Aaaah, France in winter…. the snow, the cold, the icy wind, the trains blocked by frozen-up rails, running 1, 2, 3 hours late! The beautiful puddles of melted snow sludge mixed with dog sh.t… The constant sneezing, runny nose, everyone being sick around you, the daily trips to the chemist…. Nope, really I don’t think I’ll ever say I miss French winters again!
À nous la capitale!
Panorama Paris, view from Tour Montparnasse ©M.Venables
Following our little misfortunes in Lyon, we had almost a whole week in Paris to live the dream. We had rented a little studio in the 11th Arrondissement, with a “kitchenette”, which allowed us to cook a few meals, coffee and breakfast.
Our place was near the Goncourt metro station, which was ideally close to Canal St-Martin, République, as well as the cool Oberkampf area.
Lyon Panorama, view from Notre Dame de Fourvière
During our brief stop in Lyon, we first stayed at our friends’ house in the Croix Rousse, a hilly area in the old part of town, which used to be working class, home of Lyon’s silk workers, and is now quite trendy. Well my friends and I used to live there, so the hipsters followed… naturally Just joking!
They had organised a little crêpe party for us, thanks to their awesome mini-crêpe machine, which allows everyone at the table to make their own crêpes and the hosts to enjoy themselves, instead of being stuck in the kitchen.
Soooo…. bonjour guys!
It’s been a while indeed! Please forgive my snail pace with regards to writing this blog: this year has been a busy one. But hopefully it will be rewarding with exciting stuff, so stay tuned!
To resume on my French adventures a few months back, after a perfect few days in Marseille, we took the TGV back to my parents’, who live in a little town in the Drôme department. We were pampered and fed lots of good stuff, so much so that I couldn’t face any cheese for a while after that!
My first encounter with Marseille was in my teens, when I started reading Jean-Claude Izzo‘s crime novels: the Marseille Trilogy followed jaded cop Fabio Montale in his quest for justice, amidst deeply anchored corruption, crime, racism… However you could really feel the love of Izzo for his city and its inhabitants and it was contagious. If you like your crime genre, I really recommend you get hold of these books (thank god they were translated into English).
Bastille Day is upon us! AGAIN!
Weeks have passed so fast that I’ve only just realized I’d never posted the pictures of last year’s Bastille Day celebration we had with my girlfriends. Since I’m not doing anything this year for the 14th July (I know: what kind of a French woman am I!), I will this time stick to reminiscing on our beautiful little picnic.
My friend was in charge of bringing the red wine and the saucisson, and I was in charge of the baguettes, which I bought from Bourke Street Bakery: love their semi-sour baguettes! Then I saw the Crème Brûlée Raspberry & Vanilla Tarts and didn’t think twice about it: there was our dessert!
We then met at Formaggi Ocello in Surry Hills for this crucial step in our shopping spree. There was no way that I could leave the shop without some Comté, my favourite cheese in the whole world! We also bought and Italian soft goats cheese, Brunet, which I liked a lot the look of!
Cheeses: Brunet goats cheese and my beloved Comté
“In Tartiflette We Trust”
My mother’s Tartiflette: Before…
… and after
“In Tartiflette We Trust” is a motto that has become really popular in the last decade, and, as I later found out, it’s actually the slogan of a mountain and ski gear shop in the French Alps. You can now spot stickers and people wearing “In Tartiflette We Trust” t-shirts all over France, even beyond! I have to say, this is a motto by which I can abide!
To me, the simple mention of Tartiflette evokes winter, crisp snow, ski, holiday, flattering ski goggle tan, evenings eating and drinking your heart’s content (It’s freezing outside, you need padding!) and playing cards etc. Aaah, good times!
I was asked last week by Eleanor from French Entrée, a website aimed at lovers of all things French, to compile my Top 10 favourites French foods in Sydney.
It was a difficult to narrow it down to 10, but I’m pretty happy with my list. See below and let me know if you agree!
“Finding French food in Sydney
Sandra Beeston is a French-Australian expat who has been living in Sydney for six years. In that time, she has researched all the best places to find her French home comforts. From baguettes and croissants to cheese and steak frites, Sandra shares her top 10 French foods and where to find them in Sydney.
Canelés are great little pastries originating from Bordeaux. The legend has it that it was first made by sisters from the Annonciades covent in Bordeaux in the 16th century, and that its tubular shape gave it the name of canelé (= cane).
“Pastry is all about creativity, sharing and generosity.”
This is the motivation behind the creation of the Sydney Pastry Club by Fabien Berteau, pastry chef at Park Hyatt, and Elerig Liguet, from Deshel Foods.
As stated on their Facebook page, the idea behind this club is “to showcase Sydney Pastry Chefs’ skill and imagination” by getting them to revisit dessert themes (eg. Meringue Lemon Tart, Gateau Opera, the Baba, Black Forest…). Chefs have two months to design their idea and to come up with their very own creation, which they will bring to the meeting for the other members to taste. Fabien insists on the fact that it remains very friendly & informal and that it is in no way a competition: “We’re just having fun.”