My traveling around France continues with a trip to Strasbourg last weekend. The picturesque half timber houses and quaint canals seemed straight out of a scene from Beauty and the Beast. And the food was absolutely something else. I was lucky enough to go with my relatives who picked out two Michelin star restaurants to try in just two days. Before going abroad I heard horror stories of students having such a small budget that they were forced to only eat red peppers for a month straight. I have yet to see those days and have been comfortably gaining weight by the second. Unfortunately my time having a baguette-a-day will shortly be coming to an end, although my now tight jeans will probably be thankful.
Paris has really spoiled me with amazing class sponsored trips. With my Food and Communication class I had the opportunity to see how Comte was made in the Jura region last week. I think the only class trip I’ve attended back in DC was to pick up trash in China Town. So I think Paris has DC beat field trip wise.
Over a period of three days we visited a dairy farmer, a fruitier and a cheese aging cave. These activities were all supplemented with taste classes and delicious meals featuring the terroir of the region.
The experience that made the biggest impact on me was learning about the dairy farms. In Jura, farmers are required to supply at least one hector per cows, keeping the total amount of cows at about 60 per farm. In the US the smallest dairy farmers have 300 cows, which causes much worse conditions. Cows in Jura live to be 15, while cows in the US often die from exhaustion at 2 years old. This caused me to really reevaluate the products I use back in the states.
On a brighter note! The cheese was absolutely delicious and even after consuming at least 2 pounds of it, I still crave it every day. If you can find Comte back in the US buy it immediately, I promise it will be life changing. One thing I will not miss is our daily wine tastings at nine a.m. I guess I’m not French enough to handle that yet!
The GW sponsored trips have continued and last week we enjoyed a beautiful trip to Giverny. The weather hit above 70 degrees for the first time and I was finally able to leave my winter puffy jacket at home. The warm weather spurred a bold fashion move, and I inaugurated my fedora. Based on the pictures you can comment below and cast your vote if I look more like Patrick Stump, Channing Tatum in The Vow or a member of Buena Vista Social Club.
Although there was only one sad, limp, moldy lilly pad in Monet’s pound, the rest of the gardens were in full bloom. It was just as picturesque as I had imaged and after a few glasses of wine at lunch it felt like you were living inside of an impressionist painting. Although a little bit out of the city, I would highly recommend making the trip to see where the magic happened.
Courtesy of George Washington (and the hefty study abroad fee they forced upon us) this past week we took a trip to Loire Valley. The trip was filled with stunning chateau tours and wine tastings, which obviously one ups any school trips I’ve taken in the US. Unfortuantely the best picture of the weekend was not taken by me, so shout out to Drew Manville for his sick camera skills.
One thing I’ve been eager to do in Paris is take a cooking class. I wanted to learn how to use their metric system, and after my convection oven fiasco I desperately wanted to fill my baking void. Paying 90 euros to use a functioning oven was definitely worth it.
After consulting David Lebovitz’s blog
(he really is my Paris spirit guide) I found baking classes in English.
The class at La Cuisine
was incredibly informative and the perfect length. The end results were also impressive if I do say so myself. We made a dessert you can find in most Parisian restaurants, Cafe Gourmand. It features a trio of tiny desserts and a cappuccino, which I think is absolutely brilliant. I can never narrow it down to one dessert at the end of a meal, but this clever innovation lets you sample three desserts. What could be better? Our Cafe Gourmand consisted of creme brulee, a praline tart, lace cookies, and a chocolate pear crumble. I will post the recipes for all of this when I am back in the U.S. and able to try them in my own kitchen!
Filed under Paris, Sweets
After two months of cloudiness, snow and wearing the same puffy coat everywhere (I promise I wore different outfits each day, you just can’t tell in pictures) this past week of sunshine has been such a gift. I finally got to shed all my layers and go for walks in just a leather jacket. So satisfying. Because of the cold we haven’t always taken adventage of our prime location. We pretty much take the metro everywhere, even to Hotel De Ville which I recently found out is only five blocks from us. Whoops.
So with the weather in the fifties we are taking full advantage of our hot spot location, and I mean full advantage. We have resisted drinking so we don’t waste these perfect days wallowing in our beds with hangovers. It has taken a lot of self control but has been completely worth it.
On Tuesday Kate and I actually walked to the Pantheon. We saw the tombs of many famous people including Voltaire, Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas. I haven’t included those pictures because pictures of tombs seems a little too morbid for a baking blog. We then got frites from a little Belgium frite stand a couple of block away. The frites were delicious and completely overflowing (that huge cone is yours for only 2.50 euro!!) so we decided to sit and eat them. We found the stairs where Owen Wilson waits for the car to pick him up in Midnight in Paris (right behind the Pantheon) which made the perfect picnic spot. A flawless Parisian day and I’m sure if the weather holds up there will be many more like it!
So the title of this blog post is deceiving. It is not exactly neapolitan fudge because French grocery stores have one goal in life: to make my American recipes difficult. My theory is that because there is such a plethora of delicious treats in Paris, no one wants to take the time to bake. And also Parisian apartments are so damn tiny even a convection oven would take up the majority of the kitchen and the living room. So the grocery stores have no reason to stock up on baking products, which makes it hard for me to even make fudge.
The first two layers of the fudge went according to plan. Chocolate bars and vanilla extract are even standard in the tiniest of French grocery stories. But when I attempted the last layer, the absolute only thing that was strawberry in the entire store was strawberry milk. I bought this but it turned out to be strawberry in taste but white in color. Which would not have photographed well. Thus, I just topped my fudge with a fresh strawberry and called it a day. I promise to revisit this recipe and create a real neapolitan fudge when I’m back to the land of artificial coloring (otherwise known as America).
- 9 oz. dark chocolate
- 9 oz. milk chocolate
- 1 (14 oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 18 oz. white chocolate
- 1 (14 oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Sliced fresh strawberries
- Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on both sides. Set aside.
- On a double boiler melt the chocolate with sweetened condensed milk and salt.
- Remove from heat.
- Pour in prepared pan and chill for 2 hours.
- After the first layer has solidified, begin cooking the vanilla layer.
- On a double boiler melt the broken up chocolate with the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.
- Remove from the heat and pour in the prepared pan.
- Chill for 2 more hours or until solid.
- Cut into squares and top with a strawberry!