Having moved from New Zealand to France, I had to say good bye to some of my favourite foodie things – feijoas, good coffee, [All Press], popped buckwheat cereal [Blue Frog], ‘smoke and fire’ peanut butter [Fix and Fogg], Hokey Pokey ice cream, savoury pies, fish and chips, Cookie Time apricot choc cookies, pineapple lumps, Whittaker’s chocolate, snackaballs [Tom & Luke], chilli beans [Watties], Chipotle 4 [Culleys], and fresh milk.

Milk? -New Zealand has isles and isles of milk in the refrigerated foods section. In France [and at my supermarché], there is 2 types of fresh milk. The French just don’t drink milk or if they do, they use UHT long life milk. Fresh milk variety is in short supply. Could this be thanks to the French microbiologist Louis Pasteur who patented the process in 1865? The majority of the milk (95%) is not in the refrigerated foods section but on the shelves by the flour and sugar, where its shelf life is 6-9 months! Once in their teen years, the French tend to use milk as an ingredient in cooking rather than as a drink, think béchamel sauce or riz au lait. The sugars get caramelised in the heat treatment process, which is noticeable when the milk is drunk cold, but not necessarily when added to coffee or used in cooking.

The French love raw milk dairy products, cheese, butter, cream – visit any fromagerie and you will see all the LAIT CRU [raw milk] cheese labels.

The French understand that fermented dairy, like raw milk cheese and yoghurt, is good for you. Raw milk can be more beneficial as it is loaded with healthy bacteria, digestive enzymes, antibodies, and vitamins. So now we drink the UHT milk in our morning café au lait and get our raw milk benefits from our cheese and yoghurt – lait cru.