Le Foodist Paris Cooking Class



Food to Eat in the South of France: A Travel Guide

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France is an incredible place in the world for foodies to venture to, especially its southern region. In Southern France you'll not only be amazed by its local landscape, but be able to find many culinary classes that teach the local dish techniques, and fresh ingredients throughout the different regions that you can't find anywhere else in the country.

If you plan to take a trip to this part of France there are a few foods you'll definitely want to try when there. This article will highlight the different regions and cities of this area and some of the top dishes you need to consume when in them. 

food to eat in south of france

Regions and Cities to Visit

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Nice

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When spending the day in Nice you'll discover that much of its food is a mixture between Italian and French cuisine due to it being so close to the Italian border. You'll find many of the foods focus on seafood and vegetables. 

  • Niçoise Salad

This salad is packed with flavorful ingredients and is one food you'll definitely need to try for lunch. A fresh bed of lettuce is covered in anchovies, colorful sliced peppers, chopped potatoes, and sliced tuna and then tossed in a delicious vinaigrette. One Nice restaurant that is known for this salad is the NOMAD Bar. This restaurant offers a unique take on this dish that you'll definitely want to try. 

  • Vin Rosé

Because this area focuses on seafood, it's a great idea to try some local rosé selections. Many stores sell this delicate selection which is known for its burst of flavor thanks to the rich soil in the region. 

  • Farcis

A trip to Nice isn't complete without trying a local favorite: farcis. This dish is where vegetables, like tomatoes and eggplants, are hollowed out and then stuffed with things like chopped up meat, garlic, and breadcrumbs. 

  • Pissaladière

This food was invented in this seaside city and consists of a thick crust that's covered in caramelized onions, olives, and anchovies. It's basically the French version of pizza. You can often find this dish in Paris, but it's a great idea to consider trying it where it was actually first created. 

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Cannes

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If you're a cheese lover or want to experience some unique French dishes, Cannes is the perfect place to travel to. 

  • Beignets de Fleurs de Courgettes

Translated to Courgette Flowers, this dish is renowned in Cannes for its amazing flavor. These squash flowers are deep-fried in an amazing breadcrumb mixture. Sometimes you can even find ones that are stuffed with a vegetable blend before being fried. 

  • Bouillabaisse

This fish stew is made from freshly caught seafood in the Riveria. You'll find plenty of restaurants that sell their own special versions of this beloved stew, but it mainly consists of ingredients like fish, tomatoes, garlic, herbs, olive oil, clams, shrimp, and onions. 

Montpellier
  • Gres de Montpellier

When in Montpellier you'll want to try out their incredible selection of wines. This city is known for its Gres de Montpellier selections which are red options. Two of the most popular choices to try here are Syrah, which tastes like a mixture of blueberries and olives, and Grenache, a drink that is a fruity mixture with swirls of cinnamon. 

  • Crème Catalone

You'll also find the mouthwatering Crème Catalone, a cream made up of lemon, vanilla, and fennel seed. It's often compared to Crème Brûlée

  • Cargolade

Cargolade is another great dish to try and features snails baked in a salt, pepper, and herb sauce. 

Nîmes

One of the most iconic dishes Nîmes has to offer is Brandade. This dish is made up of a cod pureé that's wrapped up in beet leaves and covered in an aioli sauce. Besides this dish, you'll also want to try out some local green olives which are well-known for their burst of flavor. 

Narbonne

Narbonne features a few incredible dishes and drinks you can try, like its Salmon Tartare and Tapas. There's also Faisselle which is a raw cheese that's covered in red fruit. A delicious drink to try here is the Vin Citronné which has a dazzling summer-like taste with lemon mixed into its white wine. 

Avignon

When in Avigon you'll want to try the local asparagus. This vegetable is very popular here and is found in many restaurants where it's grilled or sauteed with herbs and a butter sauce. Another great eat to try is the local Charcuterie which features some local sausage slices. While you can find this dish in many Paris shops, the type here offers a mouthwatering selection of fresh herbs in the sausage. 

Grasse

Here you'll want to try Moules Frites, which is a dish made up of locally caught mussels, onions, carrots, and herbs soaked in a light sauce. On the top of this dish are freshly made potato chip that can be dipped in a tangy mayonnaise dip. It's the perfect meal for dinner. 

The Midi-Pyrenées Region: Cahors and Revel

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This region has a huge Spanish influence which can be seen in many of its dishes. The Toulouse Cassoulet is a popular one and features sausage and goose meat in a bubbling mixture of vegetables and herbs. 

You'll also find that the Midi-Pyrenées loves violets and is something this region incorporates into many of its dishes and foods. You should try some of the local violet liqueur or honey which has a marvelous taste. 

  • Cahors Wine, Walnuts, and Croustilot Bread

You'll find a delicious wine here called Cahorswhich is a red selection that has delicious fruity flavors. This region is also known for its walnuts which can be found in many local dishes and pastries. Additionally, when in Cahors, you'll have to try its Croustilot Bread which is made only using locally grown wheat, water, salt, and yeast. This gives it a pure natural flavor. 

  • Revel

Revel is a wonderful place to go market shopping. Situated in the midst of a medieval city, the farmers market in Revel sells locally grown fruits and vegetables as well as homemade pastries and breads. One food to try at this market is the olives which come in a variety of colors and flavors that are sure to please your taste buds. 

It might seem like Paris is the ultimate place for foodies to visit, but Southern France is an incredible place for those people interested in experiencing everything the French cuisine has to offer to visit as well. You'll find a variety of dishes and discover the local touches that each region adds to certain meals. 

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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