Where to Find a Four-Leaf Clover in Saint Germain

Flavors of Paris Clover Review.jpg

By Lisa Rankin

The Irish are a superstitious lot. My uncle in Ireland wouldn’t allow playing cards in the house because he was afraid that they were bad luck. And where else in the world do you have to stop the car to turn your jacket inside out and put it back on because it’s the fairies that are making you get lost in the countryside when you take a wrong turn.

The four-leaf clover is considered a lucky charm and my Irish side felt rather lucky to enjoy such a delicious lunch at a restaurant, so called Clover (with four leaves in the logo), soon to be changed to Green Clover, on a quiet little side street just a stone throw from the large, busy Boulevard of Saint Germain.

Opened four years ago by the Michelin Star chef, Jean-Francois Piège and his wife Elodie, the food is fresh and healthy with a contemporary flair. The kitchen is integrated into the dining room so you can enjoy watching the kitchen staff plating up your dishes while you wait. Although the décor feels light and airy, you are rather crammed in; tables lined in a banquette-style arrangement.

  The open kitchen concept

The open kitchen concept

Your dining neighbours are so close that you can’t help getting to know your them. If you’re trying to have an intimate conversation, you’ll be leaning across the table, whispering to your dining companion. Maybe that’s ok if you’re on a romantic date, but it’s comes a little undone when you’re worried about making a wrong move and accidentally elbowing the sweet, very proper looking, grandmother next to you in the kidneys if you don’t carefully telegraph your arm movements.

 

 
  Green asparagus cream soup

Green asparagus cream soup

Overall, the experience was good. The food was excellent, the staff was friendly and professional, and the kitchen and the dining area treated as one cohesive space was very pleasing.

Price for lunch with appetizer, main dish and dessert, 37 euros not including wine.

Clover | www.jeanfrancoispiege.com

5 rue Perronet, Paris, 75007

Open Daily 12:30–2PM, 7:30–10PM

Closed Sunday and Monday

History of French Chocolate

Flavors-of-Paris-Blog-History-of-French-Chocolate

French is the language of love, and chocolate is the epitome of divine indulgence. What can be more decadent, than French chocolate? Though chocolate was first used in some parts of Mexico and Spain, French chocolate has a charm of its own.

Chocolate was introduced to Europe in the sixteenth century when Christopher Columbus carried back cacao beans to Spain from his voyages in America. Although it remained a Spanish secret for nearly a decade, the fame of chocolate began to spread, and it started to be known in England, Germany, the Netherlands, and France. Chocolate was first introduced to France in 1615. It was a wedding gift to the 14-year-old King Louis XIII from his betrothed – Anne of Austria. She is the one who is said to be the ‘originator’ of chocolate in France.

Chocolate in those days was only for the nobility and the upper class. An expensive and exotic item, it was also considered to be an aphrodisiac by many. Thanks to its soothing nature and the mild stimulatory kick it provided, it was almost considered to be a recreational drug.

In those days, chocolate was consumed primarily in liquid form. French confectioners would blend the cacao beans with milk or water, and add additional flavors like coffee, vanilla, and  cloves.

Chocolate grew popular amongst the Kings and Queens of France, and confectioners were appointed by the nobles and the royal family to make them their daily cup of chocolate. Confectioners, thus, were highly trained and regarded in high esteem in this period. King Louis XIV was known to be a great lover of chocolate. He was the first one to introduce chocolate to the court of Versailles.

When Marie Antoinette married King Louis XVI and arrived at Versailles, she brought along her personal chocolate maker. She started the day with a cup of thick creamy hot chocolate topped with cream. She is also the one who started consuming chocolate with some sugar so that it toned down the bitterness and became easier to have (when meant to be taken as a medicine).

As the popularity of the miracle cacao bean grew, factories began popping up in order to increase production. David Chaillou opened the first chocolate factory in Paris in 1659. In 1732, Debuisson created the first table to grind cocoa beans, which made the preparation of chocolate easier.

In the 19th century, chocolate became accessible to the masses as commercial production on large scales increased. The first such commercial chocolate factory was set up in the Pyrenees in 1814. At this time, chocolate was still considered to be a medicine, and the big player in the game was a pharmaceutical company called Menier (now a part of Nestle). Towards the early 19th century, more chocolate shops started to open and chocolate became more accessible to the general public. In 1884, the first breakfast with chocolate and vanilla cream was invented in France. In the early twentieth century, chocolate shops were common in towns and cities and it became customary for people to give chocolate as a gift. And chocolate remains the perfect gift for any occasion world over, even today.

Flavors-of-Paris-Chocolate-Truffles

A simple dessert to make with French chocolate is dark chocolate truffles. Add about 12 ounces of bittersweet chocolate to 2/3 cups of hot cream. Add a couple of drops of vanilla extract. Freeze the mixture for a few hours until it is hard enough to roll into balls. Roll it into spheres and coat them with cacao powder. You can also add some crushed pistachios to the coating for a little extra "Je ne sais quoi". Et voila! Yum at first bite.

You can find the detailed recipe and many others at https://www.thespruce.com/french-chocolate-
recipes-1375890

 

Merci to Tanya Sen for the blog post submission.

Les Plats

MM_lesplatsIf your French isn’t that good, beware the French menu!  We are so used to calling the main course the Entrée in English, that we are certain its the same the world over. Think again.  In France, L’entrée is the first course (what we call the appetizer).

The main course, typically served second, is called ‘Le plat’, ‘Le plat principal’, or even ‘Le plat de résistance’.  Often followed by Le fromage (so disappointingly rare in the English speaking world) and Le Dessert.

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Pourriture Noble

MM_PourritureNoblePourriture Noble: noble rot, mold responsible for the honey-like quality of dessert wines such as Sauternes, Botrytis cinerea You may find a higher percentage of wine related terms in this space as Michael works his way through the Sommelier Program.

Known in North American as Botrytis, this ‘controlled rot’ could be considered a fault in wine but because, when properly controlled, this rot actually changes the taste dimension of sweeter, white wines in a beautiful way, it is very sought after.

The grapes are left on the vine for an extended period to allow the Botrytis to invade the grapes.  Its important to harvest at exactly the right time to avoid having the grapes fully dehydