Sunday, April 6, 2008


French grocery stores are an endless source of amusement for me. They have amazing fresh fish and seafood stands, massive quantities of bottled water (flat and gazeuse!), and their Muzak consists of the most random compilation of American songs you can imagine. If you're a regular reader, you might remember my post about the impressive variety of sweets that one can find at the supermarché. I'd now like to introduce you to another well-known aisle in a French grocery store; quite possibly the only one that rivals the cookie and biscuit section in terms of it's quantity and variety. Yes, I'm talking about the yogurt aisle, or aisles depending on the size of the place.

American yogurt sections are pretty small by comparison. You can find them tucked in between the milk and the cheese where they offer a modest selection of flavors and brands. A few fruit-at-the-bottoms, some drinkables, and a trendy organic yogurt thrown in to class up the place. French people, on the other hand, clearly take their yogurt seriously. They can choose from mind-boggling array of brands, sizes, and consistencies. They have flavors we Americans never dreamed of: pink grapefruit, fig, and mango are on my must-try short list. And you can't buy just one. Yogurts are always sold in packs, some carrying up to 20 individual yogurt cups. I recently took a picture of part of the two giant yogurt aisles at a nearby grocery store. As you can see, there are a lot of choices...and those are just the Activia brand yogurts...and not all of them would fit in the shot.

It's difficult to picture the immensity of some of France's yogurt aisles without actually seeing them in person. Try to imagine the cereal, chip, and pop aisles at an American grocery store all rolled into one big good-bacteria dairy heaven. Just when you think living in France means living in the land of everything teeny-tiny, the yogurt aisle is there to remind you that, despite their reputation to the contrary, sometimes the French do believe in that classic American saying: bigger is better.

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