Category Archives: Food & Wine

French food & wine, cooking, some gastronomy, gourmandises, desserts, recipes, and favorite places in town. A table et bon appétit!

L’ apéro French Style: Mimosas & Kir Royale!


L’apéro short for l’apéritif is the French classy U.S Happy Hour in between the end of work day and dinner, or during my favorite brunch on the weekends, the perfect time to enjoy a cocktail or “prendre l’apéro”  and enjoy! 

Kir royale

My favorite French cocktail or apéro is:  Kir Royal!  Kir is a delicious  mix of white wine such as a Bourgone Aligoté ( or any nice white wine you prefer) and blackcurrant liqueur or crème de cassis. Replace white wine with a festive bubbly mix of ice-chilled champagne and a dash of crème de cassis and voilà enjoy Kir Royal! ( garnish with a lemon twist, optional.)

However, my ultimate favorite fun cocktail , especially on the weekend is the ever bubbly Mimosa! A simple blend of champagne bubbly and fresh orange juice  or grapefruit juice ever-flowing during California Champagne Brunch… or anytime!

Mimosa

 Enjoy Life! Celebrate! and A la votre! Cheers!

Les bonbons de France!!!!


 

Les bonbons de  notre enfance,  les vrais bonbons de France aux parfums naturels (que l’on ne craint pas de donner à nos propres enfants – la plupart sans couleurs chimiques ni additifs!)

Je me souviens en me lêchant les babines: les carambars, malabars, berlingots, réglisse, Bêtises de Cambrai, bonbons à la violettes, nougat,  les roudoudous et boules de gommes etc…

Carambars
Boules de gomme
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Reglisse noire

“Selon  La maison des bonbons depuis 1885, on compte ainsi plus de 600 spécialités de bonbons en France! Fruit d’un savoir-faire que nos confiseurs cultivent depuis des siècles, la confiserie régionale est préparée avec des produits propres à la région selon la recette originale mis au point par son inventeur mais aussi riche en belles histoires.

betise_cambrai_

Chaque région possède donc sa spécialité et sa légende qui en fait la renommée de la région: Les Bêtises de Cambrai, La Pastille du Mineur, Les Caramels de Normandie, Les Bergamottes de Nancy, l’Anis de Flaviny, Les Pastilles de Vichy, Les Pâtes de Fruits d’Auvergne, Le Nougat de Montélimar, Les Berlingots de Nantes, Les Tourons du Pays-Basque, Les Violettes de Toulouse, Les Nougats de Provence, La Réglisse d’Uzès, Les Calissons d’Aix en Provence, 

La confiserie française regorge de spécialités régionales. Chaque région de France a son bonbon, bien entendu! Ahh! douce et belle France! C’est un art de faire des bonbons à l’ancienne avec des méthodes artisanales.

Empreinte de l’histoire de la France, la confiserie est une note de douceur où les souvenirs et les saveurs se mêlent au plaisir de la dégustation. Partez à la découverte des confiseries régionales : nougat, marrons glacés, fruits confits, réglisses, pâtes de fruit, calisson, pastilles, sucre d’orge, violette, touron, praline, caramel au beurre salé, berlingot, caramels de Normandie, sucre de pomme…

 

 

Cliquez  Bonbons de France pour une merveilleuse sélection de friandises traditionnelles de toute la France à portée de main!

 

 

 

 

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French Culture & Lifestyle in the USA

La Galette des Rois


January 6th we celebrate Epiphany Day with la Galette des Rois /King Cake Day celebrated all over France reminiscent of the biblical tradition of the 3 wise men’s journey bearing gifts after the birth of Jesus.  The tradition says that should you get the fève or bean hidden in the galette at the Tirage des Rois, you shall be crowned king or queen for the day. Custom has it that the youngest child hides under the table and chooses which piece of galette each guest receives.

