Tag Archives: France

First View of Food Prices in France! – 5 Months in Bourgogne IV

To begin with I felt that food on France would be expensive and didn’t look too hard. Lately I have started taking a bit more note and am beginning to wonder what is going on. After coming home from a medium sized supermarket in Cluny, a small rural town, I took these items out of the shopping bag and photographed them on the stove.

Six foods from French Supermarket with their costs

photograph by DIGIVU

published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

 

Using the Pick and Pay shopping site, selecting similar products and converting at R 10/Euro shows the following

  • Clover Cream R26.99 / 500ml equivalent to 53.98 R/l compared to 40.00 R/l
  • Bakers East Sum More R12.49 per 200g equivalent to R62.45 per kg compared to 47,60 R/kg
  • Free Range Eggs R1.80 each compared to R 2,60 each
  • Pick and Pay Pure Ground Coffee R46.99 per 250 Gr equivalent to R187.96 per kg compared to 36,00 R/kg
  • Pongracz Cap Classique R89.99 per bottle compared to 52.50 R/bottle
  • Carrots R5.69 a bunch compared to R18.00 a bunch, but who knows the size of the bunch.
  • There is much to be looked at, for instance these are low price items although of quality at least as good as any in South Africa and in particular those costed here. There are always higher priced articles of different quality eg sparkling wine at R250 a bottle and coffee at R45 a packet, the best steak costs R 200/kg and of course one an buy Wine at R1 000s a bottle.

    Adding to the complexity you can get a 3 course midday dinner at a restaurant in town for €10 to €12 if you select the special and that’s not a small helping! A very drinkable bottle of red wine such as Cote de Rhone can cost as little as €1.30, a traditional French bread costs €0.80 and a good French goat cheese as little as €1.50 so thats lunch for three at €3.60 or R12.00 each.

    Of course this is not a comprehensive or accurate comparison – maybe I will have a further look and report on prices more rigorously sometime. Anyone interested in this could contact me.

    I do, however, think it does two things:

  • It contradicts the perception that food is cheap in South Africa
  • Raises the question, given low wages and agricultural potential, of why South African prices are high.
  • Five Months in Bourgogne!

    I am going to be spending the next few months working from a house in rural Bourgogne (Burgundy to the English and the wine drinker!) in France.

    Having just returned from a first visit to the supermarket it was interesting that for the first time in my life I actually said to myself “We mustn’t buy too much fruit because the garden is full of cherries!”.

    General view in a mediunm sized French supermarket.

    photograph by DIGIVUZA

    published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

     

    This brought home the Local Food issue, especially as the plums and pears in the supermarket were from South Africa! We definitely, especially in South Africa, make little effort to reduce our carbon footprint by using foods that are grow nearby. Here someone planted trees decades ago and without fertilisation or any real pruning they produce year after year and as they are just off the dining room with “zero” carbon emission.

    I also saw some interesting products and concepts in the supermarket such as LCD pricing, easy cracking macadamias and another solution to cooking rice!

    I have therefore decided to write a number of posts while I am here that reflect on these and similar items focussing on innovation and the environment.

    The Science / Food balance of the French

    I found this well thumbed book in a house where I lived in France.

    iPhoto.jpg


    photo by Dave Harcourt
    (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License)

     

    Knowing and having lived the French “obsession” with food for three months I feel it might be interesting to look at its contents a bit deeper. You can be sure its interesting, even if only because it was published in 1935. Although the contrast with a similar British approach might also hold some lessons.

    Administrative Paperwork

    Have been Spending some time looking for information in the Salornay sur Guye Town Hall (Mairie). Salornay is one of the approximately 36,800 communes in France. The commune is the lowest level of administrative division in the France. It is interesting that French communes still largely reflect the division of France into villages or parishes at the time of the French Revolution more than two centuries ago. The median size of a commune (the size where half the communes are bigger and half smaller) is only 380.

    The communes prepare a “Table Decennale” which is a record of the births, marriages and deaths, each recorded in alphabetical order, for a ten year period. These appear to be a summary of the marriages, birth and death records records of the commune.

    The earliest in the group inspected was for the period 1823 to 1833.

    iPhoto-1.jpg

    photo by Dave Harcourt
    (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License)

     

    IMG_4635.JPG.jpg

    photo by Dave Harcourt
    (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License)

     

    Obviously all created by hand in very controlled copperplate – imagine the effort and input of 36 000 people sitting, sorting and transcribing some 20 pages of 25 entries.

    iPhoto-2.jpg

    photo by Dave Harcourt
    (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License)

     

    The 1923 to 1932 document was the first completed with a typewriter.

    iPhoto.jpg