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Modern Salade Lyonnaise with Leeks, Lardons and Oeuf Mollet

Modern Salade Lyonnaise with Leeks, Lardons and Oeuf Mollet

Submerge the chicken livers in the milk and soak overnight in the refrigerator.

Strain and pat dry with a paper towel.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Submerge the eggs and boil for 6 minutes.

Strain and peel the eggs under cold running water. Thinly slice 1 carrot and cut the slices into thin julienne.

Peel the tough outer leaves from the leeks and halve them lengthwise, starting ½ inch from their base to keep them intact.

Rinse them with cold water to wash any sand from their layers. Bunch the leeks and tie together with butcher’s twine.

Place in a large pot with the remaining carrots, the bay leaf, and thyme and cover with cold salted water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.

Strain, and discard the thyme and bay leaf. Transfer the carrots to a blender with 5 tablespoons water, the mustard, and vinegar.

Puree until smooth, then stream in the olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.

Untie the leeks, pat dry with paper towels, and brush them with carrot dressing; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, sear the bacon on both sides until crispy, about 6 minutes total. Strain off all but 1 tbsp fat, transfer the bacon to a cutting board, and cut the strips crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces.

Season the chicken livers on all sides with salt and pepper.

Return the sauté pan with the bacon fat to high heat and add the livers in a single layer.

Sear the livers on both sides until cooked through but still light pink in the center, about 5 minutes total. Scoop onto a cutting board and slice the livers in half.

Spoon the carrot vinaigrette into the center of 6 salad plates and top each with a fanned-out seasoned leek and 1 egg.

Divide the bacon, chicken livers, julienned carrot, and chives on top.


From Daniel: My French Cuisine Daniel by Daniel Boulud and Sylvie Bigar

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Celebrate Chef Daniel Boulud’s Birthday this March with Four French Regional Menus at db Bistro & Oyster Bar

Embark on a gastronomic journey through France at db Bistro & Oyster Bar, as the celebrity chef restaurant presents a series of regional menus weekly (three-course S$68++ per pax) in celebration of chef-founder Daniel Boulud’s birthday. Featuring Chef Boulud’s home recipes from his cookbook titled “Daniel: My French Cuisine”, the series uncovers unique flavours of four French regions which have greatly influenced his culinary journey: Alsace for its rustic Franco-Germanic traditions Normandy, whose cuisine is characterised by luxurious seafood, salty coastal lamb and world-renowned Normandy apples Provence for its high-spirited but simple la cuisine de grand-mère (Grandma’s cooking) and last but not least, Lyon, the hometown of Chef Boulud and the renowned French capital of gastronomy that converges the best of regional culinary traditions.

The month-long gourmet adventure begins with Alsace (1 to 7 March), the border town of Eastern France known to be the birthplace of tarte flambée. Commence dinner with the wild mushroom tarte flambée featuring crispy crust topped with creamy fromage blanc, fragrant sautéed mushrooms, bacon and onions, before savouring Chef Boulud’s personal recipe of beer-marinated pork rack with barley mustard crust. This delicious beer-braised oven-baked dish is one of Chef Boulud’s favourite dishes to serve family and friends at home. Round up the meal with the traditional Alsace delight Kougelhopf (bundt cake), studded with apricots and pistachios and served with a scoop of rum raisin ice cream.

Next, head west to explore the abundant local produce and flavours of Normandy (8 to 15 March). Whet your appetite with the velvety mussel & cauliflower velouté, saffron, white wine broth, before indulging in the magnificent garlic-studded gigot (lamb leg), a family recipe handed down through generations from Chef Boulud’s grandmother, served with artichokes and watercress. For dessert, delight in the timeless tarte Normande packed with caramelised apples and sliced almonds, served with vanilla ice cream.

From 16 to 22 March, dive deep into the traditional cuisine of Provence, the Southern coastal city contiguous to the Mediterranean Sea. Savour the classic French grand aïoli, a silky blend of potatoes, asparagus, celery and haricot verts, before enjoying Chef Boulud’s rendition of loup de mer on herbes de Provence citrus salt (sea bass on herbs and Provencal citrus salt). Unique to this home recipe is the addition of citrus zest in the salt and the accompaniment of grape sauce vierge, a nod to the late French chef Roger Vergé who often incorporated grapes or raisins in his savoury cuisine. End the meal on a sweet note with fig, pine nut & mascarpone custard tart with vanilla ice cream.

The voyage comes full circle back to Lyon (23 to 31 March), the birthplace of Chef Boulud, which also marks the beginnings of his culinary career. Start the evening with modern salade lyonnaise, leeks, lardons, oeuf mollet (Lyonnaise salad with chicken liver, leeks, bacon and soft-boiled egg) – a dish Chef Boulud once described as his “fantasy of a bouchon appetiser, a wink to the taste of the rich gateaux de fois blonds”. Then, enjoy true-blue Lyonnaise cooking with the emblematic recipe of poulet À L’estragon (tarragon roasted chicken), served with fluffy rice pilaf and stewed yellow wax beans. End the meal on a sweet note with the decadent cocoa-dusted dark chocolate bombe, vanilla ice cream.

db Bistro will also be offering a course-by-course wine pairing option (S$50++ per pax) alongside these weekly menus to showcase vintages from the various regions, as well as an additional cheese course (S$15++ per pax) matched to each of the four regions for a complete gourmet experience.


History (Histoire)

Middle Ages

The ingredients of the time varied greatly according to the seasons and the church calendar, and many items were preserved with salt, spices, honey, and other preservatives. Late spring, summer, and autumn afforded abundance, while winter meals were more sparse. Livestock were slaughtered at the beginning of winter. Beef was often salted, while pork was salted and smoked. Bacon and sausages would be smoked in the chimney, while the tongue and hams were brinedand dried. Cucumbers were brined as well, while greens would be packed in jars with salt. Fruits, nuts and root vegetables would be boiled in honey for preservation. Whale, dolphin and porpoise were considered fish, so during Lent, the salted meats of these sea mammals were eaten. [3] :9–12

Artificial freshwater ponds (often called stews) held carp, pike, tench, bream, eel, and other fish. Poultry was kept in special yards, with pigeon and squab being reserved for the elite. Game was highly prized, but very rare, and included venison, wild boar, hare, rabbit, and birds. Kitchen gardens provided herbs, including some, such as tansy, rue, pennyroyal, and hyssop, which are rarely used today. Spices were treasured and very expensive at that time – they included pepper, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and mace. Some spices used then, but no longer today in French cuisine are cubebs, long pepper (both from vines similar to black pepper), grains of paradise, and galengale. Sweet-sour flavors were commonly added to dishes with vinegars and verjus combined with sugar (for the affluent) or honey. A common form of food preparation was to finely cook, pound and strain mixtures into fine pastes and mushes, something believed to be beneficial to make use of nutrients. [3] :13–15

Visual display was prized. Brilliant colors were obtained by the addition of, for example, juices from spinach and the green part of leeks. Yellow came from saffron or egg yolk, while red came from sunflower, and purple came from Crozophora tinctoria or Heliotropium europaeum. Gold and silver leaf were placed on food surfaces and brushed with egg whites. Elaborate and showy dishes were the result, such as tourte parmerienne which was a pastry dish made to look like a castle with chicken-drumstick turrets coated with gold leaf. One of the grandest showpieces of the time was roast swan or peacocksewn back into its skin with feathers intact, the feet and beak being gilded. Since both birds are stringy, and taste unpleasant, the skin and feathers could be kept and filled with the cooked, minced and seasoned flesh of tastier birds, like goose or chicken. [3] :15–16

The most well known French chef of the Middle Ages was Guillaume Tirel, also known as Taillevent. Taillevent worked in numerous royal kitchens during the 14th century. His first position was as a kitchen boy in 1326. He was chef to Philip VI, then the Dauphin who was son of John II. The Dauphin became King Charles V of France in 1364, with Taillevent as his chief cook. His career spanned sixty-six years, and upon his death he was buried in grand style between his two wives. His tombstone represents him in armor, holding a shield with three cooking pots, marmites, on it. [3] :18–21

Ancien Régime

Paris was the central hub of culture and economic activity, and as such, the most highly skilled culinary craftsmen were to be found there. Markets in Paris such as Les Halles, la Mégisserie, those found along Rue Mouffetard, and similar smaller versions in other cities were very important to the distribution of food. Those that gave French produce its characteristic identity were regulated by the guild system, which developed in the Middle Ages. In Paris, the guilds were regulated by city government as well as by the French crown. A guild restricted those in a given branch of the culinary industry to operate only within that field. [3] :71–72

There were two groups of guilds – first, those that supplied the raw materials butchers, fishmongers, grain merchants, and gardeners. The second group were those that supplied prepared foods bakers, pastry cooks, sauce makers, poulterers, and caterers. There were also guilds that offered both raw materials and prepared food, such as the charcutiers and rôtisseurs (purveyors of roasted meat dishes). They would supply cooked meat pies and dishes as well as raw meat and poultry. This caused issues with butchers and poulterers, who sold the same raw materials. [3] :72–73 The guilds served as a training ground for those within the industry. The degrees of assistant-cook, full-fledged cook and master chef were conferred. Those who reached the level of master chef were of considerable rank in their individual industry, and enjoyed a high level of income as well as economic and job security. At times, those in the royal kitchens did fall under the guildhierarchy, but it was necessary to find them a parallel appointment based on their skills after leaving the service of the royal kitchens. This was not uncommon as the Paris cooks’ guild regulations allowed for this movement. [3] :73

During the 16th and 17th centuries, French cuisine assimilated many new food items from the New World. Although they were slow to be adopted, records of banquets show Catherine de’ Medici (1519–1589?) serving sixty-six turkeys at one dinner. [3] :81 The dish called cassoulet has its roots in the New World discovery of haricot beans, which are central to the dish’s creation, but had not existed outside of the New World until its exploration by Christopher Columbus. [3] :85

Haute cuisine (pronounced [ot kɥizin] , “high cuisine”) has foundations during the 17th century with a chef named La Varenne. As author of works such as Le Cuisinier françois, he is credited with publishing the first true French cookbook. His book includes the earliest known reference to roux using pork fat. The book contained two sections, one for meat days, and one for fasting. His recipes marked a change from the style of cookery known in the Middle Ages, to new techniques aimed at creating somewhat lighter dishes, and more modest presentations of pies as individual pastries and turnovers. La Varenne also published a book on pastry in 1667 entitled Le Parfait confitvrier (republished as Le Confiturier françois) which similarly updated and codified the emerging haute cuisine standards for desserts and pastries. [3] :114–120

Chef François Massialot wrote Le Cuisinier roïal et bourgeois in 1691, during the reign of Louis XIV. The book contains menus served to the royal courts in 1690. Massialot worked mostly as a freelance cook, and was not employed by any particular household. Massialot and many other royal cooks received special privileges by association with the French royalty. They were not subject to the regulation of the guilds therefore, they could cater weddings and banquets without restriction. His book is the first to list recipes alphabetically, perhaps a forerunner of the first culinary dictionary. It is in this book that a marinade is first seen in print, with one type for poultry and feathered game, while a second is for fish and shellfish. No quantities are listed in the recipes, which suggests that Massialot was writing for trained cooks. [3] :149–154

The successive updates of Le Cuisinier roïal et bourgeois include important refinements such as adding a glass of wine to fish stock. Definitions were also added to the 1703 edition. The 1712 edition, retitled Le Nouveau cuisinier royal et bourgeois, was increased to two volumes, and was written in a more elaborate style with extensive explanations of technique. Additional smaller preparations are included in this edition as well, leading to lighter preparations, and adding a third course to the meal. Ragout, a stew still central to French cookery, makes its first appearance as a single dish in this edition as well prior to that, it was listed as a garnish. [3] :155


Report: 8 Days in the Cote d’Or (w/ lunches in Ronchamp & Lyon) in January.

After several snowy visits that severely limited our explorations we were given surprisingly warm and clear days, which made our getting about all that more pleasant. All prices are for 2 people, with wine and usually cafes.

BEAUNE, place Carnot GRAND CAFÉ DE LYON. Hmmm. Grand might be overstating it, but we weren’t quite as speedy on the A6 as we thought we would be and we arrive in Beaune close to the end of traditional country-side lunchtime. (1:15-1:30…) We were chased out of one place that ironically had a sign out front that boasted “Service Nonstop” so we trotted across the Place to a place we’ve often ducked into in the early morn for a café and tartine. Vinyl banquettes, florescent lights, coffees and beers dispensed in equal numbers at the bar. Had the plat de jour, which was Poulet au Pot with salad on the side. I think I’d stick to breakfast. Though it was inexpensive, better to have waited 30 minutes til Alain Hess opened back up after the lunch break and picnicked in the car…32,60€, pichet de Pinot Noir, 13€

BEAUNE, LA CIBOULETTE This is likely our third or fourth time here, and we always enjoy it. Always reserve and it is always full, often, as is the case in these parts, with some men dinning solo (wine merchants on the road?). Started with a salad that had a warm liver mousse on top that was quite good, and Bman had Œufs en Meurette. We both had Filet de Bœuf en sauce Epoisses and washed it all down with a lovely Faively Mercurey, La Framboisière which indeed had nice raspberry notes. 99,50€, of which 33€ was for the wine

GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN, CHEZ GUY Also a return visit for us. This time we score the table next to the fireplace, which was quite nice. Nearby a table is laid out for 20 which looks like it might be a post-Christmas company celebration. Amuses were a small glass of delicious veloute de navet (turnip) and a small toast with a quenelle of trout mousse. I started with Œufs Brouiller au Truffe and Bman went for Meurette encore (when in Rome…) My plat was a Quasi de veau et pomme purée and Bman had the house specialty of Joue de Bœuf cuite 12 heures au vin rouge. We sprang for a Gevrey-Chambertin, 1er Cru “Les Champeaux” from Olivier Guyot. 160€, the wine was 88€ (never drink wine this expensive at home, but so easy to do in the environs of the vines…)

POMMARD, LE POMMARD. Spent the early part of the day exploring the Cote de Beaune and found ourselves (once again!) close to the end of lunch time (how can we be such novices at this point… but we kept finding one more interesting narrow road to drive up into the vine-covered hills and the sky was so clear…). To our good fortune, when we inquire at this spot they agree to feed us if we have the menu du jour, which was a copious Salade Landaise, Faux Filet in a wine sauce, and a platter (each) of desserts including sorbet, tuiles, chocolate moelleux and (ha!) fruit… At this pace we may need to start walking up some of those hills… 99€ with a demi of (natch !) Pommard 29€.

RONCHAMP, Le RHEIN (Hotel-Restaurant CARRER) it has been a dream since art history class in college, decades ago, to one day visit Ronchamp and see Le Corbusier’s masterpiece. There is not much to recommend around these parts but we follow signs to this place just outside of town which claims to have a few stars for its hotel and that sets it above the other places we spot in town. Started with some nibbles of cheese and Rosette de Lyon on a toothpick, and then had a veloute de potiron with some chestnuts thrown in, and the Escalope pane, followed by some forgettable dessert. Was inexpensive, reasonably crowded for lunch and not an English voice to heard, for sure… 40€ including a pichet Cote du Rhône 8€.

NUITS SAINT-GEORGES, LA COTE D’OR. This being January, our favorite spot in town, La Cabotte is closed so we opt for this spot right on the Route des Grand Cru in the centre of town. There a reasonable number of cars parked out front and plenty of folks going in so we take that as a potentially good sign. In our experiuece this usually means at least decent grub at a good price, if not revelatory. Bman started with mysterious and slightly indiscernible salad of potatoes, corn, haricots vert and brochet. I had Œuf mollet en sauce époisses, which was pretty good. Plats were a very average Bœuf Bourguignon with, um… frites (it was that or rice…) and Bman had pork chops with ratatouille and spaghetti…. (?). We shared un upside-down pineapple/banana cake. 48,50€ including a pichet of the house red.

BEAUNE, LE COMPTOIR DES TONTONS. Had read about this place in Le Fooding and decided to try it. We both started with the Terrine de Pain Perdu au verts de blette, et vieux parmesan Reggiano, Lomo Iberico puro de Belotta. My plat was Bœuf de la ferme Guerin cuit longuement en sauce vin rouge, et olives Taggiaches avec Ecrasé de Désirée. I followed with a nice cheese plate with Bleu d'Auvergne, Epoisses, Brillat-Savarin avec les truffes et chèvres. Bman had a plat of Colin de petit bateau de nos cotes Bretagne grille avec purée de radis longs. This was washed down with a delicious Ladoix Prieure Roch (59€) Others on CH speak of lesser experiences and a chilly welcome but we were treated well (perhaps because it was January and we nearly had the place to ourselves…) and the food was actually memorable. 138€

LYON, RESTO HALLE, in Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse. Giddy with the good weather and our ability to zip about we decided to nip down to Lyon for lunch and a visit to Les Halles to score some Mere Richard Saint Marcellin. If we were closer to the beginning of our trip I would have loaded up on all the fine items to be found here, but we limited ourselves to the Mere and some Lomo from Belotta Belotta which made an excellent apero the next day. We decided to déjeune in the Halles and after a stroll around to review the numerous attractive options we snagged the last little table at Resto Halle. Bouchon touches here and there, and a very busy bar with seeming business men having a quick drink before or instead of lunch. Started with salad Lyonnaise which was enormous (we shared) and good. I had Quenelles de Brochet en sauce Nantua which was served with rice on the side and Bman had Rabelais de Lapin accompanied by a macaroni gratin. I loved my Brochet. Washed down with a bottle of St Joseph, Revol, 26€. 64,60€.

BEAUNE, LE GORET. Behind the Basilique Notre Dame. This is the number one restaurant recommendation on Trip Advisor which both fascinated and horrified, but with so many favorite spots closed for conge annual we decided to give it a try. Once we were seated in the timbered dining room the chef explained that there are no starts as the meals are so copious. I remember wondering why the bread basket was so skimpy, usually a pet peeve of mine. Now I know why: copious was an understatement. Selections are on small, pig-shaped ardoise lining one wall. We both had what was called la Trilogie, which was ½ a Morteau, ½ a saucisson, and a paleron de Veau. The saucisson was grilled on the plancha with a bit of truffle dust on it. The whole feast was brought out on a cutting board which also had salad, roasted and sautéed potato halves, and a small compote of peas. The veau melted in your mouth, and the sausages were delicious. Somehow, we both cleared our boards. I don’t think we ate for the next 24 hours… 60,40€ with pichet of the house rouge 8€.

FLEUREY-SUR-OUCHE, P’TIT REPARE DE GOUT. Sometimes we are punished and other times rewarded: we like to amble, drive down roads we’ve never been before, follow our noses, and seek out long views. We were meandering around Châteauneuf-en-Auxois and its environs taking in the hilltop views and the warm temperatures. Noon creeps up quickly in these meanderings, and 12:30 and 12:45 even quicker. I start studying the google map on phone to try and guess the size of nearby towns to hope one will have a spot we can stop for lunch. Driving down the D104 we find ourselves crossing over the Canal de Bourgogne and spot a line of cars outside a restaurant along the canal. We quickly park as we see others doing the same, and are relieved when they agree to seat us without a reservation at the one remaining table. The interior is stone, brightly lit, with modern touches and large windows overlooking the canal where a number of ducks and geese are swimming about. Without studying the menu too closely we opt for the menu du jour, which started with a puff pastry of leek and emmentaler with a small salad on the side. The plats were Bœuf Bourguignon (again, pretty average) and what looked and tasted like Rice-A-Roni (soy sauce? Something that tinted white rice brown and made it quite salty…) Dessert was a Spéculoos parfait that was better than I thought it would be. We shared a bottle of Haut Cote de Nuit, Andre Goichot (25€) and were the last ones out at the end of service. Don’t think I’d make a special trip, but clearly the pickings were thin and the place quite lively for a mid-week lunch in January. 56,60€.

