Monday, October 11, 2010

Apero Addiction and The Perfect 'Crap'

One of the first questions I've been asked about Paris is "What's the food like?"  Well considering we were watching our budget to some extent, we avoided the restaurants with the Michelin stars and felt no need to submit to the ones beneath the well hidden golden arches and stuck to street food and good cafe fare. Frankly Parisiennes and Italians know how to eat. There's little difference in the produce available but they stage their eating, do it moderately and with class and variety.

The supermarkets are incredibly varied with many different brands and styles of cheeses, cold cuts, etc. so you are spoiled for choice and they have this wonderful idea of "Apero" an abbreviation of Aperitif where at about 6pm, there's a savoury plate and wine to be enjoyed whether on the balcony of a hostel in Toulouse or in the centre of Paris. A simple plate of Corcherons, pickles, prosciutto, salamis and of  course the obligatory cheese. We soon became used to this little aperitif and began eating it daily. Dinner comes much later.

Let us not forget affordable wines, Rose became our wine of choice, reasonable beers and awesome, awesome coffee. I really miss my little sweet espresso heart-starter.

So the hit list . . Crepes (pronounced craps) without a doubt the Monteguile crepe stands are exceptional with simple additions such as lemon, Grand Marnier, lashings of Nutella or the savoury options of ham, mushrooms and cheese in any combination or the lot.

Bread is the heartbeat of France. It's not unusual to see executives with bread under  their arm, baguettes in bicycle baskets or being lugged along the street in large paper bags. The French love their bread. How Marie Antoinette could suggest they eat cake amazes me they'd have clocked her with their long baguettes. You won't find sliced bread easily and a 'sandwich' means a panini baguette.

We also tried to eat the foods of the region. In Paris pretty much anything goes. In Bordeaux it's definitely duck, the Basques love their chillies and Basque Cake as well as some of the Spanish influenced dishes such as Moules and Paella,  in Provence its as you'd expect, fresh delicious food of all types including fois gras and those hearty flavours, Nimes have their own little line of pastries and Nice . . here begins the Italian influence. Everywhere, the French love macaroons.

So yes, we managed to eat our way across France, relatively inexpensively and I'm sure its only the walking we did that prevented significant weight gain thank goodness.

Homespun Seafood at Cap Ferret Andonos du Bains

Espresso in Biarritz

 Breakfast and Streetscapes


Aperativi in Florence, same same but different

Beer in Nimes

Crepes and Churro, Catacombs build an appetite

 Scampi Pasta

Gelato in Montemarte

Cafe Beneath our Paris Window

 Liquid Lunch

Petit Fors with grande calories


Apero with Pate de Fois Gras and Camembert on one of Paris' Bridges

Nutella Crepe


kj said...

hells, you have NO idea how much i LOVE this post! it will be my FAVORITE subject from your entire trip.

what a great job you've done displaying the food along the way! my favorites of all time are the crepes, ham, cheese, mushrooms, and in a world of their own: nutella and bananas.

my favorite of these shots is the parisan cafe below your windown.

ah hells, you will have all this for life. i don't even think coming to america and sitting on my blue-green couch will come close to matching this. :)


Roy said...

Hmmmm... Eating your way across France. Why am I not surprised? Heh, heh! All that food looks great!

hokgardner said...

Oh yum. I think I want to go to France for the bread alone. I love bread.

It looks like such a wonderful time.

Alan Burnett said...

Yes, even I have to admit that the French know how to do bread. Beer is another thing, I don't think they ever quite got the hang of it. A great pictorial tour you are giving us.educk

Brian Miller said...

great pictures....looks like a great time...i would have gained so much weight..

She Writes said...

MMMMMMmmmm, I know the crepes and bread of Paris. I would move there in a heartbeat :).

Janice said...

Loving the pics of your journey to France. The food looks fabulous.

e said...

Glad to see you did not meet any cafards while dining...See my post.

Seriously, I'm glad you had a wonderful time and look forward to hearing more about it all.

Dot-Com said...

Yes, the French sure know how to eat. I'm glad you enjoyed - maybe you're brought some new habits home?

River said...

Eating your way across France. And taking photos. Really, there is no other reason for travelling. The sights and the food far outweigh any little trinkets brought back as souvenirs.

Love Clare's stripey socks.

