Monthly Archives: November 2014

Cèpes mushrooms

cepes4Cèpes mushrooms, also known as porcini, grow wild in France and Italy, In the autumn, these prized mushrooms are fresh and widely available in markets and restaurants. Cèpes are one of the tastiest wild mushrooms, and are popular on many menus in the fall season.

Cèpes are low in fat and digestible carbohydrates and high in protein, vitamins, minerals and dietery fiber.  Although they are sold commercially,  cèpes are difficult to cultivate. However, they are found wild in autumn and are often dried, packaged and distributed worldwide. Fortunately, cèpes keep their flavor after drying, and are then reconstituted and used in many recipes.

Sautéed fresh cèpes and wild mushrooms with herbs and cream IMG_8056

Serves 4 as a side dish. Excellent with roast chicken and potatoes.

500g (2 cups)  of fresh cèpes and wild mushrooms (chanterelles, trumpet, brown button)
2 shallots
1 clove garlic
salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of fresh flat leaf parsley, thyme, and any other fresh herbs
cream or sour cream to taste

cepes2Clean and prepare the mushrooms (see below). Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms in a single layer and sprinkle with salt. Don’t overcrowd the mushrooms, cook in batches, and don’t over salt the mushrooms (see tips below). Sauté the mushrooms until golden brown on one side. When the first side of the mushrooms are cooked, add the shallots, garlic, and sauté the mushrooms on the other side. Make sure the mushrooms are cooked through. Add 1 tablespoon of butter per batch. When all the mushrooms are cooked, deglaze the pan with white wine, then add the velouté and cream (see below).

Tips:

  • Cook mushrooms on a high heat so the moisture will evaporate quickly
  • Cook mushrooms in a large pan in a single layer and in batches so that moisture will evaporate.
  • Don’t overcrowd the mushrooms or too much water is released at once, and the mushrooms will be soggy and won’t brown
  • Don’t disturb the mushrooms until they have stopped “singing” in the pan. Do not stir the mushrooms or swirl the pan until the mushrooms are golden brown on one side.
  • Cook different types of mushrooms separately, as some will require more or less cooking than others.
  • Season cèpes with salt as soon as you start to cook them, but don’t add too much salt when cooking because the mushrooms will shrink. More salt can be added later if required.
  • If using dried herbs, add the herbs to the mushrooms with the garlic and shallots. Fresh herbs will lose their flavour when cooked, so should only be added at the last minute to preserve their flavour.

cepes3Cleaning cèpes is simple: use a knife, a soft brush, a damp cloth or a potato peeler, but do not wash them in water, because they are like sponges.  Cut off the tip of the mushroom’s stalk, scrape off as much earth as possible, peel a single layer of the stalk. You can wipe them with a damp cloth for a proper final cleaning. If you want to store cèpes, wrap them in a cloth and store in the refrigerator. Never put them in a plastic bag.

Velouté:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup chicken stockIMG_8057

In a separate saucepan, whisk the butter and the flour together over medium heat. Cook the roux without stirring until it smells like hazelnuts and is golden brown. Add the chicken stock and salt and stir over low heat until the sauce thickens.

Add the velouté and cream to the mushrooms and simmer until heated through. Add fresh herbs and serve hot. If preparing in advance, turn the heat off, then reheat and add fresh herbs before serving.

Air France announces non-stop flights between Vancouver and Paris

IMG_8148As of next spring, Air France will fly non-stop between Vancouver and Paris up to five times a week. The new service between Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) will begin March 2015.

Flights will be operated by Boeing 777-200 with 309 seats: 35 in Business, 24 in Premium Economy and 250 in Economy. The non-stop seasonal service will operate:

  • From March 29 to May 3, 2015, flights on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
  • From May 4 to September 13, 2015, flights on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • From September 14 to October 24, 2015, flights on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Flight schedules (in local time):

  • AF 379: Leaves Vancouver at 14:00, arrives at Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 8:35 the following day
  • AF 374: Leaves Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 10:35, arrives in Vancouver at 11:50 the same day

In addition to Air France’s co-carrier KLM’s daily flights between Vancouver and Amsterdam, the opening of the Vancouver-Paris route five times a week now offers customers greater choice for connections to 55 destinations in Europe. According to Air France representatives, the new YVR-CDG flights will also contribute to develop trade and tourism between France and British Columbia, and add $13.7 million in Gross Domestic Product, $8.8 million in wages and 248 jobs to the B.C. economy.

