Friday, July 27, 2007

I Love Supermarkets...

Sometimes I think I could spend an entire vacation inside a French supermarket / hypermarche. Or any foreign market for that matter. I used to hang out in Tokyo grocery stores. I love the packaging designs - the boxes and tins.
I brought home this Banania chocolate tin years ago.
It's now a "vintage" tin. I took it to David Dewey's watercolor class when we were doing yellow only still lifes.
An old yellow study - from my pre-macarons days

These French yogart glass jars make perfect water containers. How often do you see a Vermeer in an American supermarket?

Formerly a French plastic yogurt container. Plastic is way easier to bring home than glass.

The contents of a tin or box are irrelevant to me. I'll toss them out to lighten the load home. When I was designing shoes I bought this beautiful tin in London. Pouring thick, gooey Lyle's Golden Syrup down your hotel sink is NOT a good idea.

I love the animals on European food containers. Do we only get to see animals on "organic" foods in the US? I'd like to see more cows and goats svp.

Aren't these yogurt boxes pretty? And you don't have to read anything to know what's inside.
Here's a container I discovered in the supermarket in Paris. It makes a terrific snack after walking all day. Real gazpacho from Spain - it tastes excellent. Would you believe Tropicana is the producer. Please bring this Spanish gazpacho to New York.I'd like to buy a ton of it.


  1. Every morning I get up and get my smile on for the day by reading paris breakfasts. The sweets, the art and the Paris visits- it's all wonderful fun :)

  2. Anonymous9:35 AM

    The Banania tin is so bright and colorful I would buy it for just that reason. Do they know how to advertise or what?
    Yes your post's make me smile every morning too.
    Cris in OR

  3. You threw the Golden Syrup down the sink? OMG! Flapjacks just aren't the same without a tablespoon of this! I'm hunting down this wonderful stuff here in Geneva!

  4. I become so astounded and timid when I see your watercolors, that I've never managed to put a comment.
    And then you arrive with this ode to gazpacho, and for a moment I'm not a spaniard living abroad considered a strange-thing-eater (like gazpacho), and I believe again that some day I'll convert italians to de TRUTH of gazpacho, and feel that everything has a sense and the world is a nice place with gazpacho and your watercolors...

  5. Anonymous12:27 PM

    I look forward to reading the Paris Breakfast each day. It inspires me to keep on trying.

  6. I have just found your blog, what an absolute delight....I love the french supermarkets, spanish supermarkets, italian supermarkets, could spend hours and hours in them. Will recommend this site to all my friends.

  7. Ah I see Tate & Lyles Golden Syrup. The killer treacle but so delicious. It's gorgeous poured over hot sponge pudding.
    Here we go again with the sweet stuff.

  8. Anonymous4:59 PM

    I love your whimsy!

  9. I see one painting: wow!
    Two paintings: amazing!
    Three paintings!!! Love that water container! :-)
    Good to know I am not the only (adjective deleted!) person hanging out in foreign supermarkets. I love drugstores, too. In Italy, I can't get over the names they give to things, besides the pretty containers.
    You made me wish to start collecting again (most of my collections didn't make the cut when I moved).

  10. I love your blog! I come by often and sorry, I don't comment as often as I should. Your watercolors are so beautiful and my mouth begins to water immediately! I will be in Paris for 8 days the end of October and am already so excited about the painting and eating opportunities!!! Tout e tres jolie!

  11. Anonymous7:40 PM

    I share your container mania and have done the very same thing when travelling! Of course that's easy to confess to with the relative obscurity the internet affords! :-)

  12. Anonymous2:07 AM

    The boxed Gazpacho chain is on !
    From you to Corey and from Corey to me then from me to my daughter ... She LOVES it and could have it as a course at breakfast, at lunch and at dinner as well as a drink at any time in the day !!! Boxes of it in our fridge!
    My son and husband prefer home-made gazpacho - not as easy to make!?!

  13. You see the beauty in things that most don't, that takes a beautiful eye!

  14. These paintings are fantastic.
    Supermarket suberb
    Glorious wonder you are!

  15. Anonymous8:26 AM

    Mmmm...I love good gazpacho, but haven't made it in ages. I should do that--good time of year to really enjoy it. You throw out the contents of tins?? (You ought to at least savour them and THEN keep the tins, boxes, etc, Carol!!) Eat the contents while you're painting them, too--how's that? Fun post.

