Foodie journies continue in Paris! The must go place for gourmands and choco-philes. I will go through different categories of what I ate on my journey. I believe I gained weight on my trip as my pants were beginning to feel a little tight at the end; however I got very sick when I returned to HK and actually lost more weight than I gained. Oh well! As most good journies, we start with dessert!
Mousse au chocolat was my favorite thing I discovered in Paris. I had it before I went to France but believe me, having it in Paris is a whole other experience. I have never had anything so good, rich or addictive before. I ate it everyday. Sometimes for lunch and sometimes for dinner. Once I had mousse for dinner. Mousse runs for anywhere from 5-8E for a serving with a coffee at most cafes. You can get good mousse from the grocery store for 2E and it has 5/6 servings in it. I prefer the dark mousse but most grocery store packs have a milk chocolate mousse as well available for sale.
|Mousse au Chocolat, I ate it every day in Paris!|
Tartin can mean two things in France. It can similar to a quiche or pie. Pomme due Tartin for instance is apple pie; or it can be an open faced sandwhich. They come in many different varieties. The one pictured is a Tartin de Mer. Or Tartin of the Sea. It had Salmon, cheese and cream fresh on it. Cream Fresh is similar to sour cream but not as soul. It also had a sprinkling of fresh dill on the smoked fish which made it really tasty. One of the healthier things I ate in france was Tartin.
|Saumon au Tartin, An open faced sandwich similar to a croque|
A staple of French cuisine. Small piece of steak, crispy frites, sometimes some tomatoe and a sauce bernaise. Delish! I had steak frites 3 times in France and it was very good. Bernaise sauce was invented in swiss but made one of the 5 mother sauces of French cooking. It is different from a hollandaise in that hollandaise is lemon based and bernaise uses no lemon and is based in shallot and terragon instead. You can make bernaise with or without red wine. Pictured is a red wine bernaise. I would order extra sauce bernaise instead of ketchup to endear myself to the waiters!
|Steak frites au bernaise sauce|
French coffee is strong and tiny. It is powerful and can wake you up or knock you on your ass if you are not used to expresso based strength in your coffee. In france you will also be charged extra for cream. Sorry. In Belgium I got it for free and therefore was in love with Belgium. In France to order with milk you must say, "Cafe du Creme" and get charged an extra Euro. I felt like my wallet was being raped but it made the coffee last longer and made it a better experience. Pony up the extra Euro!
With a cafe in France you can order one cup of coffee and stay as long as you like. You will not be hassled to pay your bill or told to share your table. Which is nice, it made planning the rest of my days easy because I could sit at a cafe for an hour; enjoy the sites of Paris and look at my maps without getting the evil eye from some waiter. China needs to learn something from the Frenchies! Don't get conned like I did into giving extra tips, it is included in your bill.
|French style coffee, very strong...|
French Bread is the best in the world. I cannot explain why. It must be the high butter content or something. I ate croissants in one way or another every day I was in France. There are two kinds of croissants. A traditional made with lots of butter or a pain au chocolat which is a normal croissant dough filled with chocolat. Both yummy and addictive. I found myself pining for pain au chocolat when I came back to HK. You can spend a lot on your bread by going to expensive bake shops or you can spend less. Paul Maison is a chain bakery that does good croissants you can buy for your breakfast on the go, most hostels in France include breakfast (and croissants). The Le Regent Montmarte at 20E a night gave an unlimited breakfast included croissants! And believe me we backpackers took advantage!!!
|Croissants, a breakfast staple!|
|Pain au chocolat, very yummy though addictive!|
France has no problem eating "non PC" foods. I ate veal at the wedding and frois gras. Also on menus in France I saw Cheval listed which is horse meat. Prepare yourself for these foods and if you're brave open yourself up to them. You'll probably only eat them once but you'll see what all the fuss is about.
Frois Gras is traditionally made from the liver of the goose or duck. It can be pressed into a tarrine and served cold or seared and served hot. I prefer the hot but I had both in france. Served with a French baguette, you can't get more french than frois gras.
|Frois Gras, not animal friendly but very delicious...|
Okay, you can get more French. I did eat the dreaded Escargot in France. They tasted like garlic and butter and didn't really have a flavor. I have been told if you ever get a gritty snail to send it back because it has not been cleaned properly. They were chewy: similar to a gummy bear. So I call them the garlic gummy bears of France. You use this interesting clamp to hold them and then a tiny fork to pull them out. The green in the escargot is from the basil oil they add to them during cooking. Sometimes they add pesto to them, but I cannot have this due to my nut allergy.
|Escargots: The garlic gummy bear of France|
We all have heard of Croque Monsieur, which is a heated and grilled cheese and cured ham sandwich. Good and very french but the Croque has developed regionally over the past ten years. I ordered a croque Provencal at a cafe after visiting the Pompidou and found it to be AMAZING! It was a traditional croque, plus an egg, plus tomato, plus a salad, plus herbs to Provence. YUM! A croque madame is simply with egg added to it.
|A croque provencal, very good!|
You can drink the water from the tap in France. However, the restaurants don't like to give it out for free. You must ask for an "eau du Caraffe" if you wish for a bottle of tap water and you might get an ugly look but IT'S FREE! You will pay 4-5 E for a bottle of water at a cafe. I was taking my one bottle from Belgium and refilling it all through Europe. Very rarely did I pay for water unless the restaurant made me!
The results of my trip to France...
NEXT: SIGHTSEEING IN PARIS