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  1. Hello everyone -- I am in Paris and I'm looking to purchase an embroidered french chef jacket for a gift. I like the one that Joël Robuchon wears on Gourmet TV Anyone know where I can find high quality jackets in Paris? thanks! -steve
  2. I have a French recipe for polenta cooked in almond milk, which you make yourself by pouring simmering milk over powdered almond and adding a spoon ful of "amande amère" - I know what this means literally, bitter almond -but in practice I have never encountered this as an ingredient. Does anyone know what "form" it takes? Liquid? Powder? Where can I find something like this? Thanks !
  3. To be honest, I think the rue Montorgeuil is a bit overrated. I know that sounds terribly spoilt coming from someone who is lucky enough to live round the corner. But it all feels a bit selfconsciously pretty - with a lot of very second rate cafes. There are lots of other great foodie streets in Paris. My real number one favourite - which I normally keep under my hat - is the rue du Faubourg St Denis. It's not pretty at all which is probably partly why I like it so much. It's a funny sort of mixed ethnic neighborhood with about five Turkish run (I believe) green grocers. You can have endless fun working out the best offers going backwards and forwards along the street. Lots of Halal butchers selling Turkish bread, yoghurt and halva, with stalls outside selling a huge variety of honey drenched sweet meats. Afrocaribbean wig shops and hairdressers. A nice little fishmonger and a great Italian delicatessen with fresh home-made pasta. Further up the street is my all time favourite cheese and wine shop. The lovely chap in charge of the wine looks about 25 and is so enthusiastic and knowledgeable. He's always got something new on the go which he gets his devoted customers to taste, and I inevitably end up buying a couple of bottles. Whenever I've asked him for recommendations he's always spot on. Then there's the passage Brady or whatever it's called which is full of (not particularly good) Indian restaurants (allthough there is an Indian grocer there too which sells home-made mango pickle and delicious home-made samosas, and which is great for stocking up on spices.) I forgot the Chinese grocer with its fresh home-made tofu and which always has good quality Chinese greens on offer. I also forgot the Turkish grocer which seems to be permanently open, even at midnight, and which sells slabs of honeycomb about a foot long, and where they make tour de France jokes if I turn up on my bike. All this takes place behind the splendidly pompous Arch of the Porte St Denis (I think it's called), floodlit at night for further festive effect, on the other side of which is the rue St Denis with its bizarre mixture of sweatshop garment district and ladies of the night (and day, even.) The French shops and the ethnic shops somehow complement eachother perfectly. You see immaculate little old French dames buying their two carrots and stick of celery standing in the same queue as a North African guy buying a pot of harissa paste. It feels like a street that belongs to a real living neighborhood. Rue Montorgeuil I think is in danger of suffering from bland trendiness.
  4. I usually order some cheese from France about this time of year - and I always order a Vacherin Mont D'Or. Isn't on my favorite cheese site now - or on any other cheese site I've looked at. Am I a bit too late in ordering this seasonal cheese - is it sold out - or did something else happen to it? It's one of my favorites - and I'm sad that I can't find it. Robyn
  5. We've finally run through our stores of olive oil, including the generous gifts that friends had brought, from Italy, Spain and Turkey. It is time to restock. We'll be in the South in a week's time. We started out buying from Alziari, in Nice; the quality was consistent, and buying in bulk, in the shop, meant that the prices were reasonable. Alziari's oil has a pleasant buttery taste, but it's a bit boring. There's an oil cooperative at Opio, and their product isn't bad, but the quality/price ratio wasn't great. A few years ago we discovered Alain Baussy, whose olives grow at Spéracédes but who has an outlet in Le Cannet; he also sells at local markets. This oil has a nice clean taste, but with flavour. That's what I am looking for: oil that tastes of the fruit, but without a muddied character. Of course it needs to be just at the right level of freshness: some of the oils in the shops are either over the hill (rancid) or too young, with an unpleasant peppery burn. I'm very happy with Baussy's product but also interested in other recommendations. For example, has anyone tried the Moulin Sainte-Anne in Grasse, or the Moulin à huile Lottier in Menton?
