What do the French eat for Christmas? I wanted to share many of those Christmas meal items and some of the history behind them, so you can prepare a French Christmas meal, keeping in mind that in most French homes the big day is on Christmas Eve...Santa Claus or 'Papa Noel' even comes then (not on Christmas day).
Meals at the French court of Catherine included the ancestors of unmissable classics: onion soup, known then as carabaccia, and vegetables with béchamel sauce, salsa colla (it was made using olive oil instead of butter). She loved broccoli, peas, artichokes cooked in wine and a classic of the French south west: asparagus!
One of my favorite places to visit on the coast are the ostréiculture cabins that offer platters of their oysters (and shrimp, pate) with local wines on benches while sitting in the summer sun, admiring the sparkling seaside. If you can't make it there though, where can you try some fresh local oysters in Bordeaux?
Classic French Restaurants in Bordeaux that have been open decades, serving up those French classics like oeufs mimosa, choucroute, sole meuniere, and the Bordeaux classic entrecote a la Bordelaise...but these beautiful historic restaurants will serve up everything from fire roasted duck to chicken ballentine!
The tasty aspect of this holiday, Chandeleur here in France, is the great amount of crêpes made, in each household, following a different recipe. My father in law is self-appointed crepe-master. He prepares, like every year, the batter 24 hours in advance, mixing fresh eggs, flour, butter, a pinch of salt and a mix of rum and pastis. There is no sugar in our mix, as the sweet will be added after being cooked.
16th century Annonciade couvent in Bordeaux used to collect the egg yolks from the wine makers who had used the egg whites to clarify the wine (some say to seal they used the egg whites to seal the barrel but that makes less sense). The legend likes to add that they collected extra vanilla, rum and sugar shipped back from the Caribbean, and added flour and milk. It's all very romantic, and one can envision nuns in their habits looking for the spices to be scavenged from the spice storage in Chartons (now the modern art museum). However, there are some key issues with the story.
The Dordogne and Perigord Noir is a magical part part of South-West France. There are museums tracing some of the earliest peoples in France. Great local delicacies like black Perigord truffle, foie gras and walnuts. The best time to visit is the fall, when the leaves are changing color and the air is crisp enough to make a fire.
pilgrimages towards St. Jacques de Compostela. With it's cathedral from the 12th century and beautiful brickwork, Rieux-Volvestres charm will surprise every traveler that arrives here on purpose...or by just getting lost along secondary roads boarded by the many corn and sunflowers fields.
When you first meet Caroline ALIX, or Caro, in her charming restaurant 'Caro&Co located under the stone arcades in the countryside village of Bazas, you see a charming and sociable chef. The warmth she puts into creating her colorful and seasonal plates is expressed with seasonal vegetables and local meats, sometimes with a hint of those South African roots. Maybe the most unique dish you can try is a beautiful bobotie (spiced mince gratin from South Africa) or maybe a chilled tumeric and carrot soup.
A culinary tour is one of the best ways to see a new place, learn a bit of history and understand more of the culture. It's a multisensory journey...if you are looking for something a bit different, off the beaten path? find that countryside cottage or villa in the vines to cook your locally sourced products to enjoy that farm-to-table style life. If you should want to visit coastal oyster farms or the inland caviar farms...
From Bordeaux you can take a non-stop flight on multiple airlines, generally for under 50 EURO round-trip if you are flexible date-wise. I flew Volotea this time, which has a lot of great priced flights from Bordeaux....If not, find a tour. Mine, naturally, was food focused, light hearted and really fun. It was around three hours long and took you into the belly of Naples...Take a ferry from Naples to any of the Islands, Capri is beautiful but I spent to many summers only seeing that island, so on this trip I decided to go to Procida
It was written by the chef Francois Pierre or 'La Varenne', in his book 'Le Cuisinier Francois'? Nothing worthy of mentioning had been written since Taillevents' 12th century cookbook, but this new book was filled with exciting revelations since the incredible influence of Italian haute-cuisine in France, thanks to Catherine de Medici.
Reunion Island is an actively volcanic island, which has a fascinating history. When first discovered there was very little animal life and had never been inhabited...while the origins of vanilla are Central and South American, prior attempts to grow the beans in Europe always failed. The natural pollinators were a special species of bees that didn't live in Europe, but this was not known at the time. A slave, a young boy by the name of Edmund Albias, created the hand pollination method and completely transformed the vanilla industry.