Friday, December 24, 2010
Excellent cured ham from Spain.
Pata negra is called thus as it comes from black pigs.
These marvelous pigs are fattened on grains for several weeks before being let loose in an acorn orchard. There they eat only acorns until ready for slaughter. Lesser quality Pata Negra pigs are fed a mix of acorns and grains.
The slaughtered pigs are salted and left to cure for up to 36 months!
Bien sur, Pata Negra is a bit cher, but well worth a taste during the holidays. One must drink an insanely good glass of red wine when tasting Pata Negra ham.
Hop on over to Les Halles de Lyon if you are in the area and belly on up to the bar at Bellotta Bellotta. They serve fabulous little platters of Pata Negra with a good red wine.
Gros bisous de jambon espagnol et a demain!
Merry Christmas Eve!!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
This year for Christmas we're not doing a goose! Instead, we shall have a moist tender, sweet, and juicy chapon, or capon. A first for me!
Romans first invented the capon, a castrated rooster, as in 162 they had a grain shortage and forbade hens from being fed grain. To get around that pesky little rule, cheeky Romans castrated roosters and fed them grain. This led to a meat less gamey and even more tender than chicken meat. Castrated at about 10 days old, the chapons don't move around much and certainly aren't aggressive.
Chapons aren't sold in supermarkets, you have to order one from your butcher or go directly to a farm. They are generally quite cher. Well worth it? Stay tuned, I'll let you know how it went!
Gros bisous de chapon et a demain!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Les digestifs are a very important part of a good meal, certainly not to be missed. As any French person will tell you, they help digest all the magnificent rich food you recently imbibed.
My personal favorite is Charteuse, a digestive liqueur made by Carthusian Monks in mountains not far from Lyon, near Grenoble. Since 1740, the monks have been making this delicious digestif made from the extract of 132 plants. Serve it over a couple ice cubes or neat.
Eau de Vie, or water of life. This stuff is strong! Ouf! I don't particularly like it, but it is incredibly popular and très chic as a digestif. There are all sorts of fruit flavors: pear, raspberry, blueberry, kirsch. But don't expect them to be sweet!!
My favorite is the pear as it often has a real pear inside the bottle. Farmers attach the bottle to the tiny fruit and it grows inside its glass cage until plucked for the Eau de Vie Poire.
There are of course the homemade digestifs. I recently tasted a homemade bottle of blueberry Eau de Vie from a friend's wine cellar. It had been made by her grandfather decades ago. The bottle was ancient and crusty, the cork looked as though it had been hanging around for forty years. And, oh, was it delicious! That is the only Eau de Vie that I have thoroughly enjoyed.
Grappa. Not French but Italian. There is nothing like a stiff shot of Grappa at the end of a meal to cut through the old grease! I kid, I kid. I just got us a bottle of Grappa from Cofi, a store that imports Italian foods and wines. It smelled insanely delicious in that store! All those Italian cheeses, meats, and assorted goodies!!
These are three of the top digestifs and my preferred to serve with a meal. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love a French meal: hard work goes into preparing a meal just so for yourself and your guests, each moment is appreciated and respected, the table is elegantly set, the right wines are served with the right dishes, it lasts for hours and conversation is lively and intriguing, then you go on to the digestif and things begin to wind down. A meal will last from eight pm or so until midnight or two am. You don't drink to get drunk, you take your time and savor every bite and each sip.
Voila! Bon digestif this weekend, gros bisous et a demain!
Labels: Things To Drink
Monday, December 20, 2010
Les Halles of a big indoor luxury market for food and it boasts several indoor brasserie style eating establishments where one goes on a Saturday or Sunday morning for white wine and seafood. The market is gorgeous and sells the best of the best.
Famous soccer players, politicians, Lyon jet set people often come and hang out at Les Halles on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
People, people, people
Seafood platters to die for!
Escargots for days!
Mouth watering, insanely delicious cured Italian hams
Fois gras, smoked salmon and blinis ....
Cured French saucisson
The famous Bahdourian store, which sells delectable arabic food, yum!
And, bien sur, le fromage!
Look at the size of that cheese!
Nice, you can order a little plate with a selection of cheeses to nibble on whist drinking a lovely glass of wine.
How very civilized it all is.
Bon! Gros bious gourmande et a demain!
Labels: Places to go
Friday, December 17, 2010
For Christmas, the French typically eat roast goose or oie rôti. Yum! Crackly, juicy, and very, very tasty, I must admit that I enjoy a good roasted goose over the holidays.
Another goosey delight I simply cannot get enough of is rillettes d'oie or bits of goose. Oh, oh, oh, there is nothing like it! Devilishly delicious. Try and get the rillettes d'oie from your trusty local butcher, especially best if they are fait mason or homemade. Otherwise try La Comtesse du Barry the photo below is actually of their product (since I eat mine too fast and cannot be bothered to photograph it!) It melts in your mouth and, as the French love to say in the winter whilst patting their midsection, "It's good to eat, keeps you warm in the winter!"
Donc, voila! Gros bisous des bêtes délicieux et a demain!
Thursday, December 16, 2010
French glasses, they're so, je ne sais quoi, so original.
From way back when they had it going on, baby, yeah!
Yves Saint Laurent, le magnifique!
Bien sur, Karl Lagerfield
The French love their glasses and they wear them so well!!
Michel Polnareff, what a character! Check out my blog about him....
You see a lot of older guys struttin' this style. Fun!
Vintage guy meets lunettes moderne!
Even the adopted French do pretty well with their glasses.
Gros bisous des lunettes fabulous et a demain.
Monday, December 13, 2010
It's that time of the year where the French bring out (imagine me shouting this part of the phrase) insanely delectable things to eat. Needless to say, I'll be doing a lot of food blogging the rest of the month!
Did I mention insanely delectable?
Marrons Glacés, or sugar glazed chestnuts, make me go a bit mad.
Let's examen this a little closer ....
Tender chestnuts, whose sugar glaze crackles ever so slightly when you bite in, your fingers are so incredibly sticky, you are obliged to lick them several times over ....
A word to the wise: don't buy them in a super market, non, non, non! (pft, pft, pft!) Do buy them in a good quality pastry or chocolate shop. They are très cher, so here is a suggestion: buy a box of miettes de maroons glacés, or pieces of sugar glazed chestnuts, much less pricey. Imagine how many of these little chestnuts get broken in the deshelling and glazing process! How do they do it? Un grand Mystère Français ....
A box of miettes de maroons glacés is an elegant and classy gift to offer either for Chrtistmas or when invited to someone's house for a festive soirée.
Voilà! I think perhaps I shall indulge in a few sugar glazed chestnuts whilst writing this morning!
Gros bisous gluant (sticky) et a demain.
Friday, December 10, 2010
One of the best pastry shops in Lyon located on Cours Franklin Roosevelt.
On the left is a pastry shop, on the right, a tea salon and restaurant. They have the best hot chocolate in the world (liquid chocolate, seriously), a great tea selection, and wonderful coffees. It is très cher, but well worth it every once in a while.
I had the great pleasure to have tea and pastries with a fellow Anglophone blogger who lives in Lyon yesterday. Piglet In France. She is a lovely lady, (I'll keep her real name a secret!) we had a great time! Have a look at her blog, it's witty, interesting, and fun. Thanks so much, Piglet, for the fabulous moment et a bientôt!
Bon, gros bisous de pâtisseries et a demain!