PARIS – Gastronomic Paradise! Story aand photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM Al rights reserved copyright This article is presented in an INTERACTIVE style...
By Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling
The intrepid and implacable Travelling Gourmet visits “Ville-Lumiere” or the “City of Light” to discover…
MARVELLOUS cuisine revolutionized by Catherine de Medici from Florence in Italy who became Queen of France in 1547, has made France a magnet for food & wine lovers. Catherine brought along her retinue of Master Chefs as well as Italian delights like Zabaglione and milk-fed veal, when she went to France in 1533 to become the bride of the Duc d’Orleans (later King Henry II of France). Not many know of the huge influence Italy has had on French cuisine.Recently, I made a Gastronomic Safari to France where I discovered some culinary gems to share with you.
Gourmet’s best kept Secret
I based myself in probably the safest and most well guarded 5 STAR hotel in Paris, elegant and luxurious Sofitel le Faubourg. Very near the renowned Champs-Elysee & famous and exclusive Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, the 18th & 19th Century buildings are located in seLocated in secluded and quiet Rue Boissy d’Anglas it is a very discreet luxury hotel. As the US Embassy is next door, the road is sealed off to cars with retractable bollards due to the threat of car bombs. Heavily armed Gendarmes with submachine guns are on guard 24 hours a day. Another bonus of enjoying life here is the feather pillows and opulent quilts here are the most comfortable I’ve ever snoozed on. Every morning, I enjoyed a delightful and most satisfying breakfast in Café Faubourg of fresh hot butter croissants, omelettes with ham, cheese & tomatoes done to perfection plus fragrant, freshly brewed Café au lait. Impressed by the delectable breakfast, I decided to have dinner in the Café Faubourg. Diner I sat at a table with a flute of chilled Laurent Perrier Rose champagne, facing a tranquil courtyard and felt like I was in a French nobleman’s house in the Cotes du Rhone. I began with Frothy Chestnut Broth & Foie Gras Royale. The luscious flavours brought out by the Chef’s skill and expertise emerged like beautiful ballerinas to please my palate. Wild Fasan! Eagerly, I waited for my next course…a Spice Crusted Pheasant Filet with pan fried Foie Gras plus Buttered Cabbage magically appeared. Carefully, I cut into the Foie Gras (it means ‘fatty liver’ in French) and I could tell instantly that the moist core had been done to perfection, neither too overdone nor underdone. Just ever so slightly raw in the very epicenter as it should be...I moaned in orgasmic delight as the provocatively delicious, decadent and rich flavours caressed my tastebuds. A taste to kill for. A lovely glass of aromatic and complex Chateau Belgrave 2000 AOC Pomerol was a harmonious partner for the fabulous food. The flavours lingered and toyed with my palate for a long time...pleasuring them like the warm caresses oof a lovely warm woman...
Wines with good refreshing acids are always delightful with foie gras and help to cut through the rich flavours and moderate the fat! Dessert! The absolute BEST part of every repast...I relished every morsel of the simple dessert of Roast Figs, fresh Walnuts
and Vanilla Ice Cream. I tried but I could not resist another tempting dessert of melt in the mouth-tender Fruit Tagine cooked in the terracotta Moroccan volcano shaped cooking pot called the Tagine. I LOVE Tagines! A beautiful Moroccan lady Chef taught me Morroccan cuisine sometime ago...but that, is another story. Heavenly! I met jovial & enthusiastic Chef Jerome Videau who told me about the Southwestern touch of the Meditteranean he likes to infuse in his excellent cuisine.
SOFITEL Le Faubourg
15 rue Boissy d’Anglas
75008 PARIS, FRANCE
Tel: 33 (0) 144941414
A fabulous & very safe place to stay in Paris. recommended by The Travelling Gourmet TM for SAS (safety and security), very good location, comfort and luxury...plus superb cuisine.
The world’s OLDEST Café!
I’ve dined at the oldest Brasserie in Paris and the oldest restaurant in the world, so it was time to visit
the oldest Café in the world. Young Lieutenant Napoleon used to dine here, and had to leave his hat as
surety until he returned to pay his bill. Since a Sicilian called Francesco Procopio Dei Coltelli opened it
in 1686, it has been the haunt of poets like Voltaire and firebrand revolutionaries like Danton & Marat.
I stepped through the dark wood & glass doors of Le Procope to be transported back to the 17th Century.
Ancient oil paintings of luminaries like Andre Chenier deck the walls. I decided to sit at Voltaire’s table
and chose the Notre Menu des Philosophes (Philosopher’s Menu). A 20mm thick slice of Pate en Croute
with pistachios drizzled with a tasty Port flavoured veal Jus whet my appetite. Magret de Canard Roti
was next. Meaty tasty duck caramelized with Barolo wine was so flavourful, I finished every tasty morsel.
Domaine des Trios Monts 2004, a nice medium bodied red from Burgundy enhanced the gamey flavour
of the duck. Burgundy or the Bourgogne is one of my favourite wine regions in France. A unique dessert
is the Variation de Coquetiers de Cremes. I relished the cute little pots of Crème Caramel delicately flavoured
with pistachio, almond plus coffee & vanilla…and wondered if Napoleon had enjoyed them too while
dreaming of conquering Europe….
13 rue de l‘Ancienne Comedie
Tel: 33 (0) 140467900
Wandering the ancient streets of Paris, I strolled down the Boulevard Hausmann.
The sun was shining and the skies were bright blue when a Boulangerie (bakery) caught my eye. The sign proclaimed, “Sculpteur en Pain Rene Saint Ouen” (Pain means ‘bread’ in French). I went in and met the fit and jolly Patron, Rene who was having his Dejeneur (lunch). He promptly invited me to try some of his bread and have a glass of red wine. When Rene learned that I was a parachutist, he confided that he was in the daredevil Regiment Etranger Parachutiste (REP) in Vietnam and had fought the evil communist Vietminh in 1950. Luckily for lovers of very good bread and croissants...he survived the French Vietnam War in one piece.
Made with flour from Chartres and olive oil from Provence, Rene’s bread crust is ultra-crunchy and well aerated inside, so it is soft, fluffy and perfect for mopping up sauces. His piece de resistance is ‘La Tour Eiffel’ – a brioche in the shape of the Eiffel Tower! If you want to bring it home to decorate your dining room he will brush a layer of egg white on it to preserve it. His bread is so good President Jacques Chirac buys it daily for the Elysee Palace. Rene is a gentleman, combat veteran and Master Baker that I am very honoured to call mon ami. Bon appetit! Vive le petit dejeneur!
Au Pain Bien Quit
Boulangerie R G Saint-Quen
111 boulevard Hausmann
75008 PARIS, FRANCE
Tel: 01 42 650625