September 03, 2012

France Oh La La!

I'm baaaack!  From France!  As a Missus!

It's been forever since I last posted anything, but now that the wedding is over, the honeymoon is over, and it's time to get back into the regular swing of things, I hope to make it much more regular.

For now let me tell you about our trip.

We loved France!  And not just because of all the delicious foods that we got to eat, but the fact that the different regions that we went to were so unique.  Because Canada is so large, it's hard to experience this here without going really far west or really far east.  Going from Toronto to Ottawa doesn't really change the general atmosphere or food scene too much.  But in France, going from Paris to Lyon completely changed everything!

Paris was bustling and big, with tourists everywhere, almost everyone spoke English, and food was pretty much what you would expect classic French to be (not that you can't find restaurants of every sort in Paris somewhere).  Lyon was much smaller, felt very quaint, not many people spoke English to us and were perfectly happy enduring our less than perfect French.  And the food was much more region specific.  Nice was very touristy but a lot of the tourists were French (probably from Paris) and the food was distinctly more Italian and seafood oriented. 

Of course we ate everything.  From left to right, top to bottom: Langoustine ravioli from L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Paris. Tarte Tatin from Ladurée, Paris. Potatoes stuffed with pig's feet from Les Cocottes de Constant, Paris.  Macarons from Pierre Hermé, Paris.  Quenelle de brochet in langoustine sauce from Le St. Vincent, Lyon.  Foie gras with raspberry and lemon verbena from Le Chantecler, Nice.  Lamb with gnocchi, green beans, and black truffle from Keisuke Matsushima, Nice.  Tourte au blette from Chez René, Nice.  Kouign amman from Ladurée, Paris. 

Though I think my very favorite thing was pastries.  The French stereotype where everyone walks around with baguettes is actually pretty true.  Especially if you are near a bakery, its not uncommon to see someone with 3, 4, 5 baguettes under their arm.

 But I personally fell in love with madeleines.  These tiny sweet pastries with a fairly moist, dense crumb, and (the fresh ones at least) chewy crispy edge stole my heart.  (And now I realize I took NO pictures of them) And since I bought a cookbook from the famous Ladurée bakery, look for many posts of my trials in french pastries, including *gasp* puff pastry and croissants!

  A bientot!

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