A little bit of France right to your door – Bonjour French Food:
I’m just a bit of a Francophile. It comes from spending several idyllic summers as a teenager staying with a French family in a remote village in Savoie. I remember swimming in the lake, relaxing by the pool, cycling (and pushing my bike a lot UP the mountains) and sitting reading in the sun. And I remember sublime food. The family I stayed with spent their holidays finding the best local food to take back to their main home near Paris so we ate extremely well on local cheeses, vegetables, fruit and patisserie. All of course, in the interest of research. So when Bonjour French Food asked me to review their food boxes, I was delighted.
My first box arrived, a neat brown cardboard box with smart French blue and white labelling. All very chic. All very French. Perhaps most impressive was the courier service (something that regularly drives me mad). First an e-mail letting me know in advance when my box was due, with enough thought to ensure that commercial addresses got their boxes in the afternoon, whereas home addresses got an early evening delivery. And, the box arrived promptly on my doorstep, just when it was supposed to do so.
I opened the box to an overwhelming smell from the peppered saucisson. So of course I had to sample it immediately. The flavour, a herby spiced dense pork meat, is intense and perfect. Tonton la rondelle pepper coated saucisson is from the Haute Savoie, which is perhaps why I instinctively link the whole box to France. I first tasted something like this when I was thirteen, high up in the French Alps in Savoie, hiking and having a picnic with my French family. We all sat down for a break and Madame pulled a knife from her pocket and hacked us each off a slice of saucisson. I’m saving the rest of MY saucisson to savour.
I sneaked a sample of the biscuits too, Petits sablés ronds et bons from Michel et Augustin. Even the name made me smile and once I opened the tiny box, all my good intentions to just taste vanished and I ate them all in one sitting.
In some effort to save my waistline I donated the fondant au chocolat to a friend with a family to feed. Her reaction? to ask me where she could buy it in the UK after telling me that it simply didn’t taste like a ‘mix’ and that her husband and daughter loved it. Made by Marlette, according to the people from Bonjour French Food, the quality of this baking-mix lies on the meticulous choice of its organic ingredients. And, what they describe as a very “chic” detail: a touch of salt from Ile de Ré.
And, that’s as far as I have got with checking the content of the first box. I have been away quite a lot and eating out when I am at home. And, if I am strictly honest, a lot of the little tins are ‘treats’. I don’t want to eat them all at once, rather to savour them and bring them out for a special occasion.
Now the November box has arrived though, and I am feeling guilty for not having reviewed what appears to be an excellent product. The contents of the monthly box is the essence of France. Each month there is a theme and each month there’s a comprehensive guide to the provenance of the food in the box.
A single box will set you back £31, or if you buy a three or six month subscription £29. But, if you love French food and struggle to find excellent quality produce, this is a great solution. More importantly for me, it’s a treat. Something that I don’t generally need to cook with but that has a whole set of delicious little cans, pots and packets just waiting for one of those miserable days when I don’t want to go out and haven’t got a clue what to make for lunch or dinner.
Bonjour French Food was founded by two friends, Véronique Poulou and Julien Batifoulier, who met at business school in Paris. There’s a personal touch about the whole enterprise, we learn that Julien’s waistline is expanding and that Veronique is off on a well deserved holiday this month. The website encourages French food producers to get in touch and allow Bonjour French Food to distribute. These are real people who love food starting a business to showcase something they have a passion for. And for that it deserves to succeed.
For more about the hampers check the Bonjour French Food website.
Disclaimer: I was sent two Bonjour French Food hampers to sample. All views expressed here are my own.