Le Foodist Paris Cooking Class



How to Eat Vegetarian in Paris

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Though many travel to Paris just for its food, the city has a reputation for being notoriously unfriendly to vegetarians and vegans. However, over the past decade, younger generations have increasingly adopted meatless diets, and the Parisian culinary scene has followed suit, providing greater selections for people who forego eating animal products.

In Paname, you'll now find loads of restaurants that cater exclusively to meatless diets, and plenty of non-veg eateries and wine is always vegan.

vegetarian food to eat in Paris

The Rise of Vegetarianism and Veganism in France

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France's strong cooking tradition combined with its renown as a culinary destination have made its chefs infamously resistant to accommodating anyone with special dietary needs. However, in recent years, more French folk are opting to go veg, forcing eateries to oblige their requests.

The rising cost of meat, as well as the negative impacts of factory farming, have prompted many young people to give up animal products. Cash-strapped youth save money by cutting expensive meats from their diets, and groups like L214 have raised awareness of unsavory practices on factory farms. L214's graphic videos with images of force-fed ducks and botched cow slaughters raised awareness about problems within the farming industry, prompting many to reconsider their diets.

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How to Enjoy Parisian Food as a Vegetarian or Vegan

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Despite its bad rap, Paris offers a variety of foods that allow vegans and vegetarians to enjoy its world-class dining. Follow these tips to help you eat your way through a day in Paname:

Street Food is your Friend

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Street food is often prepared on the spot, and most vendors let you customize your order. If you eat cheese, for example, you can easily order a street crepe with cheese only. Furthermore, because you watch your food being prepared, you can ensure that it meets your standards before digging in.

Indulge in Ethnic Food

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The City of Light is incredibly diverse, so an authentic Parisian meal also includes ethnic food like North-African, Indian, Asian, or Middle Eastern cuisine. Head to Rue de Fauborg for a variety of ethnic eats with loads of veggie options!

Check the Menu

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If you're headed to a more traditional bistro or brasserie, check their menu before going and see what your choices are. Most places will offer a handful of items for vegetarians and vegans, and you can usually look online to see what they have. If the selection looks bleak, find another place.

Ask Nicely

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If you need a dish amended or another accommodation, be nice when you ask your server. The restaurant generally wants you to have a good experience, and provided your request is reasonable, they'll usually help out if you're kind and apologetic.

For more information, please refer to the following pages:

FAQ

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  1. Is Alain Passard vegetarian?

Alain Passard is a French chef who is best known for revolutionizing vegetarian cooking in Paris and around the globe. In the early 2000s, Chef Passard defied French cooking norms and changed the menu of his Michelin-starred restaurant, L’Arpege, to primarily serve vegetarian food after he became a vegetarian himself. According to Chef Passard, he decided to change the focus of his restaurant to vegetarian cuisine since he felt as though he had learned all that he could about meat after years of studying meat-based cuisine. Today, Chef Passard continues to serve primarily vegetarian cuisine at L’Arpege, though he occasionally serves dishes that include chicken or fish, and he has traveled to countries with a strong vegetarian tradition, such as India, to enhance his vegetarian cooking skills. He is also an advocate for sustainable farming, and he sources the majority of his ingredients from farms that he owns and operates.

  1. What stores sell vegetarian food?

Although Paris is not the most vegetarian-friendly city, vegetarian specialty and grocery stores have cropped up around the city as vegetarian cuisine has become more popular. The largest and best-known vegetarian and vegan stores in Paris are Naturalia and Un Monde Vegan. Naturalia is a chain of specialty stores that only sell vegan and organic products, including organic produce, vegan baking mixes, and cruelty-free beauty products. Naturalia currently has over 200 locations throughout France and over 10 locations in Paris alone. Un Monde Vegan is another popular vegan supermarket that sells similar goods, and the store is well-known for its vegan cheeses and faux meats. Unlike Naturalia, Un Monde Vegan is not a chain store, and it has one location in the 3rd Arrondissement. In addition to these well-known groceries, you will also find plenty of trendy vegan concept stores like Aujourd’hui Demain, Jay & Joy, Holy Planet, and La Boucherie Végétarienne, which translates to “the vegetarian butcher.”

  1. What are the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Paris?

As vegetarianism and veganism have become more popular among French people, many excellent vegetarian and vegan restaurants have cropped up around Paris in the past decade. The trend began with Alain Passard and Alain Ducasse, two French chefs who made their restaurants vegetarian in order to push their culinary talents. Passard’s L’Arpège and Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée thus became the first two major vegetarian restaurants in Paris, and both currently have a three-star Michelin rating.