  6. Ok, so my upcoming family reunion (July 24) has a French theme and I have to bring dessert. I'm not a dessert person and a lot of the recipes I find say "serve immediately" or "warm in an oven before serving". I have to make something that will make the couple hour trip and then sit for a few hours after that. I'd like something easy to medium difficulty (my level being culinary school graduate but minimal experience in dessert). Also it has to feed about 50 people. I considered individual creme brulee, creme caramel, pots de creme, etc. but then I'd have to spring for the ramekins (and probably lose most of them at the reunion). Tarte tatin is best served warm and I don't want to risk there not being room in the oven where we will be. I can see making a pie or cake. Or maybe crepes and toppings? Anyway, any ideas?
  7. Just as we have some traditional foods associated with the Fourth Of July in the United States, I began to wonder if the same applies to France and their similar holiday. Are there any specific foods for this celebration? The threads here to date, were focused primarily upon what restaurants served but what about personal, home meals?
  8. Cheese Meat Lunch Terrines & Deli Items Local Specialites Use these for Cassoulet These Hams are from Savoie From the Italian Traiteur who can get the fresh ricotta Happy Weekend! -Lucy
  9. Has anyone returned to the US with foie gras since the new regulation went into effect? Is the regulation being enforced in regards to individual travelers (as opposed to importers)? Ignored? Anyone want to talk about it?
  10. I'm trying to perfect my "cake aux olives". I collected quite a number of recipes, and some of them call for sashet/packet de levure chimique. Can somebody tell me how much it will be in grams or spoons? thanks.
  11. I am always attentive to the commentaries who can be made by some journalist about the quality of an exquice grocery in Paris or in France. Nevertheless it happens that there is always a confusion made in those commentaries betwen an exquisite shop in France and a products of the soil shop. An exquisite generally shows some luxury products,great wines,french of international,destined to luxury customers. A products of the shop shows some unknown products of the soil from some provinces of France. Generally the prices are sage and the target is to promote the little artisan. In this last case the clientèle is more popular. I always visit some french gastronomic exhibitions in Paris as "paris fermier" and I always remarked that the artisans assert the notion of the notion "product of the soil" more than the notion of "luxury product". There is one journalist,Mr Vincent Ferniot,on The french TV emission TV "télé mation" who has always made the difference betwen luxury products and products of the soil. Obviously he is not the only one the journalist who made the difference,but I would like that in the future the commentators to be more precise in this field!
  12. Salut tout le monde, I had been invited by Mr. Buxbaum to contribute to the French message board here on EGullet. I suppose he felt that an American cook working in a Michelin two star French kitchen (Provencal to be more precise) could be of some value. I hope the rest of you share his opinion. I guess an introduction of myself is in order. I am a second generation Korean American born and raised in So Cal, who after receiving a double degree in English and Economics from UCLA, decided he would rather hang up the cap and gown for a toque and apron. Actually, its amazing that I graduated at all since I spent more time watching the Food Network and/or reading cookbooks than attending lectures or reading textbooks (an exaggeration that isn't too far from the truth). Yet, like many of the recently graduated, I found the "real" world a bit too harsh to jump right into-- afterall, I was just "deconstructing" the parables of Kierkegaard, Kafka and Nietsche, how could you expect me to peel 30 lbs of potatoes, strain 12 gallons of chicken stock and/or peel and devein 10 lbs of shrimp. So I did like many disconcerted graduates do-- I continued onto "higher education", but unlike them, I wasn't pursuing the masters or Phd from an acclaimed univerisity, I was pursuing a clearer consomme, a more uniform cut, a more sensible garnish from a cooking school. However, I didn't opt for the highly regarded Culinary Arts Degree from Johnson and Wales or the CIA--frankly I had enough student loans to contend with, and cook's just don't get paid all that much-- I opted for a small cooking school with a knowledgable professor who had strong connections with