Day 7 of the 2nd Annual Culinary Tour in Paris

Medici Fountain at the Luxembourg Gardens

Today’s highlight was a picnic lunch in the Luxembourg Gardens.

We started out this morning exploring the Marché des Enfants Rouges where we picked up some mini quiches, grapes, apricots, walnuts and cherry tomatoes. We found some sliced French ham, Mimolette cheese and bought some walnut Poîlane bread to sample and then made our way over to rue Mouffetard to gather a few more items for our al fresco lunch.

We discovered a lovely bakery and bought some crusty baguettes and apricot/peach tarts. At a cheese shop nearby, with a fantastic selection of goat and cow’s milk cheeses from around the country, we finally settled on a perfectly ripe Saint Marcellin. Some sparking water and a couple of chilled bottles of Champagne were secured as we made our way up the cobblestoned street.

We walked and talked our way past the Pantheon and entered the garden which was packed with people on this sunny Thursday afternoon. We made our way past the octagonal basin and the many statues and benches to the grassy area that was the perfect place to spread out our picnic blanket, pop the corks on our champagne bottles and set out our lunch.

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Sunny and warm but with a lovely breeze. We sat and ate and drank and talked for close to two hours. On our way out of the park we stopped in to view the always beautiful Medici Fountain. I love the calm serenity of this Paris landmark.

Tomorrow morning we will be cooking brunch together before we head off to explore Paris on bicycles in the mid afternoon. I can’t believe we only have three days left!

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Day 6 of the 2nd Annual Paris Culinary Tour

Crispy fishies Fish with roasted tomatoes and eggplant.  Jacques Genin caramels

Today we made our way around the city to visit some the better known chocolate and candy stores in Paris.

We spent a bit of time exploring the amazing food hall at the Galleries Lafayette where we were able to peruse the many confectionary counters offering treats from the best food brands of France. Fauchon, Jean-Paul Hévin, Dalloyau, and one of my personal favourites, Sadaharu Aoki. We checked out the array of demi-sel butters, the beautiful produce and selection of cheese, teas (Mariages Frères, Kusmi, Dammann), Christine Ferber preserves and even got a demonstration from one of the butchers on how to tie the traditional apron with only one strap attached.

From here we made our way down to rue du Faubourg Montmartre to visit the oldest candy shop in Paris. La Mère de Famille was founded in 1761 and still has much of the original shelving and the cashier’s box where we paid for our purchases. Bergamots de Nancy, fruit jellies, mendiants topped with fruit and nuts and caramels all made their way into our shopping bags.

Next stop was lunch at a modern french bistro in the Marais. We enjoyed a prix fixe menu that was fresh, seasonal and delicious. My lunch began with some crispy fishes on top of some greens with a dijon vinaigrette followed by a fillet a white fish with roasted tomatoes, eggplant and pesto. As the weather was warm and our guests were enjoying the cool shade of our table I ran out to nearby Jacques Genin to pick up some of the world famous caramels to sample with our espresso and baked apple dessert.

After lunch we parted ways to explore the Marais and beyond.

Tomorrow we are off to gather ingredients at Le Marché des Enfants Rouge and Rue Mouffetard to enjoy at a picnic at the Luxembourg Gardens. The weather promises to be perfect for our al fresco lunch.

 

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Day 4 and 5 of the 2nd Annual Culinary Tour in Paris

Marché Raspail Pomegranates  At the market
Fish on rue Martyrs Paris Local market
 French Breakfast rasidh photo copy 17 Homemade madeleines and figs with honey
Cheese and figs and honey  Apricots Radish tartines
 Baguette stop Endive salad  Evening stroll

We are officially midway through our tour and today was a free day for our guests to check out museums, wander the cobblestoned streets, window-shop and people-watch while enjoying a drink on one of the many terrasses of Paris.

Here are a few of the visual highlights of the last couple of days.

We have enjoyed perusing the markets and gathering ingredients and cooked a communal dinner last night at the apartment. Duck breasts with orange sauce, gratin dauphinoise and the most tender haricot vert beans. A salad of red endive with Roquefort cheese and a grainy mustard vinaigrette. Dessert was a chocolate tart that we picked up on Rue Lepic served with some fresh strawberries that we macerated in a red wine caramel sauce. Lots of good conversation and laughter was enjoyed around the table.

Tomorrow we are off to explore the sweet side of Paris. The divine caramels at Jacques Genin and a visit to one of the oldest candy stores in Paris, La Mere de la Famille will be followed by a lunch at one of our favourite bistros in the Marais. Stay tuned…

xo J

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Day 3 of the 2nd Annual Culinary Tour of Paris

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We headed out early this morning to the Marché Raspail to explore the market and pick up some fresh ingredients for our afternoon cooking class.

We meandered along the market stalls selecting the best that was on offer. Beautiful heads of lettuce, French breakfast radishes, bunches of tarragon, parsley, and thyme, lemons, leeks, garlic and shallots. Some super ripe figs and chestnut honey to go with them. We couldn’t resist a few bunches of peonies and Lori, one our sweet guests, purchased a couple of bottles of farmer’s market organic rosé wine to enjoy with our lunch.

On our way back to the flat we scored a few “bien-cuit” traditionnel baguettes and a couple of kilos of mussels.

With our guests, we prepared a Sunday lunch, Paris style. We set up our cooking stations and were soon slicing and dicing our way to a delicious lunch.

Today’s menu included radishes with demi-sel butter and baguette served alongside some Bresse Blu cheese, olives and sliced ham.