From there, dozens of vegetarian and vegan restaurants have flourished in Paris. Some, like Le Potager de Charlotte and Le Templier de Montmartre, serve vegan and vegetarian takes on classic French cuisine, whereas others, such as Hank Vegan Burger, serve less traditional fare. You can also find plenty of vegetarian and vegan options in international cuisine. Indian restaurants, such as Mayfair Garden, often have plenty of vegetarian options, and as do Middle Eastern restaurants like L’As du Fallafel.

  1. What are some french vegetarian foods to eat in Paris?

Although French cuisine has a reputation for being unfriendly to vegetarians, there are plenty of French dishes that are, in fact, vegetarian. Seasonal vegetables such as aubergines, tomatoes, and peppers are often used in French cooking - especially during the summer, and ratatouille - a mix of tender cooked vegetables - is a classic French dish that happens to be vegan. French onion soup, called soupe à l’oignon, can also be made vegetarian if vegetable stock is used. If you eat eggs, then you can enjoy French classics like vegetable quiches and omelettes, and crepes often come in plenty of vegetarian varieties.

In addition to classic French foods, you will also find that Middle Eastern food is quite popular in Paris, and this type of cuisine has plenty of vegetarian options. Falafel is a popular dish that you can find in both restaurants and street stalls, and other common Middle Eastern foods, such as hummus and tabbouleh, are also veggie-friendly.

  1. Where to brunch in Paris if you are a vegetarian?

If you’re a vegetarian looking to enjoy a Parisian brunch, then you’re in luck - there are plenty of restaurants and cafes in Paris that cater exclusively to vegetarians or serve delicious vegetarian dishes. Kitchen in the 3rd Arrondissement is a vegetarian restaurant that serves one of the best vegetarian brunches in Paris. The restaurant is known for its organic breakfast and brunch dishes, and it also offers plenty of vegan options. Le Tricycle is a vegan restaurant in the 10th Arrondissement that has plenty of delicious breakfast options, and Breathe in the 9th Arrondissement offers similar fare. If you prefer to brunch at a cafe, check out Baguette’s Cafe in the 1st Arrondissement. This cafe is not exclusively vegetarian, but it does offer plenty of options for the veggies in your group. Likewise, Paperboy serves traditional American dishes, including vegetarian and vegan options like avocado toast.

  1. Where can you buy vegan pastries in Paris?

Traditional French pastries are often filled with butter and milk, so if you wish to enjoy them without animal products, you will need to visit a vegan specialty bakery. Luckily, in recent years, many vegan patisseries have opened up throughout the city. VG Patisserie is widely considered to be Paris’s best vegan pastry shop since it offers a broad selection of baked goods from croissants with vegan cheese to macarons and brioche. Cloud Cakes is an excellent vegan cafe that offers plenty of vegan pastries, and it also offers a brunch menu on weekends. Comptoir Veggie is a full vegan restaurant, but it also offers pastries such as cakes and pies. Likewise, Wholywood is a vegan breakfast cafe that serves fresh vegan pastries, and Cuppa Cafe is a breakfast restaurant that offers a host of vegan-friendly options. In general, most vegan restaurants in Paris will offer to-go options, including pastries, for Parisian vegans to enjoy.

  1. Where can you shop for vegan groceries?

In a city where everything seems to be soaked in butter, finding vegan groceries can seem like a daunting task. However, as veganism has become more popular in Paris, a good handful of vegan grocery stores have also cropped up throughout the city. Un Monde Vegan is perhaps one of the best-known vegan grocers in Paris. This veritable vegan wonderland has everything from dairy- and egg-free pastries to vegan cheese. Likewise, Naturalia offers a massive selection of vegan products, but not all products in the store are vegan. You can also go to specialty shops for wider selections of certain vegan goods. Jay & Joy, for example, is a specialty shop dedicated to selling vegan dairy products, such as creams and yogurts. Likewise, La boucherie végétarienne is a ‘vegetarian butcher’ that offers high-quality meat substitutes to customers. However, this store is not entirely vegan, so you should ensure that your desired product is entirely vegan prior to buying.

