The Food of France

So I’ve talked about the things we did in France. Now I’m going to talk a little bit about the food. I know I’ve talked about crepes and hot chocolate but there are other amazing foods of France. Provencal food in particular is one of my favorite cuisines. I think it has to do with the freshness of the ingredients and the use of honey, lavender and copious amounts of duck. The cheeses are suitable stinky as well which is a huge boon in my book.

One specialty of the Aix-en-Provence in particular are calissons. They are little bites of marzipan that are shaped like ovals with tapered ends. They can also be covered in chocolate. When they are fresh, they are divine. I recently learned that the chocolate covered ones keep better so the inside is still moist.

Another delicacy of Provence is nougat. And this is like no nougat you’ve ever had before. It’s light and almost frothy. It is nothing like the horrifyingly sticky, hard stuff that you find elsewhere. This was perfection. I’m not sure if it would even last the trip home unfortunately.

Also, it was apparently camembert season there. Numerous restaurants advertised several appetizers of warm camembert. At one place, they served it perfectly warm with apples and pears. It was potent and sweet at the same time. Just as cheese should be.

In Paris, one favorite is the marron glace. These are sugared chestnuts. If you have a sweet tooth, they are divine. If you don’t, I’d skip it. For whatever reason, these are expensive no matter where I go (in France or US). But they are totally worth it.

Another thing that I associate with Paris is oysters. I’m not sure why but I’ve never had oysters anywhere else. It may have to do with the fact that I live in Chicago which isn’t exactly fresh seafood central. Regardless, the Parisians make a huge spectacle of the oyster. They bring them out raw on an elevated bed of ice or seaweed with a side of lemon, vinegar and little brown bread. They are so fresh that I’m not entirely sure they aren’t still alive. Oh well. The sacrifices for cuisine.

That’s all one could eat…for now!

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