Tasting France through five dishes—hotels and souvenirs | Ann Mah

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Tasting France through five dishes—EXTRAS

By Ann | May 24, 2014

crêpe

Last summer, I traveled around France with the sole purpose of eating. It was a memorable journey for many reasons (among them this and this), and I’m absolutely thrilled the resulting article is in this Sunday’s New York Times Travel section—my first cover! I hope you’ll read the story and leave me a comment with an answer to this question: What’s your favorite regional dish—in France, or beyond?

I thought I’d share the article’s EXTRAS*—the material left on the cutting room floor, in this case, the hotels I stayed at on my trip, and a few of the food souvenirs I brought home. I’m always on the hunt for les bonnes adresses, and I hope you find these helpful!

bretagne

PLACES TO STAY

Brittany
Seemingly torn from the pages of a French fairy tale, the Manoir de Lanroz (282 Chemin de Lanroz, 29000 Quimper, tel: 33-2-98-90-64-43; www.lanroz.fr) is steeped in the charm of an old-fashioned manor house. Bedrooms feature family antiques and views that stretch across green fields to a sparkling lake.

Languedoc
Château Coquelicot (250 route de Castelnaudary, 11400 Souihanels-Castelnaudary, tel: 33-6-42-74-55-90; www.chateaucoquelicot.com), on the edges of Castelnaudary, is a sprawling country house with spacious rooms, a pool, and sweeping views of grape vines. Upon request, the Belgian owners, Françoise and Frédéric Bernier, will prepare a home-cooked supper at their table d’hôte.

Cassis
L’Avila Cassis (15 Avenue Joseph Liautaud, tel: 33-4-42-03-35-37; www.lavila-cassis.com), a 10-minute walk from the town center, is a bed and breakfast with comfortable, modern rooms, a pool, and a sunny terrace for morning coffee.

Lyon
Located in the heart of Lyon’s presqu’ile, the eccentric Chambre d’Hugo (21 rue Victor Hugo, Lyon, 69002; tel: 33-6-18-38-27-68; www.lachambredhugo.fr)—housed in an elegant, 18th-century apartment—has only one room, a serene space with parquet floors, linen curtains, classic moldings painted in pale grey, and an en suite bathroom. Breakfasts include homemade fruit compote and fresh smoothies—the perfect antidote to all those bacon-strewn Lyonnais meals.

Slightly off the bouchon trail (though convenient to public transportation) Mama Shelter Lyon (13 rue Domer, Lyon, 69007; tel: 33-4-78-02-58-00; www.mamashelter.com/lyon)—the latest outpost of the Philippe Starck-designed hotel chain—offers a throbbing bar downstairs, while upstairs rooms are like a modern cocoon, quiet, with fluffy duvets and industrial-chic furniture. Though space is cramped, prices are reasonable, and the staff is young and friendly.

Alsace
In the pretty, half-timbered village of Rosheim, La Rose d’Alsace (10 Rue de l’Eglise, 67560, Rosheim; tel: 33-3-88-50-10-44; www.larosedalsace.com) has simple, clean rooms and makes a good base for a choucroute (or wine) tour of the region.

Housed in a newly restored 16th-century hôtel particulier—check out the medieval well at the flowery courtyard’s entrance—La Cour du Courbeau (6-8 rue des Couples, 67000 Strasbourg; tel: 33-3-90-00-26-26; www.cour-courbeau.com) offers spacious, quiet rooms with modern fixtures in the heart of Strasbourg.

herbes

FOOD SOUVENIRS

Galettes from Brittany
Buttery treats abound in the region, but the picturesque village of Pont-Aven—once, briefly, the home of Gauguin—is famous for galettes, in this case sugar biscuits made with local butter and studded with flakes of sea salt. Each shop has its own secret family recipe, but the thick-cut “palet” cookies at La Boutique de Pont-Aven are delicately sweet with a lightly crumbly texture. Where to buy it: La Boutique de Pont Aven, Place Paul Gauguin

Pralines from Lyon
Rough-textured and hot pink, these sugar-coated almonds are a familiar sight in the city’s pâtisseries, whether used as a filling for tarte aux pralines, crushed and sprinkled on rice pudding, or studding soft loaves of sweet brioche. Buy your own bag and experiment at home. Where to buy it: Monoprix, locations all over the city.

Cassoles from Languedoc
The region’s traditional terracotta cooking vessel, is essential for preparing your own cassoulet. At the Poterie Not Frères, a family business started in 1830, each cassole is made on a man-powered pottery wheel and shaped by hand. Where to buy it: Poterie Not Frères, Mas-Saintes-Puelles

Garrigue herbs from Provence
A mix of rosemary, thyme, savory, lavender and other plants that grow wild along the Provençal Mediterranean coast, the earthy perfume of this dried herb blend enhances everything from bouillabaisse to roast chicken. Where to buy it: Cassis open market, town center (Wednesday mornings)

Pain d’épices from Alsace
Gingerbread doesn’t need to be limited to Christmas—at least not in Alsace, where slices of the moist, sweet, spice bread are enjoyed year-round with a cup of tea, or at cocktail hour, topped with foie gras and paired with a glass of Riesling. The artisanal loaf from Le Bucher des Buissons, tastes delightfully old fashioned, dense with honey and rye flour. Where to buy it: Pains Westermann, 1 rue des Orfèvres, Strasbourg

*Note: This material was originally prepared for a longer version of the article.

Topics: Mastering the Art of French Eating, Where to eat in France | 10 Comments »

10 Responses to “Tasting France through five dishes—EXTRAS”

  1. Lynde Says:
    May 25th, 2014 at 1:28 am

    Congratulations! Wonderful article.

  2. jeanne Says:
    May 26th, 2014 at 12:58 am

    Congratulations Ann. I enjoyed your wonderful article. I am longing for cassoulet with a fine local wine. At this moment, nothing sounds better.

  3. adeline Says:
    May 26th, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    Loved your article in Sunday’s New York Times. So proud of you. Well done!

  4. dema Says:
    May 27th, 2014 at 1:38 am

    I’ve been wanting to tell you how much I loved your book, and seeing this article this morning prompted me to finally comment! You’ve inspired a trip for my fiance and I to Paris in a month. I’ve been once and was enchanted by Parisian cuisine, but didn’t try any of the wonderful dishes you wrote about – so I’m excited to seek them out this time. Any

  5. Katia Says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    A wonderful article Ann – so elegantly written and made me want to fly back to France again immediately! Not to mention that it was a true pleasure to retrace the footsteps of a truly memorable trip. And I love the idea of posting these little. “extras”!!!

  6. Kim Says:
    May 29th, 2014 at 2:08 am

    this is incredible – congrats Ann. Makes me long for a return to Provence all the more!

  7. Meg Bortin Says:
    May 29th, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Cannot wait to take that tour myself! Thanks, Ann.

  8. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) Says:
    May 29th, 2014 at 11:34 am

    SUCH a wonderfully written piece Ann. I am just getting to it now but spent a very pleasant morning coffee reading the whole thing, THEN looking at it online. Remarkable writing (and NOT Frères made it in there!)

  9. CK Says:
    May 31st, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Favorite regional dish in France is probably soupe au pistou from Provence, even if in some ways it is simply a delivery mechanism for olive oil. Favorite regional dish in China is probably mapo doufu from Sichuan, especially if accompanied by hong you chao shou — dumplings in hot sauce often sprinkled with sesame.

  10. Charming Paris Apartment Says:
    June 11th, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    Next time you’ll have to include the Loire Valley as well! The rillettes is calling! ;-)

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