I’ve discovered a store just a couple of blocks down the street from the apartment called Picard. Picard is my new best friend!
I first heard about Picard when we stopped in the bread shop for baguettes and I suggested we get some croissants too. Cliff said he gets them frozen at Picard and he has some in the freezer. You bake them fresh and they’re much better and much cheaper. And we’ve had them for breakfast every day since. They are amazing and the best croissants I think I’ve ever had. And he’s right: croissants in a bakery are 2-3 Euros apiece, while a bag of 8 from Picard sells for 3 Euros.
So of course I had to find a out about Picard, most importantly, do they have them in the U.S. The answer is no and apparently they have no plans to in the near future. Darn! (I read somewhere that the closest thing we have to Picard is Trader Joe’s and I think they’re right.)
Founded in 1973, Picard sells frozen foods, and for the most part, only frozen foods. And with very few exceptions, they make almost 100% of the products they sell. They have 1,050 stores in France and a few more in just 4 or 5 other European countries. Their stores are very simple – just a large room full of aisles of waist-high enclosed freezer cabinets. They offer more than 1,100 frozen products ranging from simple products to very elaborate recipes. And they add 200 new products every year. The variety of the food is a major selling point, which goes beyond frozen fruit, vegetables, meat, and fish to include options such as minced ginger, various chopped herbs, sauteed shallots, peeled chestnuts, wild mushrooms, pumpkin puree, and various sauces such as beurre blanc. Frozen prepared foods are also big sellers, including items like croissants, brioches, salads, galettes, hors d’oeuvres, entrees, and various desserts. Their biggest seller is thin green beans and they have many, many different kinds and styles of green beans, just like many of their other products. Like American freezer food, it’s easy and it’s cheap. Unlike most American freezer food, it’s delicious and for the most part lacks the incomprehensible ingredient list. A big part of their success lies in the total control they have with the production and distribution of their products which allows them to benefit from being kept at an even temperature once they’re frozen.