BEAUNE, LE BACCHUS, rue du Fauberg Madeline. Can’t remember where we had read about this place, CH, or elsewhere but it seemed to have good reviews and we were game. This is a small husband-and-wife place and there was a large group taking up half the restaurant for some celebration, the third time this week we encountered this. And again it sort of seemed like a bunch of co-workers. Is there some January tradition we were observing?? I started with a Puff pastry with escargots and followed with Sourie d’Agneau. Bman had a Dos de Cabillaud. The cheese plate had époisses, a cheese washed in Pommard and coated with mustard seeds, and a Brillât Savarin. We liked everything we had, and enjoyed a nice Fixin Vielle Vignes from Humbert Freres. Lost the recipt but I think the total was around 80€ with the wine.


Potage lyonnais

It’s pumpkin season — and as we head from Halloween to Thanksgiving, what could be better than a French pumpkin soup? Not just any kind, but pumpkin soup from Lyon, the heart of French gastronomy. The ingredients read like a catalog of Lyonnaise cuisine: pumpkin, potato, cream, grated Comté or Gruyère, a leek and, yes, some butter. Okay, it’s rich, but oh so satisfying. Set off nicely by a salad, it makes a lovely meal.

Potage lyonnais / Pumpkin soup, Lyon style

So what is it about Lyon that has created its reputation as the heartland of French cooking? I’ll give you the answer in three words: location, location, location. Lyon sits at the confluence of the Rhône and the Saône, major waterways linking it to the Mediterranean in the south, the Swiss Alps in the east and the Vosges mountains of northeastern France. Back in Roman times, it was already receiving wine, olive oil and produce from Provence and beyond, transported by river. Over time, dairy products from the Alps and the Vosges, the fine poultry of the nearby Bresse region, beef from Charolais, fruit from the Ardèche, fish from the rivers and lakes, all made their way to Lyon. Local charcuteries specialized in cured meats. And so grew a culinary tradition.

As for the pumpkin, it is widely used in French cooking throughout the fall and winter. I was treated last year, as some of you may remember, to a spectacular pumpkin gratin prepared by Georges Blanc, a three-star chef at Vonnas, north of Lyon. This was his take on one of the classic foods of Thanksgiving, and he was kind enough to give me the recipe. The occasion was the filming of an episode of a French television series about food and art, the art in this case being the Norman Rockwell painting called Plenty. I’m mentioning it now only because the program is about to air in France, just in time for Thanksgiving. If you’re interested, it will be shown on Arte on Sunday, November 23 at noon.


Eating House


Cap’N Crunch Pancakes

Eating House owner and three-time James Beard nominated chef Giorgio Rapicavoli presents a special Mother’s Day edition of his ever-popular Wakin-N-Bacon brunch on Sunday, May 8 from 11:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m, featuring complimentary chocolate for the lady of the hour, created by premiere chocolatier, Tierra Nueva Fine Cocoa.

For the celebration, chef will be serving up his staple brunch items that have made Wakin-N-Bacon one of South Florida’s most sought-after brunches, even requiring reservations weeks in anticipation. Savory options include chicken ‘n’ foie-ffles with maple bacon and spicy ranch perfectly sweet Cuban bread French toast and the standout Cap’n Crunch pancakes, among others.


Carbonara Eggs Benedict

Eating House, located at 804 Ponce de Leon Boulevard in Coral Gables, Florida, is open for lunch Monday- Friday, from 11-3 p.m. dinner Tuesday through Thursday, from 6pm – 11pm Friday and Saturday, from 6pm – midnight and for Sunday brunch from noon – 5 p.m. eatinghousemiami.com

Where are you taking Mom for Mother’s Day? Let us know in the comments!

Paola Mendez

I like to share my finds with the world and make friends along the way. I am always up to something including some of my current projects: Gables Guitar Studio, The Blogger Union, The South Florida Bloggers, & Dapper Animals.

Further Reading.

Foodie Staycation at the Diplomat Beach Resort

For The Best Macarons Go To Janette & Co

Crema Gourmet Espresso Bar: European Cafe on Miracle Mile

6 Comments

Natalia Lilly

Great list and the picturessssss. Bulla and Eating house are definitely on my list.

Paola Mendez

Two great picks my friend! Have fun :)

While my mom lives in a different state I’m still super stoked for all these great restaurant recommendations. Though…I better not try them out on Mother’s Day, haha! Might be a little crowded! I’m sure I’ll come up with an occasion to give them a go!

Paola Mendez
Gpineda

Brasserie Central it is! Their modules are to die for and the Bohdan Blanc is my fav?…


Traveling For The Food of France

Disclaimer: When it comes to the food of France, French cuisine, and the country itself, I am a little biased. From the moment I started studying French in the 7th grade with Madame Gottlieb on Long Island, I fell in love with all things French. I instantly yearned to travel to France, but had to settle for a class trip to Quebec. Still, my best friend Katie and I had our fun asking every passerby “Quelle heure est-il?” (What time is it?) and cracking up when they answered.

Years later when I visited Paris for the first time with my parents, Mme. Gottlieb would have been appalled when in my excitement at dinner one evening I ordered “le beurre” (all of the butter in the world) instead of “du beurre” (some butter).

A few years later, I lived in Paris for 3 months in a tiny 6th-floor walkup studio apartment across from a boulangerie in the 6th arrondisement—it was heaven. The best part was purchasing a baguette that was too hot to carry and running up 6 flights of stairs without dropping it!

My language skills improved, especially while drinking (wine was cheaper than water) I fell in love with the food I discovered, shopped at the neighborhood farmers’ market, and began re-creating delicious French dishes like Cassoulet, Croque Monsieur, and Moules Marinieres.

For me, food and travel have been linked ever since. Before my last road trip through France, after mapping out a route that included the most beautiful villages of France, I spent endless hours researching everything having to do with the food of France. It was not only about finding the best restaurants I wanted to know what I should eat where, what are the customs and traditions, what do I need to eat before leaving certain cities, what are the best local cheeses, and more! It was an incredible trip filled with amazing food experiences. My goal here is to share with you what I have learned so that if or when you travel to France, you have amazing food experiences too. And when you return, you can re-create some of your favorite dishes—but in a healthy way.

As with most trained chefs, I studied French cooking in cooking school. The most-used ingredient in French recipes is butter, and lots of it, so it’s not always the healthiest of cuisines. Don’t get me wrong, I love butter, and French butter is probably the best in the world. However, when I am at home, I try to consume less fat, and I spent 14 years at California Chef creating healthy recipes that satisfy the most discerning palates. My French recipes are inspired by the traditional flavors, but with much less fat and fewer calories. But enough about me let’s talk about the food of France, and start with some fun French food facts!

Fun French Food Facts

By law, a traditional baguette can only have three ingredients: yeast, flour, and salt, and must weigh 250 grams.

Over 500,000,000 snails are consumed in France each year.

The French consume more cheese per capita than any other county, about 57 pounds per person per year.

The French enjoy eating horse, frog, and rabbit.

A 2-hour lunch is acceptable in most parts of France, and many shops close between 12:00 and 2:00 pm to accommodate such meals.

The French eat cheese for dessert. It can also be consumed any other time of day.

Breakfast is not the most important meal of the day, just a piece of bread and jam with coffee or hot chocolate.

Supermarkets cannot throw away unsold food it must be donated. France was the first country to institute such a law in 2016.

You can order a beer in McDonald’s. (But you’re in France, so, don’t.)

It is common to see unrefrigerated milk on grocery store shelves.

French Cuisine History

Modern-day chefs, cooks, and foodies owe a lot to the French. Not only because of the delicious French foods many of us salivate over, but also because the French have a rich food history, and it has impacted the world as we know it. To start, where would we be without restaurants? The French take credit for the first restaurant in the world, which opened in Paris in 1765 it served one dish—sheep feet in wine sauce. Not exactly what comes to mind when I think of traditional French food in Paris, but hey, it’s a restaurant, nonetheless.

And although Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, with romance, historical sites, and exquisite shops galore, the first thing that pops into my mind when I think of Paris is food! Paris currently has over 40,000 restaurants, and in addition to the best French dishes, you can find almost every kind of cuisine from around the globe!

French cooking techniques and recipes are taught around the world. In cooking school, I was taught Auguste Escoffier was the father of modern French cooking. In the late 1800’s, he didn’t invent French cooking, rather he simplified techniques and codified recipes so that they could be taught and replicated. Among those recipes are the “5 mother sauces,” which are the foundation for traditional French recipes, and are still taught to students in cooking schools today.

Some French food recipes are centuries old. Some recipes were invented for royalty, and others were created out of necessity and passed down from generation to generation. These generational recipes are considered to be traditional French peasant food, and many have evolved into fashionable dishes. There are many examples of meals that were once exclusively a poor man’s dinner that are now regional specialties sold in gourmet shops, and even listed on upscale dinner menus.

The French take food very seriously. As with the baguette, laws can even dictate how certain foods are prepared. The Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) seal of certification ensures that cheese, meats, butter, wine, lentils, lavender, and other agricultural products meet specific criteria and stringent standards. AOC products must originate in geographically designated areas and must adhere to specified traditions and ingredients. Some products have more rigorous rules than others. For example, the prestigious “Poulet de Bresse,” or Bresse chicken, has strict requirements on everything from the diet of the birds to their slaughter, even the farmland to bird ratio is regulated—10 square meters of land per bird!

French Food Culture and Cuisine

France has one of the most revered cuisines in the world, and the United Nations recognizes French cuisine as a cultural heritage. According to UNESCO, French food culture is important for “bringing people together to enjoy the art of good eating and drinking” and its power to create “togetherness, the pleasure of taste, and the balance between human beings and the products of nature.” In other words, in France, meals are savored, ingredients are valued, and the experience is made better by sharing. I heartily agree with this philosophy!

Most of all, mealtime is to be enjoyed. It is almost impossible to rush a French meal, especially in a restaurant. One of the great wonders of the world is why the French people are not obese. A classic French dinner menu (or lunch menu) consists of 3 or 4 courses: 1. An appetizer or starter (une entrée) like a soup, salad, or pâté. 2. A main course (le plat principal), typically a meat, a starch (rice, pasta, potato), and/or vegetables. 3. A cheese course, and/or 4. Dessert. The answer to the question “What is the typical dish for each of the courses?” is “It depends.”

