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The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet - French Country Travel Life Film Maker and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to food, wine travel and Lifestyle Adventure!

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Irish Gourmet Chows Down In France



Irish Gourmet Chows Down In France. Yes, dear reader, a shocking headline to say the least. What connection you may well ask does Irish food have with anything gourmet?

The short, and honest answer, is, bien sur, none. But since my last post dealt with an Irishman’s contribution to the French Cognac industy, I thought it might be groovy, fab, far out, wild, weird, wacky, gear, cool, sweet, and maybe even instructive to share the ramblings of an Irish Resturant reviewer chowing down in France.

A gentlemen with the very un-Irish name of Paolo Tullio.

His gastromic ramblings appeared in – (what else?) – The Irish Edition of the UK ‘s Independant:

“As an Irish restaurant reviewer, getting to eat in great French restaurants is important for me, as these are the restaurants that set world standards.

It’s a way for me to calibrate my palate, so that I have a touchstone for judging meals here. It’s hugely expensive, but as an occasional exercise it can be excused.

We started our three-day odyssey with a meal in one of the great French restaurants, Le Louis XV in Monaco. This is Alain Ducasse’s flagship restaurant and is the holder of three Michelin stars.

It’s in the Hotel de Paris, which is opposite Monte Carlo’s famous casino. It’s probably true to say that this little corner of Monaco is the most architecturally pleasing part of this tiny state.

Turn right after entering the ornate, Baroque lobby of the hotel and you find the entrance to Le Louis XV. It’s a huge dining room, perhaps 30ft high, decorated with vast amounts of gilt.

Huge pilasters faced in banded agate and topped in Ionic capitols line the walls, Baccarat chandeliers and sconces light the room,

Arcadian murals delight the eye and a small army of waiters dance attendance.

The first thing you notice, other than the splendour of the room, is the immaculate tailoring of the waiters’ suits, making your own look like a poor man’s hand-me-down.

A vast epergne, perhaps three-metres high, dominates the middle of the room, serving as a centrepiece and a rallying point for the trolleys. There are a lot of trolleys, all built as though to last for centuries, made out of mahogany and brass.

The first one you meet is the bread trolley, which resembles a bakery shop on wheels. There are maybe 20 different breads to choose from in a bewildering variety of shapes and grains.

Not being the host, I got a guest menu — that’s one with no prices — but I know that most dishes cost about €90.

With the menus came the champagne trolley, which offered a large choice of champagnes by the glass to start the meal. My two pals had a glass each, one of the Bollinger Grande Annee 2002, and one of the Taittinger rosé 2004.

From the menu we chose the Provençal starter plate, scallops, and truffle gnocchi for starters, and then my friends ordered the duck — which is a dish for two — while I ordered the Pyrenean lamb.

For our wines we ordered the Chateau de Bellet, which is a red wine made near Nice, and a Bandol, Chateau Pibarnon, a crisp white made from the Rolle grape, known in Italy as the Vermentino.

I won’t describe the food in detail, but I will say that each dish was consummately well done.

They weren’t mean with the truffles, either — a waiter grated an entire black truffle on to my dish of gnocchi.

I liked the way the duck was served for the main course. It arrived in a covered marmite and it was deftly dismembered at the table by the waiter, who then served the breast and took away the legs, as they do in the Tour d’Argent, only to return with them a little while later de-boned and served in a small ramekin.

We didn’t have a dessert, just a little cheese, which also came on a trolley. It wasn’t the last trolley, either, as we also wanted one camomile and sage tea.

There’s another trolley that looks like a shrubbery on wheels, where maybe 30 different herbs are stacked in pots. The tea is made at the table, snipping the relevant herbs into a teapot and then adding the boiling water.

The closest we got to a dessert was dessert wine — a glass of Sauternes 2001 and a glass of Malvasia di Lipari 2006, a wine I last had on the island of Lipari itself.”

Bottom Line : Anyone can rise to Gourmetdom when presented with the right grub.

Thrill to more of Mr. Tullio’s gastronomic adventures HERE.


What are ya thinkin’?

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34 Responses to “Irish Gourmet Chows Down In France”

  1. nigel haverstone-quint says:

    one of the (many) things i like about your posts….is i never know what to expect……this one being (another) great case in point.

