Back to Back Issues Page
[La Marmite) - Baba and Bretzels
March 10, 2011

Bonjour et bienvenue to La Marmite! Here is a recap of some of the culinary exploration that went on at Easy French Food this past month.

Raspberry Liqueur

raspberry cocktail

Have you heard of Chambord Castle in the Loire Valley? It is one of the most famous chateaus in France - right up there with Versailles. Legend has it that Louis XIV, France's Roi Soleil or Sun King, sipped an unforgettable raspberry liqueur while staying there. Chambord Liqueur Royale de France uses this story to market its raspberry liqueur, which is carefully elaborated and bottled just round the bend from the Chambord chateau.

This is heady stuff, a rich and luxurious mouthful. I recommend enjoying it in small sips as a dessert or adding just a splash to various recipes. However, the company that makes it, like many alcohol manufacturers, seems to feel obliged to market it with any number of cocktail suggestions.

Learn more here: Chambord Liqueur - French Raspberry Liqueur

Eiffel Tower Decor

eiffel tower centerpieces

The Eiffel Tower was built at the end of the 19th century as part of the 1889 World's Fair. Originally it was supposed to have been a temporary structure and it was considered by many to be an eyesore. With time though the Tower took on a most romantic allure and it was decided to leave it as a permanent landmark.

Nothing more clearly symbolizes France (other than perhaps the flag) and it can serve as a great way to add a French theme to a party or even a wedding. Its familiar shape is used on everything from napkin rings to appetizer plates.

Have a look at these fun Eiffel Tower Centerpieces and Party Decorations.

Regional Specialities

food of france

Here's where we really get down to business. Have you any idea of the number of regional specialities in France? I have no exact number to propose, but there are, I am sure, thousands.

Learning about the foods of the 22 different regions of France is an absolutely fabulous way to become familiar with French geography. And the food and recipes of each region reflect not only geographical but cultural differences. Who could ask for a better way to learn about something than with some delicious food?

Don't miss the trip: The Food of France Region by Region.

The Food of Alsace

alsace bretzel

Ready to take the plunge even further? I'll be gradually adding an expanded view of each region, so that we can really get to understanding their food. I have started with Alsace which is in the east of France and shares a border, and many food traditions, with Germany.

Alsatian food includes lots of pork, cabbage and potatoes. Both beer and wine are made in Alsace. Bretzels are popular and desserts, surprisingly, tend to be less rich than other parts of France. Lots of fruit tarts and spice cakes.

Learn more and find some great recipes: Alsace France - Food and Recipes.

Baba au Rhum - The Easy Way!

baba au rhum

Baba au Rhum is traditionally a plain yeast cake that is soaked in rum syrup, giving it a distinct taste and texture. It was supposedly first made to placate the culinary desires of a dentally challenged Polish king who found it difficult to chew his brioche.

In keeping with the easy theme I like to stick to, my baba au rhum recipe is made with a very simple baking powder leavened cake. This takes literally minutes to make, but the results are most excellent.

Rum lovers, don't hesitate, this is delicious: Baba au Rhum - Easy French Rum Cake Recipe

Choux Pastry Conquered

chouw pastry

Choux pastry is fun to work with and requires very few ingredients. You can pipe it into any shape you wish and it puffs up in the oven to make cream puffs, eclairs, gougeres, or whatever you might imagine.

It does have a reputation though for being a bit difficult. I spent a week exploring all of the ways you can fail choux pastry and I wrote it all down so you can do it just right the first time.

Here is the basic recipe: Choux Pastry Recipe - Basic Choux Paste for French Pastries.

Chocolate Eclairs

chocolate eclair

If you have ever visited France, you will surely have seen chocolate eclairs in the pastry shop window. These pastry cream filled logs are made from choux pastry and traditionally come in two flavors: chocolate and coffee.

Making your own chocolate eclairs is possible, dare I say even easy. It is a bit of a process however, so you will probably find the well detailed recipe given here a great introduction.

For an afternoon project (maybe with the kids?) try this Chocolate Eclair Recipe With Easy French Pastry Cream Filling

Gougere Appetizers


Like eclairs, gougeres are made from choux pastry. The difference though is that they are made in less than 20 minutes - truly a quick easy recipe when you are looking for a hot appetizer.

All you do is add some shredded cheese to the basic choux pastry. You can also add other things like chopped nuts, ham, chives and hot pepper. The only problem is to not eat the whole tray of gougeres yourself.

For your next party maybe? Cheese Puff Recipe - French Gougeres - Easy Appetizers.

Special Note

You may have noticed a little change in the look and feel of La Marmite this month. I am considering publishing shorter newsletters but with a greater frequency - every two weeks or so. I would love to hear any feedback or comments on this or anything else you would like to share about La Marmite. Please feel free to contact me!

If you're receiving this newsletter because a friend forwarded it to you, you can sign up for your own copy of La Marmite: Subscribe to La Marmite.

A bientot and remember to enjoy your food!

Your friend in France,


Back to Back Issues Page