Le Foodist Paris Cooking Class

French Food & Cuisine is a Must Try

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Food is important everywhere in the world. Heck, we need to survive, why would not it be important? But if you had to look across the globe and narrow it down to what, or what country, has the best meal, I think you could safely choose France to win the gold.

Why, might you be asking? Because first off, they have such a long history of established good tasting and looking plates. Even if they have fewer options than other areas or countries, who would not want quality over quantity, anyway?

Second, the dining areas and shops there provide such an elegant and sophisticated atmosphere to their customers. Time is not a primary concern to dining; their main focus is to have customers enjoy their meals wholeheartedly.

But, why do chefs do this? Simply because the dining experience is so important in France.

why is food so important in france

Why is Food so important in France?

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Frenchies spend much more time at the dinner table than most countries do. Not to say that other countries do not spend adequate time at the dinner table. Italy and Spain. 

It's easy to love French meals. The time and effort of making each dish are incredibly intriguing. The appearance of their dishes is quite colorful and flattering to the eyes. The taste of each other consumes the taste buds and leaves one wondering what the next bite will taste like.

Below, you will find a few areas that people have difficulty with. When it comes to this country, it's a simple understanding of cooking in this country, things can get a bit confusing.

Take some, or all, of these tips and spread the word. No need to worry, you’ll be a pro when it comes to ordering any dish from France in no time.

Start small, learn how to buy Cured Meat and Cheeses when visiting

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First, meat. Yum!

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If you’ve ever heard of a charcuterie board, you know that they are filled with a variety of cured meats, pickles, mustards, and crusty baguettes. If you’ve never heard of one, now you know what a charcuterie board consists of. Doesn’t it sound delicious? You might be intrigued by the cured meats. The thought of the aroma of salt and heated meats in the air makes one's taste buds go crazy.

The charcuterie board has been around since long before our time. That’s right, the charcuterie board takes us back in history.

Dating back to the 15th century, the charcuterie term originated from the French word chair, meaning “flesh,” and cuit, meaning “cooked.” This word was created to give a name to the storefronts that prepared pig and offal at the time.

  • Fun Fact: At the time when this word was created, storefronts were not allowed to sell uncooked pork.

Later on, the term charcutiers originated. Charcutiers were known as the men and women who made the charcuterie meats. From this point on, cured meat became a rave.

Chefs today learn and add even better ways to cure their meat. A little more salt can be added, or a little more heat, to make the meat taste a different way. Fats are also added to preserve the meats and give them a longer ‘shelf’ life.

  • Tip: Chefs here place value on the end result of their dishes, creating incredible flavor profiles that enhance the entire experience. They add and take away ingredients to make the final product the best it can possibly be. Here is where quality over quantity comes in.

For example: In America, potatoes can be listed off in options on a menu, including but not limited to, French fries, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, and baked potatoes. On the other hand, French shops and dining areas focus on one form of potatoes per menu. Perfecting a recipe may take time for them, but once they find the best one, they add it to the menu to improve its quality.

Check out more tips here how to buy cured meat.

Second, comes sharp, cheesy perfection

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This dairy product has its history in the culture, to say the least. As a matter of fact, walking into one of these shops over there can raise your anxiety, if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Don’t panic. The fromagers, also known as cheesemongers (or the lovely salespeople that sell you the different types of cheeses), are there to help. Some of these fromagers even provide their customers with tours of the shop, showing them where the cheeses are left to get creamy.

Most cheesemongers leave cheeses in rooms filled with ninety-nine percent humidity, to get that rich cheesy flavor. But don’t worry, they’ll let you in on the process they use on their tours, farms that participate in providing ingredients, and they’ll probably give you a few free samples, too!

  • Hint: Know your basic cheeses before you visit a shop here. If not, ask questions while you’re there. The fromagers are willing to share their passion with you but don’t think you’re getting their recipes, however, you may be able to score a hint on their secret ingredients if you're persistent. They want to leave you coming back for more. Check out more helpful hints here on how to buy cheese in Paris.
  • Additional Hint: Pair the delicious dairy product with some great-tasting wine. Your taste buds will thank you later.
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Prefer a litlle something for the sea then hit the raw venues

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According to the locals in France, you must try a raw dinner at least once, even if the menu items make your stomach churn.

In a typical kitchen, excluding other ingredients, some examples of raw selections found in these diners are seafood (in the form of oysters mainly), vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains, just to name a few. A popular raw delicacy found on several menus oysters, prepared all sorts of ways and in combination with a variety of vegetables.  

If you’re a sushi lover, many of these options will satisfy your tastes. If you’re a vegan, check out the dishes on the menu that are dedicated to fruits and veggies. If you aren’t either, try it anyways. Cultural dishes may end up being your new favorite recipe to enjoy.

  • Helpful Hint: According to Yelp, 42 Degrés and RawCakes are two of the best raw diners in the city. Feel free to try one out, or check this link out raw food restaurants in France.
  • Fun Fact: Additional delicacies offered in select places around the country consist of cow tongue, utters, escargot, rabbit, frog legs, calf pancreas, kidneys and stomachs from a variety of animals. Some dishes are cooked, others are slightly cooked or even raw.

Travel to Find Amazing French Restaurant Tours

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Eating is more of a social event in France. Why? Because meals take longer to cook and eat. People like company while they enjoy a delicious dish, frequently consisting of small and large size entrees.

If you want to learn more about goodies from this country, such as what foods are popular, where to find the best of the best, and how to order your favorite dish, you may want to take a tour, like the one you can take in a shop filled with cheeses.

The locals definitely welcome all visitors on local tours. Chefs prepare and provide their best dishes for you and whomever you choose to bring along for the ride. While you taste their delicately crafted cuisines, you’ll be able to learn the history behind the recipe.

Some tour options give you the opportunity to walk around the town while learning about your new favorite dish. Click here to learn more on gourmet walking tour.

Other tour options allow you to bring the kids along to try the delicious dishes with you. Click here to learn more on food tours with kids.

Still, other tours will allow you to try the delicious wine while consuming a great dish. If you would like to find one of these tours or look up more tours visit Paris on a food tour itinerary

Last Stop to Understanding the Importance of French Eats

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You’ve been informed about the basics of ordering cured meats and cheese. With additional help from the charcutiers and the fromagers, you’ll be a pro in no time.

Now you know which raw delicacies that can be tried, along with the cooked delicacies that can be sampled. With the chef's input and the waiter/waitresses’ opinions, you’ll know what to order in minutes.

You have learned about the basic tour options and have been given an itinerary to further your touring options to the extent you’d like. With the tour guide and chefs help, you’ll find your favorite dish by the end of the day.

What else is there?

The last stop to understanding the uniqueness of the cuisine française is to check out this How to Guide: how to order French food in Paris. This How to Guide will help you the art of ordering great eats when visiting the city. And if you have not visited yet, what are you going to do? They sure will not disappoint!

For more information, please refer to the following pages:

gastronomy pic

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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