the French connection

As I promised to myself, and to my non existent audience (ouch), I drew from a small lot of possible blog topics today. What an a-ha! moment it was – I chose Paris.

Ah, Paris, the city of love, city of lights, city of the most romantic and sexiest language, for me at least, and also perhaps for a dozen other hopeless romantics out there. This is such a perfect topic since I have always been enamoured by this city (the whole country really), its infamous, supposedly snobby inhabitants, and its ridiculously rich, good food.

I have been fortunate enough to have visited the city twice in my lifetime, and man, what I would give to return, or even actually get to live there! But to avoid talking too much about just anything, I will just focus on a few notable subjects. I am likely to write about other related subjects down the line, this city holding some of my fondest travel memories.

So I shall discuss…French butter and cheese.

Yes, butter, and most especially, cheese!! Well, okay let me begin with that. On my first visit to Paris in 2005, my aunt, whom I stayed with, alternately prepared delicious spreads of French and Filipino food in her home, in the hopes of quelching any homesickness I was likely feeling. I couldn’t tell her sooner that I am a foodie at heart, albeit only self-proclaimed, and that I sincerely and genuinely appreciate French food. Serve me fresh, genuine French cheese everyday and you’ve got me like a silly puppy running at your heels.

Oh, and the butter.. Let me get to that in a moment.

Cheese in French is called fromage. My first visit to a fromagerie was orgasmic. There is nothing like picking products at their source, or at least purchasing them in their country of origin. See, I have always loved watching food and travel shows on Discovery Channel and wondered how lucky those shows’ hosts were to be visiting all these amazing food places, and of course tasting all those good food. So understandably, me actually stepping into a cheese shop, in France, that sold gigantic, smelly blocks of various kinds of cheese, was just unbelievable.

During our home dinners, my aunt would serve some camembert, brie, and bleu cheese. I developed a taste for the stinky bleu, which really is delish, its flavour opening up with a wash of red wine. I especially love camembert, which is smooth and creamy, and hey, plain yummy. We ate these with the customary wine, grapes, baguette, and then..she took out the butter. It was beyond delicious, nothing like the Anchor that I grew up eating. It was creamy, yet melted very lightly on the tongue, while the salt rightly seasoned the cream – it was a coy flirtation of flavours in the mouth. I learned that her husband was partial to having butter with his baguette because of his roots in Bretagne, in northwest France. More commonly called Brittany, this coastal province is well known for its salted butter, also the famous fleur de sel, or sea salt, thus the locals’ practise of buttering their baguette, which apparently is not the norm in the cities.

Norm or not, I was hooked. Soon I was buttering my baguette and stuffing my face with camembert like the best of them. Oh, such lovely memories. My mouth waters at the thought. I mean, sure, I could purchase imported cheese at the grocery, along with perhaps a bar of President, but truly, one cannot duplicate the feeling and genuine tastes of eating food where it actually came from. Much, I guess, like it’s not the same experience eating Jollibee in California compared to eating at the Jollibee branch in SM. 🙂

Right, so I just got myself the munchies by writing this post. Anyway… Day 3, post 3 – done and done!

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