DSC05591

My Food Adventures

With my first bite, I tasted crystals of caramelized sugar. Then came the warm embrace of the buttery layers of flaky dough. It was like a super croissant, and I could not get enough of it. Its name was a Kouign Amann, and it’s difficult to find this pastry in regular cafes because it originates from the area of Breton, in France. It is prepared like a regular croissant, but it is rolled with extra layers of butter and sugar. As it is cooked, it is then topped of with even more caramelized sugar. When I first saw the pastry, it did not seem that special. But when I tasted it, I felt like I could burst into song. Whenever I’m that satisfied, my tummy sings in ways I can’t.

 

What better way to learn about a culture than through its food? Being in Paris, I am convinced that I have tasted some of the best food in the world. My favorite foods are pastries, so I found myself in the right place. Since I got here, I have tried madeleines, little macaroons, giant macaroons, the best chocolate croissants I have ever had, chocolate filled Belgian waffles, and my very first sweet crepes. I never want to leave.  

 

I experienced products and flavors I had never tried before, like a paste made out of Cod eggs, Comte and brie cheese, saucisson, Rillettes de canard, and Flemme Kueche. The Cod eggs were presented in the form of a paté, spread on a bread with the texture of a pancake. Saucisson is a cured and dried sausage. Rillettes de canard was a dish with duck meat and other added ingredients and almost tastes like Mexican carnitas. Lastly Flemme Kueche looked like a pizza but cream is used instead of marinara sauce. It was topped with cured bacon and onions, and it’s crust was really thin. All of that sounded weird at first. Sometimes my brain tells me that I shouldn’t like weird stuff because it is odd and new. However, I promised I would try everything and as it turns out, I often found myself going in for seconds.

 

Even something as familiar as tasting a mango felt like I was experiencing it for the first time. During our market walk, I got a craving for some fruit and asked for a mango. I approached the stand, and the stand keeper had us taste two kinds of the mangos. To be honest, I did not even know there was more than one kind of mango. Both were so good, but one was sweeter so I had a chance to eat the rest of the sweeter one. I have never had a better mango in my entire life. I mean, I’ve had mangos before. My taste buds perceived the familiarity of the flavor, but at the same time, something seemed very different. I was shocked at how fresh and concentrated the taste was. It was as if I had never tasted a real mango before. Not like this one.

 

So why does the food taste so darn good here?

 

Parisians, as it turns out, take a lot of pride in their food. They care about better quality and care deeply about food ingredients. They are so particular about everything that has to do with food. Locals are very specific about where their food comes from. For instance, when it comes to chickens, butchers leave the head with feathers and feet on the body. At first glance I cringed when I saw that, but then I learned that the reason they do that is to ensure they are getting chickens from a very specific region because the chickens in those regions have a very specific color of feathers and therefore, a very specific taste. After learning how obsessive the Parisians can be about their chicken, it’s easy to see why the food is of such high quality. If they are this particular about chicken, you can only imagine how that attention to details extends to everything else, from their eggs to their cheese, to their produce. Everybody knows France has good food, but until you actually taste it in person while in Paris, you will never truly know what you are missing. I am so happy I had to the chance come here to taste all that good stuff.

 

– Destyni Freese