Le Foodist Paris Cooking Class



Dining in France is Amazing: Here's Why

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One of the best things about traveling is getting to try delicious eats of a different culture. And one of the best places to explore your gustatory curiosities is France. The plates France is famous for include cheese, cured meats, bread, baguettes, roasted duck, croissants, and fine wine. Parisian chefs also employ time-tested, advanced cooking techniques to combine classic flavors and ingredients in magical ways.

Not only is the grub in this European metropolis good, but many people would agree it is some of the best around the globe. Why is that? What makes the meats, the cheeses, the breads, the pastries, even the fruits and vegetables, some of the most delectable around? One of the reasons is because chefs in France use only the freshest, local ingredients available to them. The culture does not rely on preservatives and artificial flavorings in their kitchens, in the way many other countries do.

The cheese in France is considered some of the best on the planet because the country does not undergo the same methods of pasteurization as the United States, leading to more flavorful, fresher cheese. If your mouth is watering now, you may be wondering how you can experience the best cuisine ever the next time you travel to France. Consider this your guide!

why is food in Paris so good

Shopping for Good Grub in France

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Some of the best grub can be found on the streets and in the markets, walking along the picturesque streets. However, the streets are big and long, so to make the best use of your time on your trip, be sure to check out our guides on how to buy cheese in Paris before you head out. With fresh ingredients of your own, you can now construct some delicious meals of your very own.

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Tours That Let You Eat

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Another great way to experience awesome eats abroad is to book a dining tours with kids if you are traveling as a family. Tours are an excellent way to quickly learn about how certain plates are prepared and what types are available since it may be a new place for you.

Great Eating Venues

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Life as a Parisian is surely a delicious one, but you too can experience the same culinary pleasures yourself on your next trip. Fuel up on coffee and croissants at a local cafe, and after your sightseeing, be sure to try some of the well known and renowned venues the city has to offer. There are lots of options, from a classic French restaurant like The Five and The Bee to global fusion like Marclee to raw dish restaurants in Paris, like Sol and Semilla 42 Degrés.

Whether you choose to shop, cook, tour, or dine, your taste buds cannot go wrong in one of the most culinarily advanced cultures on the planet. Enjoy your meal and be sure to experience all of the eating pleasures available in France.

For more information, please refer to the following pages:

FAQ

Read more about our Paris Food Tours here

  1. Why is food so important in France?

Food is one of the most significant elements of French culture, which places a high value on enjoying meals. In fact, UNESCO has even declared French cuisine to be a part of humanity’s cultural heritage. French food culture dates back to the Middle Ages, and throughout history, it has evolved into the advanced cuisine we see today. After the French Revolution, the art of cooking spread after guilds were abolished, which allowed French cooks to operate with fewer restrictions, and from there, modern French cuisine flourished. Today, food in France is more than just a small aspect of culture—it’s a traditional and ritualistic part of everyday life. The French view food as something to be fully enjoyed and savored. Mealtimes, then, are often extended affairs with multiple courses, and a good amount of socializing takes place at the dinner table. When it comes to food, the French value quality over quantity, giving respect to the rich tradition of cooking in France.

  1. What is the best food to eat in Paris?

When you visit Paris, you may be overwhelmed with food choices, but you should take care to try certain foods that make Paris the culinary capital of the world. Baked goods like a fresh baguette from a boulangerie or a croissant from a patisserie are a must-have for all visitors, and for dessert, you should pick up a few delicious macarons or a scrumptious paris-brest. Paris is also well-known for its markets, where you can find a selection of delicious meats and cheeses to eat on a picnic. You should also indulge in Parisian street food, which offers traditional French eats like crepes as well as Middle Eastern specialties like falafel. However, no visit to Paris is complete without traditional French meals like the croque-monsieur, quiche, and duck confit. As you can see, there is no single best food to eat in Paris, so you should do your best to try them all.

  1. Where to find classic french cuisine in Paris?

If you’re looking to sample classic French cuisine in Paris, then you’ll surely find plenty of bakeries, cafes, and restaurants that suit your needs. To sample traditional French breads and pastries, head to Parisian boulangeries, or artisan bakeries, and patisseries, or pastry shops. While some boulangeries and patisseries may serve a variety of breads and pastries, most will offer traditional goods like baguettes, croissants, and macarons. Cafes are also an excellent place to sample traditional French foods. Le Procope is the oldest cafe in Paris, and its decor and menu reflect the cafe’s roots that date back to the 1600s. Cafe de la Rotonde is another historic cafe where you can enjoy classic Parisian cafe cuisine. To find a full French meal, however, you’ll have to venture to one of Paris’s many bistros and brasseries. Restaurant Allard is an excellent French bistro in the Saint-André des Arts district where you can sample French classics like foie gras, or if you wish to escape the tourist crowd, head to Bistrot Paul Bert in the 11th Arrondissement, where you can find some of the best steak-frites in Paris.

