It's early morning here in Vancouver and I just came back from my long vacation in France and Italy. I've tried different strategies to beat jet lag, but nothing worked. It's 3 am here (noon over there) and both my brain and my stomach are still working on European time!
Something tells me that as time goes by, I will miss those Provencal and Ligurian brunch bites more and more ... As well as the lifestyle, culture, history, streets of Paris and crickets and smells of Provencal villages.
So before I start forgetting, let me sort my photos and notes and put some thoughts in writing about places I visited in France and Italy with a focus on, of course, cuisine.
I have collected interesting regional recipes, culinary ideas and stories.
My camera caught moments from Paris to Provence and French and Italian Riviera, and some 1000 km road trip photo journal Sanremo - St. Tropez - Lyon - Paris.
I will try to transfer some of my impressions from this trip, from time to time in my posts, so stay tuned!
So bienvenue to the first stop in my French journal:
Summer in Paris is so packed with tourists, you have to be ready for long lineups or give it up for other "less touristy" but not less interesting things.
|Notre Dame cathedrale|
Our hotel was in Montparnasse area, 30-min stroll from Eiffel Tower, but Parisian metro turned out as an excellent option to explore the city.
|Champs Elisees trafic jam|
Formula for good morning in Paris and other French cities is actually "the formula"- croissant, juice and coffee, advertised from almost every bulangerie and cafe shop. I also noticed popularity of Nespresso and Nescafe in France. For an espresso fan like me, I must admit, Nespresso makes great espresso, with no mess!
Continuing with grocery selection in Paris supermarkets, I can't forget varieties of French cheeses and milk products. There is one gourmet product I became a huge fan of: sheep milk yogurt with mashed chestnut. It's not hard to make it at home with the recipe I show later on at the end of this post. Sheep milk is a must to achieve the perfection!
Another highlight from French supermarkets was, of course, wine selection, again for a fraction that we have to pay in North America. Those evil North American liquor taxes!
I have also learned few interesting facts about the famous Poilâne bread: There is the Poilâne bread, and there is also the Max Poilâne bread. Max and Lionel Poilâne are brothers who, after their father original store opened in Paris, continued their work separately but basically with the same original father's recipes. I have tried both breads and they pretty much taste same for me. Parisians still argue, which one is better. There is one big difference between them, and that is their price. Max's bread is significantly cheaper, available in ordinary supermarkets and relatively unknown outside of France.
1.1 lbs wheat flour
0.11 lbs granulated sugar
0.42 oz. salt
0.53 oz. fresh yeast or 0.26 dry yeast
diluted in a cup of water
7 oz. room temperature butter
7-8 branches of fresh mint
3-4 small brioche pans (optional)
4 cups (0.5 kg) wheat flour
10 tsp (50 gr) granulated sugar
1 tbs (12 g) salt
1.5 tsp instant dry yeast diluted in a
1 cup of tepid water
200 gr room temperature butter
branches of fresh mint
small brioche pans (optional)
Strip the mint leaves from their stems, rinse them and chop them in small pieces.
In a large bowl or on a counter, combine the flour with the salt, the granulated sugar, and the yeast.
Add the eggs – one by one – to the mix.
Blend in the butter and the mint leave bits.
Create a loaf and place in a floured bowl. Cover with the cotton cloth and let rest for an hour.
Recreate a loaf and let it rest for 20 min.
Cut the dough into 3 pieces. You can either create 3 small brioche loaves or 1 larger braid.
Cover your creation with the cloth and let it rest until it doubles in volume. Poilane have on their web page fun and interesting baking instruction sheet. I added it here.
1 cup of plain cow milk yougurt
1 l of whole sheep milk
8 tbsp of mashed cooked chestnut
Pour the yogurt into a bowl and the milk gradually, stirring constantly with a whisk.
Divide the mashed chestnuts in pots. Fill the pots with mix of plain yogurt and sheep milk and place them in a yogurt maker, or if you don't have a yogurt maker, just leave them on the counter for about two days to ferment the milk. Close the yogurt lids.
After two days, check yogurt's fermentation and thickness and transfer it to the fridge for next few days before consuming.