YVR representatives are “… thrilled to welcome a premier carrier like Air France to YVR’s growing list of business partners. Our customers have long been asking for Air France’s non-stop direct flights to Paris. We recently surveyed Metro Vancouver residents and results showed Paris as the number one requested destination from YVR.”

Tickets for the new Air France Vancouver-Paris service are now available for purchase. For booking information, visit www.airfrance.ca

A Great New Find in Paris

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We love to find small intimate chef-run restaurants with great food and ambiance. During our stay in Paris, we discovered REED restaurant: a small charming restaurant tucked away on a small street in the 7th arrondissement.

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The restaurant is owned and operated by Catherine Reed, a Canadian from Quebec City, who was a private chef for 17 years in Switzerland and France. Catherine is a talented chef, and a warm host, and will ensure you are well taken care of.

Her small cozy restaurant accommodates about 16 diners, and offers traditional French food in a friendly and leisurely atmosphere.  All the dishes on the menu are home made using the freshest ingredients personally selected from the neighbourhood markets, and the French wines are carefully selected to add another dimension to your Parisian dining experience.

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The restaurant has an open kitchen concept, which is perfect for the cooking classes that the chef offers on Wednesdays.
The cooking classes are taught in English and feature seasonal ingredients and techniques cooks can use at home. Classes are limited in size to provide participants with an intimate experience.

IMG_8046No matter how experienced a cook you are, this class encourages beginners and the more skilled alike to experience a new twist on cooking. You will learn useful tips, basic techniques and classic French cooking principles.  The class menu (starter, main course and dessert ) is set according to fresh seasonal products and technical interest.

IMG_8052We thoroughly enjoyed the morning preparing an outstanding menu, beginning with a three cheese soufflé served with a side salad of mâche lettuce with sundried tomato and balsamic vinaigrette. The main course was an outstanding combination of herb stuffed free range chicken roasted in a salt crust served on a bed of crushed herbed potatoes with a medley of sautéed fresh mushrooms and a wedge of baby romaine lettuce. For dessert we created a divine fresh strawberry shortcake. IMG_8043

After the hands on class, we sat down to enjoy our delicious dishes with a glass of wine or two! The class was a highlight of our stay in Paris, and highly recommended.

Reservations are required for the class and friends can join later for the lunch.IMG_8050

Cooking classes are €135 per person from 9:30 am – 3:00 pm on Wednesdays.

Reed restaurant is open for dinner Tues-Friday (closed Sun & Mon). Dinner reservations are recommended.

 

Reed
11 bis rue Amélie
75007 Paris
01 45 55 88 40

Impressionist Exhibit at the Musée Luxembourg

luxembourg1On another sunny fall day in Paris, we set out for the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens to see the Paul Durand-Ruel Impressionist exhibition:  The gamble of the Impressionists Manet, Monet, Renoir.

Museums have never before dedicated an event or comprehensive study to Paul Durand-Ruel (1831-1922), one of the greatest art dealers in the world at the turn of the 20th century and a major figure in the history of Impressionism. From the beginning of the 1870s, Paul Durand-Ruel discovered and supported Impressionist painters with flair and passion, buying and selling thousands of Impressionist paintings, including the masterpieces of the movement, often in difficult circumstances. A painting “missionary” as Renoir liked to call him, he also contributed to the invention of the modern art market and gave an unprecedented international dimension to his gallery, particularly in the United States. At the turn of the 20th century, the dealer had established the largest European and American Impressionist collections, both public and private.

IMG_20141106_144344Through some 80 paintings, drawings, photographs and documents, the exhibition recounts a crucial time, from the end of the 1860s to the turn of the 20th century, where an artistic avant-garde gained international recognition driven by an enterprising and inventive dealer.

By considering the part played by a gallery in actually writing the history of an art movement and its appreciation, both the exhibition and the catalogue, which is designed as a richly illustrated reference work, will reflect the detailed research that is kindly and generously supported by the Archives Durand-Ruel.IMG_20141106_144145

An exhibition organised by the Réunion des musées nationaux- Grand Palais in partnership with the Musée d’Orsay and in cooperation with the National Gallery, London, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It will be presented at the National Gallery, London from 4 March to 31 May 2015, then at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from 18 June to 13 September 2015.