French cuisine changes with the seasons, and the food of France varies widely by region, with each touting local specialties. Discovering a local cheese, honey, or regional delicacy at the local farmers’ market can be the highlight of a trip for me. I love strolling through the outdoor markets—some dating back to the 14th century—searching for new ingredients and gawking at the beautiful displays of fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, and cheeses (especially the cheeses!). Most big cities in France have at least two market days per week, and even the small towns often have one a week. Residents shop the farmers’ markets and can find everything they need to prepare each of their meals. Restaurateurs purchase seasonal, local ingredients and highlight them in the menus they offer. For example, if you take a trip to Paris in late April or May, be prepared for lots of white asparagus and rhubarb on the menu. Using local, seasonal ingredients is not a fad, or a new way of life, it’s called cuisine du terroir. It’s how it’s always been it’s the essence of French food culture and French cuisine.

Food of France by Region

The staple food of France is the baguette, which is reportedly eaten by 95% of the population, and as stated in Fun Food Fact #1, there is not a lot of room for variation. Not counting the baguette, French food and drink varies widely by region. The diversified landscape and geography of the 16 different regions affects the agricultural crops that farmers cultivate, the animals they raise, and the cheeses and wines that are produced. France borders 6 other countries (Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxemburg, Spain, and Switzerland), and the gastronomy of the regions that border these countries is often influenced by these neighbors. For example, Italy’s Chicken Francese inspired France’s Chicken Francaise, and the Swiss Chicken Cordon Bleu has been basically adopted by France. With so many variables contributing to the cuisine of each region, I think the regions need to be discussed individually.

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes: Famous for the best skiing areas in France and its unique wine varietals, this area also offers numerous culinary specialties.

One of the Alp’s best-loved dishes is one of France’s most well-known—Fondue Savoyarde, made with a combination of Comté, Beaufort, Gruyére, and Emmental cheeses. But beware, in Savoie, if your piece of bread gets lost in the fondue pot, you may be buying the next round of drinks!

If you prefer potatoes with your cheese, you’ll love Tartiflette, a decadent potato gratin, and Truffade, a thick pancake commonly found as a side dish to steak. Visit Clermont-Ferrand to try these traditional Auvergne dishes.

If you are determined to try one of the most quintessential French dishes, Cuisses de Grenouilles (frog legs), head to the area known as the Dombes, where you will find them fried in butter, garlic, and parsley. Regional sweets include chocolate truffles and marron glacé, candied chestnuts whose origins date back to 16th-century Lyon.

Many consider Lyon the gastronomic capital of France, and I think it may well be the capital of French culinary decadence. Known for rich, heavy meals, even the Lyonnaise Salad will have you tipping the scale—but it’s worth it!

I highly recommend eating at a traditional bouchon, a tavern-style restaurant, and visiting Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse food hall. Les Halles offers delectable assortments of local specialties of quenelle, cheese, pastries, chocolates, charcuterie, and basically anything that you can eat. Lyon’s Quenelle de Brochet, the biggest fish dumpling ever, may not sound so appetizing, but is one of my personal favorites when served with Sauce Nantua (crayfish sauce).

Bretagne (Brittany): With more than 1,000 kilometers of coastline, it is no surprise that Brittany’s specialties include an array of seafood.

Moules Marinieres, translated as Mussels Sailor-Style, are marinated in white wine and onions. Cotriade, a fish stew with potatoes, leeks, onions, and garlic can be made with any or all of the following fish: red mullet, mackerel, sprat, herring, and hake.

Enjoying the scenery of the ocean at a seaside terrace eating a fresh seafood platter is one of the greatest pleasures Brittany has to offer. The Plateau de Fruits de Mer may consist of a raw and cooked combination of freshly caught shellfish and mollusks such as oysters, clams, mussels, scallops, winkles, crab, and prawns.

However, the region is even more famous for its traditional Breton pancakes, known worldwide as crepes. In fact, in Bretagne, creperies outnumber cafés. The Breton Galette, a savory buckwheat pancake, can be stuffed with ham, bacon, eggs, and mushrooms, and makes it perfectly acceptable to eat pancakes all day long. You will even see these galettes wrapped around sausages and sold from food trucks. Legend has it that these pancakes were invented by a farmer who spilled some buckwheat porridge onto his griddle, and the whole region seems to have learned from his mistake!

The specialty cake of the region is, hands down, Far Breton. What originated as a savory side dish has evolved into a sweet custard cake with prunes and raisins, and has become one of France’s most beloved desserts.

Bourgogne-Franche-Comté: This region produces some of the best wines and cheeses in the world, and that alone is enough for me to consider it paradise.

It is the birthplace of some of France’s most celebrated recipes, many of them incorporating the notable wines of the region.

One of the oldest recipes, Coq au Vin, translated as rooster in wine, traces back to ancient Gaul. Modern renditions use chicken and braise it in red wine, lardons, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic.

Similarly, the other dish synonymous with the region, Beef Bourgogne, is a hearty stew of fall-apart-tender beef that is slowly cooked in red wine with carrots, celery, onions, and lardons, and served with noodles or potatoes.

The Bourguignons even poach eggs in red wine to make Oeufs en Meurette.

Is everything cooked in red wine? No, some dishes use white wine, like Jambon á la Chablisienne, which is ham in a Chablis sauce. And, yes, some specialties do not have wine at all, like Escargot á la Bourgogne (snails in butter, garlic, and parsley), and one of my favorites, Gorgères (fluffy, savory cheese puffs). Admittedly, I am partial to anything with cheese.

Since the dinners can be rich in this region, many prefer ending a meal with a light Cassis Sorbet made from the blackcurrant liquor Crème de Cassis from Dijon, rather than a baked dessert. Of course, you can find a red wine-based dessert, Poire au Vin, pears poached in Beaujolais. The two most popular alcohol-free desserts are the jam-filled gingerbreads, Nonettes, and the simple yellow cake, Gâteau de Ménange.

The region is also renown for honey, Bresse poultry, Dijon mustard, and numerous cheeses (Morbier, Bresse Bleu, Comté, Epoisses, Soumaintrain, Abbaye de Citeaux, Mont d’Or, Cancoillotte, Delice de Bourgogne, and Ami du Chambertin, to name more than a few). Need help deciding? Cheese lovers most certainly should try the Epoisses and Delice de Bourgogne of Burgundy, and the Comté of Franche-Comté. Want some wine to drink with your cheese? Visit Le Marché aux Vins in Beaune where you can taste and learn about the local wines of the region in their cellar that houses 22,000 bottles.

Food of France: Corsican Charcuterie

Corse (Corsica): The cuisine on this island nestled between France and Italy is a blend of the 2 countries. And, don’t be fooled, although Corsica is surrounded by water, its residents seem to eat as much meat as seafood.

If you have the opportunity to order Civet de Sanglier, a hearty wild boar casserole, the signature dish of Corse, do it! If you are not a fan of boar, try the veal with olives, Veau aux Olives, a flavorful stew with olives, onions, tomatoes, and tender veal imbued with the unique flavors of local herbs and wine.

Try a platter of Corsican-made charcuterie that includes cured meat made from the native black pig, Porc Nustrale. I recommend Jambon sec de Corse (from the leg), Coppa de Corse (from the chine, or back), and Lonzo de Corse (from the loin). The Nustrale feed on the plentiful chestnuts found in groves in the mountains.

You will find Corsicans eating the chestnut as well, mostly in desserts such as Gateau aux Châtaignes. If that doesn’t appeal to you, try the Corsican cheesecake, Fiadone, made with the island’s Brocciu cheese. The name alone is reason to sample another Corsican specialty cheese, Brin d’Amour, which translates to “breath of love,” referring to the cheese’s coating of aromatic herbs.

Food of France: Tarte Tatin

Centre-Val de Loire: In the heart of France, the beautiful chateaux de la Loire grace the historic villages along the Loire river. It is obvious the area was greatly influenced by kings, yet much of its cuisine has humble peasant origins.

The most famous of these dishes is Rilletes de Porc, the incredible spreadable pork product from Tours, also affectionately called “pig jam.” Other country foods include Truffiat, a puff pastry filled with potatoes and cheese, and Andouillette Sausage in Vouvray wine.

Some of France’s best goat cheese comes from this region. These include Crottin de Chavignol, Sel-Sur-Cher, Sainte Maure de Touraine, Bȗcheron, and Valençay.

Do not miss France’s best known apple dessert, Tarte Tatin, invented by the Tatin sisters of Orléans. It is most often served warm and best accompanied by vanilla ice cream. In fact, I’d suggest trying it in more than one establishment!

Food of France: Choucroute Garnie

Grand Est (Alsace, Champagne, Lorraine): This region shares its biggest border with Germany, and this proximity is exhibited in some of the regional specialties, like Choucroute Garnie, sauerkraut with juniper berries, caraway, potatoes, and three kinds of sausages: Frankfurter, Strasbourg, and Montbéliard.

It is believed that the word “quiche” is derived from the German word for kitchen, kuchen, but the- Germans get no credit for the dish itself. Undoubtedly the most famous quiche is also the most famous dish of the Grand Est, Quiche Lorraine, which is named after the former region of Lorraine. Quiches are basically savory tarts, but the Tarte Flambée of this region is more like a thin crust pizza topped with cream, onions, and lardons.

The less confusing Baeckeoffe combines slow-cooked pork, lamb, beef, vegetables, and potatoes in a white wine sauce. Another stew-like dish, Potée Champenoise, traditionally prepared for pickers on grape-harvest day, now appears on menus year-round in Champagne. Driving through Champagne is a feast for the senses, and you’ll never wonder “What should I have to drink?”

Champagne is an obvious must-drink beverage when visiting this region. One of the area’s extraordinary cheeses, like Munster, Langres, or Cendre de Champagne, complement a glass of bubbly quite nicely. And remember, bubbly cannot be called Champagne unless it comes from Champagne!

