Sunday, February 17, 2008

Food for thought...

There was a reminder the other day of the shock of finding how tricky it was for vegetarians coming to live in the South of France... perhaps we had been too used to the easy route of ready-made protein alternatives - which are readily available in the UK but almost non-existent in rural France! Anyway, that thought brought me back to a big subject that we have barely touched on in the expat context - food and how much this would influence your decision, one way or another, about living in a country.

Although for some food is purely a matter of fuel, of course for many the type of food available, the pleasure of cooking, restaurant experiences, etc. are key aspects of life. It might be a question of what food is commonly available in the country or what you might desperately miss in being there. Personally, whilst enjoying fine French cuisine, here in rural France a disappointment has been the scarcity of decent Indian curry (commonplace cuisine in the UK and abounding with delicious vegetarian options) - on one occasion, driving some distance to a large town for a recommended Indian restaurant, we not only found it closed but it seemed to have been so for some time - so perhaps not to the local taste, in that town at least.

How important is the local cuisine, or lack of the food we are used to, when contemplating a move? I now know that the Languedoc is one of the toughest regions of France for vegetarians but I must say that I'm not sure if that knowledge would have decided me against the move if I had been aware of it at the time.

Anyway, in the quest for a curry alternative, the next move is to try a recommended Vietnamese restaurant which is sure to have some interesting options - if it is open of course... however, in these days of globalisation certain foods are available almost internationally and perhaps that will help some survive practically anywhere...

Photo: Chance Agrella

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