Paris seems to be coming more and more alive following the second phase of reopening last week. It’s been wonderful to be able to get back into a more normal, although masked routine. President Macron speaks on Sunday to potentially address the third phase of déconfinement, set to begin June 22nd, which includes the fate of tourism in France. Fingers crossed for good news. This week’s Five Friday Finds from France includes podcasts to improve your French, Combier versus Cointreau, a French lentil salad recipe, the use of napkin rings in France and more.
Podcasts to Improve Your French
I identify with a lot of things that Expatriates Magazine posts on Instagram, but I especially loved the post from yesterday. Mastering the French language is something I’m still working on every day. One thing that’s really helped me is listening to as much French as possible.
I’ve found a couple of French podcasts that work well for me and are available for all levels. They’re great to just have on when you’re walking around, cooking, or on your computer. Speaking is another challenge, but it’s good to take things one step at a time!
Cyril Lignac’s Fait Maison N°1
Since the beginning of the confinement in France, Cyril Lignac has hosted a nightly cooking show called Tous en Cuisine, which means everyone in the kitchen. The show is hosted from Lignac’s kitchen in Paris and he’s joined by other guests in their kitchens in cooking a simple dinner recipe. I’ve loved watching the show (and not just to look at Cyril Lignac, as Romain’s step-dad joked) and will definitely miss it. I’ll have to make up for the lack of Lignac in my life by visiting Aux Prés and Dragon when they reopen.
Lignac released a cookbook called Fait Maison N°1 with all of the recipes from the show. It’ll be a way to remember the positive and oftentimes delicious memories from this interesting time. Lignac’s Fait Maison N°1 is currently only available in French, but you can download an e-book from FNAC here, or order it on Amazon here.
Napkin Rings in France
Napkin rings are a beautiful addition to any table, but they also serve a very practical purpose: they’re a way to identify your cloth napkin over multiple meals. Since washing cloth napkins every day would be impractical, we used napkin rings in Normandy as a way to not share napkins (and germs).
Napkin rings in France can either have a person’s name or initials, but I like the idea of different designs to help identify an individual napkin. I want to start a collection of my own, so I’m keeping my eyes peeled at antique markets and shops!
Combier versus Cointreau
After my stop at Legrand Filles et Fils this week I decided to buy a bottle of Combier. It’s the original triple sec and I thought it would be perfect to test in a margarita. Normally I use Cointreau, so I was excited to hear that Cointreau and Combier are very similar in taste.
Combier is 100% natural unlike most triple secs. I like that it uses sugar beets from Normandy, alcohol from Paris, and secret spices from the Loire Valley. In my initial Combier versus Cointreau test I found that Combier has an ever so slightly lighter taste. It’s just a little less bitter than Cointreau. My next step will be to do a blind taste test in Combier versus Cointreau, but for now I’m glad to have another French spirit to add to my margarita.
David Lebovitz’s French Lentil Salad Recipe
Lentils are one of my favorite easy foods to cook because I usually have everything I need at home. There are tons of different ways to make them, but I keep going back to a simple French Lentil Salad. David Lebovitz calls it cheap caviar.
Lebovitz’s french lentil salad recipe is the perfect starting point, although I do make a few changes. First, I’ve found that it helps to soak the lentils in water for two to four hours before cooking if you can. It just makes them softer. Next, I add lardons and a poached egg…because why not? And I agree with Lebovitz, the Le Puy lentils make a huge difference. They’re a bit more expensive to order online, but would be a great thing to bring home on a future trip to France!
Starting tomorrow, there will be a new ‘Weekend Links’ series with a selection of weekly articles about France. They’ll be a mixture of informative and fun – I hope you’ll enjoy it! To get the articles directly to your inbox with a roundup of the other blog posts from the week, subscribe to my email list here. I promise you’ll only get one email per week!
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