On the sweeter side, one can enjoy Madeleine cookies from Commercy, Macarons (especially in Nancy), Pain d’Epices (a sort of spice cake with honey), Kouglof (a brioche with raisins), Bergamot candies, and a myriad of tarts and jams made with small yellow Mirabelle plums.

Food of France: Pâté de Canard

Hauts de France (Nord Pas-de-Calais-Picardie): Many specialties of this region have Belgian roots, such as the creamy fish stew, Waterzooi, and the national dish of Belgium, Moules Frites, aka mussels and fries.

The battle still continues over who invented the French fry part of that dish, France or Belgium. However, the region also has many of its indisputable own creations like Ficille Picardes, a ham and mushroom crêpe baked in a rich cream sauce that originated in Amiens. Amiens, best known by the masses for its magnificent Gothic cathedral, is best known by foodies for its tasty Pâté de Canard (duck pâté en croute).

From Picardy, try the Flamiche Aux Poireaux, a creamy leek pie whose origin dates at least as far back as its mention in a French soldier’s notebook in the 18th century.

Cheese enthusiasts should enjoy a Maroilles Tarte made from the washed rind of the cheese of the same name. Made in the area since the 10th century, Maroilles has a nutty mushroom flavor, and is also an extremely popular cheese on its own. If it is cheese you are after, the bright orange Mimolette with the cratered rind reigns king here.

When searching for a sweet treat, you can enjoy a slice of Gâteau Battu at the end of your meal, and the buttery Palets de Dames (translated as ladies’ pucks) at teatime. It can be difficult to tell by looking at the iced puck, but the Palets de Dames sold in the pâtisseries typically have a layer of apricot jam under the lemon icing.

Ile de France (Paris): Known historically as the playground of kings, culinary indulgences abound in Paris. Pâtisseries with picture perfect Tartes au Citron, Tartes aux Fraises, éclairs, macarons, and hundreds of other French delicacies line the streets.

One of the most famous desserts is Baba au Rhum, a rum cake with a whole in the center that is filled with fruit or pastry cream. The first Baba was cooked sans rum by France’s oldest patisserie, Stoher, when Nicholas Stoher invented it for the exiled Polish King Stanislas in 1730. Like I said, a playground for kings.

Today, anyone can obtain the best France has to offer in Paris shops. Of course, that goes for French cheeses as well. Brie de Meaux is undoubtably Ile de France’s most famous cheese. If you want something a little more adventurous, ask the cheese monger what is in season.

Walking the streets of Paris, you can tell that the heart and soul of Parisienne food is found in the family-owned bistros and brasseries. Known for comfort foods like Steak Frites, Croque Monsieur, Soupe á L’Onion, and Pot au Feu, these neighborhood hangouts are the perfect place to get an authentic meal. The Michelin guide can give you good insights on other eateries, from the starred upscale gourmet restaurants to the famous guide’s Bib Gourmands picks, which highlight restaurants offering the best values.

And if you have the funds, 4 of the 2019 50 Best Restaurants in the World are in Paris. If indulgence is what you’re after, as a special treat, head to Pierre Hermé, Jacques Genin, or Laudrée for some of the world’s best chocolates, caramels, and confections.

However, the best experiences don’t have to be the most expensive. I encourage you to find the hidden gems of Paris that will make the city special to you. This can be anything from a neighborhood haunt to making a picnic and eating it in one of Paris’s beautiful parks.

Nouvelle Aquitaine (Aquitaine, Poitou-Charentes, Limousin): The southwest corner of France has a rich history of gastronomy, agriculture, and wine making.

The area surrounding Bordeaux is one of the best wine regions in the world, and as in Bourgogne, we see wine used in regional dishes.

Bordelaise Sauce, a red wine sauce traditionally made with demi-glace and shallots, is very versatile and is used to flavor lamb, steak, pork, veal, and even mashed potatoes.

White wine is used for Poulet Basquaise, chicken stew with tomatoes and peppers, and for traditional Mouclade, mussels in a curry cream sauce. Be sure to soak up the Mouclade sauce with some crusty bread! For seafood, like Marennes-Oléron oysters, head to the coastal towns.

Elsewhere, you will find an abundance of local duck on menus, especially Duck Confit—a wise person would not leave the region without having it at least once. And, speaking of duck . . . I hate that I love foie gras, but I do, and this is the place to eat it. Translated as “fat liver,” it certainly doesn’t sound appetizing. In the US, it’s pretty easy to stay away from because if you ever do see it on the menu, it costs a small fortune. However, here, it is not only abundant, it is affordable—and it is delicious!

Some of the best cheeses of the region are Chabichou du Poitou, Chaumes, and Ossau-Iraty. The Ossau-Iraty from Fromagerie Agour won the Best Cheese in the World title in both 2011 and 2016.

Do not skip dessert! Enjoy Clafoutis (black cherry flan), Canelé de Bordeaux (caramel crust rum cake), Gateaux Basque (shortbread pastry layered with vanilla or cherry), or Dacquoise (alternating layers of crispy nut meringue sponge cake and buttercream). If you can only have one, Dacquoise has my vote!

Assortment of French Cheeses

Normandie: In addition to being the site of the historic WWII D-Day landing, today’s Normadie houses the iconic Mont Saint-Michelle, produces the largest quantity of cheese in France, and grows over 800 varieties of apples.

Apples have grown here since the 8th century, with a large majority used to make beverages such as cider and Calvados. Calvados, an apple brandy that can only be made in Normandie, is served after a meal as a digestif, or between courses to make room for the next one by creating the trou normande, literally the “Normandie hole.”

You will also see apples used in cooking chicken or duck au cidre, and in countless desserts.

In addition to being a major apple producer, Normandie’s extensive coastline makes it the chief oyster-cultivating, scallop-exporting, and mussel-raising region in France. And you’ll see all of these mollusks represented in the regional seafood dishes, and maybe even all at once.

Marmite Dieppoise is kind of a kitchen-sink fish stew from Dieppe combining all the best of Normandie into one pot: fish, mollusks, crustaceans, butter, crème fraîche, and cider.

Also from Dieppe, Hareng Saur (smoked herring) harkens back to the Middle Ages as a food that could be stored for long periods of time today it is considered restaurant fare.

If you need a break from seafood, try the classic melt-in-your-mouth Joue de Boeuf, beef cheek braised (for up to 2 days) with apples, cider, carrots, and onions.

And, if you need a break from apples, try the rice pudding meets crème Brȗlée dessert, Teurgoule.

If you’re like me, and come for the cheese, some of the regional standouts are Camembert (the most famous, of course), Pont l’Evêque, Livarot, Neufchâtel, and my favorite, Brillat-Savarin— a luscious triple cream offering with nutty hints of salt and butter. Come for the cheese, but stay for the salted butter caramels, one of my other beloved weaknesses!

Occitanie (Midi-Pyrénées, Languedoc): The signature dish of Occitanie is undisputedly Cassoulet, a hearty white bean stew with duck confit and sausage.

What is in dispute is where this peasant dish originates: Carcassone, Castelnaudry, or Toulouse. I suggest trying it wherever you can, as well as its key component, duck confit, (Confit de Canard), which is a popular dish in its own right. Another Cassoulet component, sausages, or more precisely, Saucisse de Toulouse, are also often served as a French dinner entrée.

You may see them with the Averon specialty, Aligot, a cheesy, creamy, gooey mashed potato with garlic—need I say more? As might be expected, along the southeastern coast of this region, seafood is popular.

Sample the less expensive yet tasty cousin to Bouillabaisse, Bourride, a specialty of Sète. Traditionally made with monkfish and seasoned with aioli (garlic mayo), legend has it that the Greek gods would come to feast on Bourride when they got bored with Olympus.

Aioli is popular in this region, and can be used in Brandade de Morue, the salt cod spread from Nîmes. Grab some Brandade de Morue, a crusty baguette, and some cheese and have a picnic.

If you like blue cheese, you may already know that the king of all blue cheeses, Roquefort, comes from this region. And if blue cheese is not your thing, you can’t go wrong with Cathare, Cabécou, Tomme des Pyrénées, Bethmale, or Briquette de Brebis.

Sip a little Armagnac or Floc de Gascogne with desserts like Crème Catalane (similar to crème brulé), Croustade aux Pommes (apple-filled puff pastry), or some violet-flavored confections from Toulouse.

Pays de la Loire: The traditional French sauce Beurre Blanc (literally, white butter sauce) is this western region’s culinary claim to fame. The story is that a chef outside of Nantes invented the sauce when she forgot to put eggs into her Béarnaise sauce, and her customers loved it. In the coastal areas, the rich sauce is often served with fresh fish, or mussels from Baie de l’Aigullon.

The Pays de la Loire’s coast is short, but the salt marches of Guerande are plentiful, and salt flowers, or Fleurs de Sel, have been harvested there since the 3rd century.

In the seafood arena, Vendée offers delicious Atlantic oysters, but is better known for Jambon de Vendée (prosciutto’s French cousin), and a number of baked good specialties such as the beautifully braided Brioche Vendéenne, the golden oval Gâche vendéenne, and the local version of garlic bread, Préfou. Préfou can be served as an appetizer or as a side dish.

If you have any left over, it’ll serve as the perfect bread on which you can spread the delicious local pâté known as Rillettes de Le Mans, which should not be missed. Not to be confused with rillets, rillauds is another pork belly dish beloved in the region (especially in Anjou). Rillets is usually served in a terrine to spread on bread, whereas rillauds is cubed and can be served hot or cold.

As with every French region, there are many outstanding cheeses to satisfy my decadent vice, among them Saint Paulin, Port Salut, and Curé Nantais. Maybe even more decadent than a plate of creamy cheese is a plate of Sablé.

The ridiculously buttery Sablé shortbread cookies have been a favorite with coffee or tea in Sablé-sur-Sarthe since 1670. Or if you prefer something to take with you, the sugar-iced rum cake, Gâteau Nantais, also known as “Traveler’s Cake” because of its long shelf life, will fit the bill.

Food of France: Salade Nicoise

Provence-Cote d'Azur (PACA): Known worldwide for the purple rows of lavender in Provence, and the crystal blue beaches of the French Riviera, or Cote d’Azur, this region plays host to travelers from around the globe who come to enjoy their dream vacations.

