I love French bakeries. There is one at every corner and they all carry fresh bread, croissants, pains au chocolat and pains aux raisin. They also have their specialties, from elaborate cakes to simple fruit pies.
Crêpes are Brittany’s specialty and crêperies can be found everywhere in Nantes. These very thin pancakes are made from flour, eggs, milk, butter, and a pinch of salt. Normally, crêpes are slightly sweeet and galettes are unsweetened: the first one is served as dessert and the second one is the main meal. They are traditionally served with very cold cider.
There are two big markets a week in Nantes, and they are both very busy. French do love food after all.
Fruits and vegetables are not always cheaper than at the supermarket but people have their “petites habitudes” (customs) and they enjoy shopping at the same stalls weeks after weeks. They joke, taste the fruits, complain about the price and happily bag a few pounds of this and that. So-and-so has the best meat, so-and-so has the freshest bread etc.
You won’t find any nutritional information on products in France. I guess it doesn’t matter that much because most people follow a commonsense diet, or at least try to: eat more veggies than Nutella, nibble on bread but go easy on the mayonnaise, enjoy some dessert but a small portion of it. But in North America, a lot of restaurants offer super-fatty dishes.
Let’s not do like Stephen Harper and Governor General Michaelle Jean visiting Nunavut: raw seal heart is not for everyone. But I know there are some Canadian specialties you are dying to try!
Fear not: I’m not going to turn this blog into a cooking blog. I’m not that domestic. But lately, I’ve realized that every evening I was facing the same dilemma — what to take for lunch?
So here a list of the top Canadian restaurants, fast food and coffee places. You must know at least a few…!
The scale in the corner of the kitchen was taunting me, and one morning, I finally climbed on it. I was just curious, I guess. Barely awake, my eyes still out-of-focus, I blinked several times, trying to bring the scale’s needle into focus. And I gasped.
A while ago, I was invited by The Writer to talk about Canadian food I like…or hate.
This was actually hard. Canada is such a multicultural country, we all tend to eat ethnic food. I could list Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese dishes I loved or hate, but Canadian? I needed to think. Overall, the food here is quite straightforward. No insects, no blood sausage, nothing too weird. Yet, I have my pet peeves!
Summer is definitely here: hot and humid weather, checked. People on holidays? Checked. Canada Day and a bunch of cool festivals coming up? Checked. Outdoor BBQs? Checked.
North Americans love BBQ. Well, the tradition is best honored in Southern US, but Canadians like it too. And every year, the Sparks Street BBQ contest attracts a lot of people. Eleven teams from across Canada and the USA “compete” for the best ribs and the best chicken pieces. It is a lot of meat — basically, a vegetarian nightmare.
There are “pâtisseries” and “boulangeries” everywhere, the first ones specializing in cakes and elaborate pastries, the second ones offering many kinds of bread and basic bakery products.
In the Andes, especially in Bolivia, mate de coca was a great option. It is basically a tea of coca leaves: as the Bolivians say, “la hoja de coca no es droga” (Coke leaf is not a drug). Maybe not a drug, but it is supposed to help with soroche, altitude sickness. I’m a big tea drinker, especially of green tea, and I did like the taste of the beverage.
Latinos apparently have a sweet tooth: there were panaderías (bakery) just about anywhere!
The first Argentinian city we went to was Ushuaia, in Tierra Del Fuego. Because of its geographical location — it is the Southernmost city in the world, stuck at the tip of the Americas, right in front of Antarctica — food was quite expensive. We ended up cooking in hostels a lot throughout all Patagonia for the same reason. But once back to civilization, in Buenos Aires, we truly got to enjoy the gastronomy.
Food in Bolivia is quite basic, and there aren’t many supermarkets (if at all). Sanitation isn’t the country’s strong point either, and even though there were many food stalls in La Paz, I skipped on those. However, Copacabana, on the shore of Lake Titicaca, had some of the best fish I have ever had.
In, Central America, as well as in Peru, you just need to know three words to order food: arroz (rice), frijoles (beans) and pollo (chicken). Makes life easy, doesn’t it! However, the food may be quite basic, and at one point, you’ll be desperate for something other than chicken. I mean, how much chicken can one eat???
Snacks, sodas, take-outs, pastries, desserts, appetizers, food stalls, fast food… you would never go hungry in North America provided you have some spare change in your pocket.
These are my personal favorite: Bāozi (包子） and Beijing Duck (北京烤鸭). These two dishes are relatively unknown overseas, where “Chinese food” is often a synomym of “Fried Rice”, “Chow Mien” and “Egg Foo Yung”… and other dishes that cater to Western taste and are everything but Chinese!
Every year, Sparks Street in downtown Ottawa is smokin’ hot. For five days in June, about twenty teams from Canada and the United States compete for the top rank of best rib choice, best rib sauce, best chicken choice and best chicken sauce.
France is probably most famous for its “viennoiseries” — sweet pastries. The croissant, of course, and also the pain au chocolat (sweet bread with a thin chocolate bar wrapped in the middle). Oh, and the pain aux raisins — sweet bread with raisins. There’s also the flan (custard pie with prunes), the lemon pie, the banana pie with chocolate, the chausson aux pommes (apple pie)…
Yes, Canadian treats. Good. Sweet stuffs to help us survive harsh winter. Just have a look at that!
Beaver tails that are also a typical piece of Canadian-ism, although popular everywhere in North America : it’s a piece of fried dough, usually with some sweet spread on top (yes, maple syrup is of course a favorite!). Mostly eaten at festivals and during outdoor activities, it’s a winter favorite.
Do you know why I’m not a perfect woman? No, it’s not — only — because I like muffins (a lot). It’s a much deeper secret. Still don’t know?
Let me put in simply. I’m French. And I’m a lousy cook.
The idea is to work your way through the eight phases of the dinner party, answering all of the questions on the way – being as honest and creative as you wish. Once your homework has been completed, please nominate any number of bloggers to host their very own “virtual” dinner party.