  2. polly anderson says:

    seems like the irish are connected with just about everything!

  3. persis andrige says:

    While not meaning any disrespect to other Nationalities, I found Mr; Tullio’s “adventure” more “down to earth” than the majority of the gastronomic reviews by other “experts.”

  4. danny o'sullivan says:

    I hear ya persis….he doesn’t drone on about the ‘subtle nuances of brick, road tar, and red fruit” in the wine. (and, yes, I’M IRISH!)

  5. paul barker says:

    danny…..re/ “Yes, I’M IRISH”…..don’t worry…you’ll get over it.

  6. taylor woodruff says:

    i agreee with the commentor who liked the “down to earth” approach of the reviewer……more like a neighbour recounting his vacation. much appreciated.

  7. joey caputo says:

    “as an occassional exercise it can be excused”…..yeah;;right!
    depending on the size of your wallet!

  8. tammi granston says:

    thanks for this…got some great gourmet tips i never would have found otherwise!

  9. martin barr says:

    Nice to know there’s someone concerned with elevating Irish culinary standards!

  10. shawn retifo says:

    not that i have the money to try this…..but it sure is cool to get the info.

  11. angie vester says:

    no worries shawn…….you could win the loto!

  12. cliff paulson says:

    OK….so this guy tastes all this high tone grub…head back to ireland…..and what changes with irish “cuisine?”

  13. peggy sweat says:

    great point cliff……

  14. lawson merrymore says:

    Indeed, Ms. Sweat….one wonders whether Mr. Tullio’s gastronomic adventures will result in truffles on potatoes.

  15. harvey demmons says:

    hey you guys…lighten up on the irish….at least this guy is giving his people some new ideas……..not that they’ll all result in nationwide “gastronomic changes.”

  16. dennis harrison says:

    for me your “bottom line” comment says it all.

  17. lindsay buckstead says:

    After this post…..I’m saving up to do it!

  18. rand carlson says:

    lindsay……start by saving up for the champagne….then go from there……

  19. mercedes gomez says:

    I agree Rand…..no point in getting to Monaco and finding out you don’t like the bubbly is there?

  20. jany bond says:

    another great post full of info….ireland?…go figger!

  21. viki bevens says:

    sounds like a great job to me…where do i apply? dublin? (lol!)

  22. presley zentos says:

    love this style…sort of “gourmet on training wheels”..if you get my drift…

  23. sharon gurlais says:

    I’m fine with the food…..but the decor and the snobbery that goes with it isn’t (pun intended) to my “taste.”

  24. daniel kindersley says:

    sharon…i though you were going to elaborate further to say (what i am now about to say) that the “snobbery” associated with the food – simply enforces the class system.

  25. sophie parsons says:

    daniel and sharon – that’s a big AMEN from me!

  26. jean cummings says:

    i remember one of your readers was not keen on the “snobby” atmosphere of such gastronomic temples…..but for me…..the over the top decor and service…..is a hoot……like being in a period movie…..fun….if you don’t take it seriously!

  27. stan cayer says:

    thanks to this post..i’ve got the tour d’argent on my “must taste” list for my summer trip to france.

  28. melanie bogus says:

    hey stan…..;great to hear you’ll be tasting(and PAYING bigtime) for some of france’s finest…..but summer? BAD time to go…

    all those tourists!

  29. harvard forbish says:

    Totally agree Melanie….

    My experiences in Europe….the best ones…and I go every year…
    are always May until June 15 max (hint: after Schoool’s out!) and
    September 15 til october 15…..obviously later can be good…
    depending on what weather works for you. hope this helps. bon voyage!

  30. elmer tippey says:

    too bad all this “gourmet” stuff is only for the rich

  31. jack brender says:

    ok…so this guy’s excuse for all this(other than someone else is paying!) is that it’s to “calibrate his palate.” ok – expense account depleted – palate “calibrated.” and then – he eats what?

  32. mel geddes says:

    hey jack…i thik the question should be : “what CAN he eat? – after calibrating his palate to standards way above irish “cuisine?

  33. bob tomlinson says:

    jack and mel….with ya….and what exactly is “irish cuisine?”

  34. sylvan laurance says:

    the phrase in his review “immaculate tailoring of the waiter’s suits just underscores and amplified the “snobbery/class division” comments of previous commentators.

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