While everyone made a mad dash to the airport to head to exotic destinations, such as the Greek islands and Italy, I decided to sleep in and awake to a week in Paris by myself. Admittedly, with a two-week vacation, I ended up to be a bit behind in my posting, especially with the amount of work that I had over the break and to complete right upon my return.
Instead of taking up the opportunity to explore Paris’ many museums and monuments, I decided to explore culinary options. That and I also completed my first arrondisement in my quest to cover all twenty arrondisements of Paris before I leave. I had originally planned on completing the twenty neighbourhoods in twenty days, with an intermission brought on by my vacation away from Paris (which I will be covering my next posts). However, I wound up only completing one (that, too, is to be posted soon) and discovering much more work to be completed.
Coming back to my “culinary” adventures, I purchased half a kilo of live snails (they cost only 4,50€ per kg) from the Auteuil market with the intent of having them for lunch. But when I brought them back home and hopped on Google, I realized that there was much more work to be done. Usually, snails have to be fasted (or if you want, feed them herbs to flavour them) for a week or so so as to “purify” them. I decided to take a chance in believing that they may already have been fasted, and poured a little bit of salt on them (this tactic is often debated because it is deemed as torture for the snails), which makes the snails feel uncomfortable and therefore emit a mucus to wash it off, and thus cleansing them further. I left the snails for several hours before coming home to boil them in water, killing them, for about twenty minutes. They were then cleaned off and had their “feet” removed before leaving them in a broth for an hour. Afterwards, they were seasoned and fried in butter; of course, by then, it was already dinner time. But hey, I had a tasty meal and now know why snails are not often served in restaurants any more – they’re awfully time consuming.
That same week, I finally got my hands on burrata, a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream, after popping into Delizius every day or two to see if it had arrived. The eagerness to taste this particular cheese stemmed from watching an episode of Master Chef USA, in which burrata was featured as one of the three possible foods (the other two were chocolate and passion fruit, which was chosen for the challenge) for choosing in the elimination round. I rushed home to slowly remove the cheese from its packaging, which unveiled the place of import, Procacci Giuseppe. Reading online, it was noted that the cheese can be eaten on its own with fresh tomatoes. And after having conquered snails, I couldn’t be more delighted than to have a short prep time. Burrata certainly had the texture of mozzarella with regards to its skin, but it was less salty than its cousin. Pulling apart the top revealed a creamy and stringy interior. And while I could’ve finished the whole cheese without adding more tomatoes, I thought it would be nice to test it with pasta. Its creaminess certainly adds to the pasta, and is certainly worth its price of ~12€ (24,90€/kg) for the ball of cheese.
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But no vacation could be complete without some adventures in the city. I’m saving some of the places I visited for my arrondisement post, but I want to share something that I came across and realized. I was making my way to the Tuileries gardens when I spotted an event/exhibition taking place. I peered over the closed gates to see plenty of vintage-looking cars sitting on the garden’s sandy ground. Soon enough I realized by watching the people turned away at the gates that the event, Tour Auto 2011 by Optic 2000, was a closed one.
This brings me back to a post by another NYU in France student that I read some time ago. Her post illustrated the fun in spotting the “in-crowd” during Paris Fashion Week, as a member of the city and not the industry itself. It was strange to have that feeling of a similar context – observing but not partaking. And while it may seem like comparing apples to bananas in terms of events, there is still the similarity of there being two sides to one particular scene. In attending all of the fashion hoopla, I don’t seem to realize that there are those who don’t share the exact same experience as me. In which case, there doesn’t seem to be that same allure that strikes me, as it does for some, or for me when I first started attending these events. The novelty in itself is something fresh that I haven’t had the chance to really marvel at in quite some time. Each niche and community, after all, have their own circle of people and events. And I suppose that strolling by reminded me that I can belong to one particular community, but that there are so many that I’ve never touched or interacted with.