Tag Archives: french food

My Gay Paris: Our Date with a French Chef

A cookery class makes a great gift because everybody who takes part not only learns something but also has a chance to meet new people.  We tried the Les diners d’Eloïse here in Paris a few weeks ago and here’s our review.

The Location

The class takes place at 8, rue de Valois, a great location in the very heart of Paris, just a few minutes from the Louvre and a couple of minutes’ walk from rue Saint-Honoré.

The teaching kitchen is huge, especially when there aren’t many people—there were only 18 of us—and is absolutely gorgeous.   The team also hire it out for events.

The Lesson

Our chef was called Thomas, and after introducing everybody, he kitted us out with disposable aprons and chefs’ hats—not the sexiest outfit ever!

Our menu was based around spices, and involved three different dishes: a starter of salmon tartare with garam masala, pineapple and a dill sauce; a main course of duck roasted with honey and spices alongside fried mushrooms and coriander and a dessert of chocolate mousse with Tonka beans and roast figs.

We were divided into two groups.  The chef demonstrated what we needed to do, before everybody returned to their own station to repeat his actions, with varying degrees of succes.  We used the same pattern all evening.

There was a great atmosphere, and everybody got along well with the other students.  Despite, or because of, our various mistakes, everybody ended up laughing and talking together.

To make sure nobody was left out, we wrote our names on our chef’s hats (which is about the only thing they were were good for!)

Given how much fun everybody was having, nobody had any problem with the chef giving the slowest tables forfeits, like chopping the onions.

Once everything was ready, we sat down to enjoy the fruits of our labour!

Alternatively …

The company diners d’Eloïse also runs an at-home catering service.  You can reserve a chef who will come to your apartment and cook for you.

He’ll bring all the ingredients he needs, as well as wine to suit each course.

If you’re motivated, you can help, but otherwise he’ll get on with it and serve your meal when you’re finished.  And when your personal chef leaves, the kitchen will be as tidy as when he started.

The main advantage of this approach is that you can choose exactly what you want to eat.

Our Verdict

We thought the class was a great way to learn the basics, like how to choose the right ingredients and prepare them to make a delicious meal for our friends or that special someone.

We also had a chance to meet some interesting new people, and some of us even picked up a few numbers …

My Gay Paris: Christmas is Coming in Paris

It might seem like it’s still a long way off, but here in Paris, preparations are well underway for Christmas. Lights have sprung up in the main shopping streets, and all the gay bars in our neighbourhood, the Marais, have begun hanging up the decorations.

If you’re coming to Paris in the run-up to Christmas, then we hope that you think about staying in one our gay-friendly furnished apartments. But much more importantly, though, we hope you take some time to make the most of some of the best shopping in the world to pick up some excellent presents to take your loved-ones back home!

Food

We’ve already talked about some of the exceptional food you can try in Paris here on the blog, whether it’s sweet treats like macarons from Ladurée or delicious hot chocolate from Café Angelina. Food halls, delis and even ordinary supermarkets are beginning to stock up with Christmas favourites from all over France, including foie gras, with local consumers showing none of the squeamishness other countries have about force-feeding geese to produce the fatty liver pâté. Bakers and pâtissiers, meanwhile, are hard at work producing the bûche de Noël, the traditional Christmas yule log.

Many of these treats, and more, are available at the annual Christmas Market, which is already open on the Champs-Élysées.

Fashion

Two weeks ago we recommended shopping on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, but if your budget doesn’t quite stretch, then you could try one of our favourite online sites, studiohomme.com (with a showroom at 62, rue Réaumur), which specialises in designer menswear from big French names like Kitsuné as well as up-and-coming creators.

Design

Paris might be well-known for the old masters lining the walls of its fabulous galleries, but if you’re interested in slightly more modern art and design, then you’re spoilt for choice. Our favourite is the Atarzart Design Bookstore (83, quai Valmy), with a range of books on photography, architecture and more. It also enjoys a great canal-side location, perfect for a stroll.

Museums

One of the best places to pick up unusual gifts is at a museum shop, and two of Paris’ newest cultural institutions have stores that go far beyond the usual souvenir poster. La Gaîtié Lyrique (3 bir, rue Papin ), a former theatre which has been transformed into a museum of digital culture, carries a range of gadgets, gizmos and hard to find video games for the geek in your life. French charity Emmaüs recycles unwanted clothes and furniture, selling them on to raise money in charity shops around the city. Their new location at Le Centquatre (104, rue d’Aubervilliers), though, only sees the best pieces, with real bargains to be add on exclusive designer items. It’s well worth a visit and unlike any charity store you’ve ever seen!