want to eat every day, but is useful if you're staying in a holiday rental without a stocked pantry and spice-rack. Microwaveable vegan ravioli, for example:

Monoprix also does a good line in hummus, although you always need to read the label in France. This is because many of the brands add 'fromage blanc', a sort of sloppy cream cheese-type stuff. That's how much the French hate vegans. Hummus that looks like this is fine. Thank God for parve:

Oh, and if you're in a French supermarket, you will definitely need to buy some Speculoos spread. It's life changing.