5 Reasons You Should Try a Pan Bagnat at Home
1. It’s from Provence, name one bad thing that came out of Provence!
2. No butter, no mayonnaise, make room for the healthy fat: olive oil.
3. The peppers and tomatoes blend incredibly well with the tuna and boiled egg.
4. Make it on whole wheat bread and feel full and satisfied for hours.
5. It is easy to make with ingredients you probably already have at home.
The Thirteen Dessert of Christmas in Provence
Do you think you could eat them all after a big meal?
From top left to bottom right: Provençal Black Nougat, Provençal White Nougat, Pears, Mandarins, Oreillettes, Pâte de Coing, White Grapes, Hazelnuts, Mendiants au Chocolat, Dattes, Calissons d’Aix, Croquants (aka Biscotti nearby in Italy), and Christmas Chocolates.
Gault & Millau 2015 Awards
French restaurants get scrutinized in many ways and one of them is by Gault & Millau. Not Michelin stars but very influential all the same. It’s always exciting to see who makes the list and who gets pointed out as a future star. It also denotes a restaurant that will surely get more crowded and more expensive. Worth it anyway!
Best Chef: Yannick Alléno (Ledoyen, Paris, 8e)
New Five Star Chefs: Frédéric Anton (Le Pré catelan, Paris, 16e) et Alexandre Gauthier (La Grenouillère, La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, Pas-de-Calais)
New Four Stars Chefs: Jean-Luc Rocha (Château Cordeillan-Bages, Pauillac, Gironde), Fabien Lefebvre (L’Octopus, Béziers, Hérault), Éric Westermann (Buerehiesel, Strasbourg, Bas-Rhin)
Best Hospitality: Maryse et Michel Trama (L’Aubergade, Puymirol, Lot-et-Garonne)
Eight Up and Coming Chefs: Aureìlien Crosato (Solena, Bordeaux, Gironde) ; Julien Dumas (Lucas Carton, Paris, 8e) ; Guillaume Foucault (Pertica, Vendôme, Loir-et-Cher) ; Freìdeìric Lefebvre (La Carambole, Schiltigheim, Bas-Rhin) ; Yohann Lemonnier (Initial, Caen, Calvados) ; Anthony et Fumiko Maubert (Assa, Blois, Loir-et-Cher) ; Alexandre Mazzia (AM, Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône) ; Guillaume Monjuré (Paleìgrieì, Lyon, Rhône).
French Foods You Should Try at Home
If you’ve never tried Raclette you need to do it soon! It’s the perfect small dinner party meal because because there isn’t that much preparation to do, it’s fancy, and so good! We’ll podcast about it soon because it’s one of my favorites 🙂
These cornichons (small pickles) are the best, you can get them almost anywhere in France, and now you can get them on Amazon too! They’ll definitely and wake up your taste buds! You definitely need them if you’re going to make Raclette or Pot-au-Feu as they are a standard side.
This product is ubiquitous in France, there’s a jar in my fridge and another one in my pantry because I don’t want to run out! Same brand, same jar that you can use as a small water glass when you’re done with the mustard. It’s strong, full of flavor, absolutely perfect to accompany a pot-au-feu or merguez saussage.
The only thing that can make seared or roasted foods better Fleur de Sel salt. I use this very brand every day in France and so do most French cooks. Let me tell you why: if you splurge on top grade beef and you cover it with Montreal Steak Seasoning you’ve drowned out the beef. Fleur de Sel will not drown any flavor out. What it does is it brings out the best of the food you began with. I use this as a finishing salt that we use at the table, it’s not meant to be used while cooking. It’s crunchy and flaky and flavorful and absolutely perfect. I used to think that surely salt is salt is salt, and chemically that’s correct. The difference is the crunch it adds to the food. You can’t get that with cheap salt.
This is another product I use all the time in France when making strawberry salad. Wash and cut the strawberries, add 1oz of syrup, a little bit of heavy cream and you’re in heaven! Also, most French shoppers don’t stock soda or juices, what they have in their pantry is this syrup. One volume of syrup for 7 volumes of water, stir, YUM! Kids love this, but lots of grown ups love it too. This is a great brand, the same one that has captured most of the market in France because it’s delicious 🙂
French Food Personalities
America had Julia Childs and the fictional Betty Crocker, but in France we also had our food personalities! Here are a couple that stick in my mind.
Maïté, her actual name was Marie-Thérèse Ordonez (Maïté is a usual nickname for Marie-Thérèse). She was nothing like food personalities today. Not gorgeous, not funny (although she laughed a lot), not even particularly charismatic. She had strong feelings about French food and she wasn’t shy about sharing them. Regional French food was her game and she was great at it. I haven’t seen her on TV for eons, she’s getting on in age, but I really enjoyed watching her TV shows back then, she always taught me things I didn’t know about regional French food. To this day there are dishes I think I should try just because she said so 🙂
And there’s also Jean-Pierre Coffe. I first heard him on a funny French radio program called Les Grosses Têtes on RTL with Philippe Bouvard. I just looked it up and that show is still on after 37 years, amazing! Why such longevity? It was funny, bordering on raunchy, had great guests including M. Coffe. Coffe was always cracking jokes and explaining why everyone had it wrong and bringing great tidbits about food. He then appeared on billboards advertising for discount food stores Leader Price. He changed his bright colorful glasses all the time!
So you see, the name of the game in France for a TV food personality was be opinionated! Come to think of it, isn’t that how it is most places?