How Did Boeuf Bourguignon Become a Classic?

Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon 2

If you’re like me, you like to sample classic French dishes while visiting the City of Light: coq au vin, pot au feu, blanquette de veau, steak tartare … the list goes on and on. But one of my favorites—and a French classic that also I enjoy making at home—is boeuf bourguignon (beef Burgundy). But how did this dish become a French standard? Like many traditional French recipes, its roots lie in “peasant foods”–dishes that were staples over the centuries for the poor and the working class. Continue Reading →

It’s Chilly. Time for Fondue at Pain, Vin, Fromages

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The weather’s getting colder, and that means it’s time for heartier French cuisine. I’m a big fan of French winter classics, like boeuf bourguignon, cassoulet, soupe a l’oignon and other tummy-warming dishes. And you can find these tasty concoctions at many restaurants throughout Paris. Oddly, though, one cold-weather dish is rather difficult to find in the City of Light—fondue. OK, fondue is not French per se, but given that France is world-famous for its cheese, it’s not really a stretch for visitors to Paris to hope to find hot, gooey, melted cheese on at least a few restaurant menus. Fortunately, there’s a fantastic cheese-centric restaurant in the heart of the Marais that offers up some of Europe’s very best fondue throughout the year—Pain, Vin, Fromages (which translates as Bread, Wine, Cheese). Continue Reading →

How Did the Croissant Become a French Staple?

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Croissants are ubiquitous in Paris. Every pastry shop and boulangerie makes them. Every café sells them. A typical Parisian breakfast? Croissants and coffee. And for travelers to the City of Light, indulging in a buttery, flaky croissant (or several) is every bit as important as a trip to the Eiffel Tower or a bateau ride on the Seine. But how did this simple pastry become so ingrained in French culture? No one is absolutely certain, but theories abound. (And here’s a guide to where you can find the 10 best croissants in Paris!) Continue Reading →

Tracing the History of the Famous Tarte Tatin

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A quintessentially French dessert is the tarte Tatin, what many Americans believe to be an upside-down apple pie. But it’s actually a bit more than that. And its origin, although never definitively proven, is akin to how a classic American dish—chocolate chip cookies—came about: by accident. Continue Reading →

Quintessentially French Dining On the Ile Saint-Louis

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Parisians and tourists alike have a love affair with the Ile Saint-Louis, the tiny sister island and next-door neighbor to the larger Ile de la Cite that marks the geographic center of Paris. To add to your quintessentially Parisian experience while strolling the island, be sure to stop in for lunch or dinner at the charming bistro L’Auberge de la Reine Blanche. This quaint eatery looks every bit as a Parisian bistro should—timeworn tables packed tightly together, oil paintings and copper cookware hanging on the walls, romantic lighting overhead and a gorgeous antique oak bar overlooking the entire scene. Best of all, the food is superb. Continue Reading →

G. Detou: A Must-Stop Shop for Pastry Chefs

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Paris is heaven for both amateur and professional patissiers (pastry chefs and bakers). Not only are there numerous world-class pastry shops (patisseries) to try, but there are several culinary supply stores that are simply unsurpassed in their collections of baking equipment and supplies. For pastry chefs looking for the highest-quality or the most unusual ingredients, the boutique of choice is G. Detou. The shop’s name is a homonym for the French term “I have everything”—j’ai de tout. And the place does seem to have it all. If you can’t find it here, you won’t be able to find it in all of Paris. Continue Reading →

44 French Dishes You Must Try

Baked Camembert, Comptoir des Archives

Website Buzzfeed recently published a list of 44 classic French meals everyone needs to try before you die, and I’m pleased to say I’ve already had 26 of them (many multiple times as French food is my absolute favorite). Which dishes are your favorites? Which are you dying to try? Continue Reading →

The No. 1 Sandwich in France Is …

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Last year, a sandwich most of the world’s citizens associate with America was the most-consumed sandwich in France. Yes, hamburgers–or, as they call them in France, les burgers–topped the list of most-eaten sandwiches in the nation. For the first time ever, burgers edged what many consider to be the classic French on-the-run food–the iconic jambon beurre sandwich (ham and butter on a baguette). Continue Reading →

Sole Meuniere, a Julia Child Favorite

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For many of us unfortunate to not have been born and bred in France, our first introduction to French cuisine was likely through quirky chef and cookbook author Julia Child, whose life in Paris is thoroughly chronicled in the wonderful book My Life in France. And what was Child’s first meal in Paris, one which would become one of her favorite French dishes? Sole meuniere. Continue Reading →

Why You Should Opt for the Croissant au Beurre

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Breakfast in Paris? It’s time for a croissant, bien sur! But don’t make the mistake that many visitors to the City of Light make when popping into one of Paris’s many fantastic boulangeries/patisseries and simply ordering “un croissant.” You’ll more than likely end up with a product made with margarine. And considering one of the hallmarks of a good croissant is a rich, buttery flavor, who wants a mouthful of fakery? Continue Reading →