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July 29, 2007



"French people won’t eat yogurt that is loaded with gums or gelatins."

Well, I was at Franprix yesterday looking for plain, whole-milk yogurt, and in between all the 'yogurts' with chocolate swirls, caramel-flavorings, Kinder toys, and rainbow sprinkles there was no ordinary yogurt to be found.

Oh la vâche, Ms. Glaze, you're going through the same dewy-eyed phase I went through last time I was in SF.

Now if only my Vélib' card would arrive, I could work off some of that Comté I wolf down daily.



As I contemplate spending four months in exile in my native land (if that's not a contradiction in terms) I am not enthusiastic about having to go back to American yogurt. Can you recommend any that even come close to the heaven that is French yogurt, which is an integral part of my daily diet? It has to be available in NY, maybe via Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.

Ms. Glaze

Monsieur Lebovitz – Non, il n'est pas possible!?!!? C'est quoi ce bordel??? Hmmm, maybe you should try Monoprix (lol)! I know the French are starting to pick up our bad habits more and more. Perhaps I do have dew in my eyes...

Maitresse – My American favs are: Strauss family yogurt and Brown Cow. They can be purchased at Whole Paycheck. What's your favorite French brands? Four months, huh? Desolée...


Yes, Northern Ca rules!

Would you please give us a video of how to make really good baguettes? I really have an urge to make some great baguettes.


Your post explains so much about that smug look we saw on the faces of cows in Normandy -- and here I thought it was the clover...

Have you tried Bellwether Farms' new yogurt? It's made with sheep's milk --no gelatins or gums--and it's HEAVENLY. You can get it at Cowgirl Creamery's shop at the Ferry Building.


Hi Ms Glaze !

/*/…/… French people won’t eat yogurt that is loaded with gums or gelatins. …/… /*/

They won't consume milk and/or meats that are loaded with various antibiotics, either: none of those in the vast majority of French foods, fortunately. (smile)

One mustn't forget, too, that French cheeses have "seasons" …

Camembert, for example, is supposedly "best" in the Spring, while some experts say that it is "best" from October to June …

In the supermarkets/hypermarkets, the "best" (i.e., tastiest) brands of real Camembert (made with unpasteurized milk, as opposed to the industrial schlock made with pasteurized milk), at least in Amerloque's view, are Réo (made by Réaux) and Gillot.

Other people's mileage might differ, of course ! (wide grin)


Stu "El Inglés" Harris

Maitresse: Trader Joe's "La Natura" brand is better than anything at Whole Paycheck. It comes in little glass jars, in 2-packs, with various fruit flavours. Mixed berry is my fave.....


great, thanks you guys!


Oh yes, Stu, I agree with you about La Natura. It's delicious! Though I agree with Ms. Glaze about Strauss Family Creamery and Brown Cow yogurts. They're all great. When making frozen yogurt (a la Monsieur Lebovitz's recipes), I like the Fage Greek Yogurt that you can find both at Whole Paycheck and Trader Joe's (much cheaper at TJ's, of course).

Ms. Glaze, a great posting to remind me why we're so lucky to live in Northern California (if we can't live in Paris).


Lucky for you you're not in Florida! The markets here are horrendous!


Hi Ms. Glaze, I also moved from San Francisco to Paris and I too was waiting to be overwhelmed by the cuisine that the French love to brag about. When I was planning my wedding in Bordeaux my belle-mere’s favorite joke was to say that we’d serve the American guests “MacDo”. She had to eat those words when she visited us in SF and I introduced her to all the wonderful restaurants there (and a picnic in Napa for good measure!) I miss the days at the Ferry Building wine bar with a little cheese box hanging out w/friends. I’ve happily found some great places in Paris and am just as happy now, but your wonderfully written homage to Northern California did make me home sick : )

Ms Glaze

Joanne – I would love to do a baguette video! It will have to wait until I return to Paris in a few weeks, I hope that's okay? Baguettes are hard without professional proofing/steam ovens but not impossible. The best home recipe for baguette is out of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She really took a lot of time working with French master bakers to figure out how to make work for American home cooks.

Me – I LOVE the bellweather's sheep yogurt. I just bought two yesterday. It was amazing. The best yogurt I've had in California even though it's not cow. Love the strawberry flavor.

Amerloque – Yes! You've brought up a very good point about the seasonality of milk products. That's very true.

Stu – I'll have to make a trip to Trader Joes. My neighbor here was just raving about their cottage cheese as well. He swears it's the best.

Jessica – I love Greek Yogurt. I normally opt for that here in the US because it's much creamier and I like the acidity balance.

Bob – Never been to Florida. Didn't get the Top Chef spot so i guess I missed my chances (lol).


Cows! I remember the wonderful dairy products we ate wherever we went in France. Yogurt, cheese, butter... they all tasted so, so, so good. And, it's true, I have a difficult time finding anything like them here. Now, I know... it's all about the cows... O la vache!


oh la vache!


I haven't been to France yet, but when I was Italy I remember having the best yogurt for breakfast. I remember it was never flavored with neon swirls or chunky mystery fruit.

How would you compare French yogurt to Italian yogurt?


I've been thinking about milk lately...the fact that every single glass of commercial milk tastes exactly the same. The diet of dairy cows must be the exactly the same all over the US. This seems very unnatural. Couldn't we have varietal milks? And couldn't we compare milk from different breeds?


Sigh. I read those yoghurt descriptions and weep. Here in Marrakech, the yoghurt sold in super markets is so sugary that it actually makes my teeth hurt. Do you ever make your own yoghurt, lovely ms. Glaze?

Ms Glaze

Hank – I've often wondered about that too. In fact, I would like to do a varietal milk tasting. Wouldn't that be interesting?

