If you ask me what my favorite store in France is, Picard would quickly come to mind. The frozen food giant is like nothing I’d ever experienced in the USA, and I make weekly visits (or as often as my little freezer will allow). It’s a favorite among the French too, and you can find everything from appetizers and frozen veggies to prepared meals and desserts.
Picard: France’s frozen food store is pure heaven
If you’ve spent a little time in France, you’ve most likely seen a Picard store, officially called Picard Surgelés. With over 900 locations in France alone, Picard is a mainstay in France and one that I’ve wholly embraced. I’m not always the most motivated cook, and some nights we shamefully don’t even start thinking about dinner until 7 p.m. or later when I get home from the gym. When you need something easy to cook or just want to have a variety of options at your disposal, Picard should be your go-to place. Maybe you’ll love it as much as I do…
What is Picard?Let’s cover the basics first. It’s an entire store dedicated to frozen food. Picture your regular grocery store’s frozen food aisles times 10. This isn’t any frozen food store, though. Picard foods are all Picard brand (a few exceptions) and extremely high quality, not to mention the selection is unreal. Picard has over 1,100 products!
I’m like a kid in a candy store when I browse the cases at Picard. They even deliver to your home if you don’t live near a store.
So what can you find at Picard? Everything!Need a dessert for company but no time to bake? Picard has some options.
No fresh veggies on hand? Let’s see what we can whip up from Picard.
The options are endless. Even if you like to prepare your own food fresh, it’s not feasible for many of us day in and day out, so that’s where Picard comes in to lend a helping hand. Use one of their sauces on your home-cooked masterpiece, add a side of veggies to something you whipped up, serve a fabulous dessert, or grab one of their pre-made meals if you’re in a time crunch.
Here’s a short list of what you can find at Picard:
Hors d’oeuvres and other party food, appetizers, soups, fish and meat both plain and prepared, sauces, vegetables, fruit, chopped herbs, pasta, all kinds of desserts and ice cream and even bread and pancakes.
I’d say that a good percentage of our dinners contains something from Picard, whether it’s the protein itself, the side dish, the sauce, or the dessert. Yes, it’s that good. And convenient.
You have to see it to believe it, so let me show you.
The store itself is organized similarly to a U.S. grocery store’s freezer aisle — but with so much more. It’s a bit minimalist with deep freezers snaking around the store, but the products inside are anything but minimal. The colorful packaging has evolved over the years and the presentation is top notch. There’s usually a photo of what you can expect to find inside on the packaging along with clearly stated ingredients (great when you have an allergy like me) and cooking instructions.
On qualityNow, for a word or two about the quality. Picard is the frozen food leader in France for a reason. They’ve offered organic products since 1998 and pride themselves on offering products that are as close to their natural state as possible, without GMOs, hydrogenated oils and only minimal salt.
70% of their suppliers are in France with local know-how, so fruit from Lorraine, scallops sourced from Saint-Brieuc, etc. Maybe most impressive is Picard’s commitment to the environment. They responsibly source, pack and distrubute their wares.
Picard is always innovating and they regularly have nouveautés for die-hards like me to fall in love with — in fact, 200 new products per year. They even started carrying Amy’s Kitchen products last year although mostly everything is Picard brand aside from a few products.
My Picard favoritesIn no particular order, here are a few of my must-buy Picard items. Trust me, this list could have been 50 items long, so I just included a few faves of the moment below.
- This veggie mix. I add a little garlic and olive oil and sautee until they’re slightly browned. This mix is a nice side dish but also mixes well with pasta. Sticking with veggies, their thin green beans are also excellent (and a bestseller).
- These cod sticks are my favorite. The breading crisps up perfectly and they’re not fishy at all. Right now they’re even on promo taking the price down to 5.35 euros.
- Having people over? Grab these mini puff pastries. They don’t disappoint. A box of 30 is 3.95 euros. Watch out, they go fast!
Down side?Picard in France is not the cheapest place around, so I try to stick to the promos of the month which are never discounted more than 15% or so. They just had “Hello America Week” where you could find frozen cookie dough, pulled pork, soft pretzels, and even a rainbow cake, to name a few, but it wasn’t cheap.
I find their vegetable mixes to be really handy and mix in great with pasta if you don’t have anything fresh to chop up. The frozen veggies are reasonably priced, especially when they’re on promo and are so versatile. The problem is that if I go in for frozen veggies, I come out with 10 other things that aren’t so budget priced.
We have a small freezer which is both a blessing (for my wallet) and a curse (I can’t always buy everything I want to buy). Luckily, we have a store a 5-minute drive away for frequent trips.
So yup, I’m a fangirl. Picard, if you need a cheerleader with business skills on your team, call me. 😉
Have you heard of Picard? Do you shop there, and if so, what are your favorite things to buy?