Here, the Mediterranean Sea is the inspiration for the world-renowned fish stew from Marseille, Bouillabaisse, and also for Salade Nicoise. Nice is also the birthplace of Ratatouille, the zucchini and eggplant dish, not the rat movie.

A little more inland, look for the Provençal lamb (or beef) stew, Daube, that is made in an earthenware daubiére. Daube has hints of cinnamon and cloves, and simmers for hours until the meat falls apart.

Traveling through Provence, you’ll find the abundance of olives transformed into olive oil and tapenade sauces, and the lavender into Herbes de Provence (as well as wonderfully fragrant soaps).

Many sauces that you find in the south of France utilize garlic as a key ingredient. These include Pistou (basil, olive oil, and garlic, similar to pesto), Rouille (saffron, peppers, and olive oil used with fish stews), and Aioli (egg yolks, garlic, and olive oil). There is also a cake made with olive oil, Pompe à l’Huile, that is flavored with orange and lemon and decorated with cutout leaves or stars.

The diamond shaped iced sweet, Calisson, is a favorite from Aix-en-Provence. The town’s tale is that in 1454, King René’s chef combined almonds and candied melons to create the Calisson in order to cheer up the king’s bride to be, and it did the trick!

Visiting France for Food

France remains one of my favorite countries to visit, and in fact, if it weren’t for COVID19, I’d be there right now. Unfortunately, most tourist don’t get to visit every region of France, especially in one trip.

With so much good food, how do you pick? I’d rather take my time and thoroughly enjoy and explore a region or a city than to zip through multiple stops across the whole country. There are a lot of things to take into consideration in addition to the food when deciding on a place to visit, and those things can vary widely from person to person.

However, since Paris is my favorite city in the world, it would be my place of choice in France if I could only pick, or recommend, one. It is also a great place to start or end a trip. You can do a good job in a week. You’ll need four days minimum to have a proper gourmand getaway. Eat at a neighborhood bistro, sip at an outdoor café, snack at a pâtisserie, buy a warm baguette, stroll a farmers’ market, picnic in the Bois de Boulogne, and don’t miss the cheese shops! Whether you’re cooking French meals at home, or eating them in France, I wish you bon appétit!


CULINARY TERMS

1. ABATS-Meat items such as offal’s, heads, hearts, liver, kidneys, etc.

2. AIGULETTES-Thin strips of the fish, breast of poultry, cut lengthwise.

3. AGING –To improve the tenderness of meat which is held at a cold temperature.

4. A La- According to the style or a standard in vogue, such as a la francaise or according to the French way.

5. A LA BOURGEOISE-Family style-plain.

6. A LA BROCHE-Cooked and roasted on a skewer. Meat or seafood served on a skewer.

7. A La Carte-Food prepared to order each dish priced separately.

8. ANGLAISE-To cook a 1’anglaise means to cook plainly in water. It also means the preparation of a dish dipped in egg and breadcrumbs, and fried..

9. APPETISER-It is the first course, and it stimulates the appetite. Fruit juices, sherry, cocktails or tidbits could be served.

10. AROMATES-Vegetables like carrots, turnips, onions, leeks, herbs and spices that impart aroma to the dish they are put in.

11. ASPIC-Clear meat or poultry jelly. It is a gelatin in a thin syrupy stage used to decorate dishes in the larder.

12. ARROSER-To baste as in roasting.

13. ASSORTI-An assortment.

14. AU BLEU-In French, it means underdone, i.e. the meat is not cooked properly, another meaning is preparing and cooking of a live trout in cooking liquor.

15. AU FOUR-Baked in the oven.

16. AU GRATIN-Food covered with a sauce sprinkled with cheese breadcrumbs, doted with butter and baked or gratinated in a salamander.

17. AU JUS-Served with natural juices or gravy.

18. AU NATURAL-Served in a simple unadorned style.

19. BABA-A yeast raised cake. A famous variety is flavoured and soaked in rum before serving. Fruit, whipped cream is added. Baba au rum is cooked in rum.

20. BAIN-MARIE-A hot water bath in which utensils containing various culinary preparations are immersed to warm or for the purpose of poaching and reheating.

21. BAKING-Usually the food is put in the oven and cooked by dry heat.

22. BARBECUE-A party in which usually meat (sometimes a whole carcass of animal fixed in a rod) is basted and roasted in front of the people. It is usually held in the open. Meat roasted in open fire is known as barbecued meat.

23. BARDING-Pieces of port fat placed over the lean meat, fish or the breast of a bird to prevent drying.

24. BARQUETTE-A boat shaped pastry tartlet with a filling.

25. BASTE-To moisten food product with drippings or fat while cooking. The other term for it is spooning of fat.

26. BARON-A double sirloin and rump of beef: also the saddle and two legs of lamb.

27. BAT-To flatten slices of raw meat with a cutlet bat, dipping it in water to prevent meat from sticking to the bat.

28. BATTER-Mixture of flour and liquid of a consistency that can be stirred. Batter could be plain or with eggs. For the beignets and fritters, food items are dipped in the batter and fried.

29. BEATING-Regular lifting motion to bring mixture to smooth texture.

30. BÉCHAMEL-A basic sauce, white in colour, prepared with flour, butter and milk.

31. BEURRE FONDUE-Melted butter.

32. BEURRE NOISETTE-Butter heated to a nut brown colour.

33. BEURRE NOIR-Butter heated to a very dark brown colour.

34. BEURRE MANIE-Equal quantities of flour and butter put in sauces, etc. for thickening.

35. BEIGNETS-Fritters, savoury or sweet, e.g. banana beignet. Bind To cohere, unite or hold together. To the croquette mixture, egg is added to bind.

36. BISQUE-A thick sauce or soup from shellfish or game.

37. BLANC-White.

38. BLANCHING-To submerge in boiling water for a short time. It is done in many ways tomatoes are dipped in boiling water to blanch, i.e. to remove the skin. Cauliflower is dipped in boiling water to white the colour. French fried potatoes are put in hot fat to let a skin form and to partially cook them.

39. BLANQUETTE-A white stew of veal which has been stiffened in butter and then cooked in white sauce.

40. BLEND-Thorough mixing of two or more ingredients.

41. BOMBE-A frozen dessert. A combination of two or more frozen mixtures (ice-cream, sherbets or mousse) packed in a round or melon shaped mould and frozen.

42. BOUILLON-Soup made of stock which is not as strong as consommé but stronger than broth.

43. BOUCHEE-Very small meat patty or pastry shell filled with meat, poultry or lobster.

44. BOUILLABAISE-The French Provencale “stew” made of numerous types of fish combined with savoury spices and oil, served with toasted French garlic bread.

45. BORTSCH-An unpassed soup with an accent on beetroot and is duck flavoured. Native of Poland or Russia. The accompaniments are sour cream, duck bouchee and beetroot juice.

46. BOUQUET GARNI-A bouquet of fresh herbs such as parsley, bay leaf, thyme tied together in a cheese cloth bag, to flavour soups, stews and removed before dish is served.

47. BRIOCHE-A feathery light yeast cake. A favourite breakfast bun in France.

48. BROIL-The ancient term for grilling.

49. BRUNNOISE-Cut into fine dices.

50. BUFFET-Display of ready to eat foods. Often self-service from a table of assorted foods.

51. CAFÉ-Coffee.

52. CANDYING-Cooking fruit in heavy syrup until transparent. Then drained and dried.

53. CANAPE-Small pieces of fried or toasted bread topped with a wide variety of colourful appetisers. Eaten with fingers. Small fancy open faced item.

54. CARTE DU JOUR-Menu for the day.

55. CANNELONI-Italian farinaceous dish. It is a pasta preparation stuffed with savoury minced meat and rolled into cigar shapes.

56. CAPON-A young male bird which has been castrated to improve flavour and to fatten. Noted for its tenderness.

57. CARAMELIZE-To heat sugar until it turns dark brown. Used for coating moulds and flavouring dishes.

58. CASSOULET-A hot hors d’oeuvre shaped like a small drum:

59. CASSEROLE-An earthenware or pyrex fireproof dish with a lid.

60. CAVIAR-Salted roe or eggs of fish, usually sturgeon, served as a sandwich spread or in plates as appetisers.

61. CEPES-Species of mushrooms.

62. CHAMPIGNONS-Mushrooms.

63. CHANTILLY CREAM-Whipped cream.

64. CHAPELURE-Crumbs made from dried bread.

65. CHATEAUBRIAND-A steak cut from the head of the beef fillet usually broiled. The steak has been named after the Vicount of Chateaubriand.

66. CLARIFICATION-To make clear, e.g. fat, stock or jelly. Claudfroid Veloute or demi-glaze with aspic or gelatine used for masking cold dishes.

67. CHIFFONADE-Shreds of lettuce or sorrel.

68. CHINOISE-A conical shaped wire mesh strainer.

69. CISEL-To cut a vegetable after the manner of a chaffcutting machine.

70. COAGULATION-Proteins solidifying after the application of heat e.g. fried egg.

71. COAT-Cover with sauce.

72. CLOCHESOUS-Under bell, usually glass.

73. CLOUTE-Studded, e.g. clove, bay leaf in an onion.

74. COCOTTE Porcelain or earthenware fireproof dish.

75. CODDLING-Cooking below boiling point, e.g. coddled eggs.

76. COMPOTE-A dish of stewed fruit retaining their natural shape.

77. COOK OUT-Process of cooking the flour in the roux, sauce or soup.

78. CONCASSEE-Coarsely chopped, e.g. blanched tomatoes or parsley, etc.

79. CONDIMENTS-Seasonings.

80. CORRECTING-Adjusting the seasoning, consistency and colour of a dish.

81. CONSOMME-Clear soup made from minced meat, aromatic vegetables, hers and stock, etc. It is clarified with egg white.

82. CORDON-To have a thin line of sauce.

83. COULIS-An essence made from shellfish, also used as a sauce.

84. COURT BOUILLON-A lightly flavoured cooking liquor in which fish is cooked.

85. CONTRE FILLET-Sirloin of beef, deboned.

86. COTE-A rib or chop.

87. CORDON-A thread or thin line of sauce.

88. CRACKLING-The rind of roast pork. Crepe Pancake.

89. CROUTE-Rounds made out of bread or brioche dough used as hors d’oeuvres or as a garnish.

90. CROQUETTES-Thick white sauce or mashed potato base, plus mincedmeat, fish or vegetables shaped as pipes dipped in beaten eggs, breadcrumbed and deep fired.

