Awakening to The Aromas of France

Excerpts Excerpts from my travel stories read…

…’ It was difficult to put into words how I felt on that very first occasion standing on French soil. Miraculously, I mustered a prepared line from my French travel book,

“Could I have a stamp, please? “

The French airport official behind the counter looked at me and without a smile, stamped my passport with a hard thud. Mission one was complete.

I picked up my suitcase with teary eyes and moved towards the light of the exit passageway in a throng of people, with the strangest feeling that my father was by my side and in a way, we had come home…

…But it was France which had the most profound effect on all my senses. And it was France to which I always returned.

Just the thought of it sent my taste buds reeling as I remember with my first French cassoulet, a rich slow bean cooked stew served in a deep round earthenware pot, piping hot with duck, sausage and pork. We were in the Medieval town of Sarlat to be precise, in the Aquitane region of France, north of The Dordogne river, south east of France.

We would discover, by sheer providence, a tiny restaurant amongst a maze of narrow lanes and medieval streets.

Then there was my first pate de foie gras and a red wine sauce in the Perigord, flavoured with truffles- a flavour that cannot be surpassed.

And  the simple pleasures of drinking  hot (chaude) chocolate (made with milk not water and good French chocolate) overlooking Rocamadour, an amazing precipitous village perched on  the rockface above the River Alzou will be embedded in my memory forever.

Further south in Lyon, the saucisson aux pommes (sausages and potatoes) are trademark while the freshly baked bread (paine) at every boulangerie right across France is world famous.

In fact, most French take their food, their wine, their champagne, their everything, very seriously indeed. Their bakeries are no exception.

I read somewhere that it was a French pastry chef who designed the croissant for the Emperor, after the crescent shape of the star on the Turkish flag. And there are about as many different types of bread as there are cheeses in France- all displayed to perfection and each possessing any range of aroma and seduction.

Nothing beats the simple pleasure of entering a boulangerie very early in the morning to buy a crusty baguette from a hot wired rack straight from the oven. Then, with delft hands and a bygone respect, the baguette is wrapped in a twisted piece of paper most often embossed with the boulangerie crest. It seems to be the custom to place one’s baguette under the arm, to return home for breakfast and enjoy it lavished with confiture (jam) which is often homemade, particularly in the French country regions. A simple breakfast made simply sublime with a freshly brewed pot of café au lait or the’ (tea) to kick start the day…’

An assortment of warm jams for breaky

Such artistry!

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2 Responses to “Awakening to The Aromas of France”

  1. Wonderful. I feel the taste and the smell of these delicious dishes in my mouth, my head and around me. Nothing like taking the time to taste slowly and enjoy the food you eat. And the smell of the fresh bread. Impossible to resist it. Ah the smells of France. Great food, great wine, great bread and great lavender. You describe it so well that I now have to take more care with my cooking by looking for fresh herbs and delicate spices.

  2. Therese Hancock Says:

    Bonsoir Cherie, I’ve finally made it onto your blog. I’ve only read the first two enteries and already the memories are flooding back (how lucky I was to share it with you), inspired by your master of the english (and french) languages I can’t wait to read more…..

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