Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Depleted Delights--Memoirs of a Full Pantry

So I took inventory of my French pantry today. That is, the scanty items I have left on the ever-depleting-shelf of "Ingredients from France". Whenever my relatives or my best friend (a new expat in France) comes Stateside, they ask me for a grocery list. Of course, I joyfully provide one. First, je fais des courses on Auchan's website and make a virtual run up and down the aisles, making a list of items that could potentially make me the next Food Network Star! (If I was more experienced in the actual gourmet-cooking-thing.) Side note: I don't like Auchan at all in real life, but their website is great fun to peruse!

The first thing that is always on my list, and thankfully there is still a bit on my counter, is sel (salt).

I discovered the delectable, flaky Sel de Guérande when we lived there. What I have left is a small mound of grey gros sel, course salt, which is great, but I prefer the flaky stuff, which is even better!

I keep a ramekin of this next to my stove so it's easily accessible during cooking. This is all I have left :( But isn't it beautiful?

Next, I have a little jar of something I like to call....jam. Well, I'm using just like jam.

Bonne Maman (my favorite brand for jam), Poires aux Eclats de Cacao or Pears with Cocoa Nibs.

It's very good, sort of like a Poire Belle-Hélène for your toast. Does anyone know what else to do with this? I just adore the white jar!

Speaking of "what to do with", I have a tiny jar of lavender jelly I got while in Rocamadour. It was suggested that I add it to some chantilly (whipped cream), but other than that, I don't know what else to do with it.

I also have half a bottle of Maille Balsamic Vinegar (sort of hiding out in the above photo) but no Maille Moutarde à l'Ancienne to make vinaigrette.

Only one vial left in the saffron booty...

....loads of vanilla sugar (miam!) (That is French for YUM!)....

....some Poulain Grand Arome (not 1848--but it's still better than Quick!)....

and some creamed chestnuts that have been collecting dust on the shelf! (Don't ask me why I bought a product I didn't know how to eat.)

My kids' Mikado are gone, so are the Kinder Suprises as well as my gauffres with powdered sugar (I can pack down a package of those in one sitting) as well as other unattainable items I crave on a daily!

With such slim pickin's, it's looking like we need to book a trip to France! I also need to do some "research" for the blog! We need some new photos, some more cassoulet to gouter and report on, new cheeses to consume and vin rouge to gulp, ahem, I mean sip.

I'm off to check rates....stay tuned!


La Belette Rouge said...

Miam-y post (that it Franglish for yummy, or, it could be a strange way of spelling Miami)! Would love it if you would post your full list of France market favorites.
You usually make me hungry(or thirsty) in the a.m. This morning you have made me envious :) Waiting with anticipation to see "red coat" and to hear more about your upcoming trip.

Cris in Oregon said...

Oh dear. You DO need to get back to France and SOON! Glad to hear about the coffee 'bowls' cooling before having to handle. But I think I would opt for the cups with handles too. ;)

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Love your Franglish! It's the best language in the world, non? ;)
I would LOVE to post my full list of France market faves. I'll get right on that, ma cherie! What a wonderful idea for a post....

Betty C. said...

Oh, these all look so familiar to me -- I think I've had them all in my pantry except the "confit de lavande" -- I'm not sure I've run across that. And I don't ever buy the "Lune de miel" honey - the local producers' ones are so much better (albeit more expensive...)

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Salut Betty,
funny thing about the honey...I wanted a unique honey when my friend came in June....and she brought me this. :( I'll have to be more specific this time. Although I'm not a big honey fan. (Had to take it by spoonfuls for a local Poison Oak "remedy", even though I never got poison oak in the first place.)
So if you used the lavande confit in whipping cream, what would you put it on????

My Inner French Girl said...

Bonjour, Cassoulet Cafe! It's so funny because I saw the exact same tin of marron on the closeout shelf of my local gourmet shop. I was so tempted to buy one and almost did, but then realized that it would probably just sit on the shelf while I tried to figure out what to do with it!

I love the Bonne Maman preserves!


Cassoulet Cafe said...

Did you notice the dust on mine? ;) It's been in my cupboard for 2 years now. The others got given away as gourmet gifts, lol.

My Inner French Girl said...


Bonjour! I wonder how many of your gift recipients ended up actually using theirs. I'd be curious to see what can be done with them, although I suppose I could've just done a bit of research on the Internet.


Anonymous said...

Get yourself some creme fraiche or sour cream or creamy unflavored yogurt (the greek brand Fage is great for this) Open up that can of creme de marrons and scoop a bit into a bowl and top with some cream - incredibly yummy dessert and tres francais.

Cassoulet Cafe said...

anonymous, thanks for the tip! I'll try it!