samedi, décembre 24, 2005

Le Bon March-HEY

Dear Wife loves foods: the fun foods that go into interesting recipes, and the fancy foods that come from far away places. She reads cook books with an almost physical delight. I can't accuse her of over-indulgence, nor can I accuse her of having any food hang-ups one way or the other--either too worried about gaining weight, or too guilty about the indulgences she thinks allowable. No, she is just fascinated by the whole pagent and arcana of good food.

So when Dear Wife discovered the big grocery store at the Bon Marché, she couldn't wait to tell me all about it. And insist we plan a trip down there to shop for our Xmas fare.

The Bon Marché is a department store chain, but like the other departmet stores here, it offers a broad mix of products; and also typical of the Grande Magasins I've seen in our adopted city, the store itself sprawls across streets and into adjoining buildings. One block carries the men's wear, the women's wear, etc.; the adjoining building houses the home collections; and across from that, the épicerie, or grocery store.

And it was fancy. Truly "Fancy von Fancy."

The fanciness really came from their extensive selection, and the internationalism of that extensive selection, which was exotic to our eyes, but is less exotic here, when the citizens live closer to Tanzania or Beiruit than New York.

Plus, we'd spent the last four months shopping in grocery stores not much bigger than a good Foot Locker.

Not that there's really anything good about Foot Locker.

But look at all the good stuff on display at the Épicerie Bon Marché!
Norwegian delicacies done-up in almost abstract arrangements.

This is the magisterial bread counter. A team of bread experts man the long counter, taking your requests, grabbing your selections, then weighing it up, bagging it, and attaching the pricing sticker. The variety of bread is vast, but there are also cookies, pastries, etc. available, also in impressively vast varieties. People just line up and wait to be served. The wait is short. They are very efficient.

The cheese counter--yowza. Dear Wife digs savory, and in true French form, the cheese counter here is gi-normous. This represents just a brief section of the see-through hull on this Good Ship Fromage--a veritable Super-tanker of curdled and fungi'ed goods.

We contented ourselves with a small, pre-composed variety pack of cheeses. Also bought some salami and bresoala cuts, two loaves of bread (we are planning to make French toast for Christmas Day, and I wasn't sure which type of bread would be best), and of course a couple of pain aux amandes. Two pre-fab sandwiches were très fab. If you visit this store in future, you can find these sandwiches waiting discreetly for takers at any number of their inviting chacuterie counters.