mardi 27 janvier 2009

Jeudi Noir - 29 january

One of the biggest "grèves" to hit France is coming this Thursday. Everybody and their mother are striking. If you ask why, the answer is "c'est la France". Stay tuned for more.

*grève: strike
*jeudi noir: black thursday

samedi 10 janvier 2009

Porte de bonheur

These cute little cochons* are offered for a porte de bonheur** for the new year. They were all over the patisseries in Strasbourg. They use alot of pork in their cooking in this area, hence "the pig". They are made from almond paste and are delicious.

*cochons - pigs
**porte de bonheur - happiness for the new year - literally an " open door of happiness" for the new year.

Galette de Rois

To celebrate the ephiphany of 6 january, all over France one can find the galette de rois - which is a tarte with almond paste inside. Also hidden inside is a small
fève(*) that one lucky person will find. How it works is one person goes under the table while another cuts the slices. The person under the table calls out a name to give a slice to and continues till all slices are cut. The winner is the one who finds the fève in their slice and is crowned the "roi" and proudly wears the gold paper crown that is given with each galette. The fèves range from religous figures to Disney characters to random things. It is best to warm the galette before eating. If you like almond paste, these are fantastic. Its fun to visit different bakeries and taste the different galettes and see what fève you will find in your galette. The galettes are usually around till mid February.

*fève: small charm

vendredi 2 janvier 2009

Beautiful Alsace - What's in Your Backyard??

Most families have a playset in their backyard. However most of the houses in this area boast a vineyard in theirs. Most of these are small family-owned plots and the wine never leaves the area. This is one of the most beautiful areas, I think. I just love the small villages and timbered houses that are characteristic of this area. The food and wine are just as awesome. My favorite food has to be the tarte flambé which is heavy cream, small pieces of ham, and sometimes cheese, if you ask for it gratinée, on a very thin crust that is literally cooked for 30 seconds. We struck up a conversation with a local restauranter in Ribeauvillé and I asked him how to make the tarte flambée and he ended up giving me 3 thin crusts with which to make the tartes with. Mine were not as yummy as his, but still pretty good.