Did you know that a real French baguette has to weigh at least 350g uncooked and 250g when baked, otherwise it’s not really a baguette? Also did you also know that a real French éclair must be filled with butter cream having the same flavour as the topping on the éclair (not just plain whipped cream), otherwise you can’t call it an éclair? Neither did I until very recently!
I spent 24 hours in Paris recently with some friends and we decided that rather than cram the day full of sightseeing, we wanted to wander around and sample the local food and wine. We joined an amazing food tour with Secret Food Tours Paris… and it was an incredible way to spend 3 hours.
The tour was based in the Montmartre region of Paris where our guide welcomed us with a bag full of fresh French pastries… what a great way to start the day! I obviously went straight for the pain au chocolat… I can’t resist a bit of chocolate!
Local café in Montmartre
Aside from the obvious eating and drinking involved, the tour started with our guide giving us a brief history of the city of Paris and a quick stop at the wall of love.
Section of the Wall of Love
We swiftly moved on to visit various local food shops… a local boulangerie with rows of freshly baked bread and mouth-watering pastries on display, followed by a charcuterie where we got to sample one of the terrines and sausages and then a local cheese shop (fromagerie) where we were given some history on how certain French cheeses were made.
Fresh bread waiting to be sold in the boulangerie
Sausages hanging from the ceiling of a local charcuterie
Fresh meat for sale
Wonderful cheeses on display at the local fromagerie
With our appetites well and truly whet by this point, we proceeded on to a local café where it was finally time to eat and drink! Our guide had picked up fresh produce along the way from all the shops we visited. He presented them to us one by one, giving us interesting explanations of how they were made. We got to sample about five different types of cheeses and a handful or different meats/terrines accompanied by different types of freshly baked baguettes. Aside from the delicious food, we got to taste some lovely French wines to complement different parts of the meal.
Some of my favourite cheeses were the full fat triple cream cow’s milk cheese with truffle… it had a woody smell and a very creamy and rich taste! I also enjoyed the two week old full fat sheep’s milk cheese as well as the the 3 year old Comté cheese… it has a very nutty flavour and went well with the accompanying Côtes du Rhône red wine. On the meat side, I absolutely loved the duck breast terrine… not something I would have ordinarily tried on my own but it was delicious!
After washing down the bread, cheese and meats with some lovely wines… it was time for the best part of the tour… dessert time! We got to sample some French crêpes with our choice of filling… I decided to try the chestnut spread rather than my usual favourite of Nutella! While it was nice, I’m not sure it would be a regular favourite of mine… a bit too sweet for me! Leaving the best till last, we finished the meal off with chocolate and coffee éclairs… I may have eaten the best chocolate eclair of my life! I don’t think I can go back to eating éclairs in London after this.
The tour finished with a trip to a local chocolate shop where we were given a selection of handmade chocolates and macaroons to take away with us. A nice end to a wonderful afternoon.
Handmade chocolates made by owners of a local chocolate shop
Although I’ve been to Paris before, I think this may have been my best visit yet!