From the outside looking in, Picard looks like some kind of laboratory. Peer through the windows and all there is to see is a white interior space filled with seemingly nothing at all. But there is something in there, lined up in rows around the store, you slowly begin to wonder if Picard sells deep freezers. You would be half right, those are freezers, but they are not for sale. Picard sells frozen food, only frozen food (well, they do sell an excellent knock-off Pringle!) and they are everywhere in this city - and they have a cookbook. We all love it, and nobody will admit it; Picard is Paris’ dirty little secret.
At first, I thought they would carry the usual frozen goods: green beans, chicken breasts, fish sticks, pizza, ice cream. Amateur stuff. Picard is the King of Frozen. Picard freezes everything: baguettes, pie crust, chick peas, foie gras, sauces, soups (hot and cold!), even water (Ice? Yes, it’s a thing here.) and last but not least, sushi (no, I have not tried it).
Odd? Yes. Delicious? Yes. Handy? You betcha. Odd because we do not expect a store of only frozen food. Tasty? Yes, Picard is on the cutting edge of Freeze Technology; vegetables remain crispy, fruits stay crunchy, and even salmon cooks up firm and tasty. Finally, Picard covers every angle. They have frozen “raw materials” for when you want to cook a delicious meal – for one or for a crowd. Plus, they provide fully prepared dishes, pop it in the oven for twenty minutes and ding, à table! Plus, the price are right; every neighborhood, chic or shabby, has its Picard.
But why is Picard a dirty secret? I suspect it has everything to due with the French reverence for the demi-god, La Gastronomie, which btw figures on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Picard breaks two essential rules of French cuisine: one must eat fresh food and one must prepare meals. Picard cuts basic corners and becomes synonymous with cheating.
So what to do? Try the faux Pringle and do not get caught in the streets with a Picard bag. That would never do.