After discovering French culture through wine and cheese with Le Foodist in January, I had the opportunity to dive even deeper into French culture with their Once Upon A Table dinner event.
On another very cold winter night, we all shuffled into the péniche where Le Foodist hosts several of its events, right under Notre Dame on Quai de Montebello. This little boat is so charming.
The creator of the concept, Fred, and their renowned sommelier, Stéphane Bonnerot were there to greet us and show us to the table where we would have a meal like never before.
The concept is simple: bringing people together à la française through a gastronomical experience. It has always been a tradition in France to dine together, with family and friends, and share a hearty meal and to chat up about the day or politics or whatever else comes to mind…. but mostly you chat about food.
At Once Upon A Table, you’ll learn about everything on your plate and in your wine glass.
Through storytelling, Le Foodist will take you on a journey to understand the origines and history behind the food you’ll eat. The dinner is conducted in English, but the guests come from every corner of the world, and it is a wonderful way to interact and meet other people interested in French food and culture.
And of course, Stéphane will tell you all about which wines go with which plates for each course, along with information on the region and grapes of each wine.
The five course adventure into French culture started with a Jerusalem artichoke vélouté and truffle oil, paired with a Jurançon white wine.
We dived quickly into course #2: French scallops carpaccio and root veggies smothered in curry vinaigrette (I am still dreaming of this dish…). The scallops were perfect with a glass of Sancerre. I am a humongo scallops fan.
What was lovely was how Le Foodist broke down every part, and told the tales of the French regions involved, and also how certain plates got their nicknames. In French, scallop is Coquille Saint-Jacques, so that alone was quite the story to tell!
On a side note, I had no idea what a Jerusalem Artichoke was before going to this dinner. In French it’s called a Topinambours… it sure is fun to try to pronounce that!
The third and main dish was a classic: Navarin d’Agneau, a traditional Lamb Fricassé dish. It was infused with Mediterranean spices and served with peas, root veggies and couscous. It was just divine. We ate this bad boy with a glass of red, Crozes.
From there we went on to the crowd’s favorite…. cheese. With a glass of St. Emilion (this is the part when you kiss your fingers and pinch and shake your thumb and index finger at the level of your eyes because it’s delish), we enjoyed a variety of different cheeses. And more wine, bien sûr.
We finished off the five course meal with a Belle-Hélène Pear for dessert. This perfect pear was served with chocolate sauce and almonds. When I saw this pear, my jaw dropped. I’m not even kidding.
Are you drooling yet?
Through dessert we continued to guess wine aromas and all that jazz. I learned that my sense of smell is not my forté.
Of course to finish off the night right, we cheered glasses of bubbly under the shadows Notre Dame. Pretty whimsical if you ask me. And with bubbly, people forget the cold, right?
A special thanks to Fred, Amanda, and Stéphane for their passion for sharing French culture with us with this phenomenal gastronomical adventure.
And gosh, what a lovely way to meet people. I’m sure at some point people will be able to tell stories in passing such as a, “Oh yea, we met at one of those Le Foodist events two years ago in Paris” type of thing. Communal dining has been in for a little while now, but Le Foodist adds a cultural spin to it.
To find out more about what Le Foodist has to offer as well as their calendar and prices for these diverse and magical events, you can check out their website and their Facebook page. The events happen several times per month but still fill up, so it’s advised it to reserve in advanced for your visit to Paris.