  1. What are the best budget restaurants in Paris?

Dining in Paris can be an unforgettable experience, but if you’re not careful, it can become an expensive affair. However, you can find plenty of high-quality Parisian cuisine for a reasonable price. Many cafes, such as Breizh Cafe, offer great food for under 10 Euros. For classic French fare or a delicious sandwich, head to Le Petit Vendome in the 1st Arrondissement. This bistro offers reasonably-priced takeaway sandwiches and is constantly packed with both tourists and locals alike. Another great inexpensive bistro in Paris is Bistrot Victoires - a gem among the high-price, low-quality restaurants that surround the Louvre. If you enjoy craft beer, head to L’Express de Lyon, where you can find some of the lowest-priced draft beer in Paris. You can also find plenty of inexpensive Middle Eastern food in Paris, such as L’as du Fallafel or Chez le Libanais, and Asian food, such as Bien Bien and Pho 14. Street food stands, which often serve crepes or falafel, are also a great option if you’re eating in Paris on a budget.

  1. Why is food in Paris always fresh?

When you visit Paris, you’ll quickly find that nearly all of the food you eat is fresh whether you buy it at the supermarket or eat it in a cafe. While this is partially due to the abundance of fresh markets and bakeries around the city, nearly all restaurants, specialty stores, supermarkets, and others order their fresh food in bulk from Rungis - a high-quality wholesale distributor that sources fresh products throughout France. Unlike traditional wholesalers, Rungis is comprised of an association of more than 1200 French food producers and enterprises, making it the largest wholesale food market in the world. At Rungis, fishmongers, butchers, produce sellers, and other fresh food producers sell their goods to restauranteurs, shop owners, and other culinary professionals in Paris at market prices. Although some online wholesalers like Amazon try to compete with this marketplace, Parisians prefer to buy at Rungis due to the quality and freshness of its goods. This business model allows Rungis to always provide its customers with fresh food while supporting local French producers.

  1. How can you tell the difference between tourist traps and good restaurants in Paris?

While there’s no such thing as a truly “bad” meal in Paris, there are plenty of tourist traps that serve lesser-quality meals at inflated prices. So, how do you avoid these subpar places? First, as a general rule, you should avoid restaurants around popular attractions. The area surrounding the Eiffel Tower, for instance, is notorious for its low-quality tourist trap eateries. You should also avoid restaurants that have a dedicated staff member standing outside to solicit your business. These “touts,” as the French call them, are a telltale sign of a poor-quality restaurant. Third, you should look for restaurants with relatively short menus. A limited menu means that the ingredients are likely fresh and the dishes are prepared on-the-spot. If a restaurant is quite crowded, you can also tell whether it’s worthwhile by scanning the crowd to see whether it’s filled with tourists or locals. Finally, apps like LocalSpot only suggest restaurants that are well-reviewed by people who live in the neighborhood, making them a great way to choose good local eateries

  1. Can you find good Japanese food in Paris?

Although most people travel to Paris to sample traditional French cuisine, you can also find plenty of excellent food from other cultures in the city – particularly Japanese food. France and Japan have enjoyed a healthy cultural exchange since the 1600s, and Paris even has a huge Japanese cultural center in the 15th Arrondissement. The City of Light also has its own little Tokyo on Rue Sainte-Anne, where you can find a plethora of excellent sushi and ramen. You can also find plenty of Japanese-inspired desserts at bakeries throughout the city. Chef Sadaharu Aoki, for instance, is a Japanese chef who puts a creative spin on traditional French desserts, infusing them with fresh flavors like matcha and yuzu. Likewise, numerous Japanese chefs – such as Shinichi Sato and Dai Shinozuka – have traveled to Paris to study French cuisine and then opened their own restaurants – both French and Japanese – within the city. Given the extent of this cultural exchange, you’ll surely find excellent authentic and modern Japanese food in Paris.

  1. How have other cultures influenced Parisian cuisine?

While the French take great pride in their culinary tradition (and for good reason), Parisian food has been heavily influenced by many other cultures. For example, North African dishes, such as couscous, became popular among Parisians after Algerians immigrated to France after World War I. Likewise, immigrants from Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and other parts of the Middle East have imported their culinary traditions, and today, dishes like hummus and falafel are a regular part of Parisian cuisine. The French have also enjoyed an excellent cultural culinary exchange with many Asian countries. Vietnam, for instance, was a former French colony, which allowed the two countries to exchange culinary traditions. Finally, Parisian cuisine also receives foreign influence from the numerous chefs that travel to the city to study and train there, and many of these chefs choose to open their own restaurants in the City of Light. Paris’s status as a hub for international commerce has thus allowed for positive foreign influence on traditional French cuisine.

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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.

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!

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