Travel: Confiture con

Simon Calder
Friday 09 September 1994 23:02

LAST week, a bottle of Albanian brandy, this week a jar of jam (or, to be more precise, confiture). You may not be impressed with the prizes offered in this column, but the confiture is worth about pounds 250.

The subject is restaurant rip-offs in foreign parts; the jam in question is sold by the Cafe Voltaire, on the left bank of the Seine in Paris, for pounds 2 per teaspoonful. The sequence of events goes like this: you order your cafe au lait and croissant, price Fr28 ( pounds 3.50); not an outrageous price for breakfast on a terrasse in the middle of Paris. A minute or two later, the waitress brings a dish of jam (unordered). You assume this is part of the service, and take a teaspoonful.

When the bill arrives, it has a mysterious charge of Fr16 ( pounds 2) added. The extra turns out to be for the jam. Some rather messy research on the kitchen table suggests that the proprietor can get 125 helpings from a Fr10 jar, making it worth pounds 250. A jar of confiture is to be won by the reader who sends in the worst foreign restaurant bill outrage before the end of September. Send it to Extortionate Eating, Weekend, the Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

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