Are French food options really that bad?

I’m surprised at Irene Pope’s opinion of food around Poitiers ( Letters, December issue ).

Fruit, vegetables and meat in the supermarket we use is generally of good quality and there is a farm shop next door where top quality Parthenaise beef and local lamb can be bought.

Local lamb and New Zealand lamb are also available in the supermarket. Overall, prices are not that much different from the UK.

When it comes to restaurants, there are Michelin-starred restaurants within easy driving distance and there are Indian, Thai and Chinese restaurants doing good food.

When I arrived here nearly 20 years ago, my weekly shopping bill dropped by about 30% including wine. Prices have gone up a lot in the last few years but so have they in the UK, and I know that I could not eat as well in the UK for what I spend here even now.

Keith Howlett, Latillé, Vienne

I agree with the December comments on the quality of food in French supermarkets.

I am a retired lecturer in hotel and catering management and I have lived in France for 20 years in various departments.

The only department I found the food of good quality was Normandy. The rest was as described. The best supermarkets can be found in Spain.

There seems to be an arrogance that all things French are superior to goods from any other country.

Stan Hodgkinson, Dordogne

We live in Confolens – not so far from Poitiers – and have no complaints about the food available in France at all.

There is a good quality selection of anything that you need to make a good meal and at a very reasonable price

We eat well here and are grateful for all that is available.

Ursula Carr, Confolens, Charente

I cannot disagree more strongly with the letter writer.

We have used various supermarkets in and around Poitiers for 15 years and find the quality and choice are nothing but excellent.

We are spoiled for choice when it comes to local restaurants and our local bar offers a four-course meal, including wine, for €13 and cannot be faulted.

Our local market at Vouillé has the freshest of fruit and vegetables, which are only beaten by those from my garden. French cuisine is fantastic and always to be savoured and enjoyed.

Joyce Rayner, by email

There is a Leclerc, a Lidl, and an Intermarché near us in St Jean d’Angély.

Quality is variable in all, with Lidl probably being the most reliable. Anything packaged has to be scrutinised carefully, particularly things like strawberries where the lowest layer has often rotted.

Our main issue is with the amount of plastic wrapping used.

Derek Rouse, Saint-Jean-d’Angély, Charente-Maritime

To generalise regarding the proud reputation of French produce and cuisine is tantamount to anarchy.

I think the lady ought to be a little more philosophical and reflect that she is a guest in France and choose her words responsibly.

May I suggest that if she feels so negative about the food in France, she could always pop along to Poitiers-Biard Airport and return to the UK?

Raymond Davidson, by email

Whenever our daughter or granddaughter visit, they have a “must visit” list of restaurants and always go back to the UK with a supply of the food they wish they could buy there.

Peter Duff, by email

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