Tag Archives: Brittany

Les Nautes: newcomer by the Seine

Les Nautes is one of the latest additions to the Parisian restaurant scene. Located right by the Seine and in front of the Île Saint-Louis, this old customs house has an industrial feel to it. I loved its unusual entrance. Once inside, I admired beautiful wooden tables, 13 pendant Alvar Aalto lamps (golden, like we have at home!) and art pieces (sculpture and paintings) by young artists. Bravo for the original decoration! Les NautesRecommended by Le Fooding, our food bible to eating in Paris, Les Nautes had been on our list since its opening last October (the bar opened one year earlier). We live a five-minute walk away from the restaurant and believe it is important to support the neighborhood restaurants –that’s how the arrondissements of Paris stay vivant (alive)!

We had the corner table by the window and enjoyed watching touristic boats cruise along the Seine. Bread, butter and Poisson Rouge arrived, and we got to taste this curious, organic white wine from Lanquedoc-Roussillon that actually is red by color! It tasted fruity and had I closed my eyes, I probably wouldn’t have tasted its “color”. It was the most perfect pairing with oysters and our main courses: fish and meat. oysters at Les NautesFor starters, we shared six oysters from the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel, Britanny, and they were the best oysters I have eaten for a long time. In fact, as this oyster season (which started last September) has been very mild, I find that oysters have not been at their best this winter. And if you follow my blog, you may remember that I regularly eat these seafood delicacies…Les NautesFor the main course, my husband ate tuna and I had entrecôte. Both dishes were succulent, and the taste of the fish and meat proved that the restaurant goes out of its way to find only the best products. The only regret we had was that the side dishes for both of us was the same (rather ordinary-tasting courgettes with cream).

The bill came to 77€ for two, including a shared starter, two main courses and a bottle of wine (19€). Very reasonable for such great quality I consider, and we will definitely return!

PS: First of all, Les Nautes recently changed the chef, so I would not count too much on the older Tripadvisor reviews. Secondly, Les Nautes also has a bar by the river, and I bet it will be one of the hottest terraces in Paris this summer! Especially during the Paris Plage when the cars cannot circulate nearby.

Restaurant (http://www.lesnautes.com): 1 Quai des Célestins, 75004 Paris. Tel. 01-42745953. Metro: Sully Morland or Pont Marie

Le Fooding review: http://lefooding.com/en/restaurants/restaurant-les-nautes-paris

Wine: http://www.vins-bios.fr/domaine-de-clairac-coteaux-d-enserune-languedoc/471-poisson-rouge-2010-domaine-de-clairac-coteaux-d-enserune-.html

Lamps: Alvar Aalto bell lamps from 1937 find a new home in Paris

Top Ten of 2013

One year and one week ago I started my blog, encouraged by a friend. I will always be indebted to her as this has been such a wonderful experience and one hell of a ride if I may say. The blog has brought an entirely new dimension to my life; I could have never thought about making so many new friends and attracting so many followers. My sincerest thanks to everyone of you!!

To celebrate this one-year anniversary, I thought it would be interesting to look back and see what the highlights of the year were. Enjoy, and pick the post that most interests you!

1. The most read postBus ride from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. Laos is a fantastic, rewarding country, but traveling inside is not always simple. I am happy that my post has helped so many thousands of travelers to enjoy Laos!

2. The second-most read postEat Drink Sleep Siem Reap (survival guide to Siem Reap). Nothing to add. Angkor temples, initially built by the Hindu kings, continue to fascinate the entire world. And Siem Reap is the base for exploring this UNESCO World Heritage site.Angkor temples

3. The third-most read postKoh Lipe: mixed feelings. Thailand. Well. I did not fall in love with Koh Lipe, a tiny island in the Andaman Sea near Langkawi, Malaysia. I hear Koh Lipe was quite a paradise ten years but to me it seems the word “sustainable” was forgotten along the way…

4. The most-read post about FinlandIce swimming in Finland. One of my favorite posts, too! Have a look if you haven’t already but do not believe everything I say.

5. The most educational postEating oysters in months without “r”. Oysters, this ancient delicacy! A lot of people wonder when it is safe to eat them. Read my post and tell me, “r” or not to “r”! oysters

6. The most read recipeCôte de Bœuf (ultimate French meat dish). A classic French dish; so simple but delicious! Now you know where to get your iron boost.

7. My first-ever post!Thursday night in Paris

8. The most family-oriented postFranco-Finnish Christmas meal. Christmas in Paris with my parents, husband and French delicacies.

9. The best design object portrayedAlvar Aalto bell lamps from 1937 find a new home in ParisAlvar Aalto lamp

10. The post about friendshipMaking friends over the Indian Ocean. A story about friendship that developed over the Indian Ocean and developed in Tanzania.

PS If you are on Facebook, why not to follow Pearlspotting there too?

Franco-Finnish Christmas meal

Last year we spent Christmas in Paris with my parents who flew over from Finland. Traditional Finnish Christmas meal includes ham but I do not eat ham and my parents were curious to eat like the French, so this is what our Franco-Finnish Christmas meal looked like and consisted of:

1. Champagne for apéritif! My father was responsible for opening the bottle and my mother was ready with her glass (Finnish design, naturally). champagne for aperitif

2. We begun with an Elegant amuse-bouche recipe for Christmas that included Russian caviar and scallops tarama:elegant amuse-bouche

3. And continued with oysters from Cancale  (oysters are an integral part of French Christmas): oysters from Cancale

4. From oysters we moved onto foie gras (another integral part of French Christmas!): foie gras at ChristmasUntil now we had been drinking champagne but this is when we switched to sweet white wine by Maison Lorgeril from Languedoc-Roussillon: Le Rêve de Pennautier, “Vendanges d’Après” Vin de France (BLANC MOELLEUX). An excellent choice, a sublime wine!!

5. After the oysters we enjoyed some Finnish smoked salmon….smoked salmon from Finland

6. …before moving to our already very famous French Christmas meal: stuffed goose from Les Provincesstuffed gooseWe also opened another fantastic bottle of Maison Lorgeril from Languedoc-Roussillon: Mas des Montagnes, “Terroirs d’Altitude”,  AOC Côtes du Roussillon Villages. This extraordinary red went so well with the goose that we could only say “wow”. And continue eating.

7. After the goose it was finally time to dig into cheese and there is no better time to eat Mont d’Or than Christmas: mont d'or cheese(Unfortunately the wine (red Irancy) was not the most perfect choice to go with the cheese; especially after the previous wine)

8. If you now think we could not eat any more, you are wrong… For dessert, we had marron glacé and calissons: Marron glacé

with some chocolate and vin chaudChristmas chocolate and vin chaud

Our Christmas was merry and delicious, and I hope yours was too!

If you want to know more about our cooking ingredients etc., have a look at this post too: Christmas meal essentials!

And to learn more about the wines, please go here:

PS If you liked this post, you may want to check out Pearlspotting’s Facebook page! Especially since I am flying to Venice tonight and will be updating from there too.

Oysters – what else?

What would a birthday be without oysters? Incomplete, in my world!

Yesterday we opened the box of oysters that waited for me in front of our front door last Saturday, on A special day!  There were just over three dozens of size two Jean d’Cancale oysters inside and they were fresh as hell. What a lunch. Thank you again those who gave me this lovely present.oysters

Where to find Jean d’Cancale oysters in Paris: http://www.jean-d-cancale.com/deguster-des-huitres-a-paris.php

Description of the white wine: Marriage of oysters and nouveau wine

PS Since some of you have started wondering if oysters are part of my daily nutrition (they are not, I assure you!), I will try to keep a short break from any oyster-related posts and references… at least until Christmas!

A special day!

Once in a while my lifestyle/food/wine blog gets more egocentric and personal, and today is one of those days –it is my birthday!

This is what it looked like in the morning when I woke up: Parisian apartment

The first thing I received in the morning was this beautiful bouquet my husband got me. It is on the fire place in the living room next to some Finnish design objects. Parisian bouquet of flowers

Then we paid a visit to Edouard Nahoum who sells excellent and elegant jewellery with friendly service…. and I got to visit his atelier!

Then, as I arrived at home a while ago, this box full of oysters from Cancale was waiting for me in front of our apartment’s door. Merci beaucoup dear Parisian friends!! What a lovely gesture!!Cancale oysters

Indeed, une belle journée and it is not even finished yet. We are now heading to a restaurant but I have no idea which one. I have been trying to guess but my husband’s lips are sealed. I guess I will find out soon enough, and you dear followers will know some time next week, too. Until then, have a lovely evening and preferably with some champagne! 

 

Oyster season opening

Every year it is the same. In the end of the summer, I start eagerly looking forward to September. Why? Doesn’t everyone want summer to last forever? No, I don’t, because I know that September brings something wonderful to my life… It is the first month that contains the famous “r” letter, which according to the common belief indicates that now it is a good time to restart eating oysters!

Eating oysters in months without “r” is something I do, too, especially if I am traveling in oyster-producing regions like Bretagne (Brittany), but I do know that falling temperatures make oysters loose their milkiness. And this is why many consumers prefer to skip eating them in summer.

For almost one month now I have been asking people if they have already tasted this delicious shellfish. I have even recruited my husband to conduct a survey at his work… His boss responded “still milky, wait a bit”. Some others laughed, “I eat oysters all year round, I don’t care about the milkiness!”. A friend, who is a big fan of Bretagne, like us, said “they (oysters) are getting there”…oysters at Le Cabanon de l'ÉcaillerImpatient to wait longer, we headed to Le Cabanon de l’Écailler last Friday to officially open our oyster season. Their oysters come from Charente-Maritime, which is roughly speaking between Bordeaux and Nantes (the southern tip of Bretagne). I ordered nine oysters of fine de claire and my husband ordered the same amount of fine de Ronce. Mine were tiny, too small for my taste, but the ones of my husband were really tasty (and much bigger).

We opened the season with a bottle of white Chablis, and made a toast to a successful and long oyster season. Vive les Huîtres!

Le Cabanon de l’Écailler: 14 place Constantin-Brancusi, 75014 Paris. Tel. 01-43205217

Crêperie du Port, Cancale

Over the years, we have been to three different crêperies in Cancale and there is one above the others: Crêperie du Port.

The service is always very friendly and fast, and atmosphere cosy. The restaurant seems very all-kind-of-people friendly, and I have seen them making effort to welcome everyone, no matter how much space a customer may require (wheelchairs, prams, etc.). Crêperie du PortDuring the coquille SaintJacques (scallop) season, I love to order the scallop and leek-fondue galette (made of gluten-free buckwheat flour). I think it is my all-time favorite savory galette!

Sadly, it was no longer the scallop season in Cancale last week. I asked the waiter and he said they only serve scallops when they can get them fresh. I searched the menu and found an other galette that seemed similar. It said pétoncles, and my husband said pétoncles are similar to coquille SaintJacques, but just smaller (if you are curious, type these French names on your Internet search, and see the English translators: they are both translated “scallop”… confusing!)scallop and leek galetteSo, I ordered my pétoncles galette and it was delicious. It was as good as my usual favorite galette, and the only difference was that the scallop pieces were a tiny bit smaller, and there was no leek (instead, there were mushroom). I loved it.petoncle galetteMy husband ordered his usual choice: galettes à l’andouillette, which is basically a coarse-grained sausage of pork, intestines or chitterlings, seasoned with pepper, wine, onions. Yep! Sounds hmmm interesting! I don’t eat pork, so I find this disgusting, but I tell you, many people love it. If you are adventurous, go for it (but please just keep the plate close to you, as it smells strong).

We ate our galettes with local cider (see the first photo), which was such a delight! I loved how it tasted so natural, with just the right acidity. It was real cider (not filled with chemicals and sugar)!

PS a tip: This time we did not have dessert, but I strongly urge you to taste the crêpe caramel au beurre salé (crêpe made of white wheat flour, with salty butter caramel). This crêpe is the best dessert ever invented in the world (no exaggeration!) and it is DIVINE. And the best is that if you cannot or do not want eat gluten (white wheat flour), you can ask the crêperie to make this crêpe with buckwheat flour! Do not hesitate to ask. I have done it many times and usually there are no objections. I personally find the buckwheat flour and caramel combination not bad, but see it for yourself!

Address (the main street, by the port): La Houle, 1 Place du calvaire, CancaleTel: +33-(0)2-99 89 60 66