Food Tour Sunday 9/21/2014
Our tour of food began at the base of the only hill in Paris, Monmartre. Our guide (PJ) who was in training had a wonderful mastery of French food and food customs. He told us about the yearly election by peers to an honorary position. Our first stop at the artisan chocolate shop of Georges Larnicol, who had the “badge” of his peers (and was now a peer) proved to be both an artistic and culinary treat. There were chocolate models of Notre Dame Cathedral, sailing ships, and a grand piano - plus there were chocolate treats that we ate.
Next came the sugary shop of Christophe Roussel with macaroons and eclairs. Of course we got to try them out. Then it was on to the La Butte Fromagere (cheese shop) for goat cheese, Roquefort (which can only be called Roquefort if it comes from that town - otherwise it’s just blue cheese), and other great cheeses from France. Since rain had been in the air, we had our lunch at Bistrot Chat Noir which had once been a notorious nightclub with scantily clad women. Ordinarily, this lunch is in a park outdoors. We were soon joined by many others taking refuge from a heavy downpour. Our lunch of cheese, sausage, bread, and wine was more than just food. We learned about the control of the wines and how consistency was the goal of the various vintners. The French government controls both the naming (based on the location) of the wines and the quantity that can be produced under a particular label. We also learned about some rebellious young wine makers who are going outside the system. However if their wines do not catch on, then they could be in serious financial trouble with millions of bottles of wine that can’t be sold. We got to bring the leftovers home with us - except the wine which was all gone! But our food tour was not yet over. One last stop for desset was at the Le Tire - Bouchon Creperie. We all had freshly made crepes with fillings of chocolate and fruit. After this indulgence, we bid adieu to our group and headed down the hill via the funicular that crawled up and down the slope. That night we had a simple dinner (after all the lunch) of ham and eggs cooked in our apartment.
Monday 9/22/2014 Take it easy day
Monday had been planned as a “take it easy - do little” recovery day. We took the Metro, walked through the Pace de Vosges. and explored the Jewish quarter, the gay area and various other parks and made sure we got to buy cheesecake at Sacha Finkelsztajn’s. Lunch was at L-A’s middle eastern restaurant with falafels and hummus. However, there WAS a lot of walking involved! That night Tom made Beef Bourguignon and we had the cheesecake for dessert.