As autumn approaches I have my eye on Paris. October is my favorite time of year in the city I love, particularly when it comes to seasonal food. Of course in my opinion the food in Paris is wonderful throughout the year but some of my favorites are available during the time when the leaves are turning colors, the air is getting brisker (and Parisians are getting grumpier!) and the layers are being added.
Here are my five favorite fantastic Fall foods.
Chestnut soup/Soupe de marron:
I love soup. Mr. Misadventures makes a big pot of some kind of vegetable nearly every Sunday. But my favorites always seem to be the the traditional autumn harvest foods like squash. I never tasted chestnut soup until I moved to France and had it in restaurants in Paris my first Fall. It is wonderfully nutty and creamy (even when you don’t add extra cream!) and versatile too. You can throw in extra pieces of the chestnut as a topper, porcini mushrooms, croutons or proscuitto, as well as a little dabble of cream. It is rich and yummy and really healthy (if you eat it without the cream!).
It is limitless what you can do with mushrooms! But I love when Fall comes around and you start to see morrilles (morels) appear on menus. I personally like them in pasta with a light cream sauce, but Mr. Misadventures makes a wonderful chicken dish with morilles and walnut wine. In addition, I think that the French make the best omelets in the world and there is nothing better or simpler than a mushroom omelet with fine herbs. I am not a big pizza fan, but I love a minimalist pizza (thin crust, sauce, light cheese) and tons of mushrooms piled on, yum!
In the same family, but not in the same price range, the truffle is something spectacular to behold. If you want to experience a real treat, head over to the Maison de la Truffle in Paris (there are 2 locations) where you can purchase a sampling in their store or eat in their restaurant. The two classic ways to eat truffles are in an omelet or shaved into pasta, but there are also people doing very creative things with this little tuber! On my personal bucket list is to visit and stay in one of those hotels in the South of France and have an entire meal of truffle dishes served to me from beginning to end, but until then, there are plenty of great places to eat truffles in the Fall in Paris!
Gibiers (la Chasse)/Venison, etc:
Sorry, I don’ t know the English equivalent for this type of food. It is venison, wild boar, those kinds of Fall hunting meats. These are not so easy to get in the U.S. depending on where you live but are plentiful in Paris and France. In fact you can get these type of meats year-round at restaurants like A la Biche au Bois near the Gare de Lyon train station. I ate there many years ago and still think about that place. David Lebovitz wrote a post about it last October and I still check it out from time to time! It is difficult to explain the taste, to me it tastes, well, like meat, but more crisp, more natural.
Spaetzle (or Spätzle):
The traditional side dish served with gibiers is spaetzle and I love it! It is an egg noodle that is chopped into small pieces and boiled in water. It can be prepared very badly, but when it is good, it is very, very good! I have yet to see this dish in the U.S. (doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist) and I definitely crave it from time to time. The best I ever had was in Switzerland, but I have had some excellent servings in Paris as well. It is the perfect delicate accompaniment to hearty Fall meats.
What are your favorite Fall dishes at home? What are your favorites from abroad?