Saturday, July 03, 2010

Weekend Cooking: A trip down a French memory lane.

This week I thought I would combine a couple of different things into one post. The first is the regular Weekend Cooking post that I do most of the time (I hope that food memories count for Weekend Cooking!), and the second is for the event Paris in July, which is being co-hosted by Karen from Book Bath and Tamara from Thyme for Tea. Both of these bloggers share a love of all thing French and Parisian, and so they have combined to host a month long event to celebrate!

I have been lucky enough to go have been to several cities in France and have had some good food experiences. My first night in Paris was on the first night on a tour that took me all around Europe. It was Christmas Eve and we went to what undoubtedly was a touristy French restaurant, but we had l'escargot (snails). I can't remember what else we had for dinner but that starter was certainly memorable! Later that night we went to a midnight mass. Couldn't understand a word of what was said, but some of the carols were recognisable, and the inside of the church was all candlelit (the church was a local church that was nearby) and it was a really lovely experience all up.

Later in that same trip, we celebrated New Year's Eve in Nice, which was nice (pardon the pun). It was pretty cool, but I do remember going swimming in the hotel pool!

Another time we were in France, we were staying in Lille, and again it was getting close to Christmas time so it was cold. We went on the ferris wheel in the middle of the city, and had dinner in a restaurant where I had Moules Mariniere (mussels in a white wine and garlic sauce). I have never had it since, but I do remember that meal clearly. One day I will have it again.  Fiddly, but oh so good!

I think though one of my favourite French food experiences was actually very simple! A couple of times when I lived in the UK, I went to Calais on day trips, basically on booze runs. At the time, due to taxes being as they were, it was significantly cheaper to buy alcohol in places like Calais than it was to buy in the UK, so the social club where I worked organised a bus trip where it cost about 10 or 15 pounds to go to Calais for the day. We left Sheffield at about 5 o'clock in the morning, drove to Calais, across on the ferry, and then a couple of hours shopping in Calais, and then back to Sheffield again arriving back at about 1am. The only spanner in the works for me was  that at the time Australians needed a visa to go to France, so I had to take a day off work a couple of weeks before hand, spent about 30 pounds getting to London to get my visa to enable me to get on the cheap trip to France.

Anyway, I digress. On one of the day trips I went with a friend. We weren't really as interested in the alcohol purchasing  as most of the other people on the trip were so we spent the time in the supermarkets etc where we went (because you really didn't see anything of Calais itself). Anyway, on this day, we bought some really, really fresh French bread, and some really, really fresh French cheese, and then we ate it whilst sitting on the ferry returning to the UK. It was only bread and cheese, but it was oh so good! Some times the simple things can be very so satisfying!

Some time in the next month I am planning to share a couple of French inspired recipes that I enjoy making regularly, and maybe one that I am planning to make for the first time ever. In the mean time, I have enjoyed this trip down memory lane.

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.


  1. What a lovely post.:) I agree that simple food is often the tastiest. You have lots of nice memories tucked away. Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. just bread and cheese? oh, bread and cheese can be very, very nice.

  3. I really enjoyed reading this post Marg. It is 10 years since I visited France and while reading the post I have been trying to remember the details of a delicious meal I had with friends in Paris. I think it may have been at a Lebanese restaurant. I remember we were there on July 14 because we saw all of the cylists ride in at the end of the tour de france. Which is about to start again.

    I also went to Nice and Marseille and some cute little towns in Provence with names like Aix and Arles.

    I do remember having mussels in white wine in Bruges in Belgium, also delicious. I remember enjoying Belgian beer too. And I don't normally drink beer.

    Sorry for rambling on, but that is the power of food. Tastes and smells can transport one back through space and time very quickly don't you think?

    Hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend :)

  4. Sob. Now I want to go back to Europe. I lived the better part of a year in Guernsey and we had access to Norman French, cider, breads, cheeses and all good foods. Mussels, escargot, lots of garlic.... OMG. Bread and cheese and Belgium chocolate on the train .... Sigh.

    Thanks I think for sparking my memories.

  5. Whenever I'm in foreign countries I spend hours in super markets and food shops just to see what's on offer. Bread and cheese can be delicious. What a great way to spend the day!

  6. I enjoyed reading of your food experiences in France. Trying new foods is, to me, one of the best parts of traveling.

  7. What a great post!! I've always wanted to visit France, but sadly have never had the chance.

  8. What wonderful food memories! One of the best food memories I have from our trip to Paris is also one of the most simple. We ended up visiting this bakery near our hotel and I got a bread roll/baguette with butter and salami which was just delicious!

  9. Great post - I think I could live on bread and cheese!

  10. Sounds like you had a good time! Someday I'm going to get to France.

  11. When we lived in France, my son and I walked to the bakery for bread. He started eating it on the way home and finished it all before we got there. We had to turn around and get more.

  12. The first thing I always get to eat upon arrival in Paris is fresh bread and cheese. I continue to eat it the entire trip (with an occasional crepe thrown in for good measure). Heaven knows what culinary delights I am missing out on because of my bread and cheese obsession, but it's a risk I'll take.

  13. Wonderful post! I would love to visit France one day and have been hearing stories of wonderful breads and cheeses for quite some time! It sounds like you have had some really great times over there!



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