Move Over, Swansons, Picard Is In Town

I have a confession to make.  I can be a snob about some things.  Purses and shoes come to mind.  Nothing that rises to the Paris level, of course.  I’m not talking Hermes or Louboutin, by any stretch.   But I definitely would prefer to have a smaller number of quality shoes and bags that are comfortable and long-lasting than a closet full of cheaper ones that aren’t.  I am also a moderate food snob, and have pretty much eschewed pre-prepared, packaged, processed foods ever since I emerged from the years of small children craziness and reclaimed some higher cerebral function.  Frozen foods are definitely in the category of That Which I Do Not Buy.  Other than frozen chopped spinach and Rhodes rolls (required for Pioneer Woman’s incredible Rosemary Rolls),  my freezer is pretty devoid of frozen food that I haven’t prepared and packaged myself.

Enter Picard.

These stores, with their blue snowflakes, are almost as common as Starbucks in Paris.  Except in my neighborhood.

Picard seems to be an institution in France.  I have heard over and over that French women  do not make desserts or appetizers for their dinner parties- they get them from Picard and then serve them on a nice dish to their appreciative guests.  I know it might seem odd that France,  known for its haute cuisine and fancy pastries, would be the home of a thriving frozen food chain, but it is.

I, myself, have not whole-heartedly embraced the Picard offerings, primarily because there isn’t a store within an easy walk of my apartment, and because my freezer is  only slightly larger than my microwave.  However, I am fascinated with the stores and what they have achieved with frozen food.

Picard offers a wide variety of uncooked meats, fish, vegetables, and desserts, as well as prepared entrees, appetizers, soups, and desserts.  While everything is obviously not seasonal, they do change their inventory in order to rotate seasonal items in and out.  All of their food is preservative-free, and they offer low-salt products for the sodium- adverse.  A trip to Picard can  be an endless source of entertainment for me, even if I am not buying a thing.

The stores are fairly small and sterile, similar to the frozen food sections of our grocery stores, but with rows and rows of horizontal freezers.

Bienvenue a Picard

At this store in the 16th, one enters from the street and immediately takes an escalator down into the frozen depths .

Now let your eyes adjust to the fluorescent lights and you will be fine.

OK- here is one of my favorite frozen things here.  I have seen them in other grocery stores, too, and I think it’s brilliant.  Perhaps you people who shop at fancy stores like Trader Joe’s already know about this, but pas moi.

Frozen herbs!

Isn’t that the coolest?  Little tiny cartons of  frozen herbs, which allow  you to sprinkle out as much or as little as you need.  While probably not as flavorful as fresh, they are definitely preferable to dried, and you avoid the dreaded waste issue.  How many bags of liquid green , formerly known as parsley, have I tossed?  I don’t want to know.  I think this is brilliant.

We all know that the French love their sauces, and here they are in frozen form.  AND I spy some chicken broth in there, which is the only alternative  to powdered broth here.  Need to get me some of that for sure.

Another thing I love is that Picard freezes food in little nuggets, so that you can cook only as much as you want.  The sauces would be in nuggets, as would spinach, and these awesome soups.  Wouldn’t you like to be able to cook a few nuggets of cauliflower soup for lunch?  Yum.

Speaking of nuggets, they have them, too.  But somehow “nuggets de poulet” sounds much nicer than “chicken nuggets”.   I’m thinking that French children probably do not eat nearly as many of these as our children do (or did, back when mine were little- perhaps we have evolved since then).  One can hope.

macarons!

I am pretty sure I had these macarons at a school function and they were pretty darned good.

Of course there are many varieties of foie gras.

And duck.

quack

And something that looks like home:

I’ll pass, thanks.

And I suppose I could keep one of these on hand for an unexpected Mexican craving.  Oh second thought, maybe not.

I’m sure you guys will let me know if I am just way behind the frozen food times, and this kind of thing is all over the U.S.  But I am just a simple Texas girl, you know, and I have not seen such things in freezers before.  I am also easily entertained/amazed/amused by food.  Even the frozen variety, apparently.

I just realized I didn’t get pics of any of the amazing appetizers or desserts.  Perhaps that will be food for another post.

13 Comments

Filed under Picard, Uncategorized

13 responses to “Move Over, Swansons, Picard Is In Town

  1. I am a big fan of Picard….but then again, we have a gigantic freezer. I don’t really buy any of the prepared dishes though. I mostly stock up on the frozen herbs and veggies (including corn on the cob!) – since I travel so much, it’s hard to have fresh veggies at home, and this way I can still prepare a quick and healthy meal. I also like their mini-ice cream bars – they are perfect for an after-meal treat without overloading yourself!

  2. No, mon cherie, we do not have stuff like that in the frozen food section of our local shops here in Tejas. And I, like you, don’t do much frozen food so when I do need the occasional item found in those aisles I have to look in every case because I don’t know where anything is. Thus, I do see a lot of what they have to offer. I love the frozen herbs and the small portions. Also love your descriptions of the “emerging from the craziness of small children.” Haven’t heard it put so succinctly and oh, so true!

  3. Mary

    I love the idea of frozen herbs! I’m going to Trader Joe’s just to see if they have them. You must have been in my subconscious yesterday when I froze fresh strawberries and raspberries instead of buying the store brand frozen ones. Now that Michael is gone my freezer is bare. I have been enjoying cooking for things Dan and I love. Got to finish with the diet so I can branch out into some really fun stuff.

    • Let me know if TJ’s has the herbs, ok? What are you doing with frozen berries- smoothies? Yeah- finish that diet and get on with the good stuff!

      • Mary

        I’ve got about 15 pounds left to lose and then I’m breaking out the cook books! Hope to be done by the new year. The smoothies are for Dan who is also dieting – well sort of. I’ll let you know about Trader Joe’s.

  4. Laura

    You did not have to confess to your close friends about your only flaw though I have to admit I did not know that you fed your young children nuggets.

  5. I’ve been a big fan of Picard ever since my Parisian tennis partner in Switzerland insisted that we make a one hour and fifteen minute drive across the border to Ferney Voltaire in France to go to Picard. It’s one of the main things that she missed about not living in Paris. Now that I’ve gotten used to having a Picard within easy walking distance, I understand why.

    Their frozen berries are an integral part of my morning oatmeal.

  6. Ayanna Quint

    I am interested in using your photo of Picard in a magazine in the US. Can you let me know if that would be ok? Thanks so much!

  7. I am interested in using your photo of Picard in Paris in a magazine in the US. Can you let me know if that would be ok? Thanks so much!

Hollah back y'all!

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