We were two weeks in France, and I never described food. I ask you, how is one supposed to say anything new about French food? Not that that will stop me. I mean, butter, cream, eggs: the holy triumvirate!
Sunday morning in Lyon, my friend Jan and I skipped out on the included tour of an art market and headed for the daily grocery market. The smell of the freshly baked breads and pastries, cheeses, vegetables and chickens made us jealous of the French. Well, except for the roasted chickens we saw with the heads left on, little roasted crests and eyes facing us mournfully as we walked by. We imagined rolling out of bed, strolling down the market, picking up bread, cheese, roast chicken (sans head) and wine and then retiring to a tastefully decorated apartment to leisurely enjoy our newspaper, eating our way through the day.
All the food was so fresh and beautiful, but, of course, it meant we couldn't buy any to bring home until . . . UNTIL we came to a cheese and pate counter. There in little tureens were jars of pates, two for five Euros. The only thing I understood on the labels was that they were made in cognac. Cognac had to be good, right? I blindly picked two. Back at the ship, the local guide translated for me: one is pate of poultry and the other pate of reindeer. I do wonder if she meant it was venison, but either way, we opened the reindeer last night, and it was good! Bound to be – it's French.
In Tournus (At least, I think it was in Tournus. I didn't keep notes and the some of the ports blend), we had lunch at a little café where we ordered escargot as an entrée (an appetizer in English). I would like to say that snails are entirely superfluous to this dish . You may as well toss the little snail bodies in the garbage and fill their shells with the garlic saturated butter, and drink up.
The coup de gras (like my French?) came our last night in Paris when we were walking up and down the Rue de Rennes. We enjoyed the window shopping but had walked almost to the Seine and back and were pretty beat. We examined brasserie (bar) after brasserie looking for a menu with more than hamburgers and French fries and an ambience more delicate than smoke. We rounded the corner onto boulevard du Montparnasse and found it. The restaurant Le Montparnasse 1900 was not quite opened at 6:50, but they seated us 10 minutes early and paid lavish attention to us. For my entrée I downed green salad with sautéed scallops ('cause I wanted to be healthy with a salad, don't you know) followed by my plat (main dish) of duck breast (fat, fat duck breast, still tinged pink) with au pauve sauce (or whatever the spelling is for pepper sauce). I can tell you right now that you could eat that sauce over cardboard, and it would still be delicious, delicately filling the back or your mouth with creamy yumminess, its flavors blending with the duck juices just as they hit the tongue. The manager suggested a medoc with it, and its higher edge was the right counterbalance for the duck. There was one point in the meal when I sat with my eyes closed and lost awareness of everything except what was happening in my mouth. Steve spoke to me, and I came to with a jolt. Food doesn't get any better than that.
For dessert, we decided to order crepes suzette, but the manager suggested a dessert off the menu of fresh strawberries slightly sweetened with sugar (slightly, my foot) and lightly whipped in egg yolk. It was a good thing we shared one order because It came in a pasta plate. We kept telling each other we didn't have to eat it all, but, of course, we did. Iff you're in Paris on the left bank, head over to 58, boulevard du Montparnasse. And do you know, I got on the scale this morning and had only gained one pound?
PS We explored Versailles on Wednesday and were able to stop in the Lauderee there and come out with a lovely little green shopping bag of macaroons. All hopes fulfilled.