We spent the entire day at a French cooking class that Dana found for us.
We started the morning getting on the subway and traveling to the other side of the city. We picked up four other people plus the instructor, Chef Patrick. We only found out from an email he sent later just how qualified he was. He used to run a top French restaurant in New Orleans.
Once we all met, we went shopping. First he took us to the nicest cheese shop I have ever seen. He talked about the different cheeses and how to eat each one. We bought several to try for lunch.
The butcher's was the next stop. They had every kind of meat, but most interesting for me was the different chickens. They leave the legs on so the buyer can tell the breed. Certain breeds have a reputation. One in particular cost twice as much as a normal chicken. Patrick said you could actually taste the difference.
They also had rabbits. They are required to leave the heads on all rabbits. They originated this practice after the war to make sure the butchers were not trying to sell cats.
From there we went to the fish monger where we learned different ways to identify how fresh a fish is and characteristics of different fish. We decided that we would make fish for lunch.
Finally we visited the green grocers to pick up vegetables. The produce looked so nice. They had the most amazing radishes and fruit. We picked up celeriac to make an au gratin with. It was a very nice alternative to potatoes. Who knew it had no relationship to celery except for taste?
We chopped and cooked and watched the chef finish up our meal. It was wonderful with fish, veg, salad. We also talked about presentation and how to make a plate look nice. It was very fun. We received recipes via email after we left.
The most amazing part of the meal was probably the lemon curd. I understood that this was fairly involved to make. He made it in minutes and had a wonderful result. We also had white asparagus. The final menu was fish filets with candied fennel, celery root au gratin, white and green asparagus, and lemon curd.
We finished up the day with a lightening tour of the Louvre. It was a free day so we ran in and found the Mona Lisa, then looked around until they kicked us out a few minutes later.