Dear blog readers, especially my dearest Amy, I’m so sorry it’s taken so long for this France post. As usual, life has been crazy…but I think I almost needed to take some time to process my trip before I posted about it. I left my heart in France, and I feel like something’s missing back here in Calgary.
Okay, but all negativity aside, I really did fall head over heels for la belle France. I had been there once before, in 2007, but only to Paris for 4 days. This time, I headed back to meet some friends in Paris and then travel around to Lyon, Grenoble, Annecy, and Quimper (on the exact other side of the country). Of course, the food was fantastic.
The one place that I had to go in Paris was Pierre Herme. I’ve been idolizing his work for years, and when we were in Paris last time, it was closed for summer holidays (as most Parisian shops tend to do). We made it there this time and I spent a pretty penny on macarons, chocolates, a cookbook, and chocolat chaud mix.
The salesgirl was so very kind, and she snuck in an extra macaron for me, a cassis/blackcurrant one. The cassis and the Mogador (chocolate and passionfruit) were by far my favourites. Surprisingly, there was one macarons that I completely detested, which was the “Eglantine, figue, and ….”. It tasted kind of tomato-y and not unlike alphagetti in macaron form. Everything else was lovely.
His chocolates were, of course, tempered perfectly, and had a wonderful snap to them. I haven’t tried the hot chocolate mix yet, but it’s also the same chocolate and passionfruit combination, so I’m saving some for the perfect occasion. I also want to attempt something simple from my new cookbook, though I have to do a lot of translation first.
After Paris, we went to Grenoble, which is a smaller city in the French Alps. They share similar cuisine to the Swiss foods that I am aware of, like raclette and fondue. I was introduced there to a dish called tartiflette, which was lardons, potatoes, white wine and roblochon cheese. YUM.
When we were in Lyon, we went to a museum that detailed the history of Lyon’s reputation for being the Gastronomic capital of the world. They talked about the development of the MOF title, and how some of the best chefs in the world are from Lyon. I tried to understand what I could but my French isn’t nearly as great as I would like it to be. Anyway, with this being a budget trip, we didn’t really get a chance to try out any big name Michelin restaurants, of course. Still, the lemon and honey waffles were fantastic. I may not go back to maple syrup (sacrilege, I know). After Lyon, we took a day trip to Annecy, just to say we’d been there and to see the beautiful lake.
The food that I had in Bretagne was the best. Bretagne is known for being the only place in France to used salted butter, and it is gooooooooooooooood. With that butter, they make the best caramels, crepes, and of course, kouign amann (koo-EEN ah-MAHN). It’s basically a pastry with just enough flour to hold the butter together. I bought a recipe book from Bretagne, and the recipe for making kouign amann sounds so interesting. From what I can piece together, it’s a lot of folding butter into the pastry, letting it rest, folding it again, and then…passing it under cold water before sprinkling icing sugar on top. I consulted my lovely Breton friend about that last part and he was pretty certain that’s what the recipe said, so…I guess I’ll have to jump right in a try it someday.
I’m mad that I didn’t take more food photos – what was I thinking? I apologize. I promise to do better next time. Because trust me, there will be a next time…and soon.