Most Parisiennes may not admit it, but their best dishes were learned at the Picard school of Fine Dining. If they have either a freezer, oven, or microwave then they probably have eaten something from Picard. This store is unlike any other store in the states- and it surpasses most of its French competitors in terms of quality and price.
For newcomers, it may seem a bit puzzling. What are all of these snowflake stores and what happens inside? In fact, for my first 8 months in Paris I did not step foot inside of a Picard. Perhaps I was too bedazzled by the varieties of French cheeses and wines at my disposal or the endless aperos. I was not even sure my tiny fridge had storage space for frozen foods. But the allure of the unknown got the best of me and led me to my best local discovery thus far.
Picard has everything you think you need and thensome. Did I think I would find bacon wrapped mushroom stuffed turkey or truffle fries? Did I know I could find 2 frozen baguettes for .85c or chevre, walnut and honey pizza? Why didn’t anyone tell me about their pre-cooked meals such as cuttlefish ink linguine? The tartlettes and desserts? There is so much to discover at Picard that it is impossible to leave empty handed (it’s like going to Target, but gourmet). Each month there are recipe books, specials and themes. Just a few months ago, Picard sold American themed frozen food equipped with pulled pork, cupcakes, buttermilk chicken strips which gave me the ultimate taste of home.
Many Parisiennes-as akin to their New York counterparts- do not cook. Blame it on busy schedules, a laissez-faire attitude towards food prep, tiny kitchens or a prioritization of aperos and quality time, but many eat quick and fast (and late). Leftovers, tupperware, ziplock baggies, vacuum seals and all of the traditional jargon of American kitchens may not translate well in Paris. But something we all need is quick and easy meals that are budget friendly, can be healthy, offer variety and take us out of our comfort zones. You may want to save your first taste of escargot for a night with friends but just note that you can buy a bag of frozen, pre-cooked escargot at Picard tonight as well. If you’re hosting a housewarming party in your new flat, Picard has a whole section dedicated to fancy hors d’oeuvres and finger foods that are sure to impress your guests.
So the next time you go to a Parisian dinner party be sure to ask for a recipe and you’ll get one of two answers: an actual recipe or a coy “c’est complique” with a wink only to notice the Picard boxes in the trash on your way out!
*Please note this is not a sponsored post just an ode to frozen French food!