Thursday, May 03, 2007

Les Blancs = Yogurt

Les Blancs Watercolor #2 Les Blancs 2, watercolor, 9" x 11 1/2" I'm havingt another go getting more down to the basics of painting whites.
Too much objects and not enough abstract qualities like space, shape, pattern.
AIn Les Blancs I was searching for the perfect French plain yogurt. On the AirFrance flight home in October they served us an unidentified cup of amazing plain FRENCH yogurt and I was completely smitten!

The florist asked me to not take any more pictures, purely on principle!
My new Holy Grail was to find this unidentified yogurt - creamy, smooth, thick and VERY TART. Lordie, Paris supermarkets offer up a gazillion brands of PLAIN WHITE YOGURT. How do you choose? Believe me I tried many. I read that Danone Veloute Nature is the best.  
I'm convinced the French have the yogurt thing totally wrapped up and I'm not just saying this because I'm biased and very pro-French stuff.
But, and it's a BIG BUT, where do they get off DROPPING THE G FROM YOGURT? YAOURT? (YOW-URT) I don't get it.
Naturally in my search for the perfect French plain yoGurt, I kept seeing a lot of WHITE EVERYWHERE. French baby clothes are the BEST hands unless you're in Italy.
Here's a white perfume, FLEURS BLANCHES by Catherine Memmi.
Yesterday I made this in my new Donvier Yogurt Maker in the vain attempt to make "French" yoGurt at home. You can not buy it in New York. Maybe I'll rename it yogurt soup and call it a day. It tastes pretty Frenchie - nice and tart But the consistency sucks - I could use a straw with this stuff Help me out here
Click on the picture to hear her sing  FEIST always seems to be dressed in WHITE - she must eat a lot of yogurt...


  1. Anonymous11:08 AM

    Yes, whites are so hard to paint. I was attempting white orchids last night and resorted to pale greens, golds and corals.
    Regarding the testy flower marketer who wanted you to stop taking photos. I have had that issue before and found a way to short circuit the problem. I have been taking photos of display in a local gift shop window..they are just beautiful and the shop owner was beginning to make negative noises, so one slow Sunday afternoon, when I knew there would not be a great many customers there, I came in and gifted her with a small, framed watercolor I had done form one of my photos. she was so excited and pleased, she began to tell me about her plans for the next window and when it was really best to photograph through the glass. She even offered me some tea, which we enjoyed and gave me a lemon meringue lollipop (home made) as I left. Try this with the flower lady. I am sure you will make a very helpful friend.

  2. Come to Vienna and I'll give you a blind tasting of white yogurts. There's incredibly good white stuff around here (and then, of course, you could always paint it saffron yellow (warning: it is not my fault, if you get addicted! Invest in some saffron stock first!).
    For some reason I cannot see the pictures of this post (happened to me on Catharina's blog too, must be blogger who has got the hiccups).
    While living in Rome, I loved DANNONE Citron yogurt. Always go into trouble for getting to it before everybody else.
    Will be back to see if you got a painting up there!

  3. What a nice idea PAINT DIVA!
    I did do lots of watercolors from a Peony bud this shop allowed me to buy last year..
    I never thought to give him a watercolor..He is extremely grumpy but it's worth a try

    Merisi Please STOP tempting me to come to Vienna :)
    I'm easily tempted by your delicious photos, even if they didn't have good yoGurt...

  4. When I flew Air France years ago, I was served "Fromage Frais" and fell head over heels for it. So much better than plain yogurt. I have since looked everywhere for it. NY, here in Toronto with no luck. I went back to Paris and found it everywhere and it's even served in fast food places for breakfast. I really miss it. I've been making yogurt as well, but it's not Fromage Frais. I'm surprised that air france switch to serving yogurt since the fromage frais is so 'french'.

