Bordeaux, Week 7: C’est Bio!

DSC02521I didn’t come here to eat — well, my original intention to work on a project in France may have been driven just a tad by the pâté, oysters, cheese, and wine. Now I’ve reached the stage of life when a sense of obligation to follow Michael Pollan’s advice, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants,” nicely jibes with my eating inclinations. I like cooking and eating vegetables, meat weighs in my stomach too heavily, and ever since I cut far back on dairy, my annoying post-nasal drip has dried up. But I’ll eat anything that’s put in front of me and enjoy it. On my own, rabbit food just sits in me more comfortably.

Before I arrived, I had ambivalent feelings about spending almost three months here in Foie Gras Central. Eating out is expensive, for one thing. And Mark Bittman’s recent column about the decline in restaurant cooking in France rings true to me, although I’ve recently had outstanding meals in Paris. Here in Bordeaux, not so much. And as one commentator in a previous post said (I paraphrase), even when it’s good, the range of food isn’t very broad.

Le RechargeTo my great surprise, Bordeaux has really good natural food stores and some quite good, relatively inexpensive southeast Asian restaurants. Apparently, organic food stores can be found in all French cities. I wasn’t much impressed by the Naturalia chain in Paris. Here, I have a very satisfying range of choices. At C’Bon, C’est Bio on the cours Victor Hugo, I found almond milk, good vegetables, decent wine, good mustard, smoked salmon, and lots of other things I regularly graze on. My sister sent me a link to an English-language newsletter about France with an article about Le Recharge, a very cool little store here that sells unpackaged food and cleaning products. Customers have to bring their own containers and bags. They specialize in cured meats and cheeses as well as butter from the Basque region, too. Across the street from Le Recharge is a decent Thai restaurant, but I prefer going around the corner to the place Fernand Lafargue, where Santosha, offers very tasty rice dishes and noodles soups with rich, distinctly not-vegetarian broth. Right next door is Yes Mum, Bordeaux’s only fish-and-chips shop.

Vegetarians would have a pretty easy time eating in Bordeaux. Vegans would struggle. The Internet claims there is a vegan restaurant, Viva Las Vegans, but I haven’t noticed it on my daily walk down that street (The Bordelais seem to get a kick out of puns in English: on the same street as the mythical vegan restaurant is a wine bar called Wine More Time).


3 thoughts on “Bordeaux, Week 7: C’est Bio!

  1. Twenty-ish

    I’ve been meaning to check out La Recharge. While I now carry my own groceries bags, I have yet to start hauling around my own containers. Guess it’s really only a matter of time.

    Also, Santosha is the best! I could love on their Pad Thai.

  2. foodiewithkids

    Hi! Lovely posts on bordeaux! We are coming for 2 weeks for the first time and will try to visit the places you mention. I read an old post of yours where you mentioned that you bought almond milk and almond butter? Could you please enlighten me as to where I can find at least almond milk? Thank you!!!

  3. Shadowcook Post author

    You can find almond milk in any of the bio stores in Bx. Try the Bio C’est Bon on cours Victor Hugo or the one on rue Ravez off cours d’Alsace et Lorraine. And Bioccop Bordeaux Pasteur on rue Pasteur (near place de la Victoire). It’s tough to find unsweeten — that’s the default almond milk. And impossible to find it without carageenan. Enjoy. Be sure to find the little interior oyster bar at the Marché des Capucins.


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