Fête de Charcuterie

basque charcuterie plate

Someone recently asked me if people in Paris have started raising chickens in their backyard. I had to pause for a minute, and wanted to remind folks that Paris wasn’t Brooklyn, nor does anyone have – at least in my circles – a backyard in Paris. And if they did, they could afford a country house and would raise their chickens out there. But French people also don’t celebrate “the pig” with the same enthusiasm as the current craze in America, England, and other anglophone cultures.

There’s no overpraising meat, fat, or pork products; things like pâté, rosette (salami), saucisson sec, and even museau (head cheese) because in France, they’re all extremely common. Although things have changed a bit and nowadays, I would venture to say that many young folks would wrinkle their noses up at a plate of head cheese or tête de veau, and I was recently at a dinner party with a mix of French, Swiss, and Italian friends and everyone squirmed when the subject of consuming rabbit came up; I was the only one who said that I sometimes do eat it.

foie grasbasque chef
piment d'espelettecharcuterie

But lest you think I’m a killjoy on both sides of the Atlantic, I love charcuterie with as much gusto as the next guy (although being Parisian, I need to keep from over-expressing any feelings) and I’m perfectly happy to make a nice dinner out of a board, preferably, (not slate) of charcuterie, some pâté, a couple of wedges of cheese, crusty bread, and a glass or two of wine.

And wine bars are my favorite places to eat in Paris because the atmosphere is always fun and convivial. Plus the young people who work there are very friendly and are usually concerned with offering top-quality charcuterie, as well as being well-stocked in the vin department, too. In spite of it all, though, the idea of charcuterie isn’t a cause for celebration or a fête in France (and to be honest, anything ending in “—palooza” probably has to be deemed as untranslatable) as much as it is in America, and Charcutepalooza took off last year as an online event, fueled by a combination of fermentation, fat, and a soupçon of fraternité.

basque charcuterie

It’s popularity spread and eventually the organizers decided to run a contest, which was held on Food 52, and the winner got a trip to Gascony to cook with Kate Hill. And this weekend, a dinner was held in Paris at Le Volant (13, rue Béatrix Dussane, 15th) to fête the event. I’d never been to the restaurant but it was charming and the staff friendly, and the food offered various tastes of the Basque region, with the dried red pepper powder, known as piment d’Espelette seasoning a few dishes, and there was no shortage of disks of fatty chorizo sausage and cured hams to snack on with glasses of cold white wine, provided by the nice folks at Truffle Pig.

(And I must say, I’ve got a fondness for sturdy, colorful Basque linens that borders on the unnatural. Maybe I need to start Frenchlinenapalooza…?)

chorizobasque linen
blood sausagemashed potatoes

Peter of cookblog won the Charcutepalooza contest, which had some formidable competition. And we toasted his victory – as well as his free trip to France – (and meeting him, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy) – over Basque wine and charcuterie, as well as fried duck hearts and circles of crisp blood sausage.

I skipped the blood sausage, but the duck hearts were great. And even though someone caught me ripping the stringy bit of fat off one of the slices of ham and setting it aside (in my defense, I’d had three tacos al pastor for lunch that day…and a potato-chorizo quesadilla…and guacamole & chips), I was still game to try a few things on the Basque-inspired menu.


I was happy to see lapin (rabbit) on offer. And although it’s not something I would buy at the butcher, then tote the whole critter home to roast off, I occasionally like it in restaurants. There was so much pork passed around as appetizers that people took it easy when ordering mains, although a few of us gathered up our last bits of strength for dessert, scooping up spoonfuls of dense rice pudding which would have been nice with a drizzle of Armagnac caramel – or even shots of Armagnac alongside. But most seem to have had their fill and eventually we all said goodnight and stumbled out to go our separate ways.

basque linens rice pudding

I’ve been told that most good parties end with you waking up the next day with a tattoo affixed somewhere on your body. I made it home pretty late and when I woke up, I had a vague recollection of being initiated by Mrs. Wheelbarrow into the not-so-secret society of pork lovers. I’m not quite sure why, but I think they managed to turn a blind eye to that strip of pork fat I set aside, and those duck hearts I ate helped tipped the scales in my favor.

tattoo tattoo

And while I’m no stranger to the sausage, I’ve now got a “handy” tattooed reminder of my fidelity to flesh and fowl, in the form of charcuterie…in all shapes, sizes, and textures. I just hope at a future date I don’t find any others, embedded anywhere else. Gulp.



