Saturday, 13 November 2010


I have lots of food that I cooked before I went to Paris still to write about, but I thought that I would write about my trip whilst it was still relatively fresh in my mind. I went with my Mum to Paris for three days last week, we did a Gastronomic Tour with a tour guide. On the first evening we did a three hour walking tour through the area in and around Les Halles, learning about the market, cafes and restaurants and the history behind the site. We then walked to a lovely fish restaurant close to the Bastille for dinner. I had John Dory and got a whole fish really simply cooked with rosemary and my Mum had Sole Meuniere with three fillets of Sole on her plate, it was absolutely divine.

The second day included the highlight of the trip, a three course meal with every meal in a different restaurant and each course being chosen by the chef at the restaurant. We started at 11.30am and had a brief walking tour onto I'le St-Louis, looking at the Hotel Particuliers that still survive on the island. This led us to our first restaurant Le Fin Gourmet, where we were treated to a glass of white wine and Salmon Rillettes with Rocket and a Balsamic Dressing. This was absolutely delicious.

We then walked to I'le de la Cite, past Notre Dame and through the beautiful flower market, learning more of the history of the area to the restaurant where we had our main course. I can't remember the name of the restaurant, save that it was in what used to be the cloisters of the old Abbey. There we had roast chicken with a mushroom sauce, braised celery, half a grilled tomato and some mashed potato with a glass of Cotes du Rhone. We were not very impressed by the main course, the chicken had a huge bone in it, so not much meat and all in all it just wasn't very inspiring. Also when I asked for an extra glass for water I was told we could only have one glass each. Very bizarre.

Our final walk took us over the Pont Neuf to Rue Dauphine on the left bank, not far from where we usually stay in Paris, and to our final restaurant for dessert. This again was very disappointing, of all the magnificent typical french desserts we could have had, profiteroles is not what I would have chosen. They were fine, but will always remind me of school dinners.

In the evening we only wanted something light for dinner so we took ourselves off to a cafe near the hotel and had salads. I had my favourite, goats cheese salad.

My Mum had Caesar Salad, which was so huge that she couldn't finish it but I did and it was absolutely delicious. One of the things I love about Paris is the cafe culture, that you can get fantastic food relatively cheaply in a really relaxed environment.

On the morning of the third day we went on a walking tour with tastings in and around Boulevard St Germain. The first tasting we had was Macarons from La Duree. I had rose and ginger and my mum had salted butter caramel. They were both sublime, much better than any macarons I'd had before. We then moved on to Rue Jacob and J. Leblanc oils. We tried three different oils, pistachio, hazelnut and the nut from the inside of the kernel of the plum! The last was very bitter. Here is our tour guide talking about the oils with the samples in a basket around her neck.

We went back on our way to the hotel and I bought some of the hazelnut oil, some tarragon vinegar and some raspberry vinegar so I can make some lovely vinaigrette at home. Our next tasting was choquettes and a mini almond cake from the carton bakery in Rue de Buci. We then walked back to Rue Dauphine close to where we had dessert the day before and tasted saucisson and ham from Coeson. Our final tasting was glass of red wine from one of the wine sellers in Marche St Germain. The wine a little strange on its own but would have been really good with food.

We then left the group and went to the supermarket to buy cheese and other bits and pieces and then to the fromagerie to buy yet more cheese! My fridge currently smells delicious and I need to say a big thanks to my Mum for suggesting the trip, I had a really lovely time.

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