An Evening in Paris
“France, is a woman”, he said as he lightly sipped his Bordeaux wine, “she is beautiful, unpredictable, nurturing and a passionate cook”. I was exchanging notes about the French culture with a gentleman from the Consulate of France in Mumbai. The setting didn’t feel like I was in Mumbai at all! There was a nip in the air in the month of March; we were seated in an elegant little garden overlooking the Arabian Sea and Marine Drive sparkled in the water like golden diamonds on the other side.
Paris was looking beautiful, as beautiful as I had seen her last. The gorgeously flavourful, light yet rich brioche in my mouth was a testament to the elegance of French culture and cuisine. The deep meatiness of the duck topping rounded off the cloudlike richness of the brioche in a perfect marriage. This tiny appetizer turned out to be my favourite on the menu that evening.
Misunderstanding French Food
When I think about French food, I think butter! Butter and lemon, butter and herbs, buttery soft desserts and butter in layers and layers of flour in a French pastry. French bread and pastry are perhaps the core symbol of French cuisine. Well, bread, and cheese and French wine of course. Yet, why is it that in India, French food is so misunderstood?
Some assume that French and Italian food is the same food! What? Only because they are neighbouring nations? You couldn’t be more wrong. French and Italian food is vastly different, so is German food, but German food does bear similarities to the food of Alsace in France, which shares a border with the country.
Anyway, Italian food is more garlicky, deeper flavours, even meatier, in comparison with French food, which is subtler, often lighter and subtly flavoured with herbs and BUTTER! The Provencal region of France is known for using tomatoes and garlic in cooking, other than that French and Italian are vastly different cuisines.
What is Real French Food?
Italian food is identified with fresh and dried pasta, pizzas, use of garlic, tomatoes and cheese. French food is French breads like the French Baguette, pastry like croissants, brioche, profiteroles, eclairs or choux pastry, tarts, custard, soufflé and pralines. French Classic cooking includes some wonderful desserts like the Crème Brulee, Opera Cake, Croquembouche, floating Islands and Gateaus. Gateau, which is, what was known as cake-pastry when we were kids. It also includes small bites or petit fours such as eclairs, macarons and puff pastry. It is interesting to know that many of the classic French pastries can be made with a sweet or savoury filling. Meaning, a quiche could have custard and fruit, it could also have spinach and cheese as the filling.
French entrees or main course in today’s four-course meals may include eggs with vegetables, or chicken joints with sauce and frequently, fish or any other form of seafood. The French cuisine preview dinner I attended, for instance, offered a selection of entrees such butter poached asparagus with the poached egg of toast topped with Hollandaise sauce, Chicken Fricasse, classic steak and fish with mushrooms.
Want to Experience and Celebrate French Cooking?
When you sample real French Food it is delightful! If you want to spend an Evening enjoying French Food and wine in an elegant setting, here’s your chance.
– Artisan, Sofitel
– Botticino, Trident
– Fenix, Oberoi
– Glass Window, Pune
– Olio, Novotel
– Olive Bar and Kitchen
– Olive Bistro
– RATATOUILLE DIARIES, Indore
– RIVEA, Taj (Santa Cruz)
– The Chambers, Taj Mahal Palace (Colaba)
– The Sassy Spoon, Nariman Point
– The Square, Novotel (Ahmedabad)
– Upper Crust Lounge, ITC Maratha
– Square, Novotel, Candolim
– The Clearing House, Ballard Estate
– Indigo Restaurant, Colaba
If you do get a chance to spend An Evening in Paris as I did, do share your experience with me in the comments section below and we can share notes about the French culture and cuisine. They also have some fabulous wines, so don’t forget to try some of those as well.