  • March 11, 2012 1:08pm

    Sounds fun, could have a large plate of charcuterie about now. Thanks for giving me the ‘meat cravings, on a Sunday morning;)
    Nikki Reply

  • Jane
    March 11, 2012 1:14pm

    I love charcuterie and order it (or whatever option is on offer) wherever I can find it. A little while ago I went to pub which offered a charcuterie plate (extremely rare) which I ordered and devoured with gusto! Long live charcuterie! Reply

  • March 11, 2012 1:50pm

    This is kind of interesting – so is the charcuterie such as this becoming gentrified by the big city? Like raising chickens in your backyard?

    Celebrate the pig – indeed! Lorraine is crazy for piggies pork. Fetes ranging from itty-bitty piglets to their brothers, sisters, moms and daddies. Queen of the Mirabelle, Queen of Jambon – stop laughing, it’s true.

    I might suggest giving bunnies a second chance. Easy to cook, taste good and the butcher will make it manageable to transport. (far less fat than charcuterie!) Though I must admit the head is off-putting. I quickly deal with it, putting it under something…

    Thanks, – heidi Reply

  • March 11, 2012 2:14pm

    Such fun! I’ve been following Peter’s adventures in France on Twitter and it looks like a mighty fine time. I completed all the Charcutepalooza challenges and whilst it made me work with and eat some stuff I would never have dreamed of, I still won’t go near blood sausage either. Those linens however… Frenchlinenpalooza? I’m in! Reply

  • March 11, 2012 3:24pm

    A Frenchlinenpalooza? I think its time has come! Reply

  • Jenny
    March 11, 2012 3:34pm

    After college I spent the summer traveling around Europe with a bunch of friends. Almost all of the food was wonderful, except the blood sausage sandwich. We stopped to spend the night at a friends farm house in Germany and when we left
    The next morning they gave us blood sausage sandwiches for our trip to Austria. I opened mine up mid day and discovered the sausage had “melted” in the heat and turned the bread bright red. I quietly put it away and did without lunch that day. Reply

  • March 11, 2012 4:10pm

    Ha! Waking up with a real tattoo would be scary. Reply

  • Noah
    March 11, 2012 5:21pm

    Is rabbit really that weird? When I was in Piemonte in Italy a few years ago, it was a standard on most menus. Reply

  • Jennifer Zielinska
    March 11, 2012 5:41pm

    Lovely post. But why the prejudice against black pudding or blood sausage? Don’t skip the boudin noir next time. It is heavenly! Reply

  • March 11, 2012 6:23pm

    Nice tattoo! :) Admittedly, I check your site daily for your new posts, and I have been waiting anxiously for a post like this. I’m big on animal – not just any animal…great quality and great flavor, and shhh…don’t tell anyone, but I eat rabbit sometimes too. ;) I have never tried a spread quite like the one in your photograph – it looks like you had a wonderful experience and a satisfied stomach! I also have to commend you on your meat photographs – I still have a very difficult time making meat look presentable in my photos, and you pulled it off with flying colors! Hope you’re enjoying your weekend! Reply

  • March 11, 2012 6:30pm

    Duck hearts and crispy boudin! What joy. One of my favorite ways to spend an evening. Adore the shots, everything looks delicious. Oh, yeah, and the linens…ummm, I would join that club. I have two words: Linen Masters. Reply

  • March 11, 2012 6:31pm

    Well now I know why rabbit was so inexpensive in Paris last October when I was there. I found it in the grocery store and was thrilled to see you could buy just the meaty back legs. The package was just over 3 Euros. I was making duck breasts and oddly thought, “I’ll get some rabbit in case somebody doesn’t like duck.” Totally bizarre thought process, I know, but I grew up in rural Ohio when we ate both. I never occurred to me at the time that maybe someone would find both too exotic to eat. Luckily, both disappeared from the table. Reply