91. CROUTONS-Small dices of fancy shapes or fried or toasted bread used as a garnish for soups or as underliner for all kinds of canapes.

92. CUISINE-Art of cooking, preparation in the kitchen. Cult Cooked.

93. DARIOLE-A deep round sloping sided mould like a flowerpot.

94. DARNE-A section of fish cut across the bone of a large whole round fish.

95. DEGLACE-To swill a pan in which food has been cooked with wine/ stock to use the sediment and essences.

96. DEMI-Half.

97. DEMIGLAZE-Brown sauce made by reducing equal qualities of brown stock and brown sauce (espagnole). Diable Devilled.

98. DRAIN-Place food cooked in a strainer or colander.

99. DURAM WHEAT-Hard wheat with high gluten content used for making pastaand semolina.

100. DREDGING-Coating with dry ingredients, e.g. sugar or flour.

101. DEPOUILLER-To skim.

102. DOCKING-Making holes in pastry goods to allow steam to pass.

103. DUXELLE-Minced vegetable stuffing or forcemeat consisting of mushrooms, parsley and shallots.

104. DRIPPINGS-The fat and juice which drops from roasting meats Animal fat is also called dripping.

105. DUST-Sprinkling fine sugar or flour.

106. EGG WASH-Brush food item with egg yolk.

107. EMINCE-Cut fine or shredded fine.

108. EMULSION-A mixture-oil and yolk incorporated, does not separate on standing, e.g. mayonnaise, hollandaise.

109. ENCASSEROLE-Food served in the same dish in which it was cooked.

110. ENTRÉE-A main dish of meat or poultry for an informal meal.

111. ENTREMET-Refers to the sweet course, cold or hot.

112. EPIGRAMME-Boned breast of lamb.

113. ESCALOPES-To cut thin slices sideways.

114. ESTOUFFADE-Brown stock.

115. ESPAGNOLE-Basic brown sauce.

116. ETAMINE-Tammy or double thickness of cheese cloth for straining soups and sauces.

117. FLEURON-Small crescent shape, puff pastry, used as garnish for poached fish, meat, etc.

118. FARCE-Stuffing, and farci means stuffed.

119. FARINACEOUS-It is a word derived from the Latin word “Farina” meaning flour, a wide-range of dishes mostly made from flour, e.g. spaghetti, macaroni, etc.

120. FILLETS-Boneless flesh under the loin of beef, veal or pork.

121. FLAKE-To break into natural segments (fish).

122. FLORENTINE-With spinach.

123. FLUTE-A long crisp roll of bread, thin slices cut on a slant and used for garnishing soups.

124. FOIE GRAS-Flatted goose liver.

125. FOOL-A cold sweet dish made with sieved fruit and whipped to a light mixture served with cream.

126. FORCEMEAT-Mixture of minced or chopped meat and’ seasonings, used for stuffing.

127. FRAPPE-Partially frozen drinks or desserts.

128. FRICADELLES-Meat balls or round cakes made with either raw or cooked meat.

129. FRICANDEAU-Is a slice of veal taken from the topside of veal and cut with the grain 11/2″ thickness.

130. FRICASSEE-Small pieces of chicken, veal or rabbit cooked in white sauce, with the addition of mushrooms, onions, etc. The other name for it is white stew.

131. FRITTERS-Small pieces of vegetables, fruit, cheese, etc. dipped in batter and deep fried.

132. FRITURE-A pan that contains deep fat.

133. FRIZZLING-Cooking in small amount of fat until crisp.

134. FUMET-A kind of essence extracted from the bones and the skin of fish.

135. GALANTINE-Deboned chicken or fish or meat is minced and stuffed. The forcemeat is seasoned mixed with eggs and cream (optional). Placed in a mould with jelly and served cold. Served at cold buffets or as cold meats for meals.

136. GARNISH-To embellish, to decorate, “Farniture” in French means to garnish.

137. GELATINE-A soluble protein got from cow’s hoofs. Sold in powder form or in sheets. Used for jellies and for preparing aspics.

138. GHERKINS-Small cucumbers (a few days old) usually pickled.

139. GIBLETS-Liver, heart and trimmings from poultry.

140. GLAZE-A semi-transparent or glossy coating. Also to colour, gives elasticity to a dough.

141. GLUTEN-Vegetable protein found in cereal especially flour.

142. GNOCCHI-Italian-Light dumplings usually made from farina (cream of wheat).

143. GOULASH-A Hungarian beef stew with onions, tomatoes and paprika.

144. GOURMET-Connoisseur of food and drinks known as in epicure.

145. GRENADINE-Slices of veal, a little thicker than escalopes.

146. GRATINATE-To colour under a salamander or in the oven.

147. GRIDDLE-To cook on a solid surface or plate.

148. HASH-It is usually a rechauffe dish. A dish of meat diced or minced andseasoned.

149. HORS D’OEUVRES-Small relishes or appetisers. Served as first course of a meal.

150. INDIEHNE-An oriental dish. Indian style dish.

151. INFUSION-Liquid obtained from steeping a food, e.g. coffee and tea.

152. INCISE-To make small cuts across the back of fish prior to cooking.

153. ISINGLASS-Fish gelatine-(used for clarification).

154. JARDINIÈRE-Vegetables cut into batons.

155. JULIENNES-Refers to vegetables and meat cut into fine strips (match size) for soups and salads.

156. JUNKET-It is a light, easily digestible dish, good for invalids and children. It is a set milk product because of the addition of rennet. It can be flavoured.

157. KEDGEREE-It is an Anglo-Indian dish of fish, rice, eggs, and curried dish.

158. KOSHER-Meat sold within 48 hrs. after holding, in accordance with prescribed Hebrew religious laws or style of Jewish cooking with restrictions.

159. KROMESKYS-Similar to croquettes but it is dipped in a yeast batter and deep fried.

160. LANGOUSTE-Crayfish.

161. LANGOUSTINE-Spiny lobster.

162. LIASION-Cream and eggs, blood, flour are used as thickening agents for soups and sauces.

163. LARDING-Strips of pork fat inserted into meat with the aid of a larding needle. This keeps the meat moist.

164. MACEDOINE-Mixture of fruit and vegetables cut in even pieces fruit salad.

165. MAITRE D’HOTEL-Sauce of softened butter, parsley, lemon juice butter chilled and served with fish, steak, etc.

166. MARASHCHINO-Italian cherry cordial. Also a type of cherries.

167. MARINADE-A spiced mixture of vinegar, oil, spices or wine.

168. MARMITE-Stock-pot, or earthenware pot in which soup is served.

169. MACERATE-To soak (in flavoured syrup, wine or liquor) often applied to fruits.

170. MANDOLIN-A hand held machine used for slicing vegetables, potatoes.

171. MASKING-To cover completely (usually with a sauce).

172. MATELOTES-Fish stew with wine, onions and seasonings.

173. MATIGNON-Minced aromatic vegetables, ham (optional) thyme, bay leaf, used in dishes to impart a good flavour.

174. MEDIALLION-Round flat shaped piece of fish or meat.

175. MENU-List of fare.

176. MIGNONETTE PEPPER-Coarsely ground pepper.

177. MIREPOIX-Carrots, onions, celery, pork (salted optional) cut into fine dices, with thyme, bay leaf. Improves the flavour of the dish

178. MISE-EN-PLACE-Basic preparation in the kitchen before serving.

179. MONO SODIUM-A flavouring added to meat products to increase glutamete flavour. Known as Chinese salt.

180. MORTIFIER-To hand meat so as to tenderize it.

181. MOUSSE-Applied to a very light dessert generally prepared with whipped cream, egg whites, gelatin and sugar, etc. chilled and frozen. Also referred to meat dishes with egg, cream, gelatin and seasoning, served for cold buffets.

182. NAPPER-To coat or mask with sauce.

183. NAVARIN-Mutton stew with carrots and turnips.

184. NOODLES-Narrow strips of dried dough, used in soups, as garnishes, and also used for Chinese dishes.

185. PANADA-Thick white sauce.

186. PARBOIL-To partially cook.

187. PARMESAN-Italian cooking cheese. Hard sharp cheese, used as garnishes for soups and used for sauce, etc.

188. PAUPIETTE-Stuffed rolled thin slices of meat, etc. braised.

189. PAYSANNE-Cut into uniform shapes, whether it is round, or triangles, etc.

190. PIMENTOS-Red sweet Spanish pepper pod.

191. PIQUANT-Highly seasoned, tangy.

192. PLAT DU JOUR-Special dish of the day.

193. POISSON-Fish in French.

194. POTAGE-Soup usually thickened.

195. PUREE-Pulp or paste of vegetables or fruit, also a thick soup.

196. QUENELLES-Very light dumplings, which are made out of fish, chicken, or meat, poached and used as a garnish.

197. RAGOUT-Thick savoury stew.

198. RAMEKINS-Food baked in shallow baking china dishes. Individual small baking dishes.

199. RASPINGS-Fine breadcrumbs.

200. RECHAUFFE-A re-heated dish.

201. Reduce-To concentrate a liquid by boiling, usually without a lid.

202. REISH-A highly seasoned food item used as an accompaniment.

203. ROYAL-Used as a garnish for soups, cubes of a savoury custard. Also the name of a kind of icing.

204. SABOYON-A griller with heat from above open front so that the dishes could be placed on shelf for gratinating.

205. SALAMI-Sausage of pork, beef, highly seasoned.

206. SEARING-Browning surface by intense heat, usually meat. To form a protective coating of coagulated proteins to retain the juices of the meat.

