Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Foodie dreams of Paris and London

In London, I'd like to taste the official national dish: chicken tikka massala.  And feast on fish and chips in an old English pub. 

I've asked around and gotten recommendations for pubs and restaurants, and thanks to Laura B, Lyn D. and Joh R. these are now on my list:
  • Ten Bells, near Old Spitalfields Market, with original tile work on the walls and a very clever painted copy of the tiles where the wall had been damaged (Jack the Ripper's old neighbourhood)
  • Ye Olde Mitre at 1 Ely Court. It is down a laneway and out of the way but you can find it if you are looking.
  • Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet St is also ancient.
  • George Inn on Borough High Street in Southwark... Rumour has it that Shakespeare drank there.
  • Magic Garden, Battersea (close to where we are staying) 
  • Ottolenghi  (Islington, Notting Hill, Belgravia) 
  • Gordon's  Wine Bar (47 Villiers Street, just up from Embankment tube station). The oldest wine bar in London, dark and romantic.
... And of course, Afternoon Tea.  Ideally at Kensington's Orangery.
In Paris, the main foodie attraction for me is cheese. Hundreds and hundreds of different kinds, with 56 different cheeses protected under French law. To make it a bit easier, fromage is sorted into 5-10 basic types, depending on who is doing the sorting (Hodgson lists 6 different kinds of uncooked, unpressed cheeses). 

I'll be avoiding the stuff made a la industriele, and sticking to fermier, artisanal or cooperatives.

So much chevre and so little time!  Rolled in ash, paprika, juniper berries or herbs de provence; definitely a crottin de chavignol from the Loire valley; and Delice de Pommard with mustard seeds. Also on a mission to try the stinkiest Époisses & Livarot.

"A cheese may disappoint. It may be dull, it may be naive, it may be over-sophisticated. Yet it remains, cheese, milk's leap toward immortality."
Clifton Fadiman
(American writer and editor; New Yorker book reviewer)

Basic primers for French cheeses:

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