One of the surprising (and disappointing) facts of life for food lovers in the Greater Daglan Area is the occasional short supply of fresh fruits, herbs, and vegetables in our supermarkets.
Certainly there are times when stores and local markets are bursting with fresh, locally grown strawberries, melons, and other produce. But there are also times when the lettuce, broccoli, and green beans in supermarket bins look decidedly second-hand, and herbs such as coriander are simply not available.
And that’s why my wife Jan and I, and many of our friends, occasionally make the trip to Bergerac (about an hour and a quarter from Daglan, by car) to shop at the Grand Frais supermarket. (Typically, we visit Grand Frais when we go to the Bergerac airport, to pick up or drop off friends from the U.K.)
Grand Frais is actually a rather large chain of speciality supermarkets, with stores all over France (aside from the Bergerac outlet, the closest outlet is in Brive).
The stores were founded specifically to focus on the freshest possible fruit and vegetables, and top-quality meats, fish, spices, cheeses, and so on. We also shop at Grand Frais for otherwise impossible-to-find products like crayfish from Louisiana, and fresh okra. But the stores do not offer any of the other goods that are common in supermarkets today, such as soaps and paper goods.
I wrote about the Bergerac store briefly last year (“Bergerac: A few good reasons [to visit],” Sept. 7, 2017), but here’s a more detailed view, with a series of photographs to give you a good taste of what’s on offer. Let’s begin with the store’s exterior:
Next, here’s an overall view of the interior of the supermarket, where there are rows and rows of goods in the centre, with shelves and coolers around the perimeter of the large space:
This photo shows a sample of the somewhat more exotic produce available, including fresh ginger and a variety of peppers:
And this being spring time, you’ll find lots and lots of strawberries on offer (although Jan prefers to shop in Daglan’s Sunday market each week, where a woman sells delicious berries from our area):
Greens? You want greens? Have a look at just some of the leafy vegetables lined up in Grand Frais:
And for a final burst of bright colours, how about some fresh rhubarb and lemons, like these:
Finding the store, however, is not terribly easy, at least the first time. The address is simply given as ZA la Cavaillé, Route de Bergerac. That means it’s in a sort of industrial/commercial area, on a long stretch of road with outlets like the appliance/furniture store Conforama.
We approach Grand Frais by heading west from the Bergerac airport, in the direction of Bordeaux, and pass through several roundabouts (traffic circles) until we see the Campanile restaurant on our right. Then we turn right, and head up the street.
With luck, you won’t miss it.