Wolfgang Puck (if all I learned from college was that it isn't what you know but who you know, I learned enough). Thus, even before I finished cooking school, I began working at Chinois on Main (Wolfgang Puck's Asian-inspired restaurant in Santa Monica), as a line cook. This career student was tired of being broke (as a matter of fact, I'm still tired of being broke)--plus, I finally realized that there was no better classroom than on the job training, especially when it comes to cooking. I liken it to any performing art (especially sports); there is a rhythem, a sense of timing that can only be fine tuned under the pressure of performance-- under the heat of service. Speaking of heat, my first station can be compared to life on the planet Mercury. I started at the grill station, where 60 lbs of red hot mesquite radiates temperatures that only the most evil people feel in their illfated afterlife. Great for searing steaks and grill marking salmon, but murder on one's complexion. Needless to say, after a year on the grill, I was ready (with skin on my hands that could be made into cowboy boots) to change stations. If murdering lobsters is considered a sin, I will be condemned to eternity on the grill. Chinois on Main is famous for its Curried Lobster, where I cut in half, seared and shelled an average of 30 lobsters a night--most always each a la minute. One can tell when a cook has been working the lobster station for an extended period of time, he/she has a callous where the back end of there weapon of choice (usually a 10 inch chef's knife) has aggravated the skin just under there cutting hand's index finger. Afterwards, a six month stint working the pantry (appetizer station, or garde manger in French) and another six month stint working as Chinois' butcher/day time prep, and I felt I had the experience, and most importantly the knife/cooking skills to head to France. I researched the employment scene here in France and the proposition of finding a good restaurant which would accept an American cook with very rusty French language skills and found it very near implausible. First you have to find a chef who would go through all the red tape (and in France, if you've ever read Kafka, its all about bureaucracy); add in the fact that there is double digit unemployment and that equals big time obstacles. Thank goodness for connections. Here is were Wolfgang stepped in. As it turned out, he had done an apprenticeship at a famous Michelin three star (at the time) in Provence, Oustau de Baumaniere. Having kept in contact with the owner/chef, Jean Andre Charial over the years, it was just a matter of a phone call, a fax and some emails, and voila, a staggaire's poistion at a highly acclaimed French restaurant-- a dream come true. Well I wished it was that easy. If you ever ask a favor from a chef, you'd better be able to repay, or in my case, prepay it tenfold. Before I was to leave for France, I had to work, in my opinion, the lowest of low positions (which didn't require me to wash dishes) at Spago, Beverly Hills. Of course, one could be stuck, peeling potatoes or washing lettuce, but at least it wasn't cooking 30 lbs of potatos (20 lbs of russet for the aligot, and 10 lbs of yukon gold, for the garlic mashed potatos)--a proposition which requires cutting the potatos into equally sized pieces, constant stirring, heavy lifting (and I thought I knew how to mash potatoes-- was I ever wrong), passing all the potatoes through a ricer, stirring in cream, butter, salt and pepper, to achieve a lump free, and grit free mashed potato that was worthy of fine dining. Well, it sounds easier than it is, and when my chef de partie told me my mashed potatoes were overcooked and that I had to start all over again, I nearly took my first life (I could have killed him or myself). Well with newly found muscles, which ached for weeks to come, I thought I had paid my dues, but as the old Chinese saying goes, "Oh, so sorry." Wolfgang had decided that I was to cook for him. The Austrian accented voice went something like, "I have to know how you cook before I can send you to France. I am free after lunch service tommorrow, sometime around one (o'clock). Make me three things and cook everything here", to which I reply, "But I am scheduled to work tommorrow at 3 (o'clock PM)," to which he frankly replied, "Thats your problem." Oh, by the way, this all occured at eleven P.M., just after I finished my shift and was saying my goodbyes. Obviously, I didn't get much sleep-- researching recipes til 4:30 in the morning and then waking up at 6:30 to go an Asian Market and then off to Spago to start