Monday, March 16, 2015

Adventures with French Food, a Picture Book

Tadpole's yoghurt. In glass jars. I very nearly smuggled the empty jars back to Australia!

One of the best things about France is the food. Obviously. It can also be one of the worst, funniest, weird and amazing things about France.

Let me show you just a few things I encountered on our recent trip to our other "home".

First, we arrived just in time for Xmas which is celebrated on Xmas eve, with lots of food and wine, until midnight when you open your gifts.
Among other things, we had:

Oysters, almost the size of my hand.

Snail like creatures from the ocean...

Yep, I had one. Not bad really.
And then, after numerous other canapes...

The cheese platter, made fancy with figs and walnuts
And lastly,
Dessert, why just have one choice?
My mother in law decided that New Years should be a simpler affair,so she headed to Picard, a store that sells pre-prepared, frozen food, but not as we know it.

A few canapes to start...

All ready made, from the store.

And then just for me, because I once had them at my local bar and thought they weren't bad, they gave me these...

Snails, in all their garlic butter glory, from the freezer to the oven.
For your viewing pleasure. You're welcome.
 We had a few other pre -made and quite lovely canapes, then pulled out dessert, also from Picard.

Eclair anyone...?
Oh, and these...
Because one is not enough.

After New Years, we headed to Marseille, stopping on the way in Lyon, the Food Capital of the food capital. We arrived late but in need of dinner, so my in laws went out for a walk to the local Carrefour (the biggest supermarket I've ever seen) to bring back a microwave meal or some thing.
We expected a microwave meal each, and prayed for wine.

We got this:
A moveable feast.
They came back to the tiny hotel room with bread, saucisson (which my father in law had to hack at with the cheap hotel knives), crackers (for Mr Frog, trying not to eat too much bread) sliced meats, numerous fresh/frozen meals (some of the best I've ever tasted), cheese and a demi bottle of wine.

 This turned out to be one of my favourite meals.

A half bottle of wine, just enough for the pisshead Aussies, and lovely.

Miniature cheese - a single serve on the left, and the tube on the right held about five of the little cheeses in front. And they were YUM!
We only had time for one good meal in Lyon, and we weren't dissapointed.
Entree... "French" onion soup and some fabulous salad I can't remember. The lovely staff got sme fries for Tadpole from the restaurant across the lane.
We stayed in a lovely apartement in Marseille, not far from anything, close to the beach and a short car ride to my brother and sister in laws place.

While peaking through the cupboards, I found this:

250ml of dry white wine, especially for cooking, in a tetra pack. GENIUS!
We happened to be in France in time for Epiphany, also known as Galette Season. A frangipane tart that is traditonally baked with a porcelain favour inside. Whoever finds it in their slice is crowned (literally with a paper crown) the king or queen. De-lish, and fun.

Galette in Marseille. My mother in law was queen, this time.
 My brother and sister in laws treated us to an amazing meal at their place.
Fresh Foie Gras, forget how it's made, it was divine, and so was the very sweet wine that went with it. (Very similar to Noble One)

Homemade lasagne, done the right way, cooked for hours and served with good bread and salad.
Dessert. My brother in law made me a little one, knowing I'm not big on dessert.
 And then with tea or coffee after dinner, these little bikkies, very similar to biscotti.

I ate A LOT of these.
Yep, we were spoiled!

We somehow managed a night out on our own. Mr frog and his Clochette out for dinner. Crazy. I'd had my heart set on having a Bouillabaisse in Marseille, but it turns out that not only are they expensive (50 euros), they're massive.
I, am not. So, I had fish soup instead, and not only was it delicious, but it came out like this:
Make your own soup, adding all the ingredints to taste.

Our next stop was the mountains. Merlette to be exact. Unforunately I didn't get any decent pictures of the beautiful Fondue,or the adorable restaurant we had it in, but I did get a shot of this:

Me and Tadpole enjoying a Vin Chaud (mulled wine) and a rusk on top of the mountain.

