After a short period of acclimatisation it occurs to me that quite a bit seems to have changed since we were last living in England nine years ago.
Because we lived in the south, Windsor to be precise, and we now live in North Yorkshire, I'm not sure how my comparison stacks up but here goes anyway.
We have noticed that there appears to be many more entrepreneurs selling good quality local produce.
Last night was a meal in point. The rib-eye steak from Booths our local supermarket was excellent. It was so tender, having been hung for 28 days and was sourced from a local Yorkshire farm. It was marginally cheaper than an equivalent in France but the quality was so much higher.
Meat for me in France was generally tough and unless you bought pork, poor value.
For pudding I was tucking into a locally made Yorvale ice cream from nearby York and was able to compare it to the Brymor farm just up the road from us. We may just be lucky but things appear to be moving forward here with an emphasis on quality and price.
I used to believe that French food shopping was better value and of a higher quality. I'm not so sure about that now. After a few trips to Spain where quality is high and prices are low compared to France, I'd say it's definitely not true.
Given the huge farm subsidies enjoyed in France and Spain (the first and second largest recipients of CAP subsidies respectively) I'd say that the average French shopper is getting ripped off and the inward looking, inefficient French farmer continues to thrive.
From my less than educated observation I'd say that the exception to this rule was certain wine producers in Languedoc (don't get me started on Bordeaux and Burgundy) who seemed to have recognised and responded to the demand for a higher quality product and were changing their methods and production.
Still, the weather in France is better.