Friday, October 22, 2010

Holiday Musings - Part 4

aka Foodie Adventures. :D

If I'm not mistaken, this was taken in Sarlat, which
is famous for its foie gras, and listed on our
itinerary. ( Thank you, Google search engine! )

No-one on our tour wanted to try the dish, out of
respect for the poor geese. Our French guide
tried to make the whole process sound like the
most natural thing in the world, but we weren't buying it!

As you can see, there's a lot of canned duck over there.
They also sell canned escargots. Wonder what that tastes like.

A quaint restaurant ( right ) in the same town, where mum and I cooked our own seafood on hot stones for lunch.

Yes, I should've snapped a picture of the meal rather than the
eatery, but somehow, I didn't think the French would like it.

Over at Carcassone, everyone was practically sucked into this beautiful store located near a medieval castle.

And yes, I asked for permission before clicking away. :)

Bought an armload of goodies, mostly cookies and candies. Flavours for the former range from orange and various types of berries, to chocolate and nuts.

The interesting bit is how the cookies didn't go bad
even though it took us more than a week to finish
the stash, and had only a paper bag in which to store them.

Do they taste as good as they look? You bet. They literally melt in your mouth. Yum. :)

Of course, what would a trip to France be without
a little wine-tasting?

Sadly, I'm not a big fan of wine, and couldn't buy
any to present as gifts to friends and relatives ( airline restrictions and all ), but I do enjoy sampling the local fare. For free. ;)

I was very surprised at the affordability of the
products. One bottle of very decent rose wine, for
only 4 Euros!?
The best price I've ever come across anywhere in
countries I've visited. And I've been to vineyards in
Italy, Australia and New Zealand.

In case you're wondering, the booze is from Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

I've included the tree-lined main street in Aix-en-
Provence because I had one of the best slices of
fresh pizza here.
Hot from the oven, the size of my face, dripping
with cheese and tomato sauce. 3 Euros. GAH!

Here's Nice. Took this while waiting for our dinner
at a cafe which served a super-delicious meat-and
noodles dish, totally not what we expected.

And if you read the earlier entry, you may recall my
appreciation for the eye candy, i.e. the many gorgeous waiters. :)

Monaco's Grimaldi Palace is tiny, but the streets
are crammed with people, and finding food when
you're on a tight schedule can be a real nightmare.

Luckily, the restaurants operate like well-oiled
machinery, and we got our main courses within 5

Better still, they were perfectly cooked, I constantly dream about the cream sauce on my escalope.
( Was also served by yet another super-handsome waiter. :))

The lakeside town of Annecy is picturesque and full of friendly locals who're generous with their smiles and greetings.

Believe it or not, we had Vietnames takeout for lunch. Good,
not awesome, but for some reason, sitting on a bench along
the canal and getting sunburnt despite the chilly temperature
made that afternoon very memorable for me.

The lake and mountains are in the other direction. Breath-taking!

Our next stop was the ski resort town of Chamonix,
where we froze our fingers off, in summer no less.
This is the photo I took from my hotel window. The real thing is HUGE. And I mean MASSIVE.
I ironed my clothes facing this! Cool? You bet. :)
Food-wise, we had a wonderful, leisurely afternoon
tea in the centre of town ( seated next to us were 2
hot American men who couldn't figure out what we
were saying - we spoke Mandarin and Hakka to
throw them off ). Followed by a dinner consisting of
heavenly Indian cuisine.
But the absolute best meal I had in France was at
this lovely little hotel in Beaune.
There was a group dinner on arrival, which was
delicious. But the next evening, we splurged on a
MUCH better meal for just the 2 of us.
The chef's Japanese, with jaw-dropping skills.
He made meat-flavoured mousse, which sat on
top of the most amazing aspic. We only ordered the main course, but received 3 additional goodies
before and after, plus macaroons ( with to-die-for
fruit-flavoured dip ) for the finale.
The wagyu beef made me clutch my chest with sheer pleasure,
and I can't even remember what my mom ate, just that she couldn't stop gushing about it either.
I'm sure there's something similar in Singapore taste-wise, but
it would probably cost tonnes more, and tweaked to cater to
Singaporeans' preferences. Nope, not for me.
Flower shot's from Dijon ( right ), where a street market stall sold the most delectable honey-roasted peanuts.
The peanut seller couldn't speak much English, but got really
excited upon finding out where we're from.
The Singaporean landmark he immediately identified with?
None other than Marina Bay Sands. All that gesturing actually
made perfect sense. They should incorporate it into the
official sign language vocabulary!
Once again, the water mill restaurant in Fourges,
with its unbelievable apple pie.
This is another part of the Tuileries Gardens. Put
it up because our hotel's behind that building to the right, and it's surrounded by excellent eateries.
I previously mentioned Angelina's, famous for its
rich hot chocolate brew and millefeuille ( a multi-
layered pastry with cream and custard ), where we
chatted for hours with my penpal, E.
There's also a lovely Irish pub close by, that serves
( I kid you not ) chicken with whiskey sauce, and
steak seasoned with Guinness stout.
I couldn't really taste the liquor ( I love steak! ), but
the beef couldn't possibly be any juicier.
The bartender, who brought us the menus, looked
like a 16-year-old version of Josh Groban, and had
the most adorable Irish accent.
He's obviously at least 18, since he pours booze
for a living. Extremely friendly chap. Wish I could've
chatted with him more, but mom was tired out so we returned to the hotel after filling our stomachs. Darn.
Last but not least, the Notre Dame cathedral.
A restaurant just across the street serves beautiful
escargots, cooked in a sauce with a name that I can't pronounce.
Again, top-notch service from the waiters, especially a bespectacled fellow who presented each platter with dramatic flair - i.e. he would swoop over to the table and move his arm in a wide arc, before setting the plate or bowl down and proclaiming, "Voila!"
It's common practice in France, but he definitely took first prize in terms of showmanship. I regret not tipping on this trip, but interestingly enough, the French don't expect it.
Also recommended: French tea. The leaves are imported from Asia, but blended in France. I LOVE it!
Underwhelming: French ice-cream. It's nothing special. You want the truly fabulous stuff? It's in New Zealand - brand name Tip Top, flavour apricot. Droooool. :)

1 comment:

jhm said...

I suddenly came across this blog after sooooo many years!

French food is amongst the best! Did you manage try macarons from Ladurée and/or Pierre Hermé ? :-)