March 24, 2016
I hated butter when I was a kid, unless it was melted in mashed potatoes. Fast forward 20 years and here I am, living in France, regularly licking butter off my fingers while making tart crust or smooshing fat slices onto naked hunks of bread in the morning. Somewhere along the line, someone slipped me a sliver of Echiré and changed my world. There’s no going back once you’ve experienced the tender melt of cultured-cream butter on the tip of your tongue. But I wondered: what exactly makes this ubiquitous ingredient so good here?
According to Luisa Weiss, author of My Berlin Kitchen and founder of the blog The Wednesday Chef, the easy answer is fat. “The main difference between American and European butter is that European butter has a higher percentage of fat than American butter,” she explained over the telephone from her home in Berlin. American butter averages 80 percent fat, while European standards hover around 85 and 87 percent, with the legal French minimum being 82 percent. It’s not a huge difference – we’re talking 5 to 7 percent – but it’s enough to give European butter a deeper, richer flavor than its American counterpart.
March 15, 2016
While the idea of requesting a doggy bag in a restaurant feels foreign to the French, steps towards reducing food waste in the country are a source of national pride. Restaurants that serve over 180 meals per day are now being pressured to provide doggy bags to customers who request them, a practice that is rare- but might change- among French diners. The initiative is the result of a growing anti-gaspillage or anti-food waste movement, which has lead to groundbreaking legislation in the country.
While the doggy bag measure is one step towards reducing annual food waste in France, which amounts to over seven tons of food each year, other larger sweeping laws are tackling the problem on an industrial level. One such measure is a unanimously passed law that was enacted in early February requiring supermarkets to donate unsold and almost-expired food to charities.
February 16, 2016
I was working as a pastry chef in Brooklyn when I met my now-husband, Leo. While I didn’t realize we would get married in less than a year, I will confess that I did secretly wish my Frenchman would whisk me away to the land of pastries, cheese, and wine. And whisk me away he did… If you had told me one year ago today that I would be living in Paris now, I would have laughed and shrugged my shoulders. And here I am, writing this from my Parisian apartment in Montmartre.
January 26, 2016
Locals and tourists alike are well acquainted with Paris’ Catacombs. But there is something sitting beneath Place Denfert-Rochereau besides the famed bones of the departed.
January 21, 2016
Shopping for meat in Paris is a great way to discover French specialities and find inspiration for new recipes. French cuisine favors using the whole animal and encourages preparing the meat for main dishes, but also using the intestines, bones, and other innards to make sauces, stocks, and sides.
December 15, 2015
Paris is home to a thriving, expanding scene when it comes to craft coffee, beer, and natural wines. However, despite evolutions in how the city’s residents and visitors eat and drink, the setting in which we enjoy these items rarely strays from the standard model. Enter any craft coffee shop and you’ll like have a choice of locally sourced cookies, or the more standard croissant or pain au chocolat to enjoy in a small, sparsely decorated space which incorporates innovative seating options to accommodate the hoards of self-employeds and bloggers who flock there. Standing-room-only is often the case at the city’s craft beer bars, where beer geeks are equipped with pints and perhaps a coveted bowl of roasted peanuts to go with.
December 1, 2015
Long-time friends Marion and Laura couldn’t have found a better spot for Myrthe, the half-cantine, half-épicerie they opened in December 2014. Sandwiched between specialty coffee shop Ten Belles and lush florist Bleuet Coquelicot, Myrthe is one of the Canal St-Martin’s newest tenants. And it’s a great fit for the area. In addition to serving sandwiches, salads, and gluten-free pastries on-site, Myrthe offers a selection of take-away apéro baskets that demand to be eaten canal-side. “The hardest part about opening a business in Paris is finding the right spot. We got really lucky with this one,” says Marion.
November 25, 2015
Morning My Love, Bespoke
In a typically French response to the Paris attacks, last week bistrot and bar owners began a rallying cry that ended up as a hashtag, as many things do these days. Simply put, they demanded us to #TousauBistrot! Meaning, get yourself to a bar, bistrot, restaurant, or café ASAP, show that we will continue to live our lives outdoors and in cafés as we’ve always done. The hashtag #JeSuisenTerrasse then followed.
I believe this kind of bravado or courage is what we all need right now. We must continue to travel, book Paris hotel rooms or rent those lovely Paris apartments, and continue to laugh and enjoy our lives. French business owners are telling us that it’s our civic duty as Parisians and Francophiles alike to get out and shop, eat and drink, and practice the French art de vivre, or art of living.
November 12, 2015
Le Marais is considered by many to be the dining capital of Paris with choices abound. Varying from take-out hot dogs on the corner of rue Vieille du Temple to falafels on the iconic rue des Rosiers to up-and-coming hipster hangouts where the design is equally as important as the menu, choosing a place to dine is a culinary experience in itself. One group of French restaurateurs with a penchant for North American travel decided what the chic quartier needed was a splash of something different, and opened a lobster joint.
Steering away from the opulence that could be equated with going out for lobster in Paris and taking a cue from Northeast lobster restaurants they frequented on their travels, friends Damien Borjesson, Remy Bougenaux, Vivien Mathieu, and Louis Kerveillant opened Les Pinces (meaning “claws” in French) in November 2014.
November 10, 2015
Paris may be experiencing unseasonably warm and sunny weather at the moment, but we’re still readying ourselves for the chilly months to come and dishing on our favorite addresses serving up boeuf bourguignon, a comforting winter French favorite. Enjoy! -Erin
Julia Child immortalized boeuf bourguignon in featuring it on her first French cooking show. At the start of the episode, she says in her distinct high-pitched trill, “it’s a wonderful show to begin our series on because it shows you so many useful things about French cooking.” Indeed by watching the 30-minute segment, a must-see on YouTube, you’ll learn how to brown meat, braise onions, sauté mushrooms, and make a wine sauce. However, it’s also clear this is a recipe that requires time and patience. “People don’t make it right because it takes too much time” is a phrase I heard often during visits to Burgundy, the birthplace of the beloved French dish. Luckily there are some places that are getting it right.