This is the second of my Bring it Home series for the month of March… c’mon along for the ride!
Date night in Paris
This was an experience that I had back in April 2008, long before there was any thought of our AIM appointment and even a couple of months before I’d even met Bro. & Sis. Nowacki for the first time (which would happen in July of 2008).
We were in Europe visiting my wife’s family in Belgium (although she is of Italian descent, she was born and raised in Belgium) and I persuaded my inlaws to babysit the kids for two days, while I whisked Liz away to Paris as a surprise. She knew nothing of the plan except that she needed to pack an overnight bag and would need one nice outfit. Amongst other visits I’d planned, we were going to have an evening dinner cruise aboard one of the Bateaux Parisiens vessels which dock near the foot of the Eiffel Tower..
On the Menu
On the menu that night was, among other things, foie-gras (pronounced “fwah-grah”, top-right) served with greens and sauteed mushrooms in a dark sauce, topped with sea-salt and pepper.
If you’ve never had foie-gras before it’s essentially a pâté. The most colourful description I ever heard however, is from Steve Shobert, and bears repeating: “Foie-gras is basically the poached liver of force-fed goose” (doesn’t that just get your mouth watering!). For many north americans it’s an acquired taste, but for the French, it’s an art!
For the main course we had salmon, which was likely delicious, but one thing about the French, they like their cheese as much as they like their foie-gras! Consequently, between the main course and dessert, the plat de fromage (or, cheese plate, above) is a must. This is a particularly joyous part of the meal for my wife as well. When she married me and moved to North America, she went from hundreds and hundreds of different cheeses to white cheddar, orange cheddar and marble cheddar, whose variety extended to mild, medium and old – what variety!
Bringing it home
Want to experience a little bit of France at home? One way is to put a bit of foie-gras on the menu and be sure to incorporate some French cheeses in between the main course and dessert.
Foie-gras can be pricey so be aware of that. A little goes a long way… even the French don’t eat huge portions of it, so don’t feel cheap about only serving small portions. As is typical of the French, it’s all about taking something simple and accessorizing it… dressing it up. As for cheeses, find yourself the staples: Brie, Camembert, Roquefort (sharp), Boursin and chèvre (goat), and be sure to serve with a bit of baguette (French Bread).
Well… you’ve got the Goose liver and the cheese. As for the water… if you can’t fit a trip to Paris in the budget just yet, put all of the above in a pic-nic basket and load the canoe onto the car or hitch up the boat-trailer. It won’t be exactly the same, but you’ll feel that certain “Je ne sais quoi” that is typically French as well… I think we also call it, Romance…
One last thing
Just for the record, there were a couple other things on the menu as well, one of which is pictured here. Honestly, I haven’t got a clue what it was although it looks like spinach run through a blender with a white sauce burying something…..
What do you think? Would you try it?