Now let's talk about tea. Actually, let's start with the coffee in France. It's bad. Really bad. I don't know how they can stuff it up so badly being so close to Italy, but there you go. So, I drank alot of tea instead.No probs there... unless you ask for milk, which sometimes results in this:
In lieu of tiny UHT milk containers, they gave me hot milk to put my tea bag in. Seriously.
Also, some people like to drink their tea or coffee in a bowl, of which their were many in our mountain chalet.

Giving it a go, French Style.
On our last night in the mountains, the rest of the family went out for fondue, and we stayed in. With Tadpole in bed,I made us this very basic meal. Potatoes and frankfurts. Mr Frog would never eat frankfurts here, but in France he makes an exception. And those little potato cubes are straight from the freezer, and something Mr Frog misses. Weirdo.
You can even buy pre diced potatoes.

One last thing from our mountain adventures...

A little something to warm you up...

Oh, and this.

My first snow man.
On the way back to Paris, I needed a little snack. Mr Frog got me these. They were good.
I really just love the packet!
When we got back to Paris, the grandparents went off to a party for a couple of nights, so we invited our friends over for dinner. The meal was a disaster. (Don't try cooking a casserole you usually make in the oven on the stove,in a kitchen that's not yours, with meat of poor quality). However, the company and the drinks were not.
A bottle of Champagne, complete with fancy seal.
Cosmopolitans made is an empty "Pollen" jar. Yes, Pollen.
The following day, after a slight miscommunication and an act of love at the last minute, we had lunch with the same friends. These are the place settings.
This is what I dream of in my own home... the perfect place setting.

I mean seriously, can you even believe it?
Meanwhile, our friends entire house looks like Versailles. Incredibly beautiful. And lunch was to die for. On our last visit they tried to kill me with lunch. This time I was prepared. Lunch on a weekend or special occasion in France is a LONG affair. Entree, main, salad, cheese, dessert, and then a little something with coffee or digestif.

This was just one of the little cakes we could choose.
The amazing thing? It wasn't sickly sweet. Wonderful.
On our last night in Paris, we went into the city for dinner, to a place in the Marais, called JaJa. They only use seasonal produce and the menu was small and divine. This is the entree we had to have.
Foie Gras with roasted macadamias and grapefruit foam.
Mr Frog and I both had rabbit for our main, but had to swap plates early on, due to the fact that Mr Frog couldn't get the meat off his portion of rabbit, whereas I had the breast. (Just proves the philosophy of the restaurant... they use the entire rabbit.) The wine warranted a photo of it's own. Mr Frog adored it!

Another please!

 And so, this concludes your visual food journey. If you got this far, thanks for sticking around!

Bon appetit!



rebecca @ olderandwisor said...

It really is a shame that you left me here in the states. I don't drink alcohol, coffee or tea, but I *do* have an ever so passionate love affair with dessert. Symbiosis at it's finest! My husband visited Paris with his slut girlfriend and her family (don't know where that came from...I'm sure she was lovely) when he was in high school, and TO THIS DAY talks about the chocolate croissants. More photos!!

samantha pereira said...

The croissants, chocolate or otherwise, ARE fabulous...*sigh*. Mr Frog rolled his eyes at me every time I took a weird photo and said "it's for my blog". I ignore him. We did however take a million photos of the tadpole, and after the 50th she stops being cute to anyone but us :)

Kim Jasper said...

Wow - so cool Mme C ;)
I LOVE those place settings. I am a big fan of the fancy settings but also of ones you can resuse (not sure how many themes would have "feathers" but it is still be-yooo-ti-ful).
The wine in a prima pack is very sensible; much better than the 2L cask in the fridge - though I don't think we'd get them in Australia ("It encourages the kids to drink!!!!")
And tea in a bowl - hmmmm. Does that mean you grab a glass a la a punch bowl? Does it stay warm? Or do you just stick in a straw as you go past?

Great photos - thanks for sharing

samantha pereira said...

The theme at my friends place is always the same, " Versailles at Home", which I never tire of :) As for the tea, I don't remember if it stayed warm... but I'm guessing not!