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Ptipois

French vs American beef

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Strange that it's become so easy to find grass-fed, dry-aged beef in the US now. Just go into any Whole Foods.

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You are looking at the different type of fats that are prevalent in the US corn-fed beef (Omega 6) vs French grass-fed Beef (Omega 3). According to the latest findings on these two fats, the later is the one that is lacking in most US/english diets where corn-fed factory farming is abundant......this not only helps us understand the way fats play an important role in our diet, butr also that too much Omega 6 can lead to obesity and many disease. Also, grass-fed beef is lower in calories, lower in saturated fat, more beta-carotene, more tender, and darker in colour....maybe the French Paradox is not a paradox at all!!!!

I live in Australia and there has been a big increase in the demand for grass-fed, free-range, organic meat. I only buy it. I like to shop at local farmer's markets (similar to France) for seasonal produce.

Health aside, I do believe that the way factory farmed beef is produced for the mass (junk food) market to be utterly futile.....I commend and applaud markets/farmers/etc that are going against the dominant and doing something better for the environment and the animals they rear.

I am off to Paris for Xmas and New Year and I am looking forward to enjoying a few good boeuf dish or two! :)


Melbourne, Australia

'One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.' ~Virginia Woolf

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So far the best beef i've found within reasonable distance of Paris is in London.

It's a butcher called Jack O'Shea and specialise in dry aged beef. They aged it anything from 30 to 50 days to your liking. The marbling ranges from good to exeptional.

Tetedeveau - had meant to reply to this earlier but it slipped though the cracks.

You don't have to go to London to find Jack O'Shea - he also has a shop in Brussels in Rue Titian. Details http://www.jackoshea.com/shops-contact.php- but maybe both shops are equally out of the way for most Parisiens so the tip may be of limited value on this thread.

The beef is aged Irish Black Angus and is so good that I have stopped eating beef when I eat out (this applies to Paris as well as Brussels). The only exception would generally be when Jack is the restaurant's supplier - that would include Heston Blumenthal in the UK and Le Canne en Ville in Brussels. This is not the cheapest shop in Brussels but it is worth the price.

Bad news is that I don't think either shop does mail order.

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Travelling to Brussels is almost easier and faster than going to some parisian suburbs!

As for mail order, apparently, it's being distributed by the UK "Natoora". I don't know if the Angus beef you can buy on the French website comes from O'Shea...

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I love this thread. I want to print it out and study it next time I have a long train ride.

Having grown up in other countries and now living in Paris, I have this take:

It seems that different countries/cultures prioritize a given meat feature, and its industry and agriculture will cultivate that feature at the expense of other features.

Maybe for this reason, I too, like John T, took years to appreciate French beef, after living in the States. I used to - and maybe still do - miss the texture of American beef most. It is a pleasure to sink one's teeth into a piece of American beef.

But I have learned to love French beef for the combo of fat and lean, which enhances the taste.

If I may do something as criminal as paraphrasing Nabokov... Which beef do I prefer? My teeth say American, my tongue says French.

I don't get the adulation of tenderness in certain countries/cultures. Maybe the inhabitants have no teeth? :biggrin:

And all the so-called kobe beef in America now that is all tenderness and no taste, what's that about?

:wacko:

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It is interesting, that the French, if they don't use either of the above mentioned races, often use (in the 3*) Simmental (which is German, Bavarian) beef. The story is even better, as the vast majority of the Simmental's production is exported, and chefs like Erfort have to re-import the stuff. From a few people, who know their beef, I have heard unanimous praise for Simmental stuff. If you look on Gastroville's Flickr album, he has some pictures of stunning, well-aged SImmental beef.

The problem in French butchers and good restaurants is more the ageing (which is a problem in the whole of Europe, some exceptions excluded). No one will age their stuff for more than a month, at least not unless you ask for it.

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Yes it is quite bizarre. When I last was at Erfort, he was telling me that there is absolutely no way of getting that beef in Germany. He has to order it in France, which isn't problematic seeing that he is in Saarbruecken, but it tells you a lot about it.

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Simmental Cattle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Simmental are a versatile breed of cattle originating in the valleys of the Simme river, in the Bernese Oberland of western Switzerland.

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More from Wikipedia

the Simmental breed has contributed to the creation of several other famous European breeds including the Montbeliarde (France)

and (checking Comt\'e cheese)

The AOC regulations state that:

* Only milk from Montbéliarde cows are permitted, and each must have at least a hectare of grazing.

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you are right, they come from Switzerland (which I didn't know). But, at least some part of the production seems to come from Germany, at least that's what the chefs who use it told me.

To the comte AOC regulations you could add that they have to grase at altitudes of 1200m and more.

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Felix:

Your remark induced me to post. Then the genetic relation of the Comt\'e cheese cows induced the next post. Comt\'e is considered to be related to Swiss gruyere (I had Rolf Beeler's version of the latter for lunch today). Let me note that at the International Cheese Awards 2009 in Nantwich (Cheshire, England) last July Von Muhlenen's Le Gruyere Premier Cru produced and matured for 14 months in Fribourg won

Best Single Specialty Cheese (LTS Litmann Trophy),

Best imported cheese "Supreme Champion Overseas",

Reserve Supreme Champion.

Nantwich is regarded as the top international cheese event

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As someone who eats both American and French beef (of various races), I can attest that US meat is more tender, while the French is more flavorful. The fat is different as well. Of course, these are generalities, with exceptions existing on both sides of the Pond. However, there's been a recent upsurge in getting organic, grass-fed beef in the US that is starting to resemble European beef in flavor. And, we're seeing much more dry-ageing in the US (at least in NYC and other large markets), something I really appreciate (I love that nuttiness). I can't recall ever seeing dry-aged beef in France. I would love to try it, however.

I will be in Paris in late November so I might try to find a good butcher.

Cheers! :cool:

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For beef, safe best include Les Boucheries Nivernaises (rue du faubourg Saint Honoré) and of course Desnoyer (rue Boulard). Even with a good French butcher, make sure to say that you want well aged beef as this is an unusual request and you will get 10 days old beef if you're not specific.

Speaking of which, can anyone explain to me the difference between dry-aged and the way beef is aged by French butchers?


Edited by julot-les-pinceaux (log)

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Speaking of which, can anyone explain to me the difference between dry-aged and the way beef is aged by French butchers?

I would assume the majority of butchers "wet age" i.e. age in vacuum packed bags that eliminates moisture (and weight) loss. However I always though the better butchers in France dry aged as well, however maybe for a shorter time than other countries. IMO there is an optimum time for dry ageing, it isn't always the case of longer is better. For me 21 days seems pretty safe: I have seen some aged a lot longer than that and find, for me, that sometimes the flavour gets too strong.

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I've had excellent grilled beef dishes in France as well as poor ones. But the most unusual and spectacular one occurred at L'Arpege. It was in 1986. Three of us, all Americans,

were dining for the third time that week at L'Arpege. Instead of handing out menus we were told that Alain Passard would serve us a special dinner. Perhaps because we were Americans, the main was STEAK, served quite rare and unembellished. Not at all fatty, delicious and memorable. Started with Passard's lobster entree and finished with his chocolate feuillete.

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We had a beautiful-looking but rather bland steak the other night at l'Amuse Vin in the 11th. It should have been succulent and delicious, but while it was good, it wasn't great. It sure did look awesome though. I am coming to terms with the fact that I should not eat meat while in Europe, as I am spoiled in the US.

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