  5. Anonymous11:35 AM

    Love the lily photo. I took one in my garden of a Lily of the Valley that just happened to have a purple pansy grow up behind it. Turned out great. The white against the purple/lavender color like in your photo looks striking. Bummer about the Grumpy shop owner. Maybe he thinks you're going to steal his ideas for another shop like his. The gift of a painting might just work. Let him know you're an artist not competition. ;)

    Cris in CA

  6. Maybe it was "Fromage Frais" AirFrance served..?
    Now I'm all mixed up
    It certainly seemed a lot like yogurt.
    There was no label on the cup as I recall..
    The Yogurt Mysteries by Paris Breakfasts :)

  7. Anonymous11:43 AM

    The longer you leave yoghurt, the thicker it should become providing that you use enough culture (or plain yoghurt) to start with. I forget the proportions but its something like 1 teaspoon to 120ml of tepid milk. I always used to make mine in a covered china bowl in the airing cupboard over night. I guess machines have taken over! btw the best plain yoghurt is Longley Farm BA plain yoghurt. It is quite thick, virtually fat free and clean tasting. But never mind that!.
    I want to say how much I've admired your blog and how happy it makes me to see your pictures of french life.
    You may not have heard of Elizabeth David. She was a famous food writer and she had a shop in London selling french porcelain and cooking utensils. She had a passion for plain white china.

  8. Anonymous12:10 PM

    Well,dear Carol
    I don´t know what kind of yaourtiére you use,so here I give you my receipt for creamy,white not-liquid"yogur":
    1 l.milk,
    1 white"yogur"(125 gr),
    1 c.à s. of milk in powder
    miix it all,
    pour it on the yaourtiére glasses and switch it on the time your machine needs.
    I hope it will help you ;D

  9. S. says his favorite is La Laitière (Nestlé). He's always grieving over the yogurt choices in the U.S. But he does not like it "nature" he prefers, à la poire.

    Isn't yogurt from the Turkish? And our G actually replaces that swallowed soft G sound, I'm sorry but I can't remember what it's called. So we replaced it by making it harder, into our G, and the French by softening it out.

  10. Ah Ha!
    The mystery is unfolding thanks to BLAME IT ON PARIS, who made me do homework I should have done before posting.

    According to Wikipedia the Etymology of 'yoghurt'
    The word derives from the Turkish yoğurt [1] (pronounced [jɔˈurt]) deriving from the adjective yoğun, which means "dense" and "thick", or from the verb yoğurmak, which means "to knead" and possibly meant "to make dense" originally -- how yoghurt is made.
    The letter ğ denotes a voiced velar fricative /ɣ/ but this sound is elided between back vowels in Modern Turkish. Some eastern dialects retain the consonant in this position and Turks in the Balkans pronounce the word with a hard /g/.
    English pronunciation varies according to the local accent but common pronunciations include /ˈjɒgət/ and /ˈjoʊgɚt/.


    Not only that, but France got it's YOGHURT from Turkey, when Francis I suffered from a severe case of the you-know-whats which no French doctor could cure. His ally, Suleiman the Magnificent sent a doctor, who allegedly cured the patient with yoghurt.
    Et voila!

  11. More Wiki-tid-bits Yogurt fans!

    It fell to a Spanish entrepreneur named Isaac Carasso to industrialiseindustrialize the production of yogurt. In 1919, Carasso, who had previously lived in the Balkans, started a small yoghurtyogurt business in Barcelona and named the business Danone ("little Daniel") after his son. Carasso emigrated to the United States during World War II and set up a business in New York City under an Americanized version of the name: Dannon.

    Yoghurt with added fruit jam was invented to protect yoghurtyogurt from decay. It was patented in 1933 by the Radlická Mlékárna dairy in Prague, and introduced to the United States in 1947, by Dannon.

  12. Yes I LOVE white. I like your attempts and I think you are brave and very nice to show them to us.
    That yogurt thing. It is impossible to find that French yogurt outside France. It's their secret weapon to keep us going back. If you stay at an IBIS hotel in the UK they serve that yogurt but they are a French company and ship it in and serve it in a glass bowl so you can't see the brand name.

