Published: March 22nd 2013March 21st 2013
It was a jam packed day, with me rising early to meet my first class with La Cuisine Paris - the market class. I left a bit early to give myself time on the metro since I figured it was commuting time, but got there fairly early so had time to sit outside and enjoy a cafe au lait. The group met at the Maubert market and ironically there were 2 couples both in the class that were from Washington - one from Longview, the other Seattle. Goes to show that you are never too far from home! Our chef instructor for the day was Eric who studied in France, working in 2 Michelin Star restaurants in Paris, time in Washington DC, Australia, and a Cruise Ship (which he hated). He was by far the best instructor I've ever had for a cooking class! We started the class by talking about what we wanted to cook (no food allergies from anyone thank goodness) and then he took us through the market talking about the produce, seafood, cheeses, etc... Shopping in Paris is an experience, it isn’t that they don’t have supermarkets, because they do, but the vast majority of Parisians shop
the traditional way, by going to each specialty store for their items. All of the produce organic, no special place in the store, just everything you touch is fresh, organic and beautiful. It was so educational and we had just been together 40 min so far! We loaded up our bags with our supplies and headed back to the school which is on the Seine next to Hotel de Ville (City Hall).
I am always so impressed by those (like Eric) who can just decide what to cook right there on the spot and then just start throwing stuff in a pan.....I need more inspiration than that (like a recipe, LOL). The cooking experience was great, of course he went over a lot of basics but I did learn a few new tricks in the kitchen I am excited about. We ended up cooking an amazing meal: Zucchini Velote (soup) with goat cheese whip cream & mint (amazing!!!), salad with white asparagus & vineagrette, magret duck breast with a delic sauce, potatoes cooked in the duck fat, roasted carrots/parsips, and oh....for dessert and almond cream cake with roasted pears. It was a wonderful meal and I can't wait to
recreate it at home (no recipe required!!).
Matt spent the morning at Musee D'Armee, Invalides, and the Louvre before meeting me at the school at 2:30p for foodie experience #2...the Bellies on Foot tour. It ended up just being us and our guide Sophie who took us to the original location of the Les Halles market which really most of France's traditions and culture are built off of. It's amazing how much it has influenced their way of life here. It was another educational 3 hours while we walked all around the city stopping in several specialty shops while she explained the processes & LAWS behind how products are made, French standard, labeling - what to look for in terms of quality. All the while she was buying things for us to take back to the school to sample. We went to a fois gras store, fromagerie, boulangerie, and a pastisserie with a history back to 1730 & Louis XV's Polish wife's pastry chef. We now have been introduced to our new favorite dessert....Paris Breast (yes, not best - breast.. and who doesn't like a good breast, LOL). Which is an pastry filled with hazelnut cream, it rocked our
world. There again was so much food back at the school, with wine and bread of course because what meal would be complete without that??? We are really enjoying fois gras, the cheeses were just wonderful, we experienced pate en croute and a few other different meats. We had a lot of fun with Sophie and just learned so much....great great tour!
After all of that eating, we needed to walk....a lot, so we searched out a record store I read about and were able to pick up several classical french artists on vinyl for our new record player...score! We then went to Shakespeare & Co. which is one of the most famous bookstores in the world (I think anyway outside of Powells in Portland). It first opened in 1919 and many famous writers, most notably Hemmingway, spent a lot of time there writing, etc. It only sells English books, it's like stepping back in time walking in and most of the books are used which makes you wonder where in the world they've been. Each must have their own amazing story! Their signature is a stamp they place inside each of their books.
It was already 7:30pm
so we decided to keep walking off that food tour and walk back to our apartment which was about 1.5 miles, but it was a nice evening and we enjoyed it. For dinner we ate at the restaurant across the street from us Pramil. It was a very good meal, we both had a pumpkin soup with fois gras icecream on top (melting into pure flavor wonderfulness), Matt had scallops & I had veal sweatbreads for dinner. Dessert was cucumber sorbet with icecream. We tried to start watching the DaVinci Code (our apartment is stocked with DVDs of Paris movies, LOL) but only made it about 30 min in before we both passed out.....full bellies, still a bit of jet lag, and tired feet :-)
There are more photos below