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Burnt Cream

Culinary Challenges of an Expat

There are many challenges you have to face when living abroad... the different language and culture is just the start!

I'm trying to put together the ingredients for a dinner party tomorrow night. Most of it is easy because I'm either cooking French or contemporary dishes so I'm sourcing the majority of the ingredients from my local market fresh that morning, but for pudding, I was intending to plump for a traditional English dish: sticky toffee pudding!

However, that poses a few challenges and so in today's blog post, I'm going to try to set out what I've discovered in the hope that it will help somebody else later on down the line.

There are many many things on my list of ingredients for the pudding that are so quintessentially English, that I'm prepared to make some substitutions... but it's not always going to be possible.

Here's what I have so far:
Self-raising flour (farine a gâteaux -  avec levure incorporée 
Unsalted butter (beurre doux) 
Bicarb of soda (well, close enough, I'm using 'levure chimique'
2 eggs (oeufs) 

However, what I don't have:
Light brown sugar X
Muscovado sugar X
Mixed spice X

Google has told me that the closest thing to mixed spice is quatre épices. They are both made from a base of cinnamon, ground corriander, allspice and cloves. I think I've seen that in the spice section of my local Franprix. Now I know what it is, it should be easy enough to find!

It's also very easy to find refined white sugar in France, in fact, they sell it everywhere. What I'm finding more challenging is finding light brown sugar and muscovado sugar (unrefined dark brown sugar made with molasses.)

Step 1: get the French translation... and then I'll be able to ask somebody where to find it! The equivalent of light brown sugar seems to be cassonade whilst muscovado sugar remains the same, sucre muscovado/mascobado. 

Step 2: find it! Here are a few of my favourite "petites adresses":

Another quick Google search has showed me that Monoprix sells cassonade at a reasonable ~2 euros per kilo, however, the only place I've suceeded in finding muscovado so far is the responsible-sourcing chain called Artisans du Monde but it's going for an extortionate 5 euros per kilo so until I get that desperate that I'm willing to pay that price for it, I'm off on foot to explore different health food shops around Paris, in particular the 'Naturalia' chain, which according to a tip-off, should stock these sugars.

Keep your fingers crossed for me! I'll keep you all posted with updates about this topic so click here to read the latest. If there's anything you'd like me to find for you, drop me a line in the comments section below.

One last tip, the Grande Epicerie in Le Bon Marche department store in the 7th arrondissement is a very, very good place to find high-end and/or foreign produce and so if everything else fails, I'm going there!

There's also: 

The English Shop, 10 rue Mesnil, 75016 (open Tuesday - Saturday, 10.30am - 7pm.)

G Detou, 58 rue Tiquetonne, 75002 (open Monday - Saturday, 8.30am - 6.30pm.)

The Real McCoy, 194 rue de Grenelle, 75007 (open 

L'Epicerie Anglaise, 5 cité du Wauxhall, 75010 (open Tuesday - Friday 10am - 7pm, Saturday 11am - 7pm)

and slightly outside of Paris, L'Epicerie Longueil, 28 rue de Longueil, 78600 Maisons Laffitte. 

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