  13. ParisCarol,
    may I add that I serve on white (not the snowy white, the just so ivory tinged one) bone china? (Crate & Barrel "Anna", actually mady by Dibbern in Germany)??? (I could try to save up for a simple white Pratesi linen sheet, but that may take some time at my currant snail pace *g*). Oh, just kidding. :-)
    Now I have to go dig my Lilly-of-the-Valley pictures I took last week and then forget (Vienna is a rush of pictures, Carol, seriously, you should branch out *chuckle*).
    A sprinkle of DIORISSIMO (yep, keep that old bottle in my guest bathroom - hey, I was seventeen then *g*) and til later (and yes, those white paintings are coming along just fine *complimenti*).


  14. Loving this music. Thanks so much.

  15. Anonymous7:25 PM

    Great paintings! Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna? A favorite combo of mine.

  16. White is so easy to photograph but I can appreciate the fact that it is challlenging to paint! Your work is great I love it what ever the subject! This post was hillarious love your humor! I shall try that Danone Veloute Nature..but then I'll add all my favorite nuts fruit granola wheat germ flax seed! Now I have a craving! Your posts always do that to me!! hugs NG

  17. I too have been saddened by the yoghurt choices in the USA. It's depressing really, when one has been exposed to the dairy isle in a French market! I believe I too enjoyed Danone's Nature yoghurt and found that the Greek yoghurt FAGE seemed the most comparable option that is readily available (found at Whole Foods). Have you tried this yoghurt?

  18. Anonymous2:42 AM

    "Crème de yaourt" by Danone used to be our favourite at home.
    Now it's "Perle de lait" by Yoplait.
    We love it plain. And we all like the coconut flavour.
    My daughter also goes for "mango and passion fruit". My son for "amandes douces".

    A few years ago, there were (ordinary)"yaourts" and "yahourts à la bulgare". The latter were more "acid". They were said to taste better. I used to buy them only when preparing Greek Tsatsiki.
    I haven't seen any for quite a while now...

    Carol, have you heard of the last perfume created by Jean-Paul Gaultier: "Fleur de mâle"?
    Bottle is all white. Thought you could be interested.

    Any picture of white macs in your stock of pictures?

  19. Suz I live in Astoria/Greekville so I'm surrounded by Greek Fage yoGurt adn that's mostly what I eat. But I'd rather make my own if I can figure it out...

    Marie-Noëlle I did not see any white macarons, but what a brilliant idea - perfect for weddings and HEY! they could be YOGURT flavor!
    Why not?
    They have yogurt-flavored gelato.
    I've had La Maison's old Vanilla macs, but they were buff colored...

    MAY I'm still not sure about the difference between Fromage Blanc and yogurt. In France they really mess with your head on this issue :(

  20. Anonymous6:05 AM

    Found home made ones at a blog food I love to visit:

    Apparently a specialist!

  21. Anonymous7:39 AM

    I know it is not french....
    but I really like the greek plain Fage yogurt. They have a 2% low-fat that is really thick, tart and tasty!

  22. Anonymous3:46 PM

    The first time I saw the yoaourt section in a supermarché I was floored! Fromage frais (or blanc) is my favorite, I wonder if that is what you had.
    My very favorite one is technically for kids, Petits Musclés

    Yet another food item we'll have to return to France to eat!

  23. Anonymous4:31 PM

    Wow, what a change. Nice to see you loosen up a bit. Heading in an interesting
    direction. Think gesture when it comes to the objects.


  24. I have been on the same search for years. Greek Fage yogurt is the closest I have found. Have found in Publix groceries in FL and Trader Joes in CA and GA.


  25. Anonymous2:39 PM

    When I make yogurt I add about 1/3 cup of powdered milk per 4 cups of milk, before I heat it up. It really makes a much thicker yogurt. Sometimes I even add more.

  26. Do the french get to make their yoghurt from unpasteurized milk, by any chance?


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