Blog: Patriotism alive and well in France

Catherine Sleep | 26 October 2006

Never let it be said the French are lacking in patriotism. Browse the wine racks in any French supermarket and you may, on a good day, be lucky enough to find the odd Californian or Australian bottle, but the lion’s share of shelf space will be devoted to home-produced vino. But then, the French do make awfully good wine. And have been doing so for centuries. As they never tire of telling us.

The same applies, of course, to food. As the UK and other European countries embrace the principles of local sourcing and try to reduce food miles, our French neighbours can smugly boast that they never strayed from their deeply held allegiance to home-grown produce. And if you’ve ever lived there, as I have, you’ll have suffered the curry cravings to prove it.

This principle can seem a little isolationist, however, and even border on being dismissive of excellent food products created outside the Hexagon. Having lived in France, I know whereof I speak. But allow me to pass the baton to a South African observer of food industry affairs, who witnessed the rare vision of a non-French food product winning a Coup de Coeur prize at SIAL, last week’s allegedly global but deep down oh-so-very-French food trade show.

Non-French food product in “winning prize at SIAL” shocker


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