Hello. My name is Wini, and I love factory-made French supermarket desserts.
There. I’ve said it.
Indeed, it’s nothing to be proud of, especially since I’m the author of a French cookbook and someone, who, in general, eschews industrial prefab food.
Still, I can’t help it: I get the biggest kick out of French supermarket desserts. No, they’re not as good as what you can make yourself at home; no, I’d never serve them to guests. And certainly, they’re nothing compared to what you can get at a French pâtisserie.
But they are so much more ambitious than any U.S. supermarket desserts (drab, sickly-sweet puddings come to mind), that I gleefully partake in some every time I stay in my go-to vacation rental in the South of France.
After 20 years of spending long stretches of the summer in France, I’ve come up with a list of five of my favorite French supermarket desserts. All are available from Carrefour, which has 960 supermarkets and 3,600-plus convenience stores in France.
Try some—even if you’re not staying in an apartment, many are great picnic choices—and let me know what you think. Better yet, if I’ve missed a favorite (and you’re willing to admit that you sometimes indulge in supermarket desserts), let me know in the comments section. And thanks for the leads.
P.S. Most are under 2€ per serving.
Carrefour Tartelette au Citron de Sicilie
This lemon tartlet is amazing! The crisp shortbread-like base has a buttery-brown sugar flavor. Above that comes two layers of pure lemony refreshment: The first is kind of like a creamy cheesecake (though not as heavy) and the top layer is more like a lemon curd.
Some may find these a little too tart for their tastes, but I love their zingy appeal after a somewhat heavy, meaty meal.
Nestlé La Laitière Petit Pot de Crème de Caramel
If someone told me I had to give up chocolate for the rest of my life, I’d be sad, but not inconsolable. Caramel, however, is another matter.
This dessert is a boon to bona fide caramel lovers. It’s rich, sweet, milky, and rife with intense caramel flavor. As a bonus, it comes in charming glass pots, which I save and use as mis-en-place dishes when cooking. And at 2 € 26 for four pots, they can’t be beat.
Carrefour Panna Cotta Coulis de Framboise
Panna cotta—that Italian-born eggless custard—does this neat trick that few desserts can do: It tastes indulgent, yet it doesn’t weigh you down. I love this one for the way the bright-berry zest of the raspberry coulis beautifully contrasts the intense creamy-vanilla flavor of the custard itself.
Danone Gervita Fromage Blanc Nature Sous Mousse Fouettée (aka: Fromage Blanc with Whipped Cream)
Fromage Blanc is a cream cheese with the soft consistency of sour cream or Greek yogurt. When sweetened with a little sugar, it’s a tangy and refreshing dessert that’s very popular in France.
This version goes a step further, with a little whipped cream on the top. Drizzle it with honey and, if you’re feeling splashy, sprinkle it with toasted pine nuts, and you’ll have a dessert akin to Mel y Mató, a popular Catalan dessert.
Carrefour Mousse au Chocolate
I know I said I’d never serve these prefab desserts to guests, but if there were a way to get this mousse out of their unattractive plastic containers and into a pretty glass dish—without deflating the mousse—I just might try to sneak this one onto my table.
Alas, the less-than-gracious packaging is about the only thing I don’t like about this chocolate mousse: It’s super light in texture, but massive in dark chocolate flavor, meaning that it’s the quintessential dark-chocolate mousse. I also appreciate the sane serving size: It’s just enough to make you feel indulged, but not so much that you need to lay on the clic-clac and groan.
Lead photo credit : French supermarket shelf stocked with tempting desserts