I want to start by saying we are so lucky in Australia to have access to such beautiful clean healthy food all around us, year round. Every time I arrive home from a market somewhere, I feel very grateful for the good food that’s available to us.
I do have some criticisms though… and these became more and more obvious to me after recently spending a couple of weeks in France.
(On a side note, yes it was beautiful, warm and sunny and I think I could’ve stayed there for months! Returning to a windy Melbourne with a max temp on 7 on the day I arrived home was just awful!)
Back to France...
Above the warm weather, the sunshine, the amazing architecture, the chateaux, the beaches, the museums and galleries…. my highlight was definitely the food.
1. Food is an experience.
Even a coffee in the morning is a ritual, not something you grab on the go. You sit down, enjoy the morning paper, chat to a friend, or just watch people walk by. But most importantly you take a moment and enjoy your coffee.
This has inspired me to do the same here in Melbourne. No more takeaways on the run. I’m giving myself 15 minutes on most days, to sit down in a café, usually by myself and read. Or people watch. Or just put my phone away and chill for a few minutes.
It’ll also save one paper cup and one plastic take away lid every day.
2. The food is REAL, and FRESH.
One of my fondest memories is walking the streets of Paris in summer and you can smell EVERYTHING! The bread, the pastries, the cheeses, the berries, the peaches and apricots, even the vegetables. I cringe when comparing these smells and shopping experiences to my local supermarket. At Coles, it’s all fluorescent lighting and nothing smells like food. You actually can’t smell anything in a supermarket. It’s all cold storage, under ripe, been dry stored for months, rock hard fruits, vegetables etc and none of it’s ready to eat.
In France, there is so much enjoyment to be had from just walking the streets. The pastries are visually appealing, almost so much that you don’t even need to eat them to enjoy them! The wafts of fresh bread and pastries will fill the street. You can smell the berries and eat them as soon as you get home. It’s so much more appealing than buying rock hard green bananas that have to sit on the bench at home for 10 days before you can even consider eating them. I also think it’s better for reducing food waste, as you don’t buy more than you need for a couple of days.
3. Food is made by people who love food.
The charcuteries and delis, patisseries, bakeries, fruit and vege shops, there seems to be so many more independent stores than here in Aus. Food is made or sourced by a specialist, one person or family who’ve devoted their time to one type of food that they’re passionate about.
I believe this results in better quality food. You can see and taste the passion that’s gone into every product, rather than buying from a business where the passion is in dividends, not good quality, real food.
Back home I’m making an effort to shop more at independents. I have always tried to avoid the big guys, and prefer to shop at markets, farmers markets, organic shops, independents and the good IGAs. Focusing on this even more now, as it’s a much more inspiring way to shop and enjoy food.
Overall my food experience in France was amazing. They will never have our Aussie breakfast and brunch traditions which I did miss- smashed avo, feta, poached eggs, sourdough! …but the feasts for lunch and dinner well and truly made up for it.
I start to think about our overall health here in Australia vs France and perhaps it’s down to the enjoyment of food. For me, the enjoyment of food has to start with shopping, and knowing a bit about what’s gone into making your food, or where it’s come from. It involves seeing it, smelling it, choosing it and taking it home to create meals for you and your loved ones. I think you’d agree that there’s not a lot of enjoyment about shopping at a big mega supermarket or pulling up to a drive through window, so perhaps these experiences leave us unsatisfied.
Let’s work towards enjoying food, being inspired by food right from the very beginning, and quality over quantity every time.
Good friends + Warm weather + Seafood Feast = Heaven!?
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