IMAGE: La Bonne Tasse

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Remembering it’s the little things that count, including this cup of coffee.


France to force big supermarkets to give unsold food to charities (The Guardian)

Legislation barring stores from spoiling and throwing away food is aimed at tackling epidemic of waste alongside food poverty

Original story at The Guardian online.

French supermarkets will be banned from throwing away or destroying unsold food and must instead donate it to charities or for animal feed, under a law set to crack down on food waste.

The French national assembly voted unanimously to pass the legislation as France battles an epidemic of wasted food that has highlighted the divide between giant food firms and people who are struggling to eat.

As MPs united in a rare cross-party consensus, the centre-right deputy Yves Jégo told parliament: “There’s an absolute urgency – charities are desperate for food. The most moving part of this law is that it opens us up to others who are suffering.”

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VIDEO: En défense de la nourriture

À mon avis (d’étrangère), on ne peut pas passer un seul jour en France sans découvrir un nouveau reportage sur la nourriture. Sa qualité, son art, ses tendances, le business de….tout mérite une analyse, une discussion.

Et, surtout, les français sont bien concernés par l’industrielle et comment la vie moderne est en train de tuer la cuisine française, en remplaçant l’art de cuisiner avec des ingrédients de qualité par l’utilité des usines et les prix bas des aliments préparés avec des produits chimiques.

C’est facile à dire en tant que francophile américaine, mais les français ont quelque chose d’exceptionnelle dans leur relation avec la gastronomie. Ils insistent de prendre et reprendre cette conversation sur la vérité de la nourriture – alors que leurs tendances de consommateur devient de plus en plus comme celles de leurs amis aux États-Unis.
Mais allez-y, les gourmands français. Continuez de lutter pour l’artisan, pour le fermier et pour les bonnes choses naturelles. Comme ça, les petits bon-vivants comme moi peuvent bénéficier de cet autre monde de cuisine de tradition, en satisfaisant notre fétichisme gastronomique pûr.

Direct de la boulangerie-pâtisserie: Six Unmissable Baked Goodies

You may or may not have based your trip to France on the country’s penchant for all things warm, buttery and delicious. The food is historic and the pastry shops and bakeries make up just one, small part of that famously rich food culture. Even in the midst of all the folie that is French cuisine, who could ignore all these sweet, staple foods?

À la boulangerie de Sceaux (flickr)
À la boulangerie de Sceaux (flickr)

So, my picks for the starting six, the artisan pâtisserie and boulangerie greatest hits:

1. The croissant. It’s just too classic. It’s too good. You think you’ve had the golden, butter-filled deliciousness before, but the twelve pack of crescent-shaped lovelies your parents bought at Costco instead of the ten-pound muffin tray doesn’t do the real thing any justice.

Pro-tip (that I learned from watching a two hour TV exposé on the fake food vendors who are destroying la cuisine française) : You can avoid frozen, mass-produced croissants by looking for the layers. The more ridges and flaky folds of pastry you can see along the sides, the more likely it is that your croissant was fait-maison. The flakiness is a mark of being hand crafted, rather than shipped over from a factory and warmed up in an oven.

2. Chouquettes are sweet little clouds that you could eat eleven at a time. Feather-light puffs, these choux pastries are hollow in the middle and covered in big grains of white pearl sugar. They’re simple, made from the same type of pâte as éclairs and profiteroles and are best bought unfilled. (Some choux have a cream or custard inside, but they’re too much like filled doughnuts that way. I think they’re best “nature.”) Bonus cute thing: your neighborhood pastry maker will sell them by the sac, à la White Castle hamburger but much more French and dignified.

3. The galette des Rois is a rarer treat, usually sold around the day of the Epiphany with a token hidden inside. Carrying the same tradition as the King Cakes we know of in New Orleans, whoever gets the slice of galette with the prize in the middle is “king for the day.” While the royal win is all fun and great, its the frangipane or yummy almond paste found in the middle of the two layers of crackly pastry dough that keeps this galette craveworthy, year-round.

4. Pain au chocolat aux amandes is just that little bit more special than its brother. Plain pain au chocolat is obvious in its goodness: square croissant-like deals filled with chocolate? Why would I not want to eat that? But, better still is one covered in slivered almonds, stuck to the outside of the with a sweet glaze acting as the glue.

5. The chausson aux pommes has a taste that comes close to home for most Americans, yet it’s perfect for those Americans who don’t think apple pie is really all it’s cracked up to be. There’s no such thing as a dry, crusty piece of one of these viennoiseries. The light, airy triangles are filled with thick apple compote that satisfies your sugar cavings while still giving you a discernable piece of fruit in every bite.

6. Pain de campagne  is the only non-pastry on the list, but that isn’t to say its the least important. In fact, its probably the most important thing here. Dense, crusty bread goes well with so many French dishes that it truly is an unmissable goodie. Another great thing about the baguette’s more rustic (and more normally-shaped) cousin is that “country bread” is equally as life-changing when cut up and grilled the next morning for butter and jelly covered tartines.