Local Spotlight

Passport France: Your Ticket to French Wines, Cheese, Bread & More at Central Market, Now Until May 22

One of my favorite things to do when I visit a foreign country is to roam the grocery store aisles for specialty condiments and canned goods that I can't find in the U.S. When I came back from Argentina, I brought home pre-made packets of chimichurri herbs, paprika and canned hearts of palm. When I came back from Spain, I brought Spanish mayonesa (mayonnaise), aioli and sauce to make patatas bravas (spicy potatoes). And when I came back from France, I brought French truffle oil, French chocolate, hand-made macarons, butter cookies and more.

I mention these three countries because they have each been featured during Central Market's annual two-week "Passport" food and culture celebration. Two years ago, items like Argentinian salt and alfajores (cookies filled with dulce de leche) were available during Passport Argentina. Last year, celebrity chefs from Spain were flown in to preside over classes in the Central Market cooking school for Passport Spain.

This year, Francophiles and French food lovers can rejoice because from now through May 22, Central Market will be hosting Passport France.

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Mai Pham is a contributing freelance food writer and food critic for the Houston Press whose adventurous palate has taken her from Argentina to Thailand and everywhere in between -- Peru, Spain, Hong Kong and more -- in pursuit of the most memorable bite. Her work appears in numerous outlets at the local, state and national level, where she is also a luxury travel correspondent for Forbes Travel Guide.
Contact: Mai Pham