  • March 11, 2012 6:34pm

    As popular as it seems to be getting here, where I live, in Irvine CA, its just not on any menus. I keep hoping. We have a ton of Olive Gardens though which I would gladly trade for just one good wine bar that knows its way with a board. Reply

  • Nick
    March 11, 2012 6:42pm

    Oh my lord, what’s wrong with blood sausage? Wonderful stuff! A couple of christmas ago, My squeeze and I arrived from UK, struggled up the 5 stories to my sister’s place in Sachenhausen to find she had persuaded the slaughter man to bring a bucket of pig blood from from his work. Max arrived shortly after, and of course, a round or two of libations were necessary to welcome us and celebrate the season. After a couple of bottles, and discussing the relative merits of the vintages concerned, talk moved on to the subject of Blutwurst.
    Sis and Max had visited Bilbao that autumn, and were very keen to try to recreate some of the Basque bloodsausage they had found there – both savoury and sweet.
    An hour passed as we diced the backfat, tried more of Max’s Riesling and generally got rowdy. A happy 10 minutes was spent washing the intestines and slipping them on to the funnels Max’s mother had made out of Caltex oil cans as part of her apprenticeship to be a farmers wife in the difficult times of the forties.
    Max was a bit excited at the prospect, and had still not changed out of his Armani suit, which was a shame as it ended up slightly splattered, as did the kitchen walls. Anyway, Di and I did the filling, Victoria did the knotting and Max did the poaching. None of these are particularly difficult tasks ordinarily, but having to remember to argue about seasoning or rusk or pearl barley was thirsty work.
    Eventually we had no more blood left. After poaching the last, we picked out a variety of the sausage which had by now cooled and Sis worked her magic with some home made Spaetsle and fried bludwurst. Washed down with a fresh Riesling. Great.
    Maybe you need the memories to really get into the whole blood based cookery thing. Reply

  • March 11, 2012 6:53pm
    David Lebovitz

    Nick + Jennifer: I tend to like crisp foods and blood sausage is just a bit too gooshy for me. I don’t mind a piece every now and then, but prefer other kinds of charcuterie, when they’re offered.

    Scott d: I think that rabbit (like root vegetables) fell out of favor because they perhaps are associated with “hard times” and are old-fashioned. Root vegetables are making a comeback, and there’s a lot more variety available, But I think rabbit is just something that people aren’t that much interested in any more. On another note; at the markets, they’re often sold with the head still attached, so that may have something to do with it.

    Mardi: People was great, and I’m glad he really got a lot out of coming to France. Hope he returns more often.

    Heidi: You’re right that in France, there are usually annual festivals for regional specialties. But there isn’t the “extreme eating” trend that I see in the US, where people are celebrating the fact they’re butchering food and eating it – which I think is because people are happy to see them return, whereas in France, things like charcuterie never really disappeared. Reply

  • March 11, 2012 7:05pm

    I love this kind of set up for dinner and have it at least every week. Drooling over the blood sausage, reminds me of my childhood growing up in Scotland where “black pudding” is everywhere.
    Thanks… Reply

  • March 11, 2012 7:16pm

    White wine with charcuterie? Am I missing out on something? Reply

  • March 11, 2012 7:24pm

    We have spent a good hunk of our summers for the past 5 years in Paris, and have never had a charcuterie plate. What were we thinking?! Guess what will be the first thing we sit down to this year, upon our arrival. Thanks for this great post. Reply

  • March 11, 2012 7:39pm

    Having been named by one of the two starters of Charcutepalooza as sort of an inspiration of it, I’m pleased to read of the dinner.

    [“When I posted the picture of Lucy and the sausage awhile ago, one of my home-cooking heros, Warner from Art of the Pig, said he thought I was making my own sausage. I wasn’t. But a part of me wished I had. Warner has a way of putting these crazy ideas in my head, merely by suggesting them, which is both befuddling and inspiring. http://theyummymummy.blogspot.com/2010/12/charcutepalooza-2011.html } Reply

  • March 11, 2012 7:40pm

    I love rabbit, smelly cheese, and charcuterie! Not a fan of boudin noir however, but my husband loves it. Does 30 count as young?

    There’s a wine bar in Toulon I should check out that offers the plate you describe.

