French Food

By now I’ve been able to sample a lot of French food, mainly from the Haute Savoie region where I live.  This consists of the following food groups:  cheese, wine, bread, ham, and chocolate.  This post is all about FOOD!  I haven’t eaten out much but someone recommended a restaurant called L’Estraminet.  I’ve been there twice with a friend and both times we got the same thing:  fondue with a mixed ham plate and small salads.  It is SOOO good.  OMG, so good.  Afterwards there’s the guilty feeling of “I just ate a ton of melted cheese” but that feeling doesn’t last long.  It’s worth it.  I’ve also been invited to some friends’ home where they served raclette.  In restaurants it’s a self-serve type of dish where a half wheel of cheese is heated.  You scrape off the melted part and eat it with potatoes and maybe some ham and miniature pickles.  A lot of families have raclette machines where you melt the cheese in your own little metal tray, and this is what my friends had.

Most of the pics are from the market in La Vielle Ville (The Old Town) every Sunday morning.  There’s other markets throughout the week but I can’t attend weekday ones since I’m at work.  There’s not a huge amount of variety.  Produce vendors carry the same fruits and vegs, and same goes for the cheese, bread, and saucissons (dry, cured sausages).  As the weeks creep towards summer, I’ve noticed the market getting busier and busier.  There’s a few standouts:  the rotisserie chicken with potatoes roasted in chicken fat drippings, fresh goat cheese, and Vietnamese (or Thai?) food.  The food at this last booth doesn’t look good but it’s one of the few non-French stalls in the market.  I bought a small bottle of Sriracha from them.

There isn’t a lot of cultural depth to the cuisine here.  I’ve heard of one decent Mexican restaurant sorta nearby.  A basic American-style burger can cost up to 19€.  No Indian, Korean, Greek, and a surprising lack of Italian restaurants considering they’re a neighboring country.  There are a few sushi places but I’m a bit leery of them.  There are however, a lot of Turkish doner and kebab places.  One is across the street from my bedroom window and another is a few doors up the street.

Today at the market I found raw beets for the first time.  I don’t like beets but I need them for some of my juice recipes.  They sell them cooked and vacuum-packed in the grocery store.  Kale, another veg I don’t like but juice staple, can’t be found anywhere.  In fact I found that there is an American woman conducting a campaign online to bring kale to France.  http://thekaleproject.com   Any berry other than strawberries are a bit hard to find, too.  They sell blueberries and raspberries at the store but they’re not very fresh and are expensive.  Booo!  That said, the French do a wonderful job of making wine, cheese, Viennoiseries, bread, and saucissons.  Dried sausage I used to buy from Olympic Provisions at the Hillsdale Farmer’s Market in Oregon costs over twice as much as a similar product I can buy here.  I haven’t had any huge cravings for food I had in the US but if that day comes, I hope one of you can send me a care package!

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