Today was Gastronomy day! Gastronomy is basically the art of picking and eating (hopefully) good food. The French go to a different place for each food category they need. There are bread shops, cured meat shops, cheese shops, fish shops, tea shops, really there is a shop for pretty much anything you can think of.
We only had two granola bars that I had brought over with me for breakfast as we wanted to sleep in after having a bit of a later night. However, our sleepy selves were quickly woken up when we arrived at the open air market for the start of our day. Each market location has vendors two days a week and the vendors can come repeatedly or only one time so if you want something, you should get it right then. We were all tasked with finding one food item that we had never tried before. After finding our treasure we met up again and tried each person’s food item.
First we started off with four different kinds of Quiches. Personally, the texture really threw me off and it felt very weird in my mouth. Next, we moved on to honey balls. They were a lot like cough drops but sweeter and much better tasting. They tasted how vapor rub smells (if that makes any sense). I loved them and would definitely eat them instead of hard candies like peppermints or cough drops.
Olives were next and I was in for another surprise. I have never eaten an olive and forget that they have pits in them. I started with the smaller olive and bit nothing but the pit which made the experience kind of unpleasant. The texture and the taste were also not my favorite as they had a pretty strong vinegar flavor to them.
Figs were the next food to be tried and I was a little hesitant to try these. I had tried dried figs in 6th grade and wasn’t a fan. However, I loved the fresh figs! They were pretty sweet and the seeds weren’t bad after you got used the feeling. Cherries and goat cheese were next and they were amazing. The cherries were more yellow then I have ever seen and they were more sour than the one I had yesterday. We had both hard and soft goat cheeses which was nice to see the differences. The softer one was nicer to eat but both were very enjoyable.
I had chosen grape fruits as my food and I found the sourness shockingly nice. Sour candies are a favorite of mine but I normally stay away from sour fruits. I also loved the fact that it is orange on the outside and pink on the inside. (It’s the little things in life ya know?) Candied Pomelo is super sweet and a lot like Sour Patch Kids texture wise. Current berries were really jammed packed with flavor even though they are very small in size.
We tried two jams both were really good. You know yesterday how I said I wasn’t a jam person? Well now I am. The first was vanilla lemon and the second was strawberry rhubarb. Both had a really nice texture and a nice level of flavor.
The one food that I was absolutely terrified to try was the octopus. It also didn’t help that I had a honey candy in my mouth and just stared at the small tentacle on my plate for a solid minute or two. The texture wasn’t bad but the after taste made my face curl in a way I didn’t even know was possible.
Finally came desserts. I tried a mascarpone filled fondant pig and a meringue. Both were to die for. The mascarpone wasn’t super dense and the fondant was thin enough that you didn’t really taste it. The meringue was super light and tasted a lot like cheerios.
We started off our gastronomy tour with The Mariage Freres Tea Shop. It is amazing inside because the walls are just covered with canisters of tea and shelves of tea pots. Our professor walked us through the process of selecting and purchasing tea with the help of one of the employees and it was super interesting to watch. If you want their help, you can ask to smell different teas in the large canisters and then ask them to bag a certain amount. Or if you are an independent tea buyer you can smell the teas in the small canisters and then buy the prepackage loose tea or bags.
Next we headed to the famous Laduree macaron store. The inside was super fancy and the boxes you can buy for your macaroons are stunning. Our group bought a box of various flavors to share and taste. They were very light weight and the colors were gorgeous! These would be prefect as a light snack or dessert to accompany tea.
Our next stop was Richards chocolates. They sell both macaroons and chocolates. We got a box of the mixed chocolates and they were delicious. The chocolates themselves are rather small but jammed packed with flavor. They have normal, floral, herbal, spice, and citrus filled chocolates to try.
Our last stop was Pierre Herme for more macaroons. They were denser than the first set and had more muted colors. The flavors had more combinations to them as well. If you are looking for a more filling dessert, I would suggest these versus if you want more of a lighter and more colorful experience, I would choose Laduree.
For dinner we went to the Hippopotamus after some shopping on the Champs-Elysees. I had a passion fruit margarita and a ground beef steak with fried egg and green beans. The margarita had a pretty strong fruit taste which I was not mad about at all. The food itself was also delicious that I was sad when it was finished. I had never had an egg this way and I’ll certainly be adding it to by arsenal of ways to cook eggs! The waitress was super amazing and let us split the check with is pretty uncommon in France.