When spring break rolls around I’ll take Paris over Punta Cana any day – so that is exactly what I decided to do with my one week of freedom from the perfunctory grind of being a student at a pressure-cooker of a university. So au revior Ithaca et bonjour Paris – the city of lights, love and some of the best food in the entire world.
It is the heart of haute cuisine, home to top restaurants from Ducasse to Robuchon, and not to mention épiceries and patisseries galore from Bon Marché to Ladurée. There is nothing like waking up early in Paris, putting on red lipstick, pretending to be vraiment français and stepping out the door of your AirBnB flat to find the nearest bakery for un café et un pain au chocolat s’il vous plaît. Mistaken for a local, you may even be stopped and asked for directions. Nod, smile, maybe throw in a je ne sais pas and carry on with your adventure.
There are so many great gastronomic experiences to be had in this culinary capital, yet some of the very best come from the local boulanger, brasserie or street-side crêperie. Here are some très classique recipes to try in your kitchen, from Paris, with love.
Soupe à l’oignon Française (French Onion Soup)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
4 slices Gruyère cheese
4 slices Rustic bread
1. Heat butter in a pot.
2. Thinly slice the onions, add them to the pot, season with salt and pepper, cook until caramelized. *Food science note – Adding a pinch of sugar can help caramelization occur faster, and adding in a pinch of flour can help the soup gelatinize more rapidly.
3. Add in white wine, bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes
4. Add in vegetable or chicken stock, boil, bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
5. Preheat oven to 450˚F.
6. Portion soup into ramekins or oven-safe bowls.
7. Top soup with bread and gruyere cheese, bake in the oven until cheese is melted and golden brown.
8. Pair with the best bordeaux €5 can buy and enjoy!
Crêpes Sucrées (sweet crêpes)
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 3 minutes
Total time: 8 minutes
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
1. Whisk together wet ingredients – milk, water, egg.
2. Add in flour and sugar.
3. Mix in the butter.
4. Place a pan on the stove on high heat.
5. Coat the pan with butter to prevent crêpes from sticking.
6. Pour crêpe batter in the pan, cook for 30 seconds or until golden brown.
7. Flip the crêpe and cook for approximately another 20 seconds.
8. Spread nutella, jam or any filling of your choice all over the crêpe.
9. Et voila, bon appètit!
Enjoy and remember – we’ll always have Paris.