On Friday, as part of a very girly day out (after buffalo wings and face massages, but before some serious shoe shopping), we found ourselves in Galeries Lafayette Gourmet.
This section of Galeries Lafayette is a veritable treasure trove of goodies. They have a lot of stuff that you don't find in an ordinary supermarket, from all regions of France, and from all corners of the world, and one must literally pause in front of each shelf and look closely, because they're stuffed with so many different things... but it's all for a price, of course.
A packet of Oreos? 8 euros.
But when you're a foreigner with a hankering for something from back home (and you just can't wait for that survival pack being sent from across the other side of the world, or you're looking for items which cannot easily be shipped), you sometimes just have to pay the price.
I was delighted to find some Horlick's Malt Powder, a staple ingredient in the fabulous Malteser Cake from Nigella Lawson's Feast (and adapted slightly thanks to my girl Alexis). We had been drooling over this cake recipe since I received the book for my birthday, and we would have loved to make this for Aimee's surprise birthday - the only problem was that this Malt Powder was hard to come by, and even more difficult to find in France.
We had resigned ourselves to the fact that we would have to make an "ordinary" chocolate cake, and it was only by chance that I found it on the shelf in Lafayette Gourmet, and I quickly sent an mms to Sylvain, with the photo, and the words, "we can make nigella's cake!!!" He wrote back, "whee!" (as an aside, since the birthday girl was with me at the time, and had no idea about the surprise party awaiting her the next day, I lied through my teeth, "I've been looking for it for ages, it's to drink before I go to bed").
I was also excited to find some Philadelphia Cream Cheese in their refrigerated section. It looks like we're going to be make a cheesecake sometime in the future, but at 4.50€ a packet, we'll have to forego the test run and just hope it turns out first go ;)
Lafayette Gourmet is not that big an area in itself, but there are so many products that it's impossible to see everything at once, so each time I go back I discover something new.
It is truly a last resort haven for the expat. Albeit an extremely expensive haven, it's a haven all the same.