cooking. Remarkably, I wasn't the first person in Spago that morning, but the place was near empty. I got to work right away, and by the time Wolfgang came to see me, it was about one o'clock. I vividly remember his words, "I'm hungry, when are you going to be ready?"; translation, "on your marks, GO (there was no time to get set)!" I prepared three Korean inspired dishes: Korean beef barbeque lettuce wrap with mung been sprout salad, seared black bass in a spicy Korean red sauce atop braised daikon radish, and butter poached lobster in a Kafir lime leaf lobster sauce accompanied by Korean pancakes and avocado. Fortunately, I had adequate time to prepare, unfortunately, there were still lunch orders coming in and I had to share burners with the other cooks--very cramp. After much apologizing and excuse mes, the last of the three dishes went out, and I sighed a sigh of relief; a shortlived relief which ended when the waiter returned stating, "Wolfgang would like you to prepare an three egg omelet with smoked salmon." Talk about out of left field, I was definately illprepared. I knew how I liked omelets, but I didn't know the "fine dining" version. I lightly scrambled the eggs, incorporated some heavy cream, found a nonstick skillet and began slowly cooking and scraping (don't know a better word) the omelet with a rubber spatula, which helps to build volume and to evenly cook the eggs. When the omelet started to become opaque, I added the smoked salmon, flipped the omelet into a halfmoon, added a dallop of creme fraiche and garnished it with some minced dill. Boy was I proud of that omelet (until recently, when I discovered the French do it entirely different-- a matter for another post). After I cleaned up, the same waiter came back and told me to go to Wolfgang's table. I was surprised to see Wolfgang wasn't alone-- there sat Lee Hefter, head chef of Spago, and Matt (the sous chef, who's last name I can't remember). Lee was the first to speak, saying something like, "(Y)ou know how to cook Korean, so I guess its about time you learned to cook French. The dishes were excellent and the black bass was cooked to perfection. Congratulte yourself." Then Wolfgang chimed in, "I remember the first time I worked in a restaurant, the chef told me to cook an egg; so as you can imagine, I was so nervous. I cooked it and it had bubbles around the edges. He took one look at it and through it on the floor. 'You cannot cook a simple egg,' he told me, 'how do you expect to work here.' I was terrified." I didn't know exactly what to take from his story at the time, but I was generally encouraged by the whole experience. Although now, I understand that was Wolfgang's way of saying, you think its tough here, well wait until you work in Europe/France. Words of a prophet. Having been working at Baumaniere for nine months, I can now comprehend the full magnitude of Wolfgang's brief anecdote. My second day at Baumaniere found me making nearly one thousand chicken, leek and truffle filled raviolis. My hands are calloused but not blisterproof-- a fact that the ravioli cutter (a cookie cutter thing) pounded home after my first couple hours of ravioli limbo (9 hours a day for four days sraight). It was great because I had never seen that many truffles (slices) in my life, and my hands were fragrant with its precious aroma-- a peculiar juxtapostion to the blisters. My first month found me doing all manner of menial tasks-- va chercher this, va chercher that, lave this, coupe that, depeche toi, plus vite and toute de suite. I didn't gain any ground in the hierarhcy until the demi chef de partie garde manger, a Japanese staggaire, decided he wanted to learn another station some three months later. To my delight, and now regret, I took over the more demanding position in the French manner, toute de suite. I say regret because with all the authority I now have over all the other commis and apprentices, I have that much more responsibility-- a fact my chef de partie never lets me forget. Plus, I take over as chef de partie when my chef isn't there, which he hasn't been for the last two weeks (a cooking event with the gourmet food outlet, Marshall Field, in the Great Lakes region). The brief breakdown of this means I had just spent three consecutive weeks without a day off, working some 80+ hours a week. I guess when your the American staggaire who doesn't get paid by the hour, they can go ahead and work you to death. What exascerbated my predicament was the day before my chef left, the menu underwent its spring makeover-- I had to start everything from scratch. Plus, the sous chef in charge of creating the menu never