One of my favorite parts of traveling is eating. I LOVE food. During my visit to Paris in early 2016, I had several unforgettable meals, attended a food and wine pairing class at Le Cordon Bleu and enjoyed a day at the home of Benedicte Mesny, owner of The Parisan Kitchen. I’ll tell you more about Benedicte and her amazing cooking school later in this post.
One of my favorite lunch experiences in Paris is at Dessance, located in the heart of Marais. This is not your typical restaurant with your typical menu. You don’t order specific items. You choose from three course options and are serviced what the Chef prepares on the day you visit.
1) Audacious: 4 fruits, vegetables and plants dishes + 1 dessert
2) Irresistible: 1 savory dish + 4 fruits, vegetables and plants dishes + 1 dessert
3) Hedonist : 2 savory dishes + 4 fruits, vegetables and plants dishes + 1 dessert
Alcoholic and nonalcoholic Drink Pairings are also available.
To really get the full experience at Dessance, make a reservation at the Chef’s Counter. Here you will have the opportunity to watch these young chefs create their innovative dishes.
Located near Rue Cler (one of my favorite streets in Paris) is the Restaurant Mariette. Owned by husband and wife team Marcella and Alfredo Martin, this small intimate restaurant offers upscale french cuisine. Starters include Foie Gras Ravioli and Norwegian Lobster Tartare, with fish, lamb and duck entries typically on the menu. Be sure to save room for dessert…for me chocolate.
While researching my visit to Paris, I stumbled onto a food and wine pairing class at Le Cordon Bleu. What could be better than having an expert Chef prepare my dinner and an expert Sommelier pair my wines?
I’ve taken cooking classes in New Orleans, Greece, Thailand, etc. but none were as fun and informative as my class with Benedicte Mesny. Her school, The Parisan Kitchen, is located in her lovely apartment, away from tourists and just a short metro ride from the center of Paris.
On arrival, Benedicte greeted me and a lovely American couple, also in my class. Her classes are limited to a small group and there were just the three of us. She offered us fresh Orange Juice, Coffee and Pastries and reviewed the game plan for our day.
Our class included a Market Tour so we started our adventure wandering the streets in search of cheese, butter, wine, produce, bread and meat. I wish I could eat with my eyes…..oh my. We sampled cheeses, learned how to select the freshest produce and discussed living in Paris.
Ingredients were fresh…not treated with chemicals or pasteurized. It was a completely different shopping experience for me. We bought eggs by the egg…not by the dozen, butter and cheeses were cut from a big block, wrapped and weighed, we selected our carrots one by one and our beef was cut fresh. Benedicte explained that because ingredients like butter are fresh, they only have a shelf life of a few days. She does not stock up…she shops daily.
After we purchase our ingredients, it’s time to get serious and we return to Benedicte’s apartment for our cooking lesson and lunch. We start with grating the cheeses we purchased and create a traditional cheese soufflé in the oven. Next we make a red wine reduction for our beef filet and peel and caramelized carrots. We also make a quick dressing for our green salad.
No meal is complete without an amazing desert and we make a Traditional Tatin Tart. I have to admit it was not the prettiest dessert I ever seen but very good. We start with making a caramel sauce, next peel and slice apples and then we make our pastry from scratch. This dessert is assembled with the caramel on the bottom, apple in the middle and pastry on top. When the tart is removed from the oven, it’s turned onto a plate so the pastry is on the bottom and the caramel run into the apples….Yum.
The wine is poured and we can now relax and enjoy our delicious lunch. I hope to return one day to The Parisan Kitchen for Benedicte’s pastry class or maybe I can just convince her to cook me lunch…..