I love food. It is so much fun to try crazy new things because you never know when you might discover one of your new favorite things (ex: I now love eating beets!). You also learn a lot about a country and its culture through the food. So naturally over the course of my semester in France, I kept an open mind when it came to food and always tried a bite before I refused anything. This led to me discovering many delicious foods and a few odd ones here and there.
Here is a summary post of some of the highlights of my french food experience:
Things that I loved/liked/would eat again
tapenade – Evelyne and I first tried this olive oil spread after we purchased it fresh from the market in Aix. Then it became a regular part of my life in France.
brandade – This was another item that Evelyne had me try from the market, it is boiled cod with garlic, potatoes, and anchovies all mashed up together in a spread.
fromage au chèvre – Goat cheese is extremely popular in France. Although I don’t normally like cheese, I enjoyed the extremely fresh and creamy cheese smeared on a piece of baguette.
fennel – Evelyne served this veggie as a crudité before many dinners. My best description of it – an anise (black licorice) flavored cross of celery and onion.
beets – This was another crudité served before dinner. I had not eaten many beets before, but I loved the way these tasted – all that was added to the cold beets was a little bit of olive oil, vinegar, salt, and garlic.
pain au chocolat – my absolute favorite pastry (highlights were in Cassis and in Paris)
Orangina – we have that in the states, but it is definitely not as popular as in France.
violet tea - Evelyne and I would have tea time around 4 pm on the weekends, and we always brewed some violet tea.
parisian falafels – Never have I ever eaten such a delicious pita filled with green falafel balls and other delicious veggies.
frambosier – a delicious cake that was made of meringue, raspberries, and vanilla cake
Things that weren’t my favorite
pâté - None of the meat spreads really pleased my palate.
hearts of palms with mustard sauce – We attempted to add this to the pre-dinner crudités, but then decided to stick to fennel and beets.
any stinky cheese – If it wasn’t melty or extremely fresh from the market, it wasn’t my favorite. Neither was the smell that the refrigerator had for the entire week after it was purchased, despite that it was wrapped in foil, placed in tupperware, and sealed in the bottom drawer.
grilled squid heads with olive oil – One bite was enough to know.
foie gras – I was given a taste of this duck spread on a baguette one night as I was wrapping up some homework before dinner. After the second attempt at liking this French speciality, I had to resort to Evelyne’s not super popular but sometimes used method of getting rid of food – flung out the window. Hopefully some happy french pup enough those three bites left. Needless to say, I didn’t ask for seconds of that appetizer.
tarte tatin – Evelyne’s upside down caramel apple tart that is heavenly!
home-made pasta sauce - Evelyne made a mean tomato bolognese sauce.
the jarred italian arrabiata sauce
raclette – In the past I had eaten raclette, but that was the German way. I didn’t even know there were different ways to eat this melty cheese meal, but I soon found out that in France you just melt the cheese in the little machine and then you pour that over your assortment of potatoes, meat, and veggies. Instead of making a little dish of various things and then melting the cheese directly on top of it (the German method).
tarte tatin aux eshallots – I tasted my favorite restaurant’s version of the upside down pie as an appetizer, but it was caramelized shallots covered in melty goat cheese. Imagine French onion soup in pie format and better.
thé/café gourmand – You must get this for dessert whenever you eat at a French restaurant. It is either a tea or an expresso with miniatures of all of the desserts offered that night – so you get a warm drink AND you get to taste all of the desserts that you were deciding between!
menu grec – my friends and I loved to frequent this little greek shop where we would get these delicious pita sandwiches!
any of the fish dishes I tried at Drole d’Endroit (my favorite restaurant in Aix)
There was plenty of other delicious food in between, but those were some of my favorite dishes and favorite stories related to food. Meanwhile, I’ve been re-adjusting to my American food – Brunton Dairy chocolate milk, burgers, Chipotle, macaroni and cheese, home made dinners…