ceases to change the dishes--eradicating every ounce of comfort I have with the daily mis en place (means everything in its place, a culinary term for all of your daily preperations) and I have to come up with one new amuse bouche (any little taste that will fit on a spoon) and three new mis en appetit (three small bowls filled usually with a soup, a puree, a gellee or any daily inspired creation) everyday. A daunting task when one considers I worked with one other cooking student/apprentice the entire time (it still being the offseason, we are highly understaffed). Wow, I feel a whole lot better now that I got that off my chest I really am joking when I say regret because I truly value my experience here. If one looks at the bright side, I have a nice small room with a closet, bed and sink, partake two edible meals a day, receive a bit of pocket change for all my efforts and normally get a day and a half off everyweek. OK, without being facetious, I am in a region where excellent olive oil is grown and pressed, where good Appelation Les Baux de Provence wines are produced and where fresh French baguettes are baked daily-- a gourmand's dream come true. Also, I get to play around with some amazing ingredients, cook through a portion of Paul Bocuse's ancient tome, "Paul Bocuse, La Cuisine du Marche," (although I do take tremendous liberties in its interpretation)* and work on my chef skills (especially the yelling--its hard to get these apprentices motivated otherwise). Plus, I get my monthly quota of travel in. Oh yeah, did I mention that Baumaniere has one of the largest and finest collections of French wines in the world-- 3rd largest restaurant wine list in all of France--well that was before the the 2002 New Years Eve fire ransacked a small portion of the wine cellar. Luckily, as far as I know, all the fine Bordeaux and Burgundies were left intact. With that to chew on, I hope I can add a welcome perspective to a well coordinated and interesting message board. Thanks for reading, Simon Sunwoo *Having read some of the other posts, there seems to be a generally negative view of Bocuse's cuisine. Is it too antiquated or stagnant? Am I missing something here, because it is highly regarded by most of my colleagues?
  13. October 19 through 22 are the dates for the annual Fermier show at Espace Champeret in Paris. 200+ artisanal producers of charcuterie, cheese, seasalt, honey, confitures, confiture du lait, eau de vie, calvados, fruit wine, and more than I can remember set up booths, discuss and sell their products. Samples are offered on almost everything that is for sale. There is a raw bar set up, as well as a cafe for lunch. This year I will come prepared with an empty carrier bag and will do serious Christmas shopping. On October 20 and 21 at the Bourse du Commerce, the twice a year Marche du Chocolat takes place. Over 20 of France's best chocolatiers offer samples and sell their product. There are many artisanal exhibits: chocolate molding, construction and decorating; and for the really serious, classes and seminars. From October 31 to November 4, the Salon du Chocolat takes place at the Carrousel du Louvre, exhibiting chocolatiers from all over Europe.
  14. Inspired by FoodMan's thread on his Houston Cassoulet, I offer the following blog as my conversion to Clay Pot cooking... For seven years, I have made Cassoulet as my traditional Christmas meal. Back in September, I started the hunt for a traditional Cassole in this thread into which I could prepare my Cassoulet this year. I was unsuccessful in acquiring one of my own, but fortune shined upon me as one was offered as a loaner (therein lies a whole other fabulous story of a budding friendship ). Inspired by Paula Wolfert's November Food and Wine article on Clay Pot Cooking, I opted to utilize her recipe from The Cooking of South West France. It is an extensive, three-day affair. Day 1... Seasoning various pork products to sit overnight in a fridge: Day 2 The hard work begins First it was to sort and soak the beans: Then I had to blanch the pork skin and salt pork: I browned some pork butt: And added mire poix: Then the blanched pork goes in along with some fresh hocks: Adding the prosciutto, tomato, and stock: And then the beans: Day 3 Ragout of cooked pork and beans (basically, everything but the sausages & confit) The confit is ready: So are the Toulousian sausages: Starting to layer into the Clay Pot: Several hours later, Cassoulet is served! The Chef gets the first taste! Loved by all! I'm a complete convert. Within three days, I headed to Chinatown to procur a Chinese Sand Pot for my next clay pot experiment.