    I’m pretty sure most butchers will prepare the rabbit for you if you ask – maybe that’s just my butcher who offered because I was eyeing the rabbits but told him I was nervous about decapitating and deboning it. Reply

  • Shari
    March 11, 2012 8:33pm

    Hey, I know some Italians that LOVE rabbit. They even add it to their tomato ‘gravy’. And you killed me when you said, “and while I’m no stranger to the sausage.” : ) Reply

  • Thomas
    March 11, 2012 9:45pm

    Nice article as usual, you are a bit spoiled in france;)

    When it comes to eating rabbit, it’s a bit the same as with veal; the anglofone people i know go berserk when i even mention it.
    Both are very common in Belgium though. Reply

  • Lore
    March 11, 2012 10:20pm

    I bought rabbit once at my local Paris market and the woman asked if I wanted the head or not. I said no, and she chopped it off and tossed it back in the display to be sold. So they’ll happily keep the head for another customer if you don’t want to deal with it.

    I did decide to ask her what people did with the head. She said that they usually eat the tongue and cheeks. That made me want the head back, but I felt like it was already too late during that interaction to ask to keep it. Next time though, I’ll keep it. Reply

  • March 11, 2012 10:38pm

    I was a sponsor of the year long event and in that, not allowed to participate for the purpose of winning this amazing prize so I only did the challenges that really interested me. I’ve got corned beef curing now for St. Patrick’s Day but I have to admit that making my own bacon was the one that really made a sea change in my life.

    A year later I have my own smoker, a variety of cures I like to use and several willing participants to share the bounty. I now cure and smoke 20# of pig belly at a time and friends buy shares of the end result. The first I made, Maple Bourbon Bacon, remains the most popular of all and I’m grateful to Cathy and the entire crew of participants; many who are now real friends through the magic of Twitter and the bonding of Charcutepalooza. Reply

  • March 11, 2012 11:10pm
    David Lebovitz

    Barbara: Yes, it’s a pretty interesting event & the contrast between how people in the US are now making their own charcuterie (and raising their own chickens) differs from France. I think in some respects, (some) Americans wanted to revive “lost arts” – like preserving and so forth, hence the rise of the farmer’s market movement as well.

    It was curious that someone posed that question to me about people in Paris raising their own chickens because it’s not something I would imagine anyone would do. Although out in the countryside, where it’s very rural, there are likely people still doing that.

    Thomas: I am very appreciative of all the charcuterie here that we have easy access to. As I kind of mentioned, here it’s just considered something normal, whereas it’s going through a renaissance in the US – and elsewhere. Curiously, a lot of the wine bars in Paris feature Spanish charcuterie, which is indeed excellent, although there’s plenty of good stuff made in France as well. So it’s nice to see that featured, too. Reply

  • March 12, 2012 12:11am

    What’s so unusual about rabbit? My sister raises meat rabbits on her hobby farm, along with chickens, ducks, and dairy goats. I recently got a couple of saddles from her which I braised and served with a grainy mustard sauce, lentilles de puy, carrots and pearl onions…yum! Love reading your posts and all the comments. Reply

  • Cassandra
    March 12, 2012 12:55am

    We have the ‘extreme eating’ fad in Australia, too. I think it’s because the principles of slow food became almost mainstream through quite a few cooking shows about eating fresh, seasonal produce, knowing the growers, understanding where your food came from, keeping chickens in the backyard if you have one…But anyone can enjoy a roast chicken or an apple crisp made this way—-the really serious foodies now differentiate themselves by eating offal from something they killed themselves,the more obscure or disgusting the better. Reply

  • March 12, 2012 12:56am

    I love pork too much, but at my age it is not important to reduce my intake. If anything, it is reason to simply indulge a tad bit more frequently. ;)

    Can I have those dishtowels/napkins? That fabric print is so very lovely. Reply

  • Katrina
    March 12, 2012 1:12am

    I love any thing pork great read ! Reply

  • Janet
    March 12, 2012 2:25am

    Regarding rabbit, I think alot people wince at the thought of eating a cute “bunny”. In reality it is a delicious, lean meat. It is heads and tails (sorry) above chicken in flavour and without skin or fat, making it a great white meat for those who want flavour and not fat. Oven roasted with white wine and rosemary, with a dijon mustard sauce or in a pate, or even grilled, rabbit is a very fine meal. Reply