207. SCORE-To cut slits in the fat piece of pork before roasting.

208. SKEWER-A metal or wooden pin to hold meat or poultry pieces while cooking, e.g. seekh kabab, shami kababs.

209. SOUSE-Herrings, etc. pickled in vinegar and spices.

210. SOUFFLE-Light puffed baked custard.

211. SPIT-Pointed metal rod to hold meat or poultry for roasting.

212. SUPREME-A fillet of a deboned fish or breast of a chicken. It is the tender portion of the bird.

213. TABLE D’HOTE-Fixed price meal. A meal of definite number of courses.

214. TERRINE-Forcemeat stuffing moulded cooked and served cold.

215. TIMBALE-A cup shaped mould usually made from meat, fish or vegetables added to a custard mixture and finely decorated.

216. TRIPE-The white fatty inner lining of the stomach, chiefly ox which has large amount of connective tissue which gelatinizes on boiling and so it is easily digestible.

217. TRONCON-A slice of flat fish with the bone.

218. VOL AU VENT-Puff pastry case.

219. WOK-A concave pan used for stir frying.

220. WHIPPING-Rapid beating to increase the volume of mixing air.

221. ZEST-The rind of orange or lemon grated and used for flavouring.


Report: 8 Days in the Cote d’Or (w/ lunches in Ronchamp & Lyon) in January.

After several snowy visits that severely limited our explorations we were given surprisingly warm and clear days, which made our getting about all that more pleasant. All prices are for 2 people, with wine and usually cafes.

BEAUNE, place Carnot GRAND CAFÉ DE LYON. Hmmm. Grand might be overstating it, but we weren’t quite as speedy on the A6 as we thought we would be and we arrive in Beaune close to the end of traditional country-side lunchtime. (1:15-1:30…) We were chased out of one place that ironically had a sign out front that boasted “Service Nonstop” so we trotted across the Place to a place we’ve often ducked into in the early morn for a café and tartine. Vinyl banquettes, florescent lights, coffees and beers dispensed in equal numbers at the bar. Had the plat de jour, which was Poulet au Pot with salad on the side. I think I’d stick to breakfast. Though it was inexpensive, better to have waited 30 minutes til Alain Hess opened back up after the lunch break and picnicked in the car…32,60€, pichet de Pinot Noir, 13€

BEAUNE, LA CIBOULETTE This is likely our third or fourth time here, and we always enjoy it. Always reserve and it is always full, often, as is the case in these parts, with some men dinning solo (wine merchants on the road?). Started with a salad that had a warm liver mousse on top that was quite good, and Bman had Œufs en Meurette. We both had Filet de Bœuf en sauce Epoisses and washed it all down with a lovely Faively Mercurey, La Framboisière which indeed had nice raspberry notes. 99,50€, of which 33€ was for the wine

GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN, CHEZ GUY Also a return visit for us. This time we score the table next to the fireplace, which was quite nice. Nearby a table is laid out for 20 which looks like it might be a post-Christmas company celebration. Amuses were a small glass of delicious veloute de navet (turnip) and a small toast with a quenelle of trout mousse. I started with Œufs Brouiller au Truffe and Bman went for Meurette encore (when in Rome…) My plat was a Quasi de veau et pomme purée and Bman had the house specialty of Joue de Bœuf cuite 12 heures au vin rouge. We sprang for a Gevrey-Chambertin, 1er Cru “Les Champeaux” from Olivier Guyot. 160€, the wine was 88€ (never drink wine this expensive at home, but so easy to do in the environs of the vines…)

POMMARD, LE POMMARD. Spent the early part of the day exploring the Cote de Beaune and found ourselves (once again!) close to the end of lunch time (how can we be such novices at this point… but we kept finding one more interesting narrow road to drive up into the vine-covered hills and the sky was so clear…). To our good fortune, when we inquire at this spot they agree to feed us if we have the menu du jour, which was a copious Salade Landaise, Faux Filet in a wine sauce, and a platter (each) of desserts including sorbet, tuiles, chocolate moelleux and (ha!) fruit… At this pace we may need to start walking up some of those hills… 99€ with a demi of (natch !) Pommard 29€.

RONCHAMP, Le RHEIN (Hotel-Restaurant CARRER) it has been a dream since art history class in college, decades ago, to one day visit Ronchamp and see Le Corbusier’s masterpiece. There is not much to recommend around these parts but we follow signs to this place just outside of town which claims to have a few stars for its hotel and that sets it above the other places we spot in town. Started with some nibbles of cheese and Rosette de Lyon on a toothpick, and then had a veloute de potiron with some chestnuts thrown in, and the Escalope pane, followed by some forgettable dessert. Was inexpensive, reasonably crowded for lunch and not an English voice to heard, for sure… 40€ including a pichet Cote du Rhône 8€.

NUITS SAINT-GEORGES, LA COTE D’OR. This being January, our favorite spot in town, La Cabotte is closed so we opt for this spot right on the Route des Grand Cru in the centre of town. There a reasonable number of cars parked out front and plenty of folks going in so we take that as a potentially good sign. In our experiuece this usually means at least decent grub at a good price, if not revelatory. Bman started with mysterious and slightly indiscernible salad of potatoes, corn, haricots vert and brochet. I had Œuf mollet en sauce époisses, which was pretty good. Plats were a very average Bœuf Bourguignon with, um… frites (it was that or rice…) and Bman had pork chops with ratatouille and spaghetti…. (?). We shared un upside-down pineapple/banana cake. 48,50€ including a pichet of the house red.

BEAUNE, LE COMPTOIR DES TONTONS. Had read about this place in Le Fooding and decided to try it. We both started with the Terrine de Pain Perdu au verts de blette, et vieux parmesan Reggiano, Lomo Iberico puro de Belotta. My plat was Bœuf de la ferme Guerin cuit longuement en sauce vin rouge, et olives Taggiaches avec Ecrasé de Désirée. I followed with a nice cheese plate with Bleu d'Auvergne, Epoisses, Brillat-Savarin avec les truffes et chèvres. Bman had a plat of Colin de petit bateau de nos cotes Bretagne grille avec purée de radis longs. This was washed down with a delicious Ladoix Prieure Roch (59€) Others on CH speak of lesser experiences and a chilly welcome but we were treated well (perhaps because it was January and we nearly had the place to ourselves…) and the food was actually memorable. 138€

LYON, RESTO HALLE, in Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse. Giddy with the good weather and our ability to zip about we decided to nip down to Lyon for lunch and a visit to Les Halles to score some Mere Richard Saint Marcellin. If we were closer to the beginning of our trip I would have loaded up on all the fine items to be found here, but we limited ourselves to the Mere and some Lomo from Belotta Belotta which made an excellent apero the next day. We decided to déjeune in the Halles and after a stroll around to review the numerous attractive options we snagged the last little table at Resto Halle. Bouchon touches here and there, and a very busy bar with seeming business men having a quick drink before or instead of lunch. Started with salad Lyonnaise which was enormous (we shared) and good. I had Quenelles de Brochet en sauce Nantua which was served with rice on the side and Bman had Rabelais de Lapin accompanied by a macaroni gratin. I loved my Brochet. Washed down with a bottle of St Joseph, Revol, 26€. 64,60€.

BEAUNE, LE GORET. Behind the Basilique Notre Dame. This is the number one restaurant recommendation on Trip Advisor which both fascinated and horrified, but with so many favorite spots closed for conge annual we decided to give it a try. Once we were seated in the timbered dining room the chef explained that there are no starts as the meals are so copious. I remember wondering why the bread basket was so skimpy, usually a pet peeve of mine. Now I know why: copious was an understatement. Selections are on small, pig-shaped ardoise lining one wall. We both had what was called la Trilogie, which was ½ a Morteau, ½ a saucisson, and a paleron de Veau. The saucisson was grilled on the plancha with a bit of truffle dust on it. The whole feast was brought out on a cutting board which also had salad, roasted and sautéed potato halves, and a small compote of peas. The veau melted in your mouth, and the sausages were delicious. Somehow, we both cleared our boards. I don’t think we ate for the next 24 hours… 60,40€ with pichet of the house rouge 8€.

FLEUREY-SUR-OUCHE, P’TIT REPARE DE GOUT. Sometimes we are punished and other times rewarded: we like to amble, drive down roads we’ve never been before, follow our noses, and seek out long views. We were meandering around Châteauneuf-en-Auxois and its environs taking in the hilltop views and the warm temperatures. Noon creeps up quickly in these meanderings, and 12:30 and 12:45 even quicker. I start studying the google map on phone to try and guess the size of nearby towns to hope one will have a spot we can stop for lunch. Driving down the D104 we find ourselves crossing over the Canal de Bourgogne and spot a line of cars outside a restaurant along the canal. We quickly park as we see others doing the same, and are relieved when they agree to seat us without a reservation at the one remaining table. The interior is stone, brightly lit, with modern touches and large windows overlooking the canal where a number of ducks and geese are swimming about. Without studying the menu too closely we opt for the menu du jour, which started with a puff pastry of leek and emmentaler with a small salad on the side. The plats were Bœuf Bourguignon (again, pretty average) and what looked and tasted like Rice-A-Roni (soy sauce? Something that tinted white rice brown and made it quite salty…) Dessert was a Spéculoos parfait that was better than I thought it would be. We shared a bottle of Haut Cote de Nuit, Andre Goichot (25€) and were the last ones out at the end of service. Don’t think I’d make a special trip, but clearly the pickings were thin and the place quite lively for a mid-week lunch in January. 56,60€.

BEAUNE, LE BACCHUS, rue du Fauberg Madeline. Can’t remember where we had read about this place, CH, or elsewhere but it seemed to have good reviews and we were game. This is a small husband-and-wife place and there was a large group taking up half the restaurant for some celebration, the third time this week we encountered this. And again it sort of seemed like a bunch of co-workers. Is there some January tradition we were observing?? I started with a Puff pastry with escargots and followed with Sourie d’Agneau. Bman had a Dos de Cabillaud. The cheese plate had époisses, a cheese washed in Pommard and coated with mustard seeds, and a Brillât Savarin. We liked everything we had, and enjoyed a nice Fixin Vielle Vignes from Humbert Freres. Lost the recipt but I think the total was around 80€ with the wine.


Watch the video: Recette Salade Lyonnaise (January 2022).