Moroccanmaryam – I'm not surprised that the yogurt is sugary, I know the sweet food is REALLY sweet in Marrakech. I haven't made my own, but I hear it's easy. Maybe another reader has!?!?!

Alison – I think Italian yogurt is a little more tangy in flavor than the French counterpart, but equally delicious. Have you tried the yogurt from Switzerland? Heavenly...


I just discovered your blog and I'm really enjoy going through it from the start. I have a lot of questions, but I'll just ask this one: In your videos, I envy how easily your knives cut through meat. Do you sharpen your knives, or do you have it done commercially? If you do it, how about a video primer on knife maintenance?


Hey, I just noticed that you were the Typepad Featured Blog for yesterday. Congrats! :)


Ms. Glaze - I didn't have the opportunity to sample Swiss yogurt as I was only in that lovely country for a few short hours before going back down to Italy.

I did sample their chocolate!

Ms Glaze

Robert – Great question! As soon as I get back to Paris I'll do a video on knife sharpening. It's really important and I learned the hard way – I have serious carpal tunnel from not keeping my knives sharp. When you cook 14 hours a day it's important (and even when you cook 15 min. a day too!) because it takes more pressure to cut through things.

I have my knives professionally sharpened about every 3-4 months and use a diamond sharpening steel to keep the blade inline daily – sometimes hourly. I also use sharpening stones as needed. These are a little trickier and take time and practice to get the hang of.

A lot depends on your blade as well. I have the full Wustof collection and I hate it. They are heavy and the blades are thick. My boning knife goes dull every two days and even my sharpening steel can't bring it back to life. Dull knives are dangerous.

I'm a big fan of Global right now. These knives are lightweight and the blades are thin and stay sharper much longer. I only have two, but I use them more than the German warhorses. I've heard lots of great things about other Japanese knives, but haven't explored the different brands yet. Check out Amerloque's blog above for his latest post on knives!


This is fascinating. I concur. Are you back in SF yet solidly? If so, we should meet up for a drink.


Yeeeeahhh... Nor Cal rules. :)

Have you tried Saint Benoît yogurt? It's beautiful stuff.


Ms. Glaze

Hi Michelle – I went out and bough some St. Ben yogurt and I'm still on the fence about it. I purchased the lemon flavor and the citrus seemed to have curdled the milk a little bit. I like the little ceramic pots though – très français! Is there a flavor you recommend? Cool company, thanks for the link.


I'm intrigued by all the yogourt discussions. We certainly don't have nearly as many options in Southern Ontario, but I've taken to schlepping over to the Greek neighbourhood to pick up proper, full-fat yogourt. It shows just how plastic the grocery store variety is. It makes a perfect summer dessert drizzled with honey and sprinkled with walnuts. As for cheese, you really should try some of the products coming out of Quebec. Raw milk cheeses are legal, and the quality can be excellent, particularly for goat's milk varieties. Of course, that's not really in keeping with the spirit of this particular post. Oh, la vache!


Ms.Glaze,very nice blog! Were You sometime in the countries of Baltic-Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia ? There is dairy paradise and fragrant black bread,which will not forget never...
I think that dairy products can fine in any country and for this purpose be necessary only one thing- healthy ecology

Bill Burge

I've been thinking and reading a lot about grass fed beef and animals in general lately, and it has occurred to me that while I seek it out (in Missouri), and I can afford to buy it, the majority of the people that I speak with don't know that a) it's even better, or b) could afford it in the first place.

If the demand for grass fed beef goes up, it will be even more expensive. Plus, when you look at the quantity of beef produced for consumption in the US, and you see what states that meat is coming from in the greatest quantity, you will see that they are not in areas where grass feeding is particularly viable.

Ranking for total cattle:
Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, California, Oklahoma

Ranking for Beef Cows:
Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, South Dakota

Ranking for Cattle on Feed:
Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Iowa

Most of these states aren't exactly known for their wonderful climates and grassy regions.

(via: http://beef.unl.edu/FAQ/200307250.shtml)

Missouri, for instance, is completely scorched right now from the immense summer heat, and the amount of land needed to properly rotate and graze the cattle would be incredible. Thus, it's just not cost effective for most farmers to deal with it.

Unscientifically, I believe this is why you do see a greater amount of grass fed lamb in the midwest. The smaller animals require less land to sufficiently graze.

As I have come to learn recently, in speaking with a goat cheese farmer/producer, however, the type of grass is hugely important in all this as well. He feeds his goats sassafras, but most of the grass in Missouri is of a type that I don't recall, and it is not as nutritious or flavorful.

So, at the end of the day, I think this. Truly fantastic/artisanal products (cheese, butter, beef, yogurt, etc) can be had in America just as readily as France. However, with over 4 times as many mouths to feed as France mass production is out there so that the masses can be fed quickly and cheaply utilizing a lot of agricultural land that is less then ideal.

Ms Glaze

Bill – Thanks for this! Very informative and insteresting I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. You've got my wheels turning now...


Bill, your thoughts are very interesting but I have to disagree with you here: "Truly fantastic/artisanal products (cheese, butter, beef, yogurt, etc) can be had in America just as readily as France."

Perhaps in the city; perhaps in wealthy suburbs; but out here where I grew up the good stuff is hard to come by and quite expensive. My parents are happy to pay more for the good stuff but on my grad student salary I resent having to-- and miss the quality that can be had in France for very basic prices.

As you point out that may have something to do with the comparative sizes of the country but as a Framerican temporarily stranded in the homeland I have to say: it sucks.

actually gram

Easy to make your own yogurt with some organic plain yogurt as a starter mixed w/organic milk. Local organic milk. Or local raw milk boiled and cooled to lukewarm.

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