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Taste enthusiast? Life explorer? You’ve come to the right place. Let’s travel together through the culture of flavors and conviviality. Discover curiosities, learn about the most peculiar recipes and ingredients as well as the quintessentials. Be inspired by experiences of the finest taste experts.

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Taste Guides

 

A journey through local flavors

  • EAST PARIS: A CULINARY EL DORADO

    The east side of Paris, between métros Bastille, Nation and Ménilmontant (the 11th and 12th arrondissements), is the new magnet for the city’s ‘culinary luminaries’ – daring, forward-thinking chefs who have put new spins on French cooking traditions and jumpstarted a booming restaurant scene. It’s also where those in the know come to buy some of the city’s best produce, at authentic Parisian markets, in ultramodern delicatessens and in atmospheric caves à vin, brimming with bottled treasures from all over France. Historically this area has always been hard working and progressive. It was here, between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries that carpenters, porcelain manufacturers and textile entrepreneurs first made their fortunes, and it was from here that the mobs came to storm the Bastille in 1789 – so it seems fitting that this is the site of Paris’ culinary revolution today. To get a real feel for the transformation, let serendipity guide you along three main thoroughfares: rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine, rue de Charonne and rue Oberkampf. You’ll find a plethora of shabby-chic buildings harbouring trendy new bars and eateries, and former ateliers converted into hip hotels and cafés – best of all, none of them will break the bank. In fact, there are so many you could easily spend a week eating and drinking your way around this one area; it most certainly wouldn’t be a waste of your time. The streets offer plenty of postprandial shopping opportunities – all blissfully far from the city’s busiest tourist spots.
  • Making a pig of yourself

    In Lyon, sausages are not just a food: they are a religion. Why else would one of the most celebrated versions be called a Jésus? Consisting of the most tender pieces of ham swaddled in a silky casing and carefully tied with string to preserve its rugby-ball shape, this hefty cured sausage was originally prepared for the Christmas feast before becoming part of Lyon’s everyday charcuterie repertoire.  Though every neighbourhood has its butchers specialising in pork, the greatest concentration of porcine delights can be found at Les Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse, a covered market that spectacularly illustrates where Lyonnais priorities lie. The great names of local charcuterie are represented here – each with rows of saucisses dangling from hooks and extravagant display cases of prepared foods such as pâtés and quenelles, a light dumpling which although made with fish seems to qualify as a kind of sausage.  As the selection can be overwhelming, it’s worth learning a little vocabulary before venturing into this wonderland. Similar to the Jésus, cured rosette sausage has a distinct pink colour with chunks of fat. Saucisson à cuire, a mixture of lean ham and lard, is a sausage designed for poaching and served with potatoes. In the same family is the cervelas, which has a smoother texture and may be studded with pistachio or truffle. These poaching sausages are sometimes wrapped in brioche dough and baked, then sliced and served cold or warm. More hardcore is the sabodet, consisting of pig’s head, pork and rind. And for the truly intrepid there is andouillette, the French version of chitterling sausage made with tripe. 

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Taste Inspirations

More Secrets of taste

 

A stroll through the history of the most beloved ingredients

Is there a more English meal than a roasted joint of glistening beef, served with Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes and slathered in rich gravy? Just see Richard Leveridge's 1735 song “Roast beef of Old England” for proof (dodgy rhyming scheme aside):

 

Eating oysters, the French poet Léon-Paul Fargue once said, was “like kissing the sea on the lips”. Anyone who has consumed one of said molluscs will know exactly what he meant. The salty, slightly sour ozone taste of a freshly shucked oyster contains the distilled essence of the ocean.

 

It feels particularly French to bestow upon salt’s most rarefied form the poetic designation of “fleur de sel” – “flower of salt”. The name is given to the delicate crystals raked from the liquid surface of salt beds in the coastal town of Camargue on the Mediterranean, and Guérande, the island of Noirmoutier and the Île de Ré on the Atlantic coast. Fleur de sel is a finishing salt, applied to dishes as a final touch, to conserve the salt’s nuanced flavours and crystalline texture.

Confucius, the ancient Chinese philosopher born in 551 BC, was something of a foodie. In his famous Analects, a collection of his sayings and ideas, he outlined some rules to eating that wouldn’t look out of place today.

 

Eat only at mealtimes, he advocated. Know the source of your food, eat meat in moderation, eat only food that is in season and do not drink to excess. All very modern.

 

Taste Origins

Tales from Taste Lovers

Once upon a Bite

Marcel Proust and the Madeleine

Some books become so well known that they spawn entire tourist industries without many people having ever read them.

Marcel Proust and the Madeleine

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