  15. In the Market street in les Halles thread the discussion turned to bakeries and bakery chains. Bux wrote: Paul is part of a large family firm, Groupe Holder, which has multiple ranges: Paul, for more or less artisanally baked bread, Moulin Bleu, which does bread and baked goods on an industrial scale for retail stores and hospitals, and Saint Preux, a fast food chain specialising in breads and viennoiserie. Paul itself has 240 outlets in France (some of which are franchised, in locations such as railway stations and airports) and some 30 outside France, including London, Tokyo, Osaka, Morocco, Spain, Dubai. I believe they retain the practice of never opening a new shop without sending staff from one of the existing shops to transmit their methods. There seem to be different sorts of "chain" bakeries: Those like Paul, where the product is entirely prepared on premises. Sometimes the quality at these places can be very good. We often buy bread at le Petrin Ribeirou, a franchised chain specialising in pain au levain. Sometimes -- not consistently -- this bread rivals Poîlane's product in taste and texture. Those where the dough is prepared centrally, but the bread baked locally. Most of the supermarket "in store bakeries" seem to work in this way "Dépots de pain", or bread outlets, where bread prepared and baked centrally is sold over the counter. ]Some supermarket "bakeries" work in this way. Despite a resurgence of interest in artisanal baking in France, I suspect that the chains will continue to prevail. My guess is that the economics of a standalone bakery, except in very "high traffic" locations, are not very good. The chains must be able to realise savings in purchasing ingredients and equipment, as well as to smooth out a seasonal dip in demand in one location through increases in demand in others. The good news is that it probably isn't necessary to go to the high volume, factory-made product (Moulin Bleu, in the Groupe Holder example above) in order to make an attractive return. A chain like Paul or Ribeirou can have all the bread prepared, baked and sold locally, yet realise scale economies through central purchasing.
  16. Let Them Eat Truffles (Craig S. Smith) (from this weekend's DIGEST. You may have to scroll down for the appropriate link.) Globalization at its worst! What next, foie gras from Hong Kong? But you know what? It wouldn't surprise me one bit...all things considered. What do you think? Soba
  17. I am currently enrolled in the Institute of Culinary Education Culinary Management program in New York City. I am looking into Culinary Arts programs following graduation in September in and around New York, but would also like to consider programs in France (Paris, Lyon, Southwest... just about anywhere). One of my main interests is in charcuterie and I was hoping someone could tell me about some of the better charcuterie programs in France. I am particularly interested in learning to prepare and age hams and dried sausages. Can anyone point me to some information on culinary programs in France that are particularly strong in charcuterie? I am interested in full-time programs as well as shorter-term intensive programs.
  18. As I was flipping through the December issue of Vogue last night, I came across an article on Lobster Souffle by Jeffrey Steingarten. The piece talked about two different lobster souffle recipes that supposedly reminded Steingarten the one he had as a teenager in Paris, that had set him on the course of gastronomic discovery. One of them involved taking the souffle mixture from Jacque Pepin's Complete Technique and the Lobster preparation from Julia Child's Cooking with Master Chef and the sauce from either and putting it together. The other was developed between Steingarten and Didier Elena (executive chef of Alain Ducasse), which you have to send away for the recipe. The whole venture supposedly takes about 10 hours. Has anyone ever tried this? The dish sounds fascinating and I would would be willing to give it a shot on some weekends but as I don't have either books from Julia Child or Jacque Pepin, I have no idea what he was talking about. I've sent away for the recipes and is stiill waiting but anyone else who wants to try it and compare notes with me can send an email to lobstersouffle@earthlink.net. source: vogue article December issue
  19. I am fixing a Sunday Brunch for a dear friend's birthday on Sunday (duh). She is an absolute freak about Coquille St. Jaques. My sister and I have looked at a few recipes and none of them seem just right. We could take what we think is good from each and come up with our own (a successful venture with other dishes) but I thought I would ask this august body of experts for their thoughts. Other items on the menu are likely to be a fruit cup, roasted asparagus (she loves that, too), french bread, champagne... what else? We probably won't do dessert because none of us are dessert eaters. We will probably go out shopping in Kemah and get a snowcone for a sweet later. Your eGullet brilliance, please!
