Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cornichons

It surprises me the variety of inexpensive, simple things I can do here in the states to preserve my French state-of-mind. Some are experiental--line drying my linens, using a market basket when I visit the grocery store. Then there are touches in my home--a small bunch of fresh flowers or a fragrant block of savon de Marseille. Then of course, there is the food, which may be the easiest way to bring a bit of France into my home. No surprise that it always makes me smile when I open my fridge and see that jar of cornichons. Is it the name that makes me smile? The size? The flavor? Je ne sais pas.

These aren't your everyday gherkin. These are Parisian pickles, cornichons by Maille. Makers of mustards, vinegars, and of course, cornichons, Maille's storefront is located at 6 place de la Madeleine, Paris. In France we eat these tiny pickles with salads or cheeses, my French brother-in-law eats them with foie gras, my nephews eat them for le snack. Smaller, spicier, and crisper than American varieties, I found Maille cornichons at my local Safeway for $3.59.

I was dismayed, though not surprised, when I heard recently that Maille is no longer buying their cornichons from French farmers; Maille now purchases their gherkins from India. However I was surpised to learn that Trader Joe's cornichons are grown in France, in the southwestern Garonne Valley.

And so it goes that even the lowly pickle is not spared from globalization.

5 comments:

  1. I see these in my store all the time but I have never tried them. I might pick up a jar when I go today. I love Maille mustard, it's the only kind I use anymore.

    I use a market basket at the grocery store too, the cashiers always give me strange looks when I put my groceries in there.

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  2. I have tried their mustard, but not these. I will have to look for them.

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  3. Cornichons are a staple in our home as well. We've been eating them so long the taste is preferred over standard limp pickles. I discovered your blog by accident and am enjoying it immensely :)

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  5. I love the idea of the cornichons and Maille mustard, particularly the horseradish version. What's the proper way to eat them?

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