Tuesday, 29 May 2012

I'm back! Yet on the other side of the world with a post about French Cuisine. Part 1

Cannes- picture perfect

Wow... my last post was a good 4 months ago in January! I can't believe how fast time goes, but expectedly so considering the months that I have had. In short- I've packed up my house and my office, sold my car and entrusted my parents to look after my two gorgeous dogs. All to enable me to have one well anticipated epic year abroad! 

I flew into Nice, France on 22nd March and spent 4 weeks in Antibes hunting for work on a super yacht. Tiring weeks, but also exciting. Met lots of people, drank lots of vino, and this vicious cycle continued until I finally found work... wait for it... as a chef! I was quite nervous at the time of taking the job, not knowing if the un-qualified, un-trained cook from Tasmania could handle it. It's now been 4 weeks, and smooth sailing, apart from the occasional seasickness unfortunately! Turns out I'm very comfortable in the galley, cooking numerous meals for crew and guests on a daily basis. But I will talk more of this in time to come. Let me concentrate on food for now!

Nicoise Salad

Moules-frites (mussels in France are always served with fries- 
and of course I accompany them with mayonnaise) 

I'd been to France once before in 2005 with three girlfriends. Food wasn't my highest priority then, so I didn't have too much to compare it to. But certainly as my interest in food has grown over the last few years, I've taken in the vast emphasis on traditional french cuisine. Of course I was excited about the  fromage and baguettes (things I knew I would love). Yet I was also excited to get to the little towns and try their home cooking. Images of fish soup with rouille, beef bourguignon, nicoise salad, moules- frites, foie gras, escargot and maybe even frogs legs all went whizzing round my mind. 

Fish soup with rouille 
(tasteless soup, thank god for the mayonnaise tasting rouille and baguette)

Beef bourguignon 
(so so rich, tasty but thick and gluggy like too much corn flour had been added)

To be blunt however, I was disappointed with my overall experiences of food in France. It was 4 weeks, and trust me when I say I tried to eat and get around as much as I could in that time. Even when not hungry at times I would force myself, as I never knew how much longer I'd be there for (what a crazy rationale).

I found the seafood appalling, and overcooked on most occasions (maybe I'm just spoilt with great seafood in Tasmania?), the vegetables overcooked and soggy with no crunch, and the sauces too rich and creamy which took over most of the dish. The salads were impressive to look at, but overall tasteless, with no dressing or oomph. The saviour for me became a trusty baguette and cheese, which I simply could not fault! I loved seeing people walking down the streets each day carrying their baguette, and I soon became one of them. 

Beef Carpacio

Fish, squid ink risotto and zucchini fritatta (all tasty but such a random mix)

Of course I did have a couple of standout meals, I had a superb meal in Valbonne Village, a little town one hours bus ride from Antibes, and another meal at my first Michelin Star restaurant was also delicious- but we certainly paid for that one. One of my favorite places was actually at Choopy's, a small coffee and cupcake cafe opened by a cute young french couple who have travelled to get their ideas. Great bagel and superb cupcake. But I'm going to talk about these two and a few others in my next post French Cuisine part 2.

Valbonne Village- most gorgeous country town... LOVE

Filet de Loup - Oh my, so so good. Cheese with seafood eh? Yup! I'm not the only one.

Tuna tartare. Stop right there. This was the most tasty dish. I was in heaven!

Dessert plate. We just had to. Lemon tart, macaroon, panna cotta, chocolate mouse and an espresso. 
I think this cost maybe 6 Euro.

Probably the most fun I had however was sourcing produce from all of the fabulous local fruit and vegetable markets. They truly were amazing and the prices of food so cheap! Lucky for me there is far more shopping at local food markets to come... with a limitless budget... Until next time :)

**Apologies for date stamps on photos... oh my anger when I realized... but it was too late for some! 

1 comment:

  1. Great update and fantastic photos xx