Le Foodist Paris Cooking Class



What to Learn from Wine Tasting Events in Paris

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When in Paris, there are plenty of sight-seeing areas to go to. From the world-famous Eiffel Tower to the Louvre Museum, sight-seeing is a great way to explore and learn more about the world of Paris.

Throughout the day, you get to experience the greatest of what Paris has to offer, and see how it has changed throughout the years as well. But, one thing that needs to be researched a bit more to enjoy are the wine tasting events in Paris. Whether it just be a few classes throughout the day, or tours given out to experience the best wines and cheeses that Paris has to offer, it can’t be rebuked that Paris is a hidden gem. With rich origins rooted in food, tastings, and champagne or wine, Paris has so much to offer.

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History of Wine in Paris

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Although not as prominently known, Paris is still quite rich with history in terms of wine culture and creation. Dating back to the days of Gauls, it was being created and cultivated at that time. Using the area around the Mediterranean, which were rich and plentiful for olive and fig trees, the creation and distribution of became commonplace. Again, this was in the late BC era.

Around the early AD era, viticulture started to spread to areas outside of the Gaulish regions. As such, there was a host of varieties to be harvested and cultivated, resulting in the many varieties of Cabernets. These are considered to be the ancestors of most wines and champagnes found today.

The Era of Enlightened Tastes

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During the turn into the Age of Enlightenment of Europe, trading and transportation became standard. As transportation was expensive, many noted that transporting wine through certain areas would be more profitable, as it would help to reduce travel costs, as well as possible spoiling of the goods itself. This also created heavy diversity, as they would all end up being funneled through the region that would later be known as Paris.

Not only were classes starting to be created in different universities around the areas, but different creation methods would be fine-tuned and improved upon, creating even more delicious variations and blends to enjoy. This would also lead to the creation of the fermentation process, which would help to preserve wines even further.

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What’s so great about wine tasting?

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So, what is so great about going about on a tour to taste different wines around Paris? Well, that can simply be put as you can’t find them anywhere else! Finding decent wineries that host a wide variety of wines and champagnes can be far and wide apart from each other.

Instead of individually searching out for these different wineries themselves, many visiting Paris will find more success by signing up for a wine tour, or class. Although the cost of a wine tasting can get pretty expensive, it is well worth the effort to look for them. Walking between vendors trying turns at different flavor profiles.

Who pairs with who?

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Not only do tours allow for a peek into the lifestyles and changes made to a deep culture such as wine-making, they also show you how to pair different profiles with different cheeses and other such appetizers. Learning to enjoy such delicacies in Paris will help when attempting to find which wines are best to go with certain foods.

The food here, aside from the incredible selection of elegant cheese, is phenomenal. English winemakers often visit and sign up for these tasting classes, as a way to enhance their own products to better provide a higher quality. 

Read up beforehand

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A fun tip is to do a little research and find out what cheese pairs best with certain types of beverages. While some of these tips can be learned in an English class, the level of hands-on experience from French classes is unmatched. Whether you are looking for a new champagne or just a ring to pair with your favorite food dishes, you will learn the most effective way of choosing those elements by participating in tasting classes.

Search High and Low for a Good Class

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Lastly, understanding that certain Paris vintages can be found in different locations is paramount. Not all bottles will be found in the same areas. Travelling can be expensive and tiring. As such, knowing where to look first to find the best beverages in Paris is important so you do not waste any time in the day. Classes given can also help to make sure you don’t make any wrong turns at an improper winery that sells mediocre bottles at best.

So, what exactly are Wine Tasting Tours?

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Sampling tours are a simple gathering of avid wine enthusiasts. These gatherings tend to be in wineries or pubs, as well as certain “tasting rooms” that can be found in many different areas.

Getting the Basics Down

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The general layout of a tasting event consists of people taking turns as they try out different pours from a variety of bottles, some vendors will also have cheese to pair with their wines. As one goes between areas, the samples they receive along the way allow them to taste and enjoy the variety that the tastings have to offer.

For instance, one can gain insight into what food is best suited to go with which wines, and what cheese are not so great for champagnes, and so on and so forth, so pay attention before your experience turns sour. At the end of it all, the biggest payout is to the ones within the industries. These events are also big areas to get people to buy the wines that are being tasted and procured for their enjoyment. Although it seems rude not to buy at points, it is encouraged, as they have been allowing those around them to enjoy themselves. 

Can you smell that smell?

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When at tastings, there are quite a few different rules and untold etiquette laws that are supposed to be followed. For instance, one big thing when going to sampling tours, in general, is to not wear any fragrances or colognes. The smell of perfumes or different fragrances can distort the taste and smell of the beverage or champagne that is being tasted. As such, making sure to go as vanilla as possible will help to enhance certain flavors.

If you're feeling woozy then lay off the boozy

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Another thing to make sure of while visiting tastings in Paris is to make sure you moderate your intake. If you're only visiting a small number of classes, drinking the samples is okay. No harm in having a bit of fun, after all. But, if one is planning on visiting multiple different tours and activities, it is good to keep a check on how much you drink, as being intoxicated by the end of it can cause problems for you, as well as those around you at the event. Moderation will always be key.

Wasting is not always wasteful

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One interesting fact to note is, when tasting, it is sometimes not impolite to actually pour the wine out. This is known as "Dumping." Although it may seem rude, dumping is okay, as taste can be lost when left to the open air for far too long. It's not an English nor a French thing. It's simply a matter of preference and a class will tell you that.

Hands down and enjoy the tours

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Lastly, do not try to skimp and ask for discounts or free items when at wine tastings. As some may already know, the wine tasting rooms in Paris and other areas tend to be quite generous already for people to sample such delicacies, but they are not going to damage their business in the process. Such things as attempting to fake that one is in the winemaking industry just to get free samples or to show off to other guests is a big no-no. Instead, take it for what it is, and allow those around you to make their own judgment calls.

So, where can I buy the Wine?

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To buy wine in Paris, it’s a very simple process, but turns south for those who do not plan properly. If you are a traveler from outside of the lovely city, you may look into also buying a safe way to transport it home. But, to buy the wine itself, it is very simple. Going to sampling tours, you can interact and get to know many different people within the industry of wine crafting.

Looking for the best?

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The best though is generally bought at the wineries themselves. This is because they will always be fresh, as well as not have passed through many different hands to reach their destination. Even better, you know that what they are offering is the correct price, as it does not have to go through multiple third-party markets.

Watch out if you are a traveler

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But, many within the industry say that it is sometimes best to not buy a lot of wine if one is traveling from abroad. This is because many airports and customs do not allow the transfer of such contents across borders. This is mostly for safety reasons, but it must be taken into account. Not only that, many airports do not take special care of what is inside the contents of some boxes, leading to some bottles being shattered and completely worthless when they arrive.

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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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