Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Last Look: Food in France

If every day was a 31-hour day like yesterday, I'd sure get a lot more done. You've got to love leaving Paris at 12:15 p.m. and arriving in Chicago after a nine-hour flight, only to have it still be 2:15 p.m. the same day. That's because our group of 20 Wisconsin Cheese Originals members flew home from spending 10 days in France where we toured dairy farms, cheese factories, aging caves and cheese shops in Paris, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Roqeufort, Dijon and Beaune.

But France isn't all about cheese. It's about food, too. So here's one last look back at some of the foods we enjoyed while across the pond.

Butter: for sale in every specialty cheese shop just like this one. My favorite was the Beurre de Baratte, an AOC cow's milk butter.

Eggs: delivered daily to specialty shops, eggs sit out in the open, unrefrigerated, where daily shoppers pick up what they need to cook for the next day or two.

Coffee: usually offered with warm milk and served with a cube of sugar. Hello, cafe au lait.

Pastries: looking back at all the photos my hubby took on this trip, it's hard to find an intact pastry. That's because I had usually eaten most of it before he could get a shot. One of my favorites: the Napolean. The French refer to it as  mille-feuilles, or thousand leaves. The perfect combination of snowy whipped cream, eggy custard and crisp puff pastry.

Ice Cream: the French eat a lot of La Glace: an Italian-style gelato, that history says was introduced in France by Catherine de Medici in the late 16th century, when she married into the French royal family.

Snails: offered as a first course in nearly every nice French restaurant, I found they were best when drowned in garlic and butter. If you can get past the fact that you're chewing a snail, they're actually pretty tasty little buggers.

Crepes: offered savory or sweet, crepes are served everywhere, but nobody does them like restaurants in Paris. This one boasted the traditional combo of nutella, bananas and whipped cream. Who needs dessert when you can order this as your entree?

Seafood: the open air seafood markets in Paris are amazing. Most sell every kind of seafood imaginable, on ice.

Pork: the French like their meats roasted. This little piggy never made it home.

Chicken: roasted and offered at open air farmers markets in every city in France.

My first Boeuf Bourguigon was the third course in an amazing regional dinner at Au Clos Napoleon in the tiny village of Fixin, France. Eaten after scooping the beef, juice and onions and pouring over freshly made pasta. Heaven.

Quite possibly the best plate of food I've ever had: Toasted bread with poppy seeds and poached eggs in sauce made with Epoisses. The first course at Au Clos Napoleon in Fixin, France.

Mustard: the guys on the trip loved the mustard shops in Dijon, where mustard magically flows from spigots.

The wine: thousands of wines to choose from, they all start with a grape. Harvest was nearly completed by the time we arrived, but we gladly enjoyed the fruits of their harvest.

And finally, the cheese: you've read many a post on the cheeses of France, but here's a last look at one of my favorites: Epoisses.

Dining outside: the weather was amazing while we were in France: 10 days of sunshine with temperatures in the 70s and 80s. This is our group enjoying our favorite appertif: Kir, in the vineyards of the Burgundy region.

Parting shot: my family joined me on this tour. Thank you to Uriah for all the amazing photos and to Avery for all of her help. On to Italy in 2013!

3 comments:

Laura Fritz said...

The photos look great! I'm so glad I was able to join you in Paris :)
Miss and love you guys
<3

B&B Brugge said...

Awesome Posting for Food. delicious look and yummy food. great your idea i like it

Amanda said...

I WANT TO GO TO FRANCE RIGHT NOW! On my first trip to Europe (as an adult anyway) I was most excited for food in Italy but I was pleasantly surprised to find I was a bigger fan of the food in France. I think it's the coissants that gave them the advantage over Italy :).