Crooked House

A country life in France

Grand Frais

A trip to the CPAM office in Poitiers brought about mixed results.

Poitiers is the administrative centre for the Vienne and the centre was obviously very busy, far busier than the satellite in Montmorillon. We stood in the queue with sinking hearts and a recognition that a rendezvous was going to be needed… but it wasn’t. Once we had been directed to the correct queue a receptionist gave us a number, just like in Argos, and we sat and waited all of three minutes before being called into an office for a consultation. A very friendly and efficient English speaker took our paperwork from us, declared my short Birth Certificate to be lacking, and informed Mr L that his Carte Vitale will be with him in three weeks time. Me, I have to obtain a long birth certificate and then mail my package in.

We were out of the building in about five minutes flat! Well impressed.

Whilst in Poitiers we took the opportunity of visiting a motorhome centre and picked up a few things that we needed for the Hymer and then we headed to Grand Frais.

Grand Frais, Poitiers
Luckily, I grabbed a shot as we approached

We have been waiting a while to visit a Grand Frais. They have a great reputation but we do not have one locally. Was it worth the wait? Yes, and  No.

Grand Frais is not a standard Supermarket but a chain that focuses in fresh foods. They have a Boucherie, a Poissonnerie and a Fromagerie in addition to an extensive Fruit and Veg department and, when I say extensive, I mean it. I met fruit and veg that I have never heard of, let alone those that I have read about and never seen before. Sadly, it was not all as fresh and perky as it might have been. The fish however was stunningly fresh and the  meat was beautiful. I wish that I could show photographs but photography was forbidden.

The grocery section was perhaps a little lacking and was quite reminiscent of M&S in places but did offer many items that we have been unable to source elsewhere.

A lorra, lorra dates

We were happy to come home with Chickpea flour and Halloumi, both of which we have failed to find elsewhere plus a few spices that have been difficult to source. Bargain buys included a 2 kilo box of Medjool Dates (!) and  a large (very) tub of sun-dried tomatoes but we also purchased pork, prawns, fresh chilies (YAY!) and fresh ginger and some Pecorino cheese amongst other items. We shall be eating well for a few days. We shall be eating dried tomatoes for a very long time to come…

Half a kilo of sun-dried tomatoes!

We began by making a tomato tapenade with some of those sun-dried tomatoes.

Tomato Tapenade – the red onion breadsticks from Grand Frais are pretty good too

We will try the Limoges branch soon – mainly because there is an Asian supermarket close by where we can stock up on some spices that have not been available to us thus far.

Tomorrow is a red letter day  we have a new freezer being delivered, so the next time that we visit Grand Frais we shall be able to bring more home with us. Today was a little frustrating, having to leave items on the shelf because we have more than enough in the ‘fridge already.

Whilst I wait for Boulanger to deliver the freezer I shall be pickling cucumbers and then ordering the fridge contents by Eat By date and making lists and menus to ensure that nothing is wasted. Part of that process should involve planning packing for a trip in the Hymer.

A second trip in the Hymer is beginning to formulate itself.  More about that later but it will involve beer, wine and food…

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