  • March 12, 2012 6:09am

    Not so sure about the rabbit,but the rest looks really good! Reply

  • March 12, 2012 9:11am

    What a wonderful post, David! It was great to see you, and tattoo you, again. We must stop meeting like this. I adore rabbit amd it’s not easy to find in the States, but as soon as I do, I’ll be making one of those terrines – the star of that charcuterie plate. And your rice pudding photo has me craving more of that delicacy, too. (do you have a recipe for that? Lordy, that was amazing.). Again, David, thanks a million for coming to celebrate Peter’s most well deserved win, and raising the glitterati factor at the soirée. A bientôt. Reply

  • Gavrielle
    March 12, 2012 9:20am

    Thanks for the discussion about the rabbit (so adorable, so delicious). Foods people find strange are always interesting – travelling in the US, I often come across people who think eating lamb is very weird (one cab driver even questioned whether it was edible) whereas it’s a staple here in New Zealand. Reply

  • March 12, 2012 10:01am
    David Lebovitz

    Gavrielle + janet: It was just amusing that someone who is an American, who are typically thought of as squeemish, would eat rabbit while the Europeans I was with, wouldn’t. (Although am not sure our gathering was an accurate representation of all cultures!)

    Interesting about the lamb; I know there are Americans who won’t touch it, which I don’t understand because we’re pretty big meat-eaters in general.

    mrs wheelbarrow: You’re welcome back anytime. (And there’s a French rice pudding recipe in Ready for Dessert.) Thanks for the tat! Reply

  • March 12, 2012 2:01pm

    I was surprised when you mentioned Italians squirming when discussing eating rabbit, it being such a common dish here and so easy to buy whole or quartered at any supermarket. In our home making rabbit or chicken is pretty much the same although we tend more towards chicken for the skin hehe. That said I am a true cured meat lover in any shape of form. Reply

  • March 12, 2012 2:21pm

    Being Italian, pork is part of our DNA. I mean, seriously, it’s in almost every recipe and it’s almost “always” what’s for dinner. At some point in my early adult life, I was a vegetarian. And I’d ask my Italian relatives if the soup they made was vegetarian before I indulged. “Of course,” they’d say, forgetting about the pancetta used in “battuto a crudo” part of the recipe. Not until I was 40-something did I figure out how they got that rich wonderful taste in that “vegetarian” lentil soup. (I’d believe anything back then.) Oh praise pancetta!

    Pork and pancetta are more of a staple in my house than garlic!
    Thanks for Mrs. Wheelbarrow blog! Reply

  • March 12, 2012 4:49pm

    Enough has been said about the blood sausage already… but I’ve got to say that vous êtes descendu dans mon estime for that comment… not that you should care. Reply

  • March 12, 2012 5:17pm

    Very true about the French lack of enthusiasm toward charcuterie. Now looking back working in French restaurants for years, it was always country pate and foie gras torchon. Their care for delicacies of the duck make up for it. Reply

  • Andie
    March 12, 2012 5:43pm

    David, eat more rabbit! So tasty, and healthy too. Cut it up, rub with olive oil, minced garlic, dried thyme, salt, and pepper, and put it in a 375 oven for 20 minutes. Pour 1/4 c. (or more) white wine over, turn the pieces over, and roast another 20 minutes, basting occasionally. Absolutely fabulous!
    Recipe credit to Lulu Peyraud, of Domaine Tempier, Bandol. Reply

  • March 12, 2012 6:42pm

    I can’t deal with head cheese- I keep trying and trying it, but I never get around to liking it- but everything else looks fantastic. I’ve never had duck hearts, but I’ve had grilled chicken hearts before and found them addictive. Reply

  • March 12, 2012 8:32pm

    It was great to meet you and I’m glad you enjoyed yourself so much. I’d also like to thank you for not publishing any of those pictures of me scarfing down duck hearts.

    The boudin noir was actually pretty non-gooshy, but I get what you’re saying; it can be a bit squidgy sometimes. I love rabbit, but the sweetbreads I ordered were excellent so I have no regrets.

