France

La Baguette – The French Loaf

In France, after World War II, breads made with what was available during wartime, such as whole-grain dark rye and buckwheat, fell out of favor replaced by white breads.  The preference for baguettes and other lighter styles, replace the country rustic style breads.  As in all things French, the government intervened, and enacted strict controls on the amount of flour, which resulted in an unstated policy of the “whiter the flour, the higher the price.”  The trade elevated to a craft and a science.  If you want to make a perfect French loaf, get the book Tartine No. 3, which features some 336 pages, all on mostly French breads, of all styles.  If you are like the French, just visit your local baker and the be prepared argue to the death about your baker making a better baguette or French loaf than all the others in town.

We are lucky to have Dream Pastries which makes it not worth trying to bake a baguette at home.   They also make a great rustic loaf.  Pick one up if you are in the neighborhood, together with some of their pastries which are to die for.

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By |February 21st, 2014|France, Recipes|Comments Off on La Baguette – The French Loaf

Hunting Wedding in France

December 2004

The XVth century château, venue of this outstanding celebration
Friends from America, England and France, gathered to celebrate a wedding and enjoy an afternoon’s hare hunting in the foggy countryside of the Sologne-Berry regionof France.  Probably, no doubt, the best wedding party ever attended by all the guests who were keen hunters.  For Nick de Toldi’s page on the wedding please click here.

Special thanks for the excellent  pictures courtesy of Ben Eden Wedding photography – London – Paris – Rome – New York. The wedding was featured in Grace Ormonde Wedding Style Magazine.

The bride, the music, and members of “the field”, getting prepared for the ceremony…

The escorted bride walks to the chapel…

Just married, and the new husband soon shows his real personality chasing the poor bride !

A well deserved (but solemn) cup of champagne, eventually sealed the alliance…

and soon it was time to join the kennel to meet the participants of the second ceremony…

it is a special day, but things must be done seriously says the Master, explaining plans of attack…

To do things seriously, a good start in France, is often a good picnic…

And no worries ! Things ARE done seriously !

but the stirrup shot is soon swallowed…

and the count says, “Mesdames et messieurs, we will attack behind ‘la Garenne’…”

“En selle!”  (It’s time to be in the saddle).

To line the forest road in pursuit of the quarry…

The hunt has started rather quickly, producing a moment of uncertainty…

not an uncommon situation afield, and the party is not loosing hope…

though things may not be as easy as expected…

Tally Ho!  I think I hear the hounds!

Taïaut ! The field joins the hunt again, but will the hunt join the quarry soon ?

Congratulations monsieur le comte!  It’s been really tough in this weather, but it went […]

By |October 3rd, 2011|France, Travel|Comments Off on Hunting Wedding in France

French Mustards

French mustard is nothing like american mustard, though the closest thing is perhaps American brown mustard, a bastardization of the English brown mustard and really nothing like the French ones.  Oh sure, we have the Grey Poupon, made famous by the posh-teasing commercials of my childhood and I don’t think anyone doesn’t know the phase, “Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?”  But the truth is, Grey Poupon, isn’t really that posh, nor very good, as far as French mustards go anyway.

The much more flavorful ones are not pulverized like the typical Grey Poupon and are whole grain, in France.  We prefer these ones for serving on their own, with something like pâté.    We find the best ones to be Vilux, which is brown mustard if you can find it in specialty stores, which is sweeter and more full-bodied than the Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard, and we also like any of the whole seed mustards, including the ones by Grey Poupon, such as their Country Dijon or Harvest Course Ground mustards.

Or you can make homemade mustard, as our friend, Shawn, does:
Le Parfait french canning jars or use jelly jars in basement
6 tablespoons mustard seeds, about 50 grams
1/2 cup mustard powder, about 50 grams

Combine brown or black mustard seeds with yellow mustard powder
Add Stout beer and cognac to consistency (or if making a traditionally French version substitute verjus)

Other secret spices are shown in his Instagram photo below:

 

 

 

By |October 3rd, 2011|Cuisine, France, Recipes|Comments Off on French Mustards

Fly Fishing La Loue in the Jura

The French Jura region bordering Switzerland are beautiful and amazing, even for those of us living in the shadows of the  Rocky Mountains.  The streams in the Jura deserve their reputation as the best in France. Excepting the fame created by Charles Ritz’s writings of the chalk streams of Normandy, the Jura is one of the rare regions in France with an international fly fishing reputation. There are many places that I fell in love with in France, but the Jura has something special and unique–the landscapes, the rivers, trout and grayling, the fly fishers and even the flies. Add the hospitable nature of the people, warm welcome at the hotels, and the rich and original gastronomy, lexapro.

It is one of the few regions which produces both good cheese and good wine, which is rare to have both in France due to the differing climates required for dairy cattle versus grape production.   The scenery is spectacular, from the river valley to the high plateaus.  Sightseeing the source of the Loue is worth the short drive and hike.  Also, the trips to the neighboring towns along the valley, prove to have enough to interest everyone from shopping, sightseeing, gourmet shops for the famed Comte cheese, local wine suppliers offering great wines at very inexpensive prices, and quaint outdoor cafes for a anise-flavored pastis to cool ourselves and warm our hearts.  Parts of the valley reminded me of Venice where the river meets the houses built on stilts.

Enough of the setting, let’s get down to fishing.  The only downside to fishing the Jura is that the local fishing rules are impossible to understand, even for the locals (even Nick de Toldi, who guides there regularly, promised they would be “complicated […]

By |October 2nd, 2011|Fishing, France, Travel|Comments Off on Fly Fishing La Loue in the Jura

The International Fario Club

Charles Ritz, of the Ritz hotel fortune, spent considerable time studying the art of fly fishing in the American West, England, and France.  His book, A Flyfisher’s Life, is one of the few books in the English language discussing fly fishing in France. In the 1930’s he became an authority on fly fishing in France and invented the parabolic fly rod, which is still used, and which was commercially produced by ABU Garcia.   Mr. Ritz was an advocate of the high speed – high line style of fly casting.

He founded the “Fario Club”, which was the most select fishing club in the world during the later part of the twentieth century and remains so today.  We enjoy regular gatherings in Paris and around the world, to enjoy the camaraderie of others similarly suited.

The Club’s website is presently being revamped, but it can be found at www.farioclub.org. 

The “Pays d’Auge” region is made up of the port towns two hours north of Paris, including Honfleur, Deauville and Trouville. It takes like two small hours to drive from Paris.  After driving through the lush fields where dairy cows are milked for production of Camembert, Pont-Lévèque & Livarot, and passing apple tree after apple tree, so it is no surprise that Calvados is offered at every turn in the countryside, we followed in Charles Ritz’s footsteps staying the same place he did at the mill of Aclou on the river Risle.  The “Aclou reach” is often mentioned as his favorite fishing spot, home to the brown trout.

By |October 2nd, 2011|Fishing, France, Travel|Comments Off on The International Fario Club