October 15, 2015

Paris.......Cooking School

A day of French cooking, in a Parisian woman's home, after shopping in the market together, and dining on our sumptuous feast is a day of pure French immersion/heaven.

Especially when our hostess is the charming and engaging Madame Paule Caillat, of 'Promendes Gourmandes', located in the Marais district. Here is a peek at our day with numerous tips shared by Paule.

Visiting the renown La Fermette, known for the best cheese selection in Paris, on the cobbled Rue Montorgueil, we stroll down the rest of this famed market street for the finest in seafood, vegetables, fruit and meats

Arrayed in artistic displays, even rutabaga's became enticing
Our experience was roll up your sleeves and become involved....perfect!
Cleaning cepes with a peeler. Cepes is a wild foraged mushroom. Note the tri-colored carrots, the green tops remain for flavor, also cleaned with the peeler.

I think Paule is pleased!
This butter, cheese, flour souffle was so delicious, truly beyond words. Plated beautifully surrounded by cepes, chervil, and bechamel sauce. Cannot wait to try this at home

Paule's Tips


   Always use unsalted butter, salt can be added at the table. 
   An article in the NY Times, 1/17/01 by renown cook and author, Dorie Greenspan; French butter has an unmistakable flavor, a distinctive tang of nuttiness, a combination of creme fraiche's slight sourness and fresh cream's sweet wholesomeness, a remarkable spreadability with a sensuous slow melt  
The reason? French butter has a higher butterfat content....I could do an entire post on what I learned, let's close with this; the closest we can find is Plugra at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's


   For the table Paule recommends 'Grey Salt', aka 'Fleur de Sel', harvested off the coast of Brittany in France. Not, the Mederitannean provencal salt. This artisan salt is hand harvested from the top of the salt flats, the 'salt flower'
                                                              Garlic & Shallots

   When cutting remove ends and leave the last 'shirt' on, papery skin that is, it releases flavor.
   Can remove the whole clove after cooking, as the flavor has permeated the food, or left in for the diner to remove
   When chopping garlic, remove the small green sprout growing within, it is bitter
   The French prefer shallots to onions in many instances, just know they are fragile & burn easier


     This topic could become multiple blog posts, so here is the very short version
   In France, it is important to know what region the cheese came from and who the maker is
   There are over 4,000 varieties of French cheese, this is serious business!
   Never pasteurized. In the US that is illegal, and we are the lesser for this rule. There is no substitute for real local cheese, unpasteurized.
   Storage;  in Saran Wrap
   Serving:  bring to room temperature before use
   Always serve white wine with the cheese course (just before desert in France), it keeps the palette clean to accept the full taste of the cheese

Paule prefers Grapeseed Oil, has no taste and can cook at very high temperatures
before burning


Only, real chocolate.
Not eating chocolate for cooking but the bean, ground. No shell, no nothing but the bean. This is the healthiest form of chocolate
 Those of you nearby, or via online, are fortunate to have Chef Roby and the All Chcolate Kitchen in Geneva, Il. Chef Roby only sources the real thing, typically from Venezuela. And Chef is from France!

Hoping you enjoyed and have learned some cooking tips for you to use at home, we had a blast!



  1. Oh my this sounds like such fun!! I would love to be there enjoying every minute!!

  2. Debra,
    This would be my idea of heaven! How fun to cook and learn. I find there is always something to learn where cooking is concerned...especially from different regions. Thanks for sharing the great tips. That chocolate tart, oh my. I want a slice!

  3. It sounds like an absolutely perfect Parisian day!!! I love following along on your adventures, Debra!

  4. Debra this adventure would be a dream come true for me!! I love all of the gorgeous images and pertinent tips!!

    The Arts by Karena

  5. What fun! This sounds like the perfect way to enjoy Paris! Learning, cooking and eating!


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