We really enjoyed this exhibit, and were delighted to see many Renoir pieces that we had not seen before. Definitely recommended.IMG_20141106_144844

 

Musée du Luxembourg. October 9,  2014 – February 8, 2015. The museum is open daily from 10am – 7.30pm, and until 10pm on Fridays and Mondays. Last entrance 30 minutes before closing time.

Musée du Luxembourg
19 rue de Vaugirard
75006 Paris

Baccarat legends of crystal exhibition.

IMG_7985We visited a sparklingly beautiful exhibit at the Petit Palais. To mark Baccarat’s 250th anniversary, the Petit Palais is hosting the amazing masterpieces of the world’s most celebrated crystal maker.

This is the first Baccarat retrospective in France since 1964. This new exhibit at the Petit Palais, a Beaux-Arts building constructed for the 1900 Universal Exhibition, focuses on the creations designed by Baccarat for the big exhibitions in Paris between 1823 and 1937 – the shows which brought Baccarat an international reputation and commissions from leading figures and celebrities all over the world.

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The show presents an exceptional selection of more than 500 pieces, mostly from Baccarat’s own private collection, plus some significant items on loan from several of the most prestigious museums in France.

In addition drawings and other archival material on display for the first time allow visitors to follow the history of the exhibits, and to trace the sources of inspiration for the company’s artisans over the last 250 years.

baccarat01The exhibition includes such exceptional pieces as the monumental ‘Negus’ vase, the Duchesse de Berry’s crystal dressing table and chair, a stunning 23-foot-high crystal fountain, and the intricately engraved ‘Simon’ vases created for the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1867.IMG_7957

 

Dinner services commissioned by royal families and other potentates including Tsar Nicholas II, the emperor of Japan, and various maharajahs offer further testimony to the skills of the Baccarat craftsmen. A table featuring some of these commissioned place settings underscore Baccarat’s triumphal contribution to the art of living. A special space is set aside for the history of the legendary Harcourt Glass: commissioned by King Louis-Philippe in 1840, this iconic piece inspired by the shape of a ceremonial chalice was engraved with the king’s monogram.

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The exhibition also features a dazzlingly series of majestic chandeliers hung in the Petit Palais’s Galerie d’Honneur, the most monumental of them gleaming with 250 lights.

Baccarat Exhibition: October 15, 2014 – January 4, 2015.
Petit Palais Opening hours: Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Late opening until 8pm on Thursdays for temporary exhibitions. Closed on Mondays and public holidays. Admission: Adults: 11 €

Rue Cler market street

IMG_7915In the morning, we walked from our apartment to nearby Rue Cler, a famous market street in the 7th arrondissement with a wonderful selection of specialty food stores, patisseries, butchers, delicatessens, cheese specialists, fishmongers, greengrocers, chocolate shops and cafés.  Most of the street is a pedestrian area and still has its original cobblestones.  This authentic market street is where the locals go to buy their favorite foods or to meet friends and enjoy sitting on the terrace at one of the many cafés, while they watch the world go by.

Some of our favourite places on Rue Cler:

davoliDavoli – La Maison du Jambon: The lines leading onto the street indicate that this is one of the best and most popular shops in the neighbourhood. This Italian delicatessen sells homemade specialties from Italian sausages and meats to pasta, Italian cheeses, side dishes such as roasted peppers, desserts and the best sauerkraut choucroute in Paris. This is an excellent dish for a cold day. Tell the salesman how many you’ll be feeding they’ll suggest the delicious sausages, ham, meats and side dishes. All you have to do is heat and serve for an easy and fabulous dinner at home !

