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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Francophile Flavor, All-Russian Attitude

Most people who have spent more than a short time in France will be familiar with the quality and competitiveness of a brand of groceries called "Leader Price." They are sold in supermarkets of the same name -- and can now be found in Moscow at the Lovo supermarket.

Those looking for the one-stop shopping exemplified by Leader Price grocery stores will be disappointed, but they will find Leader Price products and some other useful items at the Lovo supermarket not far from the Pizza Hut on Kutuzovsky Prospekt.

Lovo's main drawcard is its baked goods section. The range of cookies, biscottes and grilled bread, all of them French, is truly staggering. I don't think I have ever seen so many different brands of petits beurres and sables (France's equivalent of shortbread) and boudoirs (long, finger-shaped cookies, best served with ice cream), and they are not much more expensive than they are in France. There were also tartlet shells, which I had not seen anywhere else in Moscow.

If you want something freshly baked, Lovo has a bakery that sells crunchy French baguettes, quiches (about $2) and other standard French pastries, all baked on the premises.

Also impressive was the range of mayonnaise and vinaigrettes. Unfortunately, you won't find a salad to go with it. The fresh food section is uninspiring, although I did come away with a very nice leek ($1.20 a kilo) and some green peppers ($1.50 a kilo).

For vegetarians, there is a wide choice of lentils, chick peas and semolina for couscous, and flour including packets for making pizza (if you can read French). In the same section, I spotted powdered almonds, usually difficult to find in Moscow.

The range of baby food is good, mainly jars of Nestle and Bledina for $2 each and Leader Price's own brand at $1.50. Shoppers can still do better at the Eldorado grocery at 1-3 Bolshaya Polyanka Ulitsa, where Finnish baby food costs just $1 a jar.

A nice touch is the small range of Russian pre-prepared meals in the frozen goods section, including half a kilo of beef stroganoff for $2.70 and five different types of pelmeni, or ravioli. A wide range of Georgian wine is also available.

I could have done without some of the other atmospherics, such as being told there were no plastic bags for the shopping cart full of goods I selected and discovering that I could not pay for them anyway because the store does not accept credit cards.

During my exit at the cash register, I tried to find out whether Lovo's owners are Russian or French or both, but the sales clerk was not forthcoming. It turns out she was echoing the management: Further enquiries met with the response that the store's ownership is secret because it is "commercial information." No further clues were necessary.

Lovo is located at 10 Bolshaya Dorogomilovskaya Ulitsa. Metro Kievskaya. Tel. 240-0167.