  1. Is vegetarianism popular in France?

Just a short time ago, a French vegetarian was practically unheard of, and vegetarianism still is not particularly popular in France. However, in the past decade, the movement has gained steam – particularly among young French people. This shift has occurred for three main reasons: health and nutrition, budgeting, and increased awareness of animal rights. Many French people who choose to eat vegetarian do so in order to improve their diets. Meat-heavy diets have been linked to a wide array of negative health impacts, so some choose to improve their habits by giving meat up altogether. Additionally, some French people go vegetarian in order to save money. Meat can get expensive – especially if you’re a young person on a budget, so foregoing it can be a great way to save money on food. Finally, French people have become more aware of animal rights, and France has received a degree of negative attention for how animals are treated in the name of making traditional dishes like foie gras. Young people have been receptive to this argument, and more are choosing to go vegetarian as a moral stance.

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And they do not have to do with what you will find in those markets. They have to do with when you can go shopping there. Open Air markets are only open in the morning. Typically from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm. And they are not open every day. As a matter of fact for the vast majority they are open either open every other day (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday or Wednesday, Friday, Sunday), or sometimes only twice a week. 

This is the case of the Bastille Market (Metro Bastille and Metro Bréguet Sabin )which is open only on Thursday and Sunday morning. We like to send people there because it is a very big market with over one hundred vendors. And it has a nice stand of Crêperie in the middle. Here you get a video of a lady preparing a crêpe there; and you can get that crêpe for only 3 Euros!
There is only one Open Air market open every day of the week, it is called Marché Aligre (Metro Ledru Rollin or Metro Faidherbe Chaligny) which happens on the eponymous street. It is an interesting market because you find all kinds of quality in that market – the good, the bad and the ugly. There is also a nice covered market in the middle of it called Marché Beauveau – sometimes called Marché Beauveau Aligre. On the contrary, Covered Markets are open every day, and not just in the morning, but also in the late afternoon. Typically from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

We are blessed with two markets close to where Le Foodist is located, so we can walk to a market every morning – sometimes it is the Maubert market, and sometimes it is the Monge market. Both nice with their own specififies. Last but not least, none of these markets is open on Monday. Do not sign-up for a Market Tour on Monday, you might never see that money again …

Choosing Ingredients in Paris

While all markets are different, they also have some things in common. First they work on specific schedules as explained before. But also you will find always at a minimum the following vendors: a Maraîcher – this is the name we give to people selling fruits and vegetables, a butcher, a fishmonger, a cheesemonger and a baker. Normally you will find several of each, with different levels of quality, organic or non-organic, local or not local (but mostly not local unfortunately).
And we explain how to recognize each of those of course during our Market Visits and Cooking Classes in Paris. But choosing ingredients can be daunting at first, because of the variety that is on display. A typical fishmonger will carry 20 different types of fishes, and as many shrimp and shelf fish varieties. A good cheese monger will easily carry up to 100 different types of cheese and obviously you could get over 100 different cuts of meat at a butcher (from the type of meat to the cut itself). And a normal Maraicher will carry between 50 and 100 fruits and vegetables as well.
This is what makes these markets so exciting – the variety of products, the beauty of their display, and the exchange you can have with most of the vendors. We give you tips though on how to make sure that exchange with the vendors go well – a few magic words, and everything will be fine!

Cooking in Paris

Obviously going to markets is nice, but actually knowing that you are going to cook what you find there is even more exciting. It is not uncommon for Parisians to buy a little bit too much food because they get so excited at the idea of cooking it all! But as most of us have hardly any space where we live, that can limit the enthusiasm sometimes. Because of the lack of space, Cooking in Paris can be quite different from cooking in the rest of France. And there are also dishes that are typically associated with regions which the Parisian will not cook at home – but taste when they visit friends or families in the various regions of France. However our kitchen has plenty of space, so we can cook traditional French dishes without a problem – whether they come from Paris or any region. And the most important part for us is to ensure that we share techniques much more than just recipes. As a matter of fact, we love to share a bit of the science behind what we do so people can better remember the “what” by understanding the “why”.

Sharing Stories

In November 2010, some experts from the UN cultural organisation, decided tha France’s multi-course gastronomic meal, with its rites and its presentation, fulfilled the conditions for featuring on the “world intangible list” of the UNESCO.
In this list you can find all kinds of cultural practices, including Mexico Day of the Dead festival for example. Importantly this is not suggesting French cuisine is better than other cuisines (even though we the French tend to believe that …). It is only saying that the gastronomic meal and what it entails is a very vivid cultural practice which people in France partake into on a very regular basis. That is why the same experts indicated that the French gastronomic meal is a “social custom aimed at celebrating the most important moments in the lives of individuals and groups”. And in that social custom, there are many parts: the attention we pay to the way we choose ingredients, how we pair wine with food, how many dishes we will present to our guests, how we lay the table, etc… But one big part of the cultural practice is that commensality (the fact of sharing the food) is always accompanied by sharing stories about …. Well, you would have guessed it, Food of course!
To us it is THE perfect example of how Food and Culture come together – actually we decide to share food is a considered a cultural practice. I would argue that it is true of all countries, regions, etc… As the way we relate to Food is such a big part of anybody’s identity. But as a result and to make sure you have the most genuine experience of French culture, after the a coking class in Paris at Le Foodist, you will share a gastronomic meal at a common table with your Chef and fellow participants to the class.

