December is here! My most favorite time of the year.
It’s cold, which means it gets cozy.
There are sales, which means gifts for everyone.
And there’s delicious food (and drinks!), which means stretchy pants 😀
Here’s a peek at our tree 🙂
Hope you’re enjoying December!
Now like I promised in my last post, I wanted to share my top 10 list of things to eat in France. I have to admit we stayed in Paris for the most part, traveling out to a vineyard and to sightsee but the food is Paris is as varied and wonderful as you’d imagine. We stayed in darling AirBnB apartment and had a chance to really soak in this timeless, romantic and stunning city.
So here’s my Top 10 things to eat in France!
1.Baguette – This crusty, hole-y bread is the snack of choice for all Parisians. Most locals have their favorite, local bakery to pick up their morning baguette from, but I loved them everywhere! Plain bread has never tasted this good!
2. French onion soup – This classic soup is done very well in many restaurants in Paris, and if you’re craving something rich but not elaborate, this is a perfect choice. The browned onions give this soup an almost meaty flavor, while the stringy, gooey cheese solves all the world’s problems.
3. Pâté – I must say, this is what I was MOST looking forward to eating in Paris. Pâté is the French word for “paste”, and you get many different kinds. The best ones are typically made from liver. The crème de la crème of pâté, is foie gras, which is a paste of goose or duck liver. Usually eaten with hard toast, it tastes even better with something sweet like a compote or marmalade of some kind. I can’t describe it, except to say it’s like meat butter and that you must eat some right away.
4. Escargot – Snails, yes. But wait. They’re cooked in butter and then baked with breadcrumbs and parsley. So elegant, so French, so delish.
5. Steak and potatoes – France sure has some tasty cows. The beef was excellent, usually served with fried potatoes, that made the dish so much better. Often in restaurants, the best cut is served for two, so it’s perfect for sharing. Remember to wash down with good Bordeaux! (Note: The steak will come to the table almost bloody if you don’t specify that you’d like it to be medium to well-done. The server won’t seem happy, but your meat won’t be moo-ing!)
6. Truffles – France is known for its black truffles from Perigord, and any dish that features (good) truffles should be expected to be a bit on the pricier side. If you’ve never tried truffles, I’d suggest starting with oil (think truffle fries!) and then build up to actual shavings. Here black truffles have been shaved over tender lamb shank and lentils.
7. Crème Brulee – What can I say about this iconic dessert that’s not already been said? The heart-warming crack of hardened sugar? The creamy vanilla-spotted custard nestled below? The gentle sweetness that slowly envelops you with each spoonful? The perfect end to a Parisian meal. Make some at home today!
8. Macarons – Home to both Ladurée and Pierre Hermé, Paris is the best place in the world to eat macarons. Multiple flavors and colors to choose from, I would suggest getting a box with one of each type and then eating them till you have a stomach ache.
9. Pastries – French pastry is famous world-over, and why wouldn’t it be. I ate a croissant every day I was there (sometimes two) with zero regrets. The French certainly know their way with flour, butter and sugar. There are many types to choose from of course, but once you find your favorite, try it from as many little bakeries as possible!
We also tried this adorable little sweet bun being sold on the street – filled with Nutella and dusted with sugar! No idea what it’s called but so very good!
10. Grapes – If you visit a vineyard in France, and I think you should, taste some grapes fresh off the vines. Chances are they won’t be juicy, maybe even slightly tart, but the experience in itself is so memorable, you won’t be sorry. I have to note that this may not be legal (eeks!) but so much fun! Here is a picture of the grapes in Chablis , a wine district in Burgundy.
We also brought back some food, to continue experiencing the food bliss! Below are items from both Italy and France, including truffles, risotto, pistachio paste, squid ink pasta and foie gras among others!
In this wonderful season of overeating decadent and delicious things, I also wanted to share one of the simplest desserts I’ve ever made. This pound cake is easy to make, has no frills and fancies but tastes of comfort to me. In the spirit of Christmas and to remember to find joy in the simple things, here is the fluffiest and simplest pound cake you will ever make.
Fluffiest Pound Cake
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 1 hour, 30 mins
340g/ 1 and 1/2 cups unsalted butter
285g/ 3 cups cake flour, plus extra for dusting
1 pack (8oz) pack of cream cheese
675g/ 3 cups caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
sliced almonds (optional)
- Grease a 10-inch bundt tin with butter and then dust with some flour. Using a stand mixer mix the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Then add the sugar and mix until well combined.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well with each addition, and then add the cake flour and vanilla extract before combining everything thoroughly.
- Pour into the prepared tin and bake in a cold oven at 160ºC/325ºF for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove and cool completely before decorating with sliced almonds (optional) and slicing to serve.
Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and an amazing year ahead!