Paris tips and trends

Last post (for the moment) from Paris! A quick run-down of the most interesting food and wine ideas I picked up for those of you who haven’t time to read the full reviews:Sardines - cheap, sustainable - this summer’s must-eat fish, it seems. Grilled (Le Temps au Temps), served with red peppers and black-eye beans (La Gazzetta) served whole in a tin with seaweed butter (Cristal de Sel)

Dishes la barigoule - i.e. served with braised artichokes and, usually, bacon.

Also seems to diminish their antipathy to wine. A short-term trend while artichokes are in seasonIndividual cheese plates - one cheese and an accompaniment such as sheeps cheese and rocket sorbet (Le Temps au Temps) Bleu d’Auvergne and pear pure (La Gazzetta) or Bleu des Causses and poached prunes (Les Papilles). Makes wine matching much easier

Cocottes - stews and other braised dishes presented in a cast-iron casserole. (Les Cocottes, Cristal de Sel, Les Papilles)

Simple seasonal veg cooked this way are a great alternative to soup. Homely and comforting

Soup in a tureen (Les Papilles) - pile the topping ingredients in the bowls then ladle the soup around them.

Looks fabulously cheffy but basically a cheap, easy-to-prepare starter with no last minute fiddlingVerrines (les Cocottes) - sweet or savoury dishes, layered in a glass. Great way of presenting starters and dessertsCold pizza. Doesn’t sound too appetising but think of it more as transforming a thin crispy pizza base into an open sandwich. Top La Gazzetta-style with creamed goats cheese and mandolin-thin raw beetroot and fennel.

Coffee and mini desserts.

Not spotted by me but reported recently by Terry Durack in his Indy blog Eat. Don't feel you have to make them yourself - just buy them in (easier in Paris admittedly) Alternatively serve with a glass of sweet wine or cognac.Natural (i.e. unsulphured/unfiltered) wines - seemingly in every trendy Paris joint. Some are much better than others which makes for a frustratingly inconsistent experience. The best are great, the rest weird. There’s nothing to disguise the failings of the winemaker or vintage.

Corsican wines. And Corsican charcuterie and cheese, come to that.

Everything Corsican seems hot right now. Presumably because the French can’t bring themselves to eat or drink anything that comes from outside France (unless it's Japanese or Italian) and Corsica is about as exotic as it gets. Tiramisu and Patrimonio Rappu from Domaine Gentile (Il Vino) is a tremendous pairing though.

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