Saturday, August 6, 2016

Milk on French Menus, in Cafes and in the supermarkets.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman

The senior production manager.

Milk in France,
Lait – Milk. (Pronounced lay).

N.B. You may be used to buying fresh milk at home from the supermarket freezer, and in France, most supermarkets will have fresh milk in the freezer. Neverthless,  Lait UHT or Lait Ultra-Haute-Température – UHT or Ultra-high-temperature milk is the milk preferred in French homes.  Sterilized milk may be kept outside of a refrigerator for up to 90 days before opening. Small groceries and Tabacs will only offer UHT milk. UHT milk is not kept in the refrigerators. The milk offered in cafes and restaurants is nearly always UHT.
Lait au Chocolat Chocolate Milk.

Lait Bio-Ecrémé - Skimmed, fat-free, organic milk.

Lait Biologique or Lait Bio –  Organic milk; Green milk.  Organic milk is milk from organically raised cows that graze in organically approved fields or barns that in the winter are fed grasses and organic farm products. No silage may be fed to these cows. The cows themselves are raised free of artificial growth hormone additives and antibiotics. Organic milk is always marked with the AB logo for Agriculture Biologique. For more about organic foods in France click here.
On the left: The AB initials that are on all France’s organic products.
On the right:  The leaf indicates the European Union’s Organic products,
Lait Complet - Full cream milk. Full cream milk; also called lait entier for whole milk; this and the other milk products that follow are regular milk products. 
Lait Condensé  - Condensed milk.

Organic Milk Powder for Babies.
This product is for babies up to six months and the label also notes it is palm oil free.
Note the green AB marking on the tin.
Lait Cru – Unpasteurized milk. 

Organic French Camembert made with unpasteurized milk.
As seen in this picture the words lait cru will appear on the packaging of most of France's best cheeses.
To see the post on buying and taking home French cheeses click here.

Lait d'Amandes Almond milk.
Lait d'ânesse – Donkey’s milk. Donkey milk is one of the milks that may be given to babies with allergies to mother’s milk but not a lactose allergy. Donkey milk is considered the closest animal milk to human milk.
Lait de BrebisSheep’s milk.

Lait de ChèvreGoats’ milk.

Goat’s milk
Goats’ milk and sheep’s’ milk are popular in France,
Both will be on most large supermarket shelves.
Lait de Coco - Coconut milk.
Lait de jument – Mare’s milk. 

Lait de Soja – Soy Milk

Lait de VacheCows’ milk.
Lait  de Vache San LactoseLactose-free cow milk.

Lait Demi-Écrémé - Semi-skimmed milk with 1.5% - 1.8% fat. Semi-skimmed milk is easily identified by the bottle or carton’s blue top or label.

A statue in honor of the provider of French cowsmilk
Lait en Poudre – Powdered milk.
Lait ÉcréméSkimmed milk. Skimmed milk contains less than 0.3% fat.  It is identified by the bottle or carton’s green top or label.
Lait Bébé – baby milk.
Photograph courtesy of julien haler
Lait Entier – Whole milk. 3.5% - 3.8% fat. Whole milk has a red cap on the bottle or a red label.
Lait Frais -Fresh milk.

Laits Frappés or Milk-Shakes - Milk-shakes.  
Lait UHT  or Lait Ultra-Haute-Température UHT or Ultra-high-temperature milk. Sterilized milk can be kept outside of a refrigerator for up to 90 days before opening. In supermarkets, small groceries and in private homes, unopened this milk is not kept in the refrigerator.

Using milk

Au lait - With milk, (pronounced oh lay).
Café au Lait - Coffee with milk, (pronounced cafe oh lay). For the A- Z on ordering coffee in France click here

Butter – Beurre.
Lait Chaude - Hot milk.

Lait Froid  - Cold milk.
Thé au Lait – Tea with milk.

Yaourt Yogurt.

For more about ordering breakfast in France click here.  
To hear and see how to pronounce French correctly see this excellent website:
Connected Posts:
Bryan G. Newman
Behind the French Menu 2010, 2016.
For information on the unpublished book behind this post contact Bryan Newman


  1. UHT milk is by far the most popular in France. You will find it in all supermarkets.
    Fresh milk is far harder to find and is often only in areas where Brits are numerous.
    When you do find fresh milk there is only a small amount on the shelf.
    It will be demi-ecreme or entier and also you will find a variety that is extra filtered - not very nice milk!
    Ojibway (michael)

  2. I did not want to take one item and discuss its display method; however, here I think you are correct. Thanks for making it clear. Cheers, Bryan