Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Dinner - French Style Part I

It's T-2 to Christmas Day though for many the night of 24th is the most important for mealtime and family time.

Christmas Dinner - French Style Part II

Oysters, love them or hate them, they are part of French culture and a big part (for some), of Christmas, New Years and all those other great occasions.

Christmas Dinner - French Style Part III

Chestnut stuffed Turkey

Christmas Dinner - French Style Part IV The just desserts

Apparently many French people have dropped this tradition or moved on to the ice-cream version. This is in part due to the traditional use of butter cream which can be sickening for some. I bûche de Noël (Christmas log), being a bit more than I had bargained for when I saw the amount of butter I had to include.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Paris with kids - Dinosaurs à la française

Kids love dinosaurs, right? I did, I remember playing with plastic dinosaur figurines on a patch of earth in my garden trying to recreate the drought scene from Fantasia... well that's besides the point. The point is, I still like dinosaurs. So last year when I was just visiting Paris I went to the museum of Natural History to check them out first-hand (well, just their bones, obviously).

Friday, December 3, 2010

Raclette Party - Another idea to warm you up on a cold Winter's day

Similar to fondue, at least in terms of the melting cheese factor, la raclette which started as a popular dish in Switzerland has crossed several borders to land on the plates of many ski lodges and numerous bistros and restaurants. Many restaurants in Paris even specialize in JUST raclette.

Know your raclette: "Le raclette" (masculin) refers to a pressed, uncooked Swiss cheese made from cow's milk from the region of Canton du Valais. Pasturized versions of this cheese exist today in France in Auvergne, Savoy, Franche-Comté and Brittany. "La raclette" (feminine) is a Valasian dish which consists of a large half wheel of cheese which melts slowly while in proximity to a source of heat. You scrape the cheese off little by little to spread over your food. Melted cheese, yummy!

Home-made raclette is something that I have had before using our Tefal electric raclette machine. The Raclette consists of several individual pans (look like frying pans), into which you place your "fromage à raclette" till melted to then pour over your potatoes, ham or veges, but I had NEVER had a traditional raclette with the rather impressive table-side iron. I was wide-eyed when I saw the large quarter wheel of cheese the waiter brought out for just two of us. Was I supposed to consume ALL that? The cheese oozed down melted by the heat of the copper-colored radiator (not it's technical name), it was really a delightful sight to see. Makes me feel warmer just thinking about it.

We list a few restaurants specializing in raclette in our apartment welcome binders that I have included here:

La Pierrade (Raclette)
93, Rue Martyrs - Paris 75018
Tel: 08 99 78 67 56
Metro: Abbesses (line 12)
You’ll feel like you are in the Swiss Alps. Especially when they bring a giant wheel of cheese to your table.

Le Brasier (Raclette and Fondue)
52, Rue de Douai - Paris 75009
Tel: 01 42 82 16 92
Metro: Place de Clichy (lines 2, 13)
A cozy restaurant where you cook the raclette at your own table.

If you would like to have your own raclette party, here's how:


Bon Appetit!
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