  16. i've been reading this blog for sometime now and your paintings are getting more beautiful with each post! :D great work, you've certainly inspired me to surround myself with beautiful things too!

  17. I refuse to believe that you threw out the contents of that Banania tin! Oh say it wasn't so Carol! :(

    I love supermarkets too. Like that Tropicana Gazpacho, it always fascinates me to see the things that American companies will make for the overseas markets. I wonder why they feel the American consumer wouldn't purchase those items?

  18. I love roaming supermarket aisles too! lovely collection of tins you have :)

  19. For inexpensive gifts to take back home I always go to grocery stores and wander around. Usually I get the very affordable gourmet salt in a cute container with a cork top or Herbs de Provence. Can you believe the amount of yogurt and cheese that are sold?

  20. Anonymous3:20 PM

    Seeing the photo of Lyle's Golden syrup caused me to laugh!

    When I was studying to be a graphic designer at the Institute of Design in Chicago back in the early 60's our teacher, a fine award winning graphic designer gave us an assignment to redesign the label on this product. He didn't bring it in, just told us to go purchase it. There were only a few places that carried this "motor oil," so off we went to obtain it.

    You can imagine our shock when we actually laid eyes on this joy of typography and design!

    I was so naive I didn't understand the Brit culture nor the product. As I recall I produced something the Bauhaus would have been proud of, but I am sure any Brit would not purchase because they had, and continue to look for this can. If the company ever alters it, it will be a sad day for the entire empire!
    PS: love you work, little stories and constant challenge in solving techniques to render reflective items.;-)

  21. mmmm...I agree, we should all google tropicana's address and ask them to bring this gazpacho to the U.S.

  22. How pretty! I love the Jean-Paul Hévin watercolor--LOVE those blues and the composition--and the simple yogurt jar is so nice, too. Very pure and elegant.

    I will have to try the gazpacho! I have never noticed that before.

    You are breaking my heart about throwing the contents of those tins out, though. I carry mine home full, but then sometimes I have to eat a couple of kilos of chocolate in the airport to get my baggage to pass. :)

  23. Anonymous11:19 AM

    I see how much you miss a good Gazpacho(but not this Alvalle you found in Paris..
    It´s such a crime to buy Gazpacho! You only need some good tomatoes,one green pepper,one cucumber,salt,Xerez vinegar and a real fantastic olive oil to have a fountain of fresh vitamines in your fridge.
    I don´t use garlic because I can´t stand it but instead a put fresh mint.
    I filter it to obtain a creamy one without any pelt pieces.
    And please...WITHOUT ONION!!!Another cooking crime is to add onion to gazpacho(a crime so extended...
    Real gazpacho doesn´t take onion like real Spanish omelette doesn´t as well-only eggs and potatoes).

  24. Anonymous7:38 PM

    Thank you for this....I leave for Paris in two days and CAN'T WAIT to visit the supermarché!!!! :) It's my favorite, too.

  25. Anonymous8:52 PM

    Me and my boyfriend have been avid gazpacho fiends ever since a trip to Sevilla 5 years ago. I make it regularly with an adaptation of a Delia recipe.

    Imagine our happiness when we discovered the Alvalle GOURMET gazpacho in the chiller at the tiny Spar shop 2 minutes walk from where we were staying in Ibiza. I am now trying to "crack" their recipe, so that we can have the mixed red/almond gazpacho at home as well. In the meantime, would someone PLEEZZZE import the Alvalle products into the UK!

  26. We're traveling to Paris shortly, and I'm wondering if you can recommend anything we should definitely try. Visitors to Canada, for example, shouldn't miss out on Tim Hortons coffee (a coffee shop chain, but they also sell tins of coffee in supermarkets). What can you recommend from France (or England, Italy, or Switzerland)? Please avoid anything with dairy (I know... all those wonderful cheeses!)

  27. Anonymous6:50 AM

    I have found a french (I live in London). It's They have a lot of things (including gazpacho) I miss from my home country.They say they can ship to the USA (I have not tried it yet).

  28. Anonymous9:31 AM

    Gazpacho ALVALLE. I just came home from Spain where I could eat all the time Gazpacho. My local firends told me that the Brand Alvalle ist the best one in quality and taste. it's true! something so delicius and without preservatives. It's done by a small company in Murcia region (Spain), and exported in France via the company Tropicana. You can get it in Belgium too. In Switzerland you can buy it online at the major supermarket Migros. Here you have the homepage


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