Le Foodist Paris Cooking Class

How to choose a Restaurant in Paris?

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French cuisine is world renowned and choosing a restaurant in Paris, France is never easy. You could spend hours exploring quaint sidewalk eateries, coffee houses, bistros, brasseries, street vendors, 5-star dining establishments, and still be hard-pressed on where to eat and drink. Even though French cuisine dominates the landscape, the City of Lights is also the host to cuisine from around the globe.

Italian, Caribbean, Japaneses, Indian, Chinese, Mexican, and Thai food abounds. To make your choices easier, menus can be found online or posted in a window to peruse on a walk. However at some point, you will probably choose a day to have a picnic in the park - like the locals. Be sure to find out where to buy food. Here are some more tips to keep in mind when dining out.

how to choose a restaurant in Paris

Location, Location, Location

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Narrow your choices by searching for a restaurant near the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Sainte-Chapelle, Champs-Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, Musée d'Orsay, Notre Dame Cathedral, Disneyland Paris, and many other hot spots. Your hotel concierge can be a valuable local resource to the sights and sounds around the area when you travel. The best way to discover your next favorite bistro in France is to walk the streets and smell the aroma in the air.

It's great to get a sense of what people are doing and where they're going. Maybe a sporting event, concert, or a fashion show could be happening around the next corner. Learn to live the life of a Parisian, breakaway from the tourist trap. Try to see life through the eyes of the locals and get ingrained into their culture and lifestyle. When you do that, you will likely spot a special place to grab a bite that you will remember for the rest of your life.

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What's the Occasion?

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Celebrating a holiday, birthday, wedding, first date, or just your regularly scheduled sustenance, should be a factor in your decision. Weighing location, ambiance, atmosphere, customer service, cost, and reputation according to your particular circumstance will impact your dining options. A very important event, even a long deserved vacation in France, requires a little bit of extra attention to assure a satisfying experience for you and your guests. Other times, you can just wing it.

Dogs are Allowed

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Don't be surprised when you spot a dog in a restaurant in Paris; they are permitted by local ordinances. It's a dog-friendly town, where adorable French Poodles like to be social. After being cooped up in a tiny apartment for hours, dog owners like to take their fashionably dressed pups on a long walk, explore the neighborhood, and visit a local watering hole... or two! So, if you have a dog with you, don't worry! Choosing where to get some chow is no problem. If this offends you, ask the hostess if dogs are allowed before you are seated.

Social Media Reviews

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When it comes to travel in France, social media apps can be priceless and insightful. From your phone app store, download Snapchat, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram. For example, within Snapchat you'll find the Snap Map which shows public snapschats all around the metro area. Occasionally you'll see short video clips of people celebrating around a table full of their favorite dishes. You can catch a glimpse of what it is like inside a few of the 13,000 local places to dine. Personal recommendations and reviews are an excellent way to uncover the good, bad, and the downright ugly.

Timing is Everything

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At fine dining establishments, local people gather to eat at the same time - 12:30 for lunch and 8 p.m. for dinner. It's not uncommon to see lines form in front before opening. If you don't want to make a reservation, avoid this time period.  Don't worry, you won't go hungry! Just beware, if a dining room is empty, it may not be very popular, or it might be too expensive. This could be a good time to try a street vendor. Remember to check hours of operation because many are closed on Sunday and Monday and make reservations if you want to go during prime-time.

Wine Bars

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If kicking back with a glass of Beaujolais or Champagne is your desire, there are numerous trendy wine bars to quench your thirst. A scan of the carefully curated list by the owner will inform you whether the prices are affordable. Be sure to look for a bar that has charcuterie, cheese plates, and crusty bread on the menu too. By using this quick technique, you can easily find a place to relax and sample some local libations on your own. However, you can also hire a professional guide to navigate the many different choices. You may want to find out where to buy it on your way home to enjoy before you retire for the night.

Ambiance and Atmosphere

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A descriptive tune by Paul McCartney and Wings is Cafe On The Left Bank. The lyrics are about the charm and ambiance, wine and song of being in Paris. The Left Bank (La Rive Gauche) is located on the southern bank of the Seine River, which flows throughout its many arrondissements. There you’ll find the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, Musée d’Orsay, Catacombs, the Jardin des Plantes, Montparnasse Cemetery and Luxembourg Gardens. And yes, there are many bistros to frequent near the Latin Quarter (5th & 6th arrondissement) a historic, academic area that is very popular with students, also the home of La Sorbonne University and the Pantheon. Make time for your midday meal on Rue Mouffetard, one of the oldest streets paved with cobblestone and old street lights. It is the embodiment of true Paris charm. No matter what your criteria, you can't make a bad decision in this location.

For more information, please refer to the following pages:

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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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