    Best of luck in the new place, and I hope we can meet again soon. Reply

  • Bruce
    March 12, 2012 9:18pm

    Liberté, égalité, charcuterie! Reply

  • March 12, 2012 9:50pm

    Mmmmmm, mmmmmm, and let’s see, mmmmmmmmmm. I’m oozing envy. Even over that snazzy little pig tat. Reply

  • Roberto
    March 12, 2012 10:38pm

    As to poultry in Paris. The concierge of our flat -block won a few years ago at the Agricultural show two chickens. He kept them in a cage he knocked up in the garden of the flats, behind a large bush. They were there for some months then I suspect he ate them. My first introduction to them was to hear clucking in the garden below. Reply

  • Aude
    March 13, 2012 3:26am

    Thanks for making me drooling in front of my computer David!!
    If only I could find some good charcuterie here in Texas!! Any chance you can ship me some ? :) Reply

  • March 13, 2012 5:15am

    mmmmm it looks so good! my husband and i are just starting to explore the world of charcuterie, and it’s a little intimidating, but even i know not to pull off the fatty part ;) thanks for sharing! Reply

  • March 13, 2012 12:23pm

    Dear David,

    Surprisingly enough, I can tell you why so many Americans won’t touch lamb. Unfortunately, I can’t for the life of me recall where I fairly-recently read this explanation (Mark Kurlansky’s “the Basque History of the World”?).

    In any case, I’ve often wondered (particularly since I’ve spent so much time in France, which is chock-a-block with lamb dishes, over the past years) why Americans simply won’t eat lamb…why you can’t really even find it except in speciality stores? I’m well aware that any inventory of even a small 18th and 19th century farm where I’m from (Tennessee/Virginia) inevitably mentions lamb and sheep. Where’d they all go?

    The explanation I read (and this is one of those explanations which, the moment you read it, strikes you as so obviously true in a practical sense that you think “Oh….of COURSE…that makes sense) is:

    Historically, Americans raised and ate a great deal of lamb and mutton. At the outbreak of WWII, most of it was raised far out west, in vast herds (often tended by Basque sheepherders). Faced with the practical difficulties of feeding thousands and thousands of soldiers who were suddenly being shipped all over the Pacific, the US military decided to use lamb and mutton as its primary source of meat. Sheep are, obviously, transported far more easily than cattle. So, the military established processing plants in California, from which they could ship out some “lamb” meat product that was the standard meat-dish in almost every ration pack (what does the military call those meal packets?…some acronym I can’t recall just now).

    Consequently, thousand upon thousands of men ate nothing but this lamb-product (I’m assuming it was some sort of lamb-Spam), on some sweltering ship or in a steaming jungle, for several years (at least). They all came home and declared to their wives that they would never eat lamb again. The wives simply stopped buying lamb after the war, because their husbands wouldn’t eat it. Consequently, folks stopped raising lamb and sheep, and the market’s never rebounded. Makes sense to me. I’ve been told by my partner (he’s French) that no Frenchman who lived through WWII (or the ten years after it) wants to eat turnips……they remember, all too well, eating nothing BUT turnips for a long while there.

    Similarly (and one of your previous posters suggested this) the Southerners I know won’t eat rabbit because they associate it with the Depression/Hard Times (the era, not the Dickens novel). Only a few years ago, I was back from France and describing a wonderful rabbit dish I’d had when my 84 year old neighbor, who lives 2 doors down, broke in with “Oh, Lord….you couldn’t get me to TOUCH rabbit. That’s ALL we ate for ten years…”. According to her (and she grew up on this street of old houses), everyone on this street had a rabbit hutch or two during the depression. Her own mother went semi-industrial, lining the entire back yard with hutches, and she paid/bartered for everything (dentist and doctor bills included) with fresh rabbit. I lived in that house for seven years and, as a gardener, always wondered why all the sides of the back yard had wonderful, black topsoil going down for at least a foot.

    Thanks for your predictably evocative posting,

    david Terry
    http://www.davidterryart.com Reply

  • March 13, 2012 7:54pm

    Always interesting to read about changing food trends, especially across the Atlantic. I share your joy in a simple dinner of basic ingredients, un-fussed with, and just enjoyed for what they are…as well as those vibrant Basque linens! Love reading your commentary as always :) Reply

  • Chau
    March 13, 2012 9:57pm

    Growing up in Vietnam where food culture was influenced by French cuisine I do enjoy charcuterie very much. My husband was introduced to the food and now his favorite lunch would be some charcuterie, cheese and a crusty french bread. Your mention of rabbit brought back a fun memory: My high school science teacher was an avid cook. After a biology lab project in which we, the students, dissected rabbits to learn about mammal digest systems, my teacher showed up the next day class with containers of rabbit stew to share with her students. Yum yum! Reply

  • March 13, 2012 10:33pm

    Please include me on the guest list to Frenchlinenapalooza! ;) Reply

  • March 14, 2012 12:32am

    We constantly have clients asking us to bake french pastries and breads – especially croissants. Our specialties are more american desserts – like sandwich cookies and rice crispy treats. Are these popular in France? Reply

  • JenR
    March 14, 2012 1:16am

    In the middle of the first photo is a delectable looking thck slice of shredded white meat with carrots and herbs. Is that the dish known as head cheese? Reply

  • Kamuflirt
    March 15, 2012 2:54pm

    Ohlala… That looks so good! Reply

  • March 16, 2012 12:12am

    Wow… Yum!!! I almost drooled on my keyboard studying those pictures. Looks delicious and sounds like a good time was had by all. Reply

  • March 16, 2012 6:34am

    The Basque linens! I will be in Paris in May–will I find them in the city? I’m linen obsessed, and my favorites are all from France. Sources, please!! Reply

  • March 17, 2012 6:32pm

    Terrific post! The photos make my tummy growl and, as usual, your writing captures the spirit of the event, almost as if I had attended.

    Funny how people feel about rabbit. I happen to love it although I did not have it growing up. The first time I ate rabbit was at a Spanish restaurant in L.A. – the meat was so tender and the white wine garlic sauce hooked me immediately.

    One of the great advantages I have in living in rural north Idaho (yeah, it’s in the U.S.), is that my meat and poultry are all local. A young woman supplies me with rabbit and duck (although she keeps the innards for herself – au revoir to the livers), my best friends raise Scottish Highland Beef, my local USDA butcher uses no hormones or antibiotics for their beef and pig, my hunter friends supply me with all things wild, and chickens are rather commmon. Local fish is tasty and another friend is an Alaskan fisherman who supplies me with all the wild salmon I could want every year.

    Oh, and I can even buy local flour and legumes. Of course it’s not easy being surrounded by the extreme conservatism in the community, but a growing handful of us think that Idaho is too great for those people. So we stay.

    Thanks for the great post. Paris is one of my favorite cities and I return as frequently as possible. Reply

    • March 17, 2012 6:42pm
      David Lebovitz

      Perhaps one benefit to “conservatism” is that things like “local values” and supporting communities (rather than agribusiness economies elsewhere) should be a part of the agenda, since those are things that are important to a culture and a country. Glad to hear that you can find those things where you live. Reply

  • March 17, 2012 10:12pm

    Ohhh that looks good. I miss the good terrine and pate from our markets. Rural france still very much goes in for the charcuterie! And as for blood sausage… I get cravings for the boudin noir you can get from carrefour with apples and onions. Heaven on a plate! Thank you for your posts tiding me by until I get to go back to France this summer.
    xxx Reply

  • Marine
    March 18, 2012 2:03pm

    Mmmmh that looks so good!! I’m from the south of France, and here we aren’t shamed to say we LOVE charcuterie!! In fact it’s quite the contrary, if you don’t like it you can be considered a really weird person! I for one would be the saddest person on earth if I had to be deprived of my saucisson!! My father is from Corsica, and to me Lonzu, wild boar saucisson and donkey saucisson are heavenly. Charcuterie pretty much is my religion haha! Same goes with cheese, and the stinkier, the better!
    I really like your blog, and enjoy reading your thoughts on french cuisine! Reply

  • BananaBirkLarsen
    March 21, 2012 10:57pm

    @ Chau (on March 13) — I have a similar story! We dissected squid (among other things) in my high school biology class in Canada more than a decade ago. After cutting them up and poking through their remains, our teacher had us dip them in bread crumbs and garlic and fry them up on a hot plate. We watched a video about ocean life as we ate our calamari. Reply

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