A special vichyssoise for my muses

If potato leek soup has never been anything new, the French Chef of The Ritz-Carlton New York (the original one), woke up one day and decided he would serve it cold. His name was Louis Diat and the year was 1917. Louis was born near the town of Vichy in France. Soup is a feminine word in French “UNE soupe” and since ladies who live in Vichy are called Vichyssoises… there you go :0) vichyssoise, bordeaux, bordeauxwinetours, winetoursinbordeaux, cookingclassbordeaux, cookingclassinbordeaux, frenchfood, frenchsoup, francetravel, whattodoinbordeaux

Proof of love… I mean salmon and foie gras…

So yes, family dinner on the 24th with my brother’s gravlax (my recipe here) and my home made terrine of foie gras. It was 18 of us + an army of kids. Noisy as hell… And the traditional log for dessert of course ! That made it all better for one grumpy uncle high on Zoloft :0)

A late late late harvest…

it will be a terrific vintage in the likes of 2005 and 2009. Great harvest conditions and ideal weather throughout the Summer. A heat wave in August burnt part of the fruit though. Most châteaux in Saint-Emilion had to go through their vineyard twice in order to sort through the grapes. The sugar content was so high on some lots, that it will be chemistry 101 to try and bring the overall harvest down to the usual 13 or 14° (alcohol).

My Ricard flambées prawns

Every Mediterranean country has its own anise based alcoholic beverage. In Greece it’s Uzo, in France it’s Ricard. We call this type of drink “anisette”… It is very popular everywhere in France, but it is an absolute star in Provence! It is also perfect to “flambé” seafood. You can find it almost anywhere in the world.

The Best of Provence – Part 2: The French Riviera

The sea front in Nice is called “La Croisette”. The name comes from the French verb for passing someone on the street: se croiser. In Cannes, it is called “La Promenade des Anglais” (the English promenade). This comes from the olden days when the British gentry would come to the French riviera while on their European tours or just to escape the cold of Winter. If you watched the latest episode of Downton Abbey (spoiler alert), you know that the Dowager Countess is heading for Cannes as we speak :0) These “promenades” were ideal locations for street photography. From the two girlfriends eating ice-cream on a bench to the German biker covered in tattoos: portrait photography heaven!!

The best of Provence – The South East corner of my French heaven

But let’s talk about what’s really important: THE FOOD. Our two favorite meals in the area were at “La fourchette” in Avignon and “Le bistrot du Paradou” in the village of Paradou. La fourchette had the most exquisite traditional dishes, all cooked to perfection. Escargots, pieds paquets, grenouilles… While this gave us the traditional French dinning experience, the other place was even more fun

Of Bretagne, succulent lobsters and shiny new toys…

The food specialties of Bretagne are crêpes, salty caramel, apple cider and seafood. Eating lobster at sunset on the docks of some remote village, overlooking the ocean is one of my favorite things to do in my French heaven!

The wonders of the Basque Country

The Basque country (Pays Basque) is well known for its hot peppers (piments d’Espelette) and its incredible cheeses (mostly sheep and/or cow). The “piment d’Espelette” is not very strong, but it is extremely flavorful. I use it on cheese, meats, sauces and vinaigrettes as well as in most marinades. The name Espelette comes from the village around which the peppers are grown. Farmers hang them to dry on the façades of their homes. It is very decorative and gives a great authentic feel to the area.