Monday, 15 May 2017

Yummy Paris!

I love to travel and eat, and I always stuff my suitcase with food souvenirs to take back home. Paris is a food lover's paradise, so I didn't hesitate much to shout out "oui, merci!" when the invitation came to see what the town had to offer. 

The occasion was the awarding of the 100 best new modern bistros in Paris. The ceremony took place the at the absolutely stunning city hall (nothing like Norwegian government buildings I can tell you!).   

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, named the winners, chosen by a panel of the City of Paris led by the famous chef Alain Ducasse. The website of the awards has a nice map which can be used as an excellent starting point for a culinary discovery of the city. A lot is going on! 

Of course there was plenty of delicious food to try out, from a few of the winning restaurants. I tried a lentil soil dish (which I would later meet again), a flavourful asparagus soup (not pictured) and a flowery cold brew.

After the ceremony we headed out on a food tour to sample even more tasty bites of Paris. Obviously there was lots of delicious cheese and sweets. 

The marzipan seafood platter was not really up my alley but they certainly don't shy away from making creative foods in Parisian bakeries and chocolate shops - a lot of nice inspiration for a food artist. 

That night we tried out a bistro on the winning 100 list, namely Anicia, which specializes in food from the Auvergne region in France. Here I met the lentil dish again, and I was happy about the reunion. Also, radishes hanging out to dry on a clothes line. 

They had very vibrant food and good options for vegetarians, I got a supergreen pea soup and a roasted vegetable dish with leek foam. Yum! 

For dessert, there was a lentil (yes, the legume) Créme Brûlée. Definitely innovative and quite enjoyable to eat but I'm not sure if I would order it the next time. Some cute treats to finished things up followed - all in all a very good meal. 

No late night drinking on this trip, as we were up at 3.30am (!) to go the largest wholesale market in the world, called Rungis International Market. By the time we arrived (around 5am) the fish market was already almost finished (it starts at midnight). 

But there was plenty more to see as the market is the size of a small village, covering 234 hectares of land. Halls upon halls are filled with fish, meat, cheese, fruits, vegetables and even flowers.  

I was most excited about the fruits and vegetables of course, and did not end up disappointed. So many different varieties, bright and fresh colours to take in!

It's a market for sellers and buyers, so you cannot buy anything there as a private person sadly. But it's quite interesting to see it all, as you can on one of the guided tours on offer. Just be prepared to get up early!

After the market ended I had some time on my own to explore, so I took in some of the lovely sights, like the Sacré-Cœur catedral in Montmartre area.   

No trip is complete without tracking down some good new wave coffee, this time I tried KB Cafeshop in South Pigalle area. They serve Aussie style brews, so I naturally tried the Flat White which was certainly decent. 

Sweet treats for souvenirs this time, heading over to Kosak for a great selection of bean to bar chocolates and excellent service with lots of samples (very rare for Paris) and A l'Etoile d'Or (now in rue Pierre Fontaine) for French quality treats and the charming owner Denise (she doesn't really speak English but she will still make you buy more than you planned to).

That was it for my taste of Paris!


Sponsored: The trip was paid for by the City of Paris but the opinions are all my own of course. 

Monday, 7 December 2015

Entertaining Evening Meals with Philadelphia Cream Cheese

// Sponsored post.

I really enjoy the evening meal, it's such a comforting way to end the day: Some delicious slices of bread, maybe a cup of tea or hot chocolate, eaten together with family or simply in front of the TV. So when Philadelphia Deutschland (Germany) asked me to create some fun evening meal creations with their cream cheeses, I was on board very quickly. Cream cheese is also an ingredient I use a lot in my food art, it's the perfect tasty base to combine with colorful vegetables and fruit.

The total result of the cooperation with pictures and recipes can be seen over on the Philadelphia website. There are recipes and even some stop motion videos, to show you how it all comes together. 

Like for instance this charming little fox.  

Take a ride on a delicious camping bus.

Or explore space with a rocket

But most of all, allow your imagination to fly away

You can also see further interesting posts over at Philadelphia Deutschland's Facebook page.


Friday, 13 February 2015

The Power of Decaf Coffee with Nespresso in Lyon

For the love of decaffeinated coffee! 
With Nespresso Grand Crus Vivalto Lungo Decaffeinato, Volluto Decaffeinato and Arpeggio Decaffeinato.
Food and coffee are among my big passions in life, so when I was invited to Lyon to see how the two could be combined by Nespresso, it was a tempting offer. I was a bit concerned I might overdose on caffeine with the coffee heavy program but that turned out to be no worry at all – and not because I limited my coffee intake in any way. Getting a chance to see the contestants at the famous cooking competition Bocuse d'Or was a welcome bonus too - especially since Norway ended up winning (sorry for the spoiler)!

First we were off to see what was happening at the L'Atelier Nespresso, the temporary playground set up for wonderful experiences in coffee and food.  

Nespresso has recently launced a new series of decaffeinated versions of some of their Grand Cru coffees, so we had an interesting classroom lesson with coffee expert Alexis Rodriguez on how decaffeinated coffee is made – from quality bean to brew ready cup. A lot of love in picking out the right beans plus the magic help of liquid CO2 or water is apparantly what it takes!

We also got to taste test to see if we were able to tell which coffee was the decaffeinated version, which I failed of course, haha! It was a bit surprising given that Volluto, the coffee we tested, is among my favorite Nespresso coffees but I actually ended up preferring the decaf version. It was sweeter and simply tastier - really convincing me that there are decaffeinated alternatives worth drinking, whether you “have to” or not.

To see the new coffees “in action”, we were treated to some yummy coffee inspired desserts by pastry chef Christelle Brua, made with the Arpeggio Grand Cru coffee in various delicious layers (panna cotta, coffee jelly, ice cream and foam among them). The coffee taste really came through and the dessert ended up as my favorite edible of the day.

Working hard as you can see... Here I'm flanked by Italian food blogger Chiara (left) and German mom blogger and cappuccino expert Claire (right). Also taking part was Brazilian food blogger Rosana and German blogger + chef Steffen of Berliner Speisemeisterei. Quite a diverse and interesting group of food and coffee lovers!

To further showcase the power of coffee and gastronomy coming together, there was also a coffee themed dinner made by eminent chefs Emmanuel Renaut and David Toutain. 

Here are the courses summed up by my iPhone photos from the night - many different variations upon the coffee theme, like salsify with Grand Cru Indriya and mackerel with Grand Cru Vivalto. Some were more intense than others but all were equally intriguing in their playfulness.  

I couldn't resist playing around a bit with the food of course, as evidenced by the first (strategic placement of truffle slices) and fifth image (face rearrangement). However, food at this level is food art in the true sense of the word. Although it's usually a bit more abstract and “adult” than my own pieces I find it really inspiring to behold (and eat!).

In the end, I emerged from the day fully satisfied with the lingering taste of delicious coffee in my mouth while still being able to get a good night's sleep, thanks to the decaffeinated coffees.

Lastly we were taken to the Bocuse d'Or, got to visit the Nespresso area there and witness the chef's in action. The Norwegian supporters were very enthusiastic and the Norwegian chef Ørjan Johannessen won in the end, so all in all it was a very successful trip!


Written in cooperation with Nespresso but all opinions are my own of course.