Sunday, December 22, 2013

What Parisians Eat for Noël

It's that time in France for the biggest fete of the year - Noël!
The plus luxe products come out of hiding in December and are on offer everywhere and at all price points. The cover of La Parisian had a story - no matter how hard times are, the average French family will spend 175€ on their Christmas repas. WOW!
After almost a year of flirting with Brittany scallops/St.Jacques I finally succumed and bought a kilo on Friday at the marvelous marché Mouton-Duvernet. The vendeur prepared them on the spot ready to pop in the pan.
1 kilo (or 2.2 pounds) equals just 5 scallops, once they're removed from the shells and the mess. Who knew?
French scallops in recipes or menus are referred to as 'les noix' or nut. They are the size of a fat walnut so it makes sense. You'll sometimes see a 'noix' of butter in a recipe. Same thing. A walnut-sized knob of butter is required. 
How did I prepare my St.Jacques? Easy peasy. A bit of olive oil plus some butter in a pan. Add a swish of white wine and some chopped garlic smashed into sea salt. Brown a little, then throw in the scallops and sauté for a few minutes on each side till brown and crusty. The taste? Out of the world fresh and briny. What was I waiting for?
The above coquilles St. jacques are from Stohrer and cost a bundle but are worth it.

All the big supermarches want you to take advantage of their deals on foie gras
Foie gras in every form and shape.

Monop even has fancy cones of foie gras.
La Ratte potatoes are a holiday specialty. I've no idea what's so special about them. Do tell!
I couldn't resist these walnuts at Monoprix shipped in from Perpignan for the holidays.

The best oysters were for sale yesterday at my Belleville marché. Surprise, surprise.
My latest flirtation is now with magret de canard same as we made at Charlotte Puckette's cooking class. I hope it doesn't take me a year to make this..
Please pronounce that CAN-rr (r as in RER)
The Metro is full of signs advertising champagne deals.
Monop has Bordeaux Sauternes and I bet it isn't bad at all (like the olive oil at Franprix). When big companies like Franprix or Monoprix order up huge volume of a product they can name their price and get quality to boot..
Haute cuisine patisserie, Pain du Sucre has truffle-infused eggs in their windows. These will Not be on everyone's table.

I'm crazy for the little cooking magazines at the supermarché cash register like Gourmand.

Top TV and restaurant chef Cyril Lignac is the guiding light. These are full of good information on seasonal French foods. The recipes are easy to figure out even if your French is so, so.
The one thing I haven't seen in Paris are Gingerbread men. Pain d'Epice, made with honey. Yes, plenty of it. But no gingery hard, shaped cookies. Should I open a shop and start a new trend? Move over cupcakes and macarons!
What are YOU serving for Christmas dinner?


  1. Just reading this post makes me hungry and leaves me wanting to cook!!

  2. Anonymous9:01 AM

    nice atmosphere in Paris...St jaques i love are covered with bread crumble butter little garlic parsley and parmigiano the oven until they are gold...or a la provencal,with boiled rice ...scallops fried in the pan with butter and fresh spice ...

  3. Fun to see everything!
    Ilove St-Jacques..we spoil ourselves once in a while with the large ones..melt in your mouth..I love them in a champagne grape sauce or garlicky parsleyed bread crumbs..finished off in the oven..
    We're having Magret..but it is our son-in -law that is preparing it..
    He is such a good cook..:)
    I would have been tempted by those walnuts too.. oysters and foie gras are not for me.. a mousse of foie gras I can handle.and that cone is adorable...not cooked in a pan:(
    I would be picking up a small mag or two also..

    It must be so festive there carol..Love the aquarelle..
    That's a small puff pastry?

    1. Oh trés delish!
      I'm loving the coquille St. jacques resipes
      I should asked sooner!
      Why wait a year to try?

  4. Bonsoir chère amie,

    Je vais sans doute être épuisée, mais en cette période de l'année, je prends un réel plaisir à cuisiner des mets délicats et rares... les mettre en valeur avec des recettes prodigieuses. J'adore cuisiner alors je vais essayer de faire plaisir aux miens... en passant du salé au sucré !... Un jour peut-être viendras-tu goûter ,... Tu seras alors la bienvenue.
    Gros bisous à toi et merci pour le régal des yeux et des papilles en admirant chacune des photos que tu nous proposes dans cet excellent billet.

  5. Sans oublier bien sûr ta toute belle aquarelle.

    Gros bisous

  6. My guess was canard and noisettes? Is that the right spelling. I just failed my second try on an appetizer; hope the rest goes better. Merry Christmas.

  7. Corney4:12 PM

    Do you have the wonderful Larousse English/French dictionary on your smartphone? It's a lifesaver! There are even verb forms you can click on. There may be better ones now as well...
    LOVE your blog!

    1. Thanks, I do...I do.
      But verb forms are the ONE thing I rarely if ever look at ;((
      I love it for the expressions and definitions.
      What errors did i make...ahem ;)
      Do you teach French?

  8. FoodWalker4:24 PM

    Today's blog made me want to jump a plane pronto to Paris.
    Hope you are doing well and it seems you are and enjoying the city of lights these dark days.


  9. LOVE the girl looking in the cake shop window so intensely. I wanna be in her shoes

  10. Barbara4:57 PM

    That's what most Frenchies eat...but what will YOU be eating ?
    have a wonderful Christmas.
    Best wishes.... Barbara

    1. Zero, zip, nada
      I'm on vacance from FOOD
      I lost my waistline in Paris ;((

  11. So much food!
    Great opener, those scallops really look good; I guess I have to try foie gras someday.
    I love the expression of the woman in the last shot

    1. And I love the cake reflections on her coat...

  12. I miss seeing fresh St. Jacques everywhere during this time of year! It does seem sort of a jip that they weigh WITH the shells.

    1. They weigh lobsters in their shells.
      The shell is home.

  13. Greetings from Australia. Thank you so much for your wonderful website. I go to the computer to get your news every day and love the colour and style. Looking forward to next year.
    Have a Happy Season.

  14. This is heaven. Lol love the ginger bread man

  15. It all looks divine, every bite! And yes, I think you must be Mme. Gigembre (I think I spelled that way wrong!). You'd be divine!

  16. This is lovely inspiration!


  17. Oh, such wonderful food! Happy sigh.

    Anyway, just wanted to stop by to wish you and Bear a wonderful holiday season and a very happy new year.


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