Objective for Paris: Find and Taste the Parisian Food Culture.
Since I am a stranger to this city, I contacted La Cuisine Paris to participate in one of their newer programs, Bellies on Foot (A Food Walking Tour in English). How did I find them? On the internet of course (thank you world-wide-web)! La Cuisine Paris was highly recommended by fellow foodies so I made sure to book myself a spot as soon as I took care of my flight and hotel room.
Our meeting point was the Louvre-Rivoli Metro (not to be confused with the other lourve metros) where I found my tour guides, Jane (American) and Guillemette (French). I was expecting a big group of us since all of the tickets were SOLD-OUT on the website… however I was pleasantly surprised to see that they limit their tours to 6 people. Can you say quality-control??
Throughout the tour, Jane and Guillemette, introduced us to a variety of shops, as well as restaurants around town. They provided some historical background information as well as present day facts. It was great to see them play off one another by adding information here and there!
Did you know that…
… Les Halles used to be the oldest market in France?? And did you know that they had specific buildings and streets for certain products like meat, dairy, vegetables, etc.??
… the flavor of foie gras depends on the quality of the corn and how happy the bird is??
… there are 93 markets in Paris on various days except for Monday??
… this church was given as a gift by a man named Alais because he taxed the fish at the French markets??
… this is edible?? It’s not a flower… it’s not cauliflower… can you guess what it is??
… it was made using this tool, and all you have to do is wind the handle. It’s a piece of cheese! Flavor was deliciously strong and the texture was light. I saw him preparing this with a cured meat platter and he made me one to sample =) Silent 20 second video!
… when royals from other countries got married to French Kings, they would bring over their own Chefs?? Polish Royal, Marie Leszczynska married King Louis XV in 1725, and brought over her Chef to France. His shop is still here today and is older than the USA!
… these are soaked in Rum?? Baba au Rhum are the shops speciality item and even though I was a little nervous that the alcohol would be too strong for the pastry… it was perfect!
… these are not pieces of candy, they’re sausage bites! And they’re really yummy.
… Poulet de Bresse is the most expensive bird on the market?? They cost approximately 50-60 euro. Not to mention, if you raise this bird on your farm, each bird must have at least 10sq meters. High maintenance much?
… we made a special stop on the tour??
… we ordered La Praluline which is a buttery brioche with pink pralines!
… Jane is great at giving local tips so everyone can get the full French experience??
… I’m carrying the best baguette I had on the trip?? When I took a bite of the bread, flour would just fly off because it was SO FRESH… can you say YUM?!
… you can be part of the La Cuisine Paris family if you take a class or tour with them?? Located in the heart of Paris next to the Hotel De Ville (80 Quai de l’Hôtel de Ville, 75004 Paris), stop-in or book ahead! You’ll be greeted with friendly faces and an excellent, hand-picked staff.
… that the best part of the trip was sitting down at the table with all of the snacks we purchased?? That’s right! Instead of taste testing at each location like a typical food tour, La Cuisine Paris created an intimate environment downstairs in their basement, just so we could relax after our journey and chat over a glass of wine.
… cutting French food is just as important as eating it! Make sure to respect the product by looking at its shape and cut it into slices or wedges.
… Jane and Guillemette asked if we had any preferences at each shop?? So nice of them to consider our preferences, but we let them choose what they thought was best! Look at all of the goodies they picked! Let the tasting begin!
Cheeses: Brie (creamy cheese with white rind), Eposisses (cheese in circular container w/ strong smell & flavor), Comte’ (large rectangle w/ sharp flavor) & Montorgueil (sweet cheese with raisins made by the fromagerie)
Meats: Foie Gras, Saucisson Grignotine (sausage bites), Rillettes de Porc (Shredded Beef) and Saucisson (if the flour comes off of the salami it means that they’re trying to fudge the age of the salami)!
While enjoying this meal, I was SO happy I got a chance to speak with my group members- they were lovely! Big thanks to La Cuisine Paris for providing such a wonderful and unique experience! I’ll be sure to book them for my next trip to Paris!