If you can’t go to France just yet, then let France come to you… or at least to your table. Learn more about French gastronomy through local restaurants/shops and experience the sophisticated flavors and textures of French cuisine. Here are some of my favorite French food finds in Manila:
Salade Lyonnaise from La Creperie
From the French region of Lyon comes this salad consisting of leafy greens, bacon, poached egg, croutons and vinaigrette. What’s not to love?
Beef Bourguignon from The French Baker
If you’re having a hard time pronouncing it, just say Beef Burgundy. This traditional main dish originated from the Burgundy region of France, hence its name. It’s a stew that has beef slowly simmered in red wine. Remember the movie Julie and Julia?
Mille-feuille from Poetry & Prose Patisserie
It’s pronounced as mil-foy or something that sounds like that. What it literally means is “a thousand leaves” — it’s made up of sheets of puff pastry and layered with crème pâtissière. It’s very, very French and very, very delicious.
Beignet from Café Provençal
Beignet (pronounced ben-yey) is French for “fried dough” and is generally regarded as traditional French doughnuts, except that they’re square or rectangular in shape and without holes. Café Provençal‘s beignets are the softest and the lightest fritters I’ve ever sunk my teeth into. They felt like clouds of delicately sweet bread with a taste that’s so simple and yet so unforgettable. I can’t even decide which of the dips is my favorite — they’re both really good. Too bad, Café Provençal has closed down and has since resurrected as Duck & Buvette in Shangri-la Mall. I just wish it retained the beignet in its current menu.
Crepe from Café Breton
Did you know that the French word crepe was derived from the Latin crispa (meaning “curled”)? This very thin pancake is usually served with a variety of fillings that can be savory or sweet. Since I love sweets, my crepe of choice is this hot and cold treat, Adam and Eve from Café Breton. It has stewed apples with cinnamon embraced by delicate crepe and crowned with vanilla ice cream. I don’t think it can get any better than this.
Macarons from Sinfully by Makati Shangri-la
By now, everyone knows what macarons are. These colorful, dainty cookies are described in a Parisian website as “little bites of heaven” — crisp, chewy, melt-in-the-mouth delicious sweets that come in a wide variety of flavors. These gems from Sinfully by Makati Shangri-la are truly divine! Vive le macaron!
Mariage Frères Thé (available at Lartizan Boulangerie Française)
For tea afficionados, the Paris-based gourmet tea brand Mariage Frères (Mariage Brothers) is now being served at The French Baker‘s more upscale patisserie, Lartizan Boulangerie Française. I tried its Rouge Provence Tea once and its flavor and aroma instantly lifted my mood. Thank God for tea!
Oh, I can’t wait to visit Paris again!