Tag Archives: paris

Parisian Perfection and Family Eating at Helene Darroze

I started this post just about exactly 6 months ago. Time to work on my procrastination…

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I’m a big believer in the fact that meals don’t have to be fancy or expensive to be smack-you-in-the-face-amazing. Sometimes the best dishes come from handing 2 bucks to a taco truck parked on a side street of San Francisco, or wrapped in paper with no forks from a fiery pit in the Middle of Nowhere, Texas.   But every so often, a magical meal comes along that is schmancy-fancy and uber-expensive and draped with foams and reductions and molecules and essences. And instead of being horribly pretentious and self-important, it’s pure perfection and worth every penny. Or rather, every Euro cent. And that’s what I got at the phenomenal Helene Darroze in Paris, thanks to my foodie mom Elaine and her desire to try a fabulous French restaurant on our trip there last month.

You know your meal is going to be spectacular when it starts off with a plate of black acorn-fed jambon, sliced at the table with your own special jambon-slicing machine.  And when the salt & pepper offer themselves to you from webbed feet.

Gorgeously light and nutty, the jambon melted in my mouth and I could have gnawed at a leg of it for an entire meal. Except I had about 10 courses to come, so I’m quite glad I didn’t. Since it was over a month ago and I drank quite a lot of wine, I can’t remember the exact order of dishes. Plus, they were all written in French. But here’s a slightly blurry, ecstatically happy, poorly translated overview of one of the best meals of my life…

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J’adore Paris. I eat Paris.

In true FamilyStyles fashion, these next few posts are dedicated to our mom, an amazing person and one of the reasons that Irene and I place such an importance on good food and family.  We  did  some traveling around Paris and  Southwest France last month to visit friends, a trip which happened to come soon after reading My Life in France by Julia Child.  After consuming tales of Parisian markets and laborious and decadent French meals, my mother was inspired,  bien sur, to do her own search for some serious French food. As the lucky daughter already on the same side of the Atlantic Ocean, I joined her for an epicurean tour of La Belle France and her wealth of gastronomic delights.

From simple picnics of bread and cheese on park benches to Michelin-lauded establishments of the culinary elite, my mother and I ate our way across both the city and the countryside. Through well-laid plans as well as happy coincidences, our meals were shared with old friends from all over the world either living in Paris or happening to travel through the region at the same time.

One of the amazing things about Paris is how easy it is to find incredible food on every corner, from boulangeries to patisseries to shops teeming with foie gras or artisan chocolates.  We started one day at Sainte-Chappelle on Ile de la Cite, a popular tourist destination that was completely worth the wait…

and then proceeded to visit another the spectacular sight of Paris – the fromagerie.

This shop, on Ile-St-Louis, featured a front window display teeming with chevre of all shapes and sizes.  Some looked like moldy grey logs, others like newly hatched dinosaur eggs, others like petrified stones or lumpy balls of grout scraped off your shower tiles.  But the inside…smooth and creamy and bursting with earthy, grassy flavour.

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