I am going to try really hard not to bore you with too many details of our recent holidays – but will instead let the photos speak for themselves. Here, in true lawyer-style, numbered list form, are my Top 10 food highlights of Paris:
1. Sunset Picnic under the Eiffel Tower. Fantastic French food and even more Fantastic French company.
On our first evening in Paris, our newly wedded friends – The French Dentist and The Australian in Paris – organised a wonderful sunset picnic under the Eiffel Tower for us.
In true French style, the picnic spread included lots and lots of bread and wine, charcuterie (cured meats), foie gras and lots of patisserie treats.
2. Bread with every meal, including an alarming number of croissants and eclairs.
Even after nearly a month in France I am no closer to understanding the secret of how they eat so much bread, yet stay so slevete (although, I suspect it may have something to do with the cigarettes and espressos so many French people favour as a ‘snacks’).
Sadly, while The Brooding Architect and I relished the carbohydrate heavy French diet, we did not have those French genes to keep those extra bread kilos at bay. However, I suspect that eating an eclair per day may not have helped the situation?
3. Ridiculously cheap “premium fruit”.
As longtime readers will know, The Brooding Architect refuses to eat anything but “premium fruit”. Accordingly, we spent many mornings wandering around the Bastille Marché (market), feasting on ridiculously cheap ($3 AUD) punnets of “premium fruits” – raspberries, strawberries and figs.
4. A long boozy lunch and farewell dinner at La Cantine Du Troquet.
Thanks to Guillame’s tips on French Food Safari, The Brooding Architect and I were lucky enough to eat twice and drink far too many carafes of Corsican Rose at Cantine Du Troquet, a charming, no-bookings neighbourhood bistro.
La Cantine Du Troquet is run by Christian Etchebest, a chef of Michelin Star restaurant pedigree. The food is classic French bistro fare, with a focus on fresh, local produce. Mains are a very affordable 17 Euros, entrees and desserts are under 10 Euro and the sensational wine list includes many, very drinkable local drops which come by the carafe – 9 Euros for the 1/2 litre and 18 Euros for the full litre.
My highlights were the razor clams (couteaux), pigs ear salad (oreilles cochon), classic steak and frites and caramelised plums, served with a slice of light and fluffy madeira cake.
We also had – by far – the best coffee we managed to find in France on our whole trip. Paris may be the food capital of the world, but Melbourne definitely holds the title for coffee capital of the world.
5. Market Meats. Terrine, pate, charcuterie, rotisserie suckling pig on the spit.
I loved the boucheries (butcher shops) at the markets, which sold absolutely every kind of meat you could think of (including a rotisserie suckling pig). I could have spent hours watching cuts of meat being butchered to order for the ‘Real Housewives of Paris’.
6. Macarons at the Laduree Tea Salaon.
I forced The Brooding Architect to accompany me to the very lady-like Laduree Tea Salon, to eat some outrageously expensive macarons (only to concur that the La Belle Miette macarons are better).
7. Berthillon Ice Cream
The Brooding Architect and I arrived in Paris in the middle of a heatwave – 30 degrees and a non-aironditioned room are not a good combination! The only thing that kept me walking through the humid and sweltering streets of Paris on that first day was the prospect of a Berthellon Ice Cream straight from the original shop on the island (which I, in my heat stroke induced delirium, dubbed ‘Ice Cream Island’) .
The salted caramel and strawberry flavours did not disappoint!
8.Unpasteurised (raw) cheese. Available everywhere.
The French do cheese best. The end.
9. Le Grande Epicerie – the ultimate department store food hall.
Le Grande Epicerie is what the David Jones Food Hall wants to be when it grows up.
Le Grand Epicerie is the food hall of the Le Bon Marche department store, located on the Left Bank. Le Grand Epicere spans the entire ground floor and stocks everything and anything, from fresh seafood to Chinese dumplings to wild strawberries. I seriously think I spent about 2 hours in here marveling at all the wonderful food I had no chance of getting past Australian Customs.
Inside the food hall there is also a small seating area called Le Comptoir Picnic, where you can sit and enjoy a light lunch. I had a fresh cooked tuna steak and salad for 10 Euros, followed by creme brulee for 4 Euros.
10. 2.30am Wedding Crepes.
’Big Fat French Weddings’ are amazing parties. The nuptials of The French Dentist and The Australian in Paris were no exception. The celebrations started at 10.00am on Saturday and did not finish until 4.00am on Sunday. Then we had to back it up with brunch the next morning at 11.30am. Fortunately, The French Dentist and The Australian in Paris had the foresight to organise a crepe bar at 2.30am – to help everyone cope with a long day and night of champagne and dancing. Sheer brilliance.
(*Disclaimer: The crepes in the photos above are not technically from the night of the wedding, as by this stage of the festivities neither The Brooding Architect or I were in any fit state to operate a camera).