The Telegraph
Wednesday , August 29 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999

Foodie’s paradise

The French take things personally when it comes to food. In this wonderful country, there are debates over whether the cheese made in Brittany is better than that made in Normandy and whether the crunchy brown crust of bread is better than the soft white inside.

No wonder that France is a foodie’s paradise!

When I was in Paris for the first time, I wanted to have some very French food and a Parisian friend took me to a place about a 10-minute walk from the Montmartre. He ordered two dishes — one of ham and the other of cheese, and some red wine to go with it.

When the cheerful waitress brought our food, I saw some five or six preparations of delicious looking ham on the first plate. I gulped when I looked at the plate of cheese. There were generous portions of no less than six different types of cheese on it and I could not believe a single person could consume all that cheese at one go.

“This is from Normandy, this one is smoked and that one is made from goat milk,” my friend explained, pointing at three of the varieties.

“Try the others before the goat one, because that one has the strongest taste,” he added.

I asked if anyone could eat the entire plate alone.

“Oui! I could if I didn’t have to eat the ham as well,” he grinned.

I was not used to so much cheese and I certainly could not. I tasted a bit from each of them but preferred the ham.

The French eat bread with everything and they certainly have very nice breads there. I saw a lot of people going to the local baker to buy long (around two feet) and roughly-cylindrical breads, which looked (and tasted) extremely fresh.

I also tasted quiche for the first time in Paris. It is basically a French dish, but is popular in other western European countries as well. It is quite easy to make.

Just fry some boneless pork or chicken and chopped onion in butter. Then, whisk together a mixture of eggs, fresh cream, milk, pepper and herbs. Put the mixture and the fried meat and onions on a baking tray. The mixture should be thick. Sprinkle some cheese on top and bake at 180°C for 20 minutes. Yum…