Top things to do in Paris for Foodies

So, you’ve climbed the Eiffel Tower, can-canned your socks off at Moulin Rouge, pitter pattered your way around the Louvre and marvelled at the beauty of the Mona Lisa. If you’re anything like me, you were probably thinking about food most of that time.

Rich in culture, Paris is a gourmet party for the senses and home to some of the best restaurants in the world. But if you want to step away from the Michelin starred eateries for something a little bit different, these alternative experiences are a great place to start.

O Chateau Wine Tasting

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In a country renowned for fine wines, of course there are plenty of places to choose from when it comes to wine tasting events, but O Chateau is up there amongst the best.

Located in the heart of Paris, on Rue Jean Jacques Roussea, O Chateau offers a variety of packages including wine tasting dinners, group tasting events or even a day trip to Champagne.

During a wine tasting event at O’Chateau, the Sommelier makes you feel at ease in the beautiful basement tasting room, while you indulge in fine wines and learn about grapes and growing regions.

The Tour De France of Wine package lasts two hours and costs around €55.

Check out their website to find out more and book:  http://o-chateau.com

Secret Montmartre Food Tour

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What better way to experience French culinary delights than as the Parisians do?  Guided by a local Parisian, you will be taken on a tour of some of the best food shops in Montmartre. Throughout the tour, you’ll have the chance to sample macaroons, French breads, the finest cured sausages and home-made crepes. Then, just when your taste buds can’t take any more and your belly is screaming feed me, you’re whisked away to a secret location to enjoy all the food you have collected along the way. Yum!

To find out more about other food tours or to book this one, visit The Secret Food Tours: https://www.secretfoodtours.com/paris/

Dinner at Le Wagon Bleu

If you dream about dinning on the Orient Express but are looking for something a little kinder on the wallet, Le Wagon Bleu is the next best thing.

Set inside a 1920s carriage from the Orient Express, Le Wagon Bleu can be found in the 17th arrondissement. With gleaming cherry-wood panelled walls, luxurious velvet seats and polished silver cutlery, this restaurant radiates sophisticated glamour.

The menu is varied and the meals hearty, with choices such as burgers and classic French dishes. While there’s nothing gastronomically unique about the menu, the sense of regal nostalgia makes every mouthful a delight and is sure to place this restaurant towards the top of any must-do list.

Sunset Picnic on the Bank of the Seine

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There’s nothing quite like a stroll along the bank of the River Seine at sunset to bring out the Audrey Hepburn or Carey Grant in you, and I can’t think of a better way to round up the day than a picnic at Quai Montebello. Dappled in tangerine sunlight, with the beautiful backdrop of Notre Dame, it is a great place to find a quiet spot.

For a more Bohemian feel, head to Canal Saint Martin where musicians often gather –   it’s just the place to share a bottle of wine, read a book or simply close your eyes and relax.

For a rustic picnic thrown together yourself, you can pick up your goodies here:

BERTRAND’S Paris Notre Dame

10 Rue Lagrange

Bertrand’s sell croissants, pizza, quiche, baguettes and magnificent meringues plus much, much more.

Or, if your day has been too jam packed with sightseeing and champagne to prepare a picnic yourself, Paris Picnics have partnered with artisanal food and wine producers around France and offer a free delivery service: https://www.parispicnic.com.

 

If you’ve been to any of these places, please leave a comment below as I’d love to hear from you.

 

Braised beef ragu with smoked bacon

The addition of smoked bacon in this ragu gives the sauce an incredible depth of flavour and a splash of milk, blends the ingredients perfectly. Long, slow cooking means the beef just falls apart in the mouth.

In the unlikely event of any leftovers, this ragu tastes even better the next day.

Tip: If you like a bit of a kick dice half a red chilli and add at step 1.

Ingredients – Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion chopped

1 stick of celery finely chopped

1 large carrot finely diced

500g braising steak or 600g minced Beef

4 rashers smoked streaky bacon diced

3 garlic cloves crushed

1 large glass red wine

2 bay leaves

400g tinned tomatoes

1 heaped tablespoon tomato puree

2 beef stock cubes or 1 cup of good quality beef stock

1 heaped teaspoon of dried oregano

70ml whole milk

Grated parmesan to taste.

Method

  1. Fry onion, celery, carrot and bacon in olive oil until they begin to brown
  2. Add braising steak (or mince if using) and seal
  3. Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute moving the mixture in the pan all the time
  4. Add red wine, turn heat up and reduce (takes approx 5 minutes)
  5. Mix in tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, crumbled stock cubes, bay leaf and oregano
  6. Cook on a low heat for 1 ½ hours adding small amounts of water if the ragu becomes too thick
  7. Stir in the milk and cook for a further ½ hour or until the beef falls apart easily
  8. Season to taste
  9. Serve with spaghetti and parmesan.

Greek inspired meatballs with feta cheese

These meatballs are seriously good and children love them too. They are so easy to prepare and taste like you’ve spent hours in the kitchen. I’ve used lamb in this recipe, but pork or beef would work well too (or a mixture of both).  Try them, they’re delicious.

Ingredients – Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 400g minced lamb
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 390g Passata with basil
  • Handful of fresh mint chopped
  • 1 level teaspoon sugar
  • 50g Feta Cheese

Method

I use a mini chopper to chop the onions and garlic as it creates a really fine mixture, but if you don’t have one, just chop the onion really small and crush the garlic cloves.

  1. Put the onion and garlic into the mini chopper and blitz. Separate the mixture in half and set one half aside.
  2. Add half of the onion mixture, cumin and mint to the lamb and mix well, forming into bite size meat balls.
  3. Heat the olive oil over a medium heat and fry the meatballs until brown then push them to the side of the pan (pile on top of each other if you haven’t got room).
  4. Add the other half of the onion mixture and cook for 30 seconds keeping the mixture moving.
  5. Add the passata with the sugar and gently mix the meatballs and sauce together in the pan.
  6. Cook on a low heat for 40 minutes.
  7. 5 minutes before its ready, crumble the feta into the pan.
  8. Season to taste.
  9. Serve with fluffy rice or pasta.

Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki

If you’re missing the sun and longing for a taste of the Mediterranean, this recipe is a great way to take you back to your hols. Once the souvlaki marinade has done its thing, it’s super quick to put together too. The tzatziki is best prepared a few hours in advance and refrigerated, allowing time for the flavours to mingle.

Ingredients – Serves 4

For the souvlaki:

4 large chicken breast cut into chunks

Juice of one lemon

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano

2 – 3 cloves crushed garlic

Handful of fresh mint to garnish

 

For the Tzatziki:

200g full fat Greek Yoghurt

1 clove crushed garlic

1 small cucumber

Juice of half a lemon

1 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 

  1. To prepare the tzatziki, take a potato peeler and peel the outer part of the cucumber until you reach the watery seeds in the centre (discard this part). You should now have nice, long ribbons of cucumber. Squeeze these to remove excess water and add to a serving bowl with the other ingredients. Mix and cover with cling film then refrigerate for two to three hours.
  2. To prepare the souvlaki, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and marinade in the fridge for 4 – 12.
  3. I prefer to cook the chicken in one batch in a large frying pan, but if you have the time, these are nice loaded onto soaked skewers and cooked on a BBQ. For this method, turn frequently and cook until no longer pink.
  4. To fry, heat a large frying pan on a medium heat and add the contents of the bowl. There’s no need to add oil – it’s already in the marinade. Cook until all the pieces are no longer pink in the centre.
  5. Remove the tzatziki from the fridge and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil
  6. Plate up the chicken, garnish with chopped mint and serve with fluffy, white rice or pitta.