Hey everyone (again)! Hope you’re all doing well. This time I am writing to you about Food and Drink which is a perfect topic when talking about France. Apologies in advance as there are going to be lots of photos of me posing with food, because if you can’t do it in France, where can you do it?
It is no secret that French people love their food, yet there is the age-old question of how French woman seem be so skinny?! I am starting to comprehend that they love their food, and they eat well, but they eat in proportion. Put it this way, my teachers were all so shocked that eating pizza and chips together was a normal thing back in the UK. However, they also take on the carbs on carbs approach, having bread with almost everything (not that I’m complaining).
One thing I’ve learnt is to never reply ‘cheddar’ when asked by a French person about your favourite cheese. I have had many arguments with my French colocataires about whether cheddar can even be considered as a cheese at all (answer: of course it can). The French absolutely love their cheeses and often have it after a meal. Your typical cheese board will consist of a variety of cheeses from brie all the way to chèvre. Alongside the cheese, there is coffee as well (naturally). As a person who would only ever drink PG tips with milk and two sugars, the transition to coffee is not one I’ve made yet. However, a brilliant alternative to coffee is a chocolat chaud which is a perfect drink for any time of day.
Here is an extremely candid picture another assistant took of me when we met for one of our ‘coffee’ dates. In this photo, we both ordered a chocolat viennois, which in this café in Nice was a very thick dark chocolate drink.
Naturally, to accompany your chocolat chaud you’re going to want something sweet. This is perfect in France as there are so many boulangeries and pâtisseries everywhere. Aside from the classic pain au chocolat, my favourite treat is a fruit tart. I recently celebrated my 21st in France, and the ‘cake’ had to be one of these tarts!
Other amazing foods I have come across (and eaten far too often) in France are: crêpes, pizza (despite not being Italy, pizzas in French restaurants are amazing!), raclette, tartiflette and so many more as you can see below.
Crêpes ‘caramel au beurre salé‘ during a day out in Cannes with another assistant from Cardiff.
A Cardiff meet up in Lyon meant crêpes (again).
This time of year is also great for exploring food and drink as there is a tradition in France with a cake named, galette des rois. This cake is usually eaten on the 6th of January and is a great way for families to come together and celebrate. The cake is either filled with frangipane or some kind of fruit i.e. apple compote (but of course, there are many modern-day modifications). Inside the cake, a fève is hidden. The person who discovers the fève in their piece is the King or Queen (they get to wear a golden crown too!).
Whilst in France, I actually attended a chocolate festival in Lyon. The Salon du Chocolat (http://lyon.salon-du-chocolat.com/accueil.aspx) is an event that is held all over France and brings together some of the best chocolatiers in the business. It cost 10€ to get in, but every seller is dying for you to taste their chocolate, so you get lots of free samples. There were also demonstrations from chefs and students, creating amazing desserts!
There were even sculptures made purely from chocolate!
So to summarise, I have learnt many things about food whilst living in France. The first being that it is almost impossible to stick to a diet when surrounded by such tempting treats 24/7. The French love their food and do great things with it. They are that passionate, that they actually have festivals and celebrations surrounding certain foods. For example, the Fête de la Courge that took place in October.
You definitely wouldn’t find that in Cardiff!
To finish, we have a little game.
Un petit jeu : Try to find the English for the words in bold
caramel au beurre salé
galette des rois
À bientôt !