French Bakeries Dallas, TX Galette des Rois

My favorite is la Galette à la frangipane ( tastes a lot like my other favorite almond cake le pithiviers). I enjoyed making my own and will post a very easy recipe should you be so inclined to bake your own buttery and flaky galette or try a new galette from your French bakery. (Here are my Top French bakeries in Los Angeles   and Top French Bakeries in Dallas)

In the North of France like Normandie, Galette is made of pâte feuilleté, puff pastry, and stuffed with a dense, creamy almond cream and crème pâtissière called frangipane . (personally, I prefer “crème d’amandes or pâte d’amandes” which is just blanched almonds in powder, butter, sugar & eggs)

In the south of France, you’ll be eating a brioche-style cake covered with candied fruits called Gateau des Rois.

This is Mom’s galette

galette-manou

And last year I made a HUGE one ( more like two in one and since it was like my second time making it I overstuffed it with almond paste which in fact is not really a galette but a Pithivier cake from the Center of France… now I know a little goes a long way… will post a good recipe)

The traditional fèves ( the trinket, figurine or bean inside the galette)   in France is impossible to accidentally swallow!  There’s a new theme out each year ( one year there was even a Coca Cola theme or Disneyland!) These little figurines are becoming quite collectibles.

Did you know that collecting these fèves is called: Favophilie!

Les fèves

This is my favorite time of year and we anxiously await la galette each year.

Bonne Fête des Rois!

Top French Bakeries in Los Angeles


Top 10+ French Bakeries in L.A!

French Bakeries or les bonnes Patisseries (for pastries)  et Boulangeries ( for bread)  are spread-out throughout Los Angeles and vicinity and these are my top favorites French Bakeries ( in ABC order…) based on my personal experience and genuine simple goodness & authenticity!

My favorite French Bakeries in Los Angeles and environs:

Pain

Buche de noel

Happy Epiphanie Day!
Happy Epiphanie Day!

Georges Duboeuf’s Beaujolais Nouveau -2011


Beaujolais Nouveau 2011  mis en bouteille par les Vins Georges Duboeuf is  officially “bu & approuvé!”  by me and my chéri!  This year it delivers and  it’s all what the label says: “Beaujolais Nouveau 2011 is here and it’s good!  Refreshing, fruity, and perfectly balanced  Beaujolais nouveau is best served chilled with friends!  The wine is youthful, lively, distinctive and fun. “

Trader Joe’s has limited quantities for $8.99 a bottle.

Love the label artwork created by NY artist Mr. Kaves to celebrate its release which makes a festive  statement.

Georges Duboeuf on Facebook

Vive le Beaujolais Nouveau! Santé!

California Quiche


Quiche Lorraine is delicious with its French Gruyère, bacon, cream, and caramelized onions but at our house, I like to make it  “California Style” with sharp cheddar cheese or mozzarella and ham!  It’s one of those easy French Influence comfort foods along with crêpes, Madeleines, Boeuf Bourguignon or lentils & smoked sausage.

The kids love my Quiche and as a bonus, it comes in many healthy variations: low-fat, veggie- style with broccoli or spinach, Black Forest ham, bacon, or just plain ham chunks!

Use your imagination and it will come out tasty!

I am not a chef or great cook ( I love to just throw things in the oven and let the flavors develop with the spices and I also get a thrill out of good fast- cooking and getting it done under 15 minutes! ) This California Quiche is such a hit with my two kids and it is so simple to make! I have a confession to make… I don’t really measure, I just wing it or eye it! It takes me about  5 minutes and we can enjoy a simple family brunch on the weekend without any fuss! Add a salad and presto, voilà!

I can’t make just one it goes too fast in our household so here are the main ingredients for 2 “California Quiche”:

  • 1 prepackaged frozen pie crusts (2) (Pillsbury or other – flat or deep dish
  • 1/2 lb of shredded sharp cheddar or Mozzarella 
  • 1/2 lb of ham
  • caramelized onions  (optional)
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups of low-fat milk
  • salt & pepper
  •  dash of garlic powder
  •  dash of nutmeg

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and fill it into the pie crust!

For a crunchy dry crust bottom / bake your crust in the oven for 5-6 minutes.

Let cook at 350 degrees about 30 minutes!

To make a veggie-style variation  California Quiche,  just brown your onions in a skillet with olive oil and add thawed frozen spinach fully seasoned or broccoli cut in little chunks to add to mix.

Let cool thoroughly! ( if your kids let you! it’s even tastier the next day when it’s had a chance to settle…) and serve!

yummy! or miam!  miam!