Darius Rotisserie – Chickens! The smells from this shop will make your mouth water and you may not get any further. This is a chicken brasserie; they cook flame roasted chickens, sold in bags which remain hot for an hour. You can buy whole chickens, breasts or legs so everyone can have their favorite meat. Another convenient take away option for dinner at home in your Paris rental apartment.

fromage4Fromagerie – this is an excellent cheese shop and very popular. This is a real dairy store where you can find a delicious selection of butters from Normandy , yogurts and fresh eggs. Excellent goats cheeses…everything is good! When you want a soft cheese, such as Camembert, Brie, Epoisse, St. Marcelin (the same as St. Felicien) or Neuchatel  — tell the salesperson when you plan to eat it.  “Ce soir” or “Demain”, etc. Your specialist will squeeze the packages until they find the cheese that will be perfect (or ‘fait’) at the moment you want to savor it. It’s really a treat! If you haven’t had St. Felicien or Marcelin (same cheese), try it and make sure it’s fait (ready to eat). It’s so creamy you almost need a spoon and you will be back the next day for more.

Top Halles – A large greengrocer with good quality produce and competitive prices.  They will help you to select the best products for ripeness and flavour, and they have great specials that are beautifully displayed outside. deli3

Deli Zius Gastonomia Italiana – Excellent Italian Specialties: you recognize it by the Olive trees outside. Delicious olives, pastas and other Italian specialties.

Oliviers and Co (O&CO) – This high quality group of stores is becoming known in the US, as their products are now distributed by Williams Sonoma.  Their prices are significantly lower than in the US, so it is worth stopping in and sampling their oils and specialties. We love their lemon flavored olive oil especially on salads, and their basil flavored olive oil on grilled fish.

Bacchus – This wine shop is a good one and they do a good job recommending wine for a particular meal. We also recommend the wine shop at 145 rue St. Dominique where they do an excellent job of recommending wines and offer good value for money. 

Charcuterie Jeusselin – Increasingly popular, this Charcuterie sells all French specialties and is located across the street from Davoli.  Their growing popularity and prepared casseroles and dishes make them a popular stop for locals.  Specialties are displayed in the glass cases in front of the shop and they have won several awards for their sausages.

Leonidas Chocolatier – Belgian chocolates which are excellent and reasonably priced.pastries

Boulangerie Patisserie – This boulangere is kitty corner from the Cafe du Marche. They have good pastries and breads, including the flute and grain breads. Note the beautiful windows and original features. We like their pain au raisin – our favourite morning pastry.

 

Cafe du Marche – The Cafe du Marche’ is one of the most popular cafe’s in the neighborhood, with a covered area outside where you can eat winter and summer. It’s a fun place to sit and people watch. Its also a great place for lunch with a number of daily specials on blackboards at reasonable prices.rue-cler

After we browsed the fabulous and tempting selection of products and made our purchases, we stopped at the Café Marché for a coffee and a pain au raisin from the boulangerie and sat on the terrace under the heat lamps to watch the morning activity unfold.

These experiences are part of the joy of renting an apartment in Paris, where you can live life like a local Parisian.

Paris Vacation Apartment Rental

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We arrived at our Paris apartment, and were immediately drawn to the spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower from every room in the apartment. Our beautifully decorated apartment features a comfortable living room where you can relax after a busy day of sightseeing, and enjoy stunning views of the hourly light show as thousands of lights twinkle on the Eiffel Tower.

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pp0784cThe charming bedroom has a queen bed lots of storage and two large windows with enchanting views of the Eiffel Tower.

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The romantic dining room has an oak dining table and chairs set in front of an antique fireplace mantle and picture perfect framed views of the Eiffel Tower – an elegant setting for dinner at home.

An island separates the dining room from the kitchen, which has been beautifully remodeled with all the modern conveniences and appliances, including a Nespresso coffee machine. The renovated bathroom has a walk in shower with glass doors, toilet, and an antique marble sink.

 

The apartment is conveniently equipped with elevator access and air conditioning.

Contact France Bound for reservations at this Paris Luxury One Bedroom Apartment.

 

The apartment is located in the 7th arrondissement – one of the best neighbourhoods in Paris. Once we settled into the apartment, we were eager to get out for a walk along charming Rue St. Dominique, which is filled with enticing shops, cafés, boutiques and restaurants. After a stroll, we made our way to Café Constant – a favourite bistro style restaurant. Although it was busy, we were able to get a table upstairs and enjoyed a fabulous meal, as always. Highlights were the artichoke salad, and the crab and avocado salad starters; the roast chicken and grilled prawn main courses; and a shared crème brulée for desert. It was a great start to our week in Paris.