  20. A question has arisen in the Montreal/Quebec forum about the provenance of game in France. Carswell has alerted us to the fact that in France, as opposed to North America, restaurants and shops are allowed to sell wild hunted game as well as farm-raised. I understand that much of the game available in France now comes form Eastern Europe, particularly Poland. Is that true and is this Polish game wild or farmed? All that said, I would still assume that restaurants specializing in game such as au Petit Marguery would still offer the highest quality, namely hunted meat. Any information to be added to the discussion? For the original dissussion see, http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=ST...=0entry332462
  21. A friend of mine is going to be spending 3 weeks in France in July. I was thinking of putting together a (relatively) simple and (very) delicious French-themed meal for him before he goes away. I'm sure there's a lot of room for debate here, but what are some classic French recipes that shouldn't be overlooked? I'll probably just do a salad/appetizer course (frisee aux lardons?), a main, and a dessert. What dishes would YOU put on a great French menu? Thanks.
  22. i am looking for the BEST beef wellington recipe. i have seen a few and they use mushrooom instead of goose liver. i am looking for goose liver. thanks
  23. Just returned from a week in Paris and Aix-en-Provence. Unfortunately not much of an eating report to provide. Two small kids meant that dinner more often than not was in the hotel room. But this meant that we had to venture out to the "hypermarche" quite a bit, and one thing that caught my eye was the ubiquity of the Reflets de France brand. Apparently this is Carrefour's house brand of regional gastronomic products - all have allegedly been vetted personally by Joel Robuchon, who I guess has become quite a man of the people, what with his cooking show and Atelier. Each product is produced by subcontractors in the region of origin who are supposed to use traditional recipes and incorporate AOC ingredients where applicable. The brand is sold by Carrefour but also by other retailers as well. One thing I noticed was that these are REALLY cheap. Brioche tressée vendéenne for a couple bucks, pâté de campagne breton for about 2.50, if I recall correctly. While they tasted good to my uneducated taste buds, I was wondering if august members of this group had a different opinion. And, perhaps more importantly, how do people perceive Reflets de France as a symptom of social change? Does it reflect a growing awareness among consumers of the need to preserve regional cuisines and support local producers? Or does it simply reflect the disappearance of specialized retailers to sell these regional products and the need for a mass marketer to take their place?
  24. I'd like to try making duck confit, but I'm wondering whether using fats other than the actual duck fat is, like, sacrilege, or something. Because frankly, where in the world do you get the amount of duck fat called for in a duck confit without roasting 40 ducks in a row first? Googling, I see substitutions such as olive oil, canola, lard, etc. Is this okay? Do they work as well in terms of preserving the duck? Is one better than another? Help?
  25. JAZ

    The myth of mirepoix

    So I know that mirepoix -- the mix of onion, celery and carrots typical in French cooking -- is supposed to be the backbone or starting point of stocks, broths, soups and sauces. Having learned much of my cooking from traditional texts like Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I absorbed that lesson. For years I made my stock with the trio and then used that for soups and sauces. Then I started making my stock without anything but meat and bones and decided it made for a much better result -- if I want the taste of vegetables I add them later. I gradually stopped automatically using mirepoix and found that in most cases, it made an improvement in my cooking. I was reminded of this recently when I made tomato soup using a recipe I found that called for the usual mix of onion, carrot and celery. I figured I'd give it a try again, but sure enough, it wasn't great. Not only was the tomato flavor severely muted, but since the soup was only partially blended, it also left little bits of carrot and celery in the soup, which were offputting. I'm glad I gave it a try, because now I know I was right. No more mirepoix for me (at least not automatic mirepoix). Am I the only one?
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