Tom said...

nutella crap..haha
you should write a travel book.

otin said...

Wow, that looks like the place to be!! The food looks wonderful!

Siobhan said...

Ohmygoodness, ohmygoodness, ohmyGOODNESS, I miss France!!

nick said...

I love the idea of the Apero. How long before that catches on in Britain? And you reminded me how much I love macaroons though I haven't eaten any for years. Sounds like France is still a foodies' paradise.

i beati said...

all sounded sooooo good.. Lovely pics as well. Bright and relaxed !!sandy

Anonymous said...

Excellent that post and pictures!

Yes,we love our bread,lol

Crepes=craps,lol I would have loved to hear you saying that word!They are nice with nutella!Yummy!

Harnett-Hargrove said...

ah yes, waking to a plate of croissants and syringe of smack... always reminds me of Paris. -J

AngelMay said...

Oh. My. God. I am now starving to death. Would give my right leg for some of that bread! A fresh-baked loaf? Oh. My. God.

steph said...

They do 'do it' in style, don't they?

I can smell the coffee aroma wafting up to your room from the street cafe below.

But... count yourself lucky you don't live there, Baino

Sooner or later, you would have a coronary from all those heart starting espressos!

Great memories!

Anonymous said...

In 99% of the cases I eat ina very disciplined way. I sit down and order everything nicely and so on. My only irregularity is that I put the spoon, fork and the knife to the other side because I am left handed when I eat. So eating at the window or standing while eating is not for me.

The dome in the background in Florence looks like the dome of the Hungarian Parliament.

Carl said...

Looks like a great trip. I bet the nutella crepe was almost as good as the nutella gelato I had in Rome... It was to die for. and yes simple food, very fresh with great cheap wine was what we found on our journey thru italy.

Wally The Walrus said...

Thanks. Excellent. Your photos are fantastic. How you get the exposure right is beyond me.

The bread... yes... when we were there we rented an apartment for a week and tried to live a bit local - partly due to budget. The supermarkets (Monoprix) - AWESOME. I've never seen anything like it. The meat and fish counters would make one of our markets, meat stores or fishmongers die of shame.

We bought bread each day (or morning when muggins got sent out early to pick up croissants), and lugged them around like the locals.

And the crepes (craps) - not somethign I'm normally into, but I do remember the banana crap being damn damn damn good.

I'd go back to Paris any time... a fun place.

You really did see a lot, I'm very envious. Perhaps next time when I don't have teenage kids with me who are bored with everything :)

Wally The Walrus said...

I forgot to mention... when I was there seeing colleagues from the mother company, the coffee...

By 'eck. They don't half know how to make a decent expresso. Since them, I'm hooked. If I go anywhere these days and have a coffee, its an expresso. Not as good as they make in France tho.

Jay said...

Oh, the food! The food! Having just returned from Italy, it's what I miss most. The humble spaghetti pomodoro with freshly grated parmiggiano instead of a cheese butty ... Mmmm! And the gelato - why did you have to mention gelato? And the bread! *Beats head on keyboard* I'm sure you're right. It was only the walking that prevented HUGE weight gain for us, too.

You went to Florence, which we missed out, but did you get to see Lucca? One of our favourite places!

Quickroute said...

been following on FB but the pics add a whole new dimension

Kath Lockett said...

Love Chunks went to France last year for work and has just got back from Switzerland this year and also said, 'It's about the bread, Kath. Coeliacs must be suffering in France.'

Love the photos and now need to go and visit my kitchen for something - anything - to eat!

Robyn said...

I could go a Nutella crepe right now :)


laughingwolf said...

wunderbra! :)

Grannymar said...

Apero is one habit Elly brought home from France and I love it! Sounds like you both had a wonderful time!

Kate said...

Brilliant! What a treat - i love the foodie descriptions and the photos to fit!! Clare is so like Toria cake and p.j's ? Fantastic - last time i was in Paris was my honeymoon a million years ago but the view from that window brought it all back!!!!

PattiKen said...

Oh, I am so drooling.

They do know how to eat. When Himslef and I went to Paris (his first time), I hauled along a book called Cheap Eats in Paris. He was worried about that, but I told him, "No worries. This is France. Sit in any joint, eat the cheapest thing on the menu, drink the house wine, and you'll remember. This is France."

Anonymous said...

Picnic on the bridge. Awesome.

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