French Wine and Food Pairing

As mentioned above, one of the big cultural practices in France is choosing how to pair Wine and Food in general and Wine and Cheese in particular. We actually have a class which focuses specifically on this. As it is so important though, we always make sure we share white and red wines during our meals, chosen to pair well in our opinion with the food we cook. And being at the table together is a good opportunity to discuss about wine as well, with concepts such as “terroir” (to simplify, terroir means “what you do depends on where you are”) which are essential to grasp the way the French think about Food.
And all this will always go with a cheering “Santé” – which quite simply means, to your good health!

More About Our Baguettes Classes

Getting a bit technical during our Baguette Class in Paris

The French baguette, actually probably better known as the Parisian baguette has beome a true symbol of French popular gastronomy. A true icon of French life even - look around and you will see the Parisians strolling back home with their baguettes under their arm. But if you are French why would you learn how to do this? You can buy a baguette at any corner of Paris for about one Euro a piece.  But in our Baguette Class in Paris  you will learn how do this from scratch. It is somewhat technical, but also full of tips and tricks. But when you leave, it will have not secret left for you. From the original mix to the famous "scarification" through adding water to your oven through baking, you will see and do it all.

Learning more during your Baguette class in Paris: Croque Monsieur Bread and Brioche

This class is like all our other baking or cooking classes: totally hands-on. So you get to practice from beginning to end - and to taste at the end. But not only will you learn how to make Baguette, but you will also learn to make two more types of bread: the French Croque Monsieur bread. The basis for the classic French bistrot appetizer. And in your Baguette class in Paris you will also learn how to make your own Brioche. Probably the most indulgent bread you will find in France - if not the lightest ...

And you might learn some history during your Baguette Class in Paris

While you will learn the techniques to create - and get to taste - three classic types of French breads, you will also learn some of the stories on the origin of the baguette. Just beware it is still being quite hotly debated. What is for sure though is that the Baguette is absolutely part of today Parisian's life. A classic you will be able to take back home with you.

More About Our Wine and Cheese Lunch in Paris

Cheese and Wine in Paris

The pleasures we can derive from French cuisine can seem endless.  However two of the best known and loved French gastronomic heroes are French cheese and wine. Whether we talk about a Brie which actually comes from very close to Paris, to a creamy Camembert from Normandy, or a Comté from the Alps, French cheese has a delight for all palates. And of course, French wines are even better known whether from Bordeaux great wines or Burgundy sophisticated whites – all of which enthral wine lovers.  Well, at our course on cheese and wine in Paris you will come to appreciate that although each is delicious on its own, properly matched cheese and wine together can make the experience of each even more enjoyable and an absolute delight.

How to pair French cheese and wine

Because not all pairings are actually what people expect, at Le Foodist we have decided to call these experiences 'Daring Pairings'. Maybe because we like to step out of the ordinary to challenge our taste buds, but really all we try to do is give you the perfect match fo cheese and wine in Paris.  So not only will you learn how to select the best wine to go with your cheese, but you will also learn what are the big cheese families in France – there are actually only five, and this is one of the keys to great pairing. In discovering all these pairings of cheese with wine you will be convinced that indeed two things together can be better than the sum of their parts.

It is important to have fun with pairing cheese and wine in Paris

Beyond the tastings though, we have found that the best way to help our clients remember and re-use their experience is to vary the way to approach both wine and cheese.  That is why during our courses on cheese and wine in Paris we share sensory games and many an anecdote to bring the produce to life in your mind as well as on your palate. Overall we will feature four excellent wines, one Champagne and demonstrate to you how best each combines with cheese, letting your taste guide you along with our teaching.

Understanding cheese and wine pairing while in Paris

While for many top Parisian wine stores and restaurant wine lists can be confusing and even intimidating, we believe that after our lunch learning how to pair cheese and wine in Paris, you will feel much more comfortable navigating all of those.  And we sincerely hope your knowledge will help you unlock a door to a whole new world of enjoyment of French wine and cheese pairing.  At every step of the way our sommelier will also share unique tips and tricks to understand wines better and how culture and wine are so related in France; hopefully enriching your own experience as well.

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