IF there is one thing that most Brits in France miss it's a hot 'n' spicy curry on a bed of fluffy white rice.
When Lee Aston, who was originally from Coventry and now lives with his French wife in Normandy, helped a family member build a website he was thanked with a box of packet curries.
Then as his friends, both British and French, took a liking to the curries an idea grew and he realised that there was a demand for everything from a mild tikka masala to a fiery vindaloo.
Here Lee chats about how he started his business and the setting up of PacketCurry.com
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Yes - whilst French people, in general, do not have a henkering or craving for Curry dishes, I think this is specific to historical, cultural and availability reasoning.
They don't have an excessive craving for tea with milk either, for the same reasons. France, colonialy, was not particularly present in those corners of the world where such "British" delicacies come from, therefore the presence in France of both the people who know how to prepare such dishes, and the dishes themselves are quite limited. They do exist, but more popular (and quite reasonably so) are those dishes and Restaurants, originating from French "colonial" areas, like Indo-China, "Les Iles" (Madagascar, and all the others) etc. Beleive me - if it's "hot, spicy, you're after, then try a couple of the "Restaurants des Iles" - there are a couple in Montpellier and a lot of others elsewhere in France. I personally enjoy a nice Curry, hot or not, but some of those dishes in the "Iles" cookery simply are, for me, unedible - they blow your mind. I've never seen a "Brit" there either...!
In fact, British Tourists who come regularly to my place seem incapable to eat anything in the way of those little red peppers "pimentoes" (as opposed to the larger red sweet peppers) - they call them "inedible"
I must also make the comment that (as I recall) it was pretty well impossible to find a "Traiteur" in Britain, capable of producing the same subtle and refined dishes as those all over the place in France. Good job we're all different - that gives us the choice!
My last comment concerns what I understand to be the trend in UK - "Fish & Chips" WITH CURRY SAUCE...! I ask you.
I often make "British Fish & Chips" for my tourist friends - without curry sauce, and in general, it's the French who devoure it with relish (not the Chutney kind of relish either).
They (the French) actually go so far as to say - "On le croit pas - un plat Britannique mangeable!"
Posted by: Ian W Mitchell | 28 January 2009 at 09:10
We delight in guiding our french friends around *our* cuisine when we're visiting. Despite being in a cheese-rich region of france we find that a platter of decent cheddars, stiltons, a real wendsleydale, or even something a little more exotic like a wheel of stinking bishop, always gets plenty of attention. But they clamour for our bacon sarnies (proper brit bacon fried and servied with a fried egg and a dollop of ketchip in nice fresh *french* bread - real fusion food!)
And yes - curry - in our case Thai not indian. We don't go for super-spicy, just a nice "zing" level, and the pot is always scraped clean.
We take a supply of ingreds with us, curry paste in particular coz it's hard to find all the bits.
But I note that the supermarket shelves over there are starting to pick up on such things!
There's hope for them yet. :-)
I do wonder why our *english* friends who now run a small bar/restaurant don't offer more "english" dishes as an option, I'm sure it'd catch on (and I mean with the locals not the expats!)
Posted by: Chris Comley | 28 January 2009 at 10:52
Hi there, I have been on the receiving end of a "pimentoes" sauce - YIKES! it was hot.
And I must admit that many French people enjoy trying out British cheeses, in fact I wrote a piece about this a wee while ago:
All the best, Craig
Posted by: Craig McGinty | 30 January 2009 at 09:44