First course was Alsatian tarts with bacon, Comté, onions with a mâche salad on top.

There were mussels in white wine and herbs with plenty of crusty baguette.

We then had our salad course with beautiful red leaf lettuce, a Dijon vinaigrette, shards of French cheese and toasted walnuts.

For dessert? Homemade lemon madeleines served on a wooden platter with fresh market figs drizzled with chestnut honey.

We talked and ate until almost five in the evening.

It was my ideal Sunday lunch in Paris.

xo J

 

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Day 2 of the 2nd Annual Culinary Tour in Paris

Bistrot Paul Bert Green beans and summer truffles White asparagus
Sole with a butter sauce photo copy 6  Espresso and a canalé

Day two in Paris! Our guests all enjoyed a long and well deserved rest last night and so were ready to tackle a day of eating, drinking and exploring some of the beautiful sights of Paris.

We travelled to the Bastille in the early afternoon to enjoy a typical bistro lunch at one of our favourite go-to places, Paul Bert. We enjoyed white asparagus, haricot vert salad with shaved summer truffles, sole with roasted potatoes, and roasted suckling pig. Not to mention the best coffee of the trip, so far, accompanied by a beautiful little canelé. The morning weather had been a bit rainy but by the time we emerged from the restaurant, well fed and very happy, the sun came out to greet us.

We made our way by metro down to the always stunning Place de la Concorde and did a walking tour that took us through the Jardin des Tuileries to the Louvre and then down along rue de Coquillière to make a brief detour into the incomparable cooking equipment store E. Dehillerin. From there, as the temperatures were approaching 30 degrees C, we ducked into the majestic St. Eustache church for some cool quiet time. This church is such a magical place with beautiful shafts of light, flickering candles and is the perfect place for some quiet contemplation.

Tomorrow we are off early to the organic market on Boulevard Raspail before heading back to our flat to tie on our aprons and cook Sunday lunch together. Mussels in white wine with herbs, Alsatian tarts and a green salad with a dijon vinaigrette and walnuts are all on the menu. For dessert we will be making some madeleines to go along with some tea we picked up at Marriage Frere.

It promises to be another delicious day.

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Day 1 of the 2nd Annual Paris Culinary Tour 2014

Culinary Tour no 1 

Day one of our second annual culinary tour in Paris.

Beautiful skies and warm temperatures greeted our guests this morning as they arrived in the City of Light. After a stroll down rue de Abbesses we headed up to enjoy the calm, cool, quiet of the Sacré Cœur. Amongst the throngs of tourists the interior of the Basilica is always a welcome haven and on this visit with my sweet Mum (who is a first time participant on our culinary tour) I lit a candle for my Baba who so recently left us. It was a gift to be able to celebrate my grandmother in such a meaningful place. It meant so much to my Mum and me.

Parting ways with our guests after our Montmartre tour Sarolta and I made our way back to our light and airy apartment to get ready for our opening night cocktail party/orientation.

With our culinary tour participants we enjoyed an evening filled with good food and wine and planning for our days ahead.

Tomorrow we are off to the Bastille for a traditional bistro lunch followed by a visit to the major sights of Paris. The Place de la Concorde, the Seine, and a walk through the Tuileries to the Louvre and onward up through rue Montmartre to rue de Martyrs are all on our list.

The weather promises to be fine…

xo J

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May Food

La belle France Villefranche sur mer Biking near Aix
French flea market Escargots Saucisson
IMG_4522  Alain Ducasse dessert at Alain Ducasse
Yellow door in Aix  Asperges Blanche Rosé in Provence
Biking lunch IMG_4825 Mussels at home
escargots  Le Happy Face Persil
Merci Lentils and bacon Near Jacques Genin

The month of May seemed to be all about travel and good food.

For the first two weeks I was in the south of France on a family vacation that saw us explore Nice, Cannes, Antibes, Villefranche and Monaco. From this beautiful region we ventured to Provence where we stayed in the charming city of Aix en Provence. We spent our days exploring on foot and by bicycle, we happily drank a number of glasses of very good, very cheap rosé, ate one very fancy meal but mostly very simple ones. Most of all we just enjoyed being together.

We got back to Vancouver on the 15th and then I got busy to leave again on the 29th. Time for our second annual Paris Culinary Tour. Lots of prepping and packing and making of lists but it all got done just in time and now we are here in Paris getting ready for our guests to join us on the 6th of June.

Stay tuned for a daily account of our culinary adventures in the city of light.

xo J

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Rhubarb Hand Pies

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I’m in the final stretch of preparing for our second annual culinary tour in Paris. I’ll be up early tomorrow and off to the airport by 9 am and as I look around my very messy house I see so many things that still need to be done. Cooking equipment needs to be packed, recipes formatted and printed and a few last minute essentials purchased. In the end it will all get done, as it always does. Breath in, breath out.

However, before I go I want to post a recipe that features rhubarb which is one of my very favourite spring ingredients. Do you think this might just be a way of artfully procrastinating regarding some more pressing tasks at hand? Honestly though, this site hasn’t seen a recipe post for over a month so I feel I am duty bound to put one up now.

The rhubarb in my garden is happily thriving and it is so very simple to grow. Sadly, rhubarb season will be pretty much over by the time I return home and this recipe, with it’s combination of sweet-tart rhubarb scented with cardamom nestled between disks of buttery flaky pastry, is just too good to hold onto until next year. The other thing I love about this recipe is that you can make these any size you wish from bite size to a full pie. Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some whipped cream these are the perfect spring dessert.

Now, back to packing, cleaning, organizing.

Next stop Paris!

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