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Ho Ho Ho!

Joyeux Noel and a Happy New Year!

It was apparent that while in Paris, my palettes were not adequately exposed to the full variety of French food, because my Christmas dinner was decidedly very French and for a lack of a better word….interesting.

I was invited to a French friend’s house for an all-Eastern French dinner complete with the typical 3-course meal – Appetisers, Main Course and Dessert. This is actually the friend that I briefly mentioned in my second post. Let’s call her IC.

IC hails from the Alcase region – A densely populated area in France that sits right at the border with Germany. At first, the thought of cheese, foie gras and sauerkraut were what I had expected but these foods were surprisingly absent. The picture below shows what I had for my appetiser.

These were homemade cookies with dried tomatoes and bacon, and feuilletes with parmesan and bacon, coupled with a glass of Cremant d’Alsace, a type of sparkling wine from IC’s hometown. This has got to be the first time I was having cookies as an appetiser but they were pretty tasty, although they were quite crumbly. I guess the ones with bacon is a personal favourite since I’m a bacon fan and for once cookies were salty. Yummmms…

These were then followed by a duo of crab and avocado mousse (The one in the cup) and crab remnants in a lettuce leaf with waffle-like thingies, which for the life of me, I cannot remember their name. To be honest, the crab taste was overpowering. Even IC seconded this opinion. Evidently, the blame of this pungency lies squarely on the use of Singaporean crabmeat. IC, are you sure?

And now the main course. The highlight of dinner was the vol-au-vent (the puff pastry at the corner of the plate) with spaetzle (German/Hungarian noodles), and mushrooms and chicken in white sauce. This was indeed a filling dish as the French-German fusion came into prominence. Tender chicken slices. Crunchy pastry. Funky white sauce. Seriously, what’s there not to like?

Finally, the whole meal came full circle with the dessert. For the final act, a delicious slice of buche aux marrons was served. This is undoubtedly one of the most amazing cakes I have ever eaten and this coming from a guy who isn’t really a cake fan. Pardon the tiny bit left of this buche in the picture below. Now you can understand how good this was. To top it all of, a lemon cream cupcake lay unfinished on my plate. I only took a bite and licked the lemon part all off but boy….that was some lemon heaven.

France is indeed a place for food that bears witness to its own diverse sub-cultures. And as I relate my Parisian escapade to IC and the rest of the guests at the table, the diversity of France was once again manifested, but this time, in our conversation. As I stood alone defending the good name of the Parisians, IC sat unconvinced. To her, Parisians are still snobbish. It seems it may take a Singaporean man to change a French lady’s mindset about her own people.

P.S. CF, are you reading this? Paris needs you! In Singapore!