Paris Day 6 (September 6)

Got a bit of a late start this day, so we opted for a breakfast out of the apartment and across the street at Le Petit St. Paul. Excellent little café. I particularly liked the Medieval-looking walls and ceilings.

I was able to check off another dish from my must-eat list, a croque madame.

Pain poilâne, the usual jambon et fromage, perfectly fried œuf, and an excellent salad with warm mayonnaise-boosted mustard vinaigrette.

Pain poilâne, the usual jambon et fromage, perfectly fried œuf, and an excellent salad with warm mayonnaise-boosted mustard vinaigrette.

This typically relaxed café visit left us with just a couple of hours to kill until a wine and cheese tasting thing with La Cuisine Paris, so I scoped out some cool parcs and places and the like.

Are you my mummy?

Are you my mummy?

The tasting class started with a pleasant shopping trip to a fromagerie and wine store on Île de la Cité. We adjourned to their wonderful kitchen and dining room overlooking the Seine to taste our plunder.

The whites were of particular note to me. Two excellent specimens:

2013 Les Maisons Rouges L’Éclos, 2013 Berticot Cuvée Première Sauvignon Blanc.

2013 Les Maisons Rouges L’Éclos, 2013 Berticot Cuvée Première Sauvignon Blanc.

L’Éclos was, to my palate, just a really solid white wine. Crisp, green apple notes, quenching, and a nice tart hit on the back of the tongue. The Cuvée Première was more distinct, especially in the nez. Pretty much the only thing I could smell was that one spice you smell a lot in Mexican markets that has sort of a good-bad quality at first, but smells just good after a second. The name eluded me until I asked my fellow foodie friends who supplied me with the answer:  cumin. This wine smelled strongly of cumin. What’s more, it had an almost black pepper-like quality that became apparent as you swallowed it. Up front, it was pleasantly sweet and soft.

Now if those clumsy descriptions didn’t tip you off, I’m no wine blogger. I mean, I’m barely even a blogger, but wine is especially not my area of expertise. I’ll skip over the three reds we tried because they were all a little thin in body and taste for me.

The cheeses, though, were 6 for 6! I’m no cheese blogger either, but I’m generally better at describing stuff that I chew rather than drink. I’ll impose a rather more rigid format for a minute here for expediency’s sake.

1. Petit Gaugry

IMG_9826

A spreading cheese, texture-wise, with the rind hardly harder than the rest of it. The smell is deceptively funky with a raw edge, not preparing one for the mellow creaminess upon the tongue.

2. Bleu d’Auvergne (there was no label to photograph)

Overall an excellent blue cheese. Not the most pungent, and slightly on the drier/crumblier side among bleus I’ve had. Would be great for salad or other topical applications.

3. Brie de Meaux (no label to photograph, a-gain.)

Quite a distinct cheese. Has a distinct—perhaps even more than distinct—broccoli and generally cruciferous smell. Not as pronounced in the taste. Obviously the reflection of what the animals had dined on before getting milked and that milk getting separated and aged and all that. Great cheese.

4. Pélardon

IMG_9830

A rather strong goat cheese. Texture was right around the sweet spot between creamy and crumbly where one could easily spread or break it up over something.

5. Banon

IMG_9831

Desite being wrapped in vinegar-soaked chestnut leaves (what cheese maker had the free time to think up that combination, right?), decidedly mellower that the previous goat cheese. Texture slightly better for spreading. Both are excellent cheeses, though.

6. Mimolette Vielle (Last one without a photo, I swear. But not just because it’s the last cheese.)

I’m always glad to get a little help from our mite friends! Reminds one of a cantaloupe when viewed in its whole form. Parmigiano-like in texture, crystals and all, with less of an edge and an overall sweeter, creamier taste.

After saying our goodbyes, we indulged in a little wine-fueled wandering of Paris. And I thought Paris was great withOUT a few glasses of wine in me!

We finally ended up at Au Bouquet St. Paul (a toilsome, upwards of 100 meter walk from our apartment) where I had the opportunity to try confit canard!

Just the duck and the potatoes. No pesky salad to be bothered with.

Just the duck and the potatoes. No pesky salad to be bothered with.

The potatoes—with the signature color and taste that one can only get with duck fat—were perfectly portioned to be eaten bite-for-bite with the luscious leg quarter, which is a thing I can almost never say for food I eat outside of my home. A sturdy rosé (IGP Méditerranée, year not listed) paired better than I expected after I lacked the foresight to get some sort of red wine.

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