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Posts Tagged ‘cookery’

I always bow to the French and their (feeling of) superiority in all things related to cooking, cookery and their ‘cuisine’. Really, I do – I taught catering for 17 years and know the heights that French Cuisine can reach. At its best there is no other country on earth to match French cookery, but you have to search high and low for its best and pay through the nose when you find it. I’ve learned what to expect when holidaying in France and will eat out when needed and where possible will self-cater.

Today in Limoges, we stopped to eat lunch at the Café Central – in the square right outside Monoprix.  Their ‘menu de jour’ choices were: Quiche or Croque (Monsieur) + Salad + Dessert (ou) Tartine + Salad + Dessert (ou) Sandwich + Boisson (as long as it is water based) + Dessert. I knew Sharon would have a sandwich, as would I on other occasions, but today I felt adventurous and as I’d never had a Tartine before (it was beyond my comprehension, despite having it described to me many times) I ordered the Jambon Bleu Tartine (I could have had Lardon Reblouchone!)

I’ve always thought that there was only so many things that you could do with bread, ham (Jambon) and cheese (fromage, gruyere, emmental, etc.) but the French never cease to amaze me. You can have Sandwiches au: Fromage (cheese!); Jambon Beurre (ham on buttered baguette); Jambon (no butter); Jambon fromage (your guess which); Jambon gruyere (with gruyere cheese); Jambon emmental (are you with me?); Jambon Crudites (with a bit of lettuce and tomato, perhaps some gherkin too) – and that’s just the cold stuff. One of their favourite lunchtime dishes is Croque Monsieur, basically a cheese and ham toasty, but if you’re lucky (I’ve not been so lucky in France – yet) it could be one of the best taste sensations you’ve ever had! We used to get our students to shallow fry one side of bread discs in clarified butter and then make a sandwich of ham and cheese with the fried side on the inside. The whole sandwich would then be shallow fried (again, in clarified butter) until the cheese melted and the whole sandwich was golden brown. Super fattening – but super tasty.

All the Tartine turned out to be was a Croque Monsieur with no top on! Like a topless bikini, a bourbon biscuit with just one piece of biscuit … you get the idea. The bread was nice (wholemeal; not usually seen on French menus), the ham was … ham, and the blue cheese was gorgeous.

Don’t get me wrong, it was fine, no more, no less than I’d expected but I do wonder why it was €2 dearer than the Croque Monseiur – which did have a top on it!

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