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Caming in France - Food question(26 Posts)
Sorry - I may start to drive you all bonkers with my inability to plan a camping trip on my own!
We are going camping in france for the first time this summer. We used to camp pre DCs and have only done 1 or 2 short trips with our new tent.
When you camp abroad, how much food do you take and how much do you buy when you get there? We haven't got bags of space so I don't want to take a whole weeks worth.
Also, any good camping meal ideas much appreciated.
Um, they have supermarkets in France??? Why would you take a week's worth when you can buy lovely cheese, baguettes, ham, tomatoes etc. etc. there, fresh?
I know! See, I told you I was needy.
I really am a sane intelligent person honest.
I would take a few bare essentials, or things that would be a pain to buy a big pack of - for example, if you have a favourite brand of coffee or tea bags, take some with you. Ditto if your kids have a specific food/drink they will accept no substitute for.
French supermarkets are divine so you really shouldn't waste time and energy buying food to take with you. I usually try to take food for the first nights dinner and breakfast the next day then go shopping locally.
Unless you have a fantastic cool box or a hook up and a fridge, only buy what you need more or less day to day or it will go off or warm and horrid.
Think of meals that only need 2 pots max, so pasta and sauce, or rice and chilli, BBQ always a good option if you have the weather for it, or something simple like salad.
I echo Beamur's suggestions and I would also take anything that is 'british' and hard to get/expensive in french supermarkets if you want it (baked beans, marmite, ketchup, specific cereals). I like french supermarkets and trying different things.
Def worth taking favourite cereals (even if you can get them there they will be more expensive) & also eg squash, teabags, coffee, english biscuits if essential
BBQ every evening if weather permits
Don't forget they don't give out plastic bags at French supermartkets, so be sure to take your own (unlike me, on my last trip to France, when I remembered this at the checkout with a hugely brimming trolley! )
true, but you can get French re-usable bags & bring them to UK supermarkets when you get back, which annoys cod immensely
one very handy camping meal over there is tinned cassoulet. Forget the instructions and just heat it up in a pan and eat with bread. yummy!!!!!!
Takeaways on French campsites normally sell chips (really yummy ones). We would heat something from a jar (eg Coq au Vin) then I would wander over to the takeaway and buy the chips. Sometimes the takeaway was conveniently positioned next to the bar so I could get a
glass of wine cup of coffee while waiting.
French campsite pizzas are also really excellent.
If you go to a market you will often find the rotiserie stalls selling cooked chickens. Quite often they will also be cooking potatoes and other vegetables at the bottom. This is another excellent simple meal.
When on holiday we breakfast like the French - DH goes to the bakery first thing in the morning to buy croissant/pain au chocolat/bread which we then have with our hot drink of choice. After many years we learnt to have the baked goodies plain without butter/jam/chocolate spread using kitchen roll instead of plates. Less messy and it means that we only have the cups to wash up and the DCs didnt mind at all.
Yum! Can't wait. We have shopped in France on a previous self catering holiday and I do love a European supermarket.
DS (6) was almost overcome with excitement when I told him that croissants are french and we can have them everyday - he loves them.
Thanks for all your tips.
Now, we made this mistake on our first camping trip to France (our first post-dc camping trip)
Remembering my childhood, I thought every camping trip required quantities of poor quality tinned meats (corned beef; those scary hotdog sausages etc). All things I haven't bought in RL for about 20 years.
We ended up putting them in the bin, having eaten wonderful French food for two weeks, and never quite felt like corned beef hash!
Do try and do some of your shopping at a market - the fruit and veg sections in French supermarkets are not that impressive, IMO, and you're much better off buying from a market - plus they are wonderful places to visit! We are just back from France, and ds1 (5) declared that the market we visited was one of the best bits - he even decided he wants to be a 'market man' when he grows up.
I had forgotten the chips from the site restaurant/takeaway - very useful to go with ham/sausages from the supermarket. I remember going to the takeaway van (when I was young) with our own bowl which was filled with chips.
Campsite shops/reception areas tend to have a system where you can preorder bread/croissants etc which are then available for breakfast. This saves early morning trips to the supermarket and if the children are old enough they can go (so you can have a few minutes more lie in !)
In Normandy last year we picked up a booklet of offers from a supermarket and one token was for a free bag for life - much stronger than the ones from our supermarket and very useful.
And of course you need a euro for the shopping trolley. I assumed a £ would work but no- we now have a plastic token that lives in the car. We take a jar of green Thai paste & some coconut paste as after 3 weeks I need some spice. Oh and Marmite
Geneva airport trolleys take euro coins but a 2p coin works as well. Not sure if supermarket trolleys are the same.
All the Brits in Geneva airport love me as they all panic realising they haven't got a euro coin when I tell them to use a 2p.
That's a useful thing to know! I'd have thought that a 2p was bigger- you live n learn
BBQ is the easiest. Salads are really only goable if you have them straightaway or have a camping fridge.
We have a big paella pan which we put on a barbecue - this is great not just for paellas but also for things like pork chops in cider sauce. French pork chops, French sweet cider and some creme fraiche stirred in. Add bread or campsite chips for a really delicious & substantial meal.
midnight, why do you think the fruit and veg sections of French supermarkets not good? we think they're great (and markets, too), because they usually stock local produce which is marked as such in big letters. Only annoying thing is you have to weigh at the produce section. Sometimes you do it yourself, sometimes not. Checkout staff not amused if you don't weigh them at all!
The fruit and veg weighing is my dd's absolute favourite thing in the supermarche - trying to distinguish between the several types of nectarine and telling them for the umpteenth time that French grapes have seeds in them
Sniffing and pressing melons is a hobby of mine too
Well, I suppose I mean compared with the markets JudgeJudy. And yes, the stuff is mostly local, which is great, but otoh, not so good in terms of variety as British supermarkets. It all tastes 100x better than a manky old Tesco tomato, though, so I take your point.
The markets are certainly a great experience. All those stalls selling delicious food next to stalls selling heaps of black underwear. Do you suppose that black underwear is sold by weight ('can I have a kilo of sensible pants please?').
the supermarkets in France can be fabulous ! So many new products to try - different biscuits and teas etc. The fruit and veg is usually excellent. Open air markets can be great too.
However one thing to watch for is if you plan to arrive on a Sunday, the supermarkets will not be open. Sometimes shops do on a SUnday morning. And if you are at a bigger campsites with a shop then that will probably be open. but just be careful depending on your arrival day !
some great campsites too that we have been to at Best French Campsites - can recommend the Brittany and Normandy ones for an easy first trip abroad !
When in France, I only have pain au chocolat for breakfast. Anything else seems indecent.
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