Rose's April Shop Watch: Picard Croissants and Pains au Chocolate
Picard Croissants and Pains au Chocolat
Frozen bakery products
A French breakfast
When you dream of coming out of this nightmare where does your mind take you? This is a game we all play. To escape. You are probably thinking of a favourite place somewhere in the world. It may be close to home – a Cornish fishing village or a Cotswolds country pub? Or it may be further afield where your dream is of a special sandy beach with the warmth of the sun on your skin?
For me, I think of being in the square of a medieval perched town in the south of France, sitting outside a boulangerie with a basket of croissants and pain au chocolat still warm from the oven in front of me, and a steaming cup of café au lait. The early morning sun is already warm and the whole day is in front of me to enjoy. But until that time comes then I have, at least, found the way to enjoy a true French breakfast here at home. I have found pure butter croissants and pains au chocolat made in France, available with an online grocery order, and suddenly the world seems a better place. A real taste of France.
So often I find croissants and pains au chocolat bought here in the UK do not live up to expectations – they are a shadow of the real thing. But these come from a French company, Picard, and I found them by chance on the Ocado website. They deliver on all fronts - the buttery-ness, the lightness, the flakiness as the crumbs drift down to the floor, and the “chocolat” of the pain which stays smudged on your lips. You can buy bags of 8 frozen croissants, or 6 pains au chocolat, as well as mini versions of them both, which are good to have in if you have children or you want to indulge in one of each at breakfast.
The butter croissants are cooked in France according to the traditional recipe with French ingredients (flour, sugar, Charentes butter and egg from free range hens). Likewise, the pain au chocolat, “pur beurre”, again are made from French ingredients with melting chocolate inside. Hot from the oven they seem to have come straight from a village boulangerie. Add some Bonne Maman apricot jam for the croissants, close your eyes and you could be in France.
You could see Picard as the French equivalent to the Marks and Spencer food hall, but instead of finding quality chilled ready-meals there everything is frozen. If you are ever (again allowed) in France it is worth going into Picard - browsing through their aisles is like looking through a French cookery book: gratin Dauphinois; confit of duck; escargots with garlic; Tarte Tatin. And they come into their own at party time – more of this later in the year. I find Picard a bit of a secret – I always thought that ready-meals did not exist in France except brought fresh from a traiteur. But the clever thing is that the French can store some of their favourite dishes in the freezer. Ocado do stock some of their other products so it is worth a look at the rest of the range and indulge beyond breakfast.
But meanwhile I dream of that village square.
Dreams can come true
8 Picard Croissants: £3.99
10 Mini Croissants: £2.99
6 Picard Pains au Chocolat: £2.99
10 Mini Pains au Chocolat: £2.99
Ocado have been experiencing some supply problems, some of the products are occasionally out of stock and it seems the stock situation changes daily. So, my advice is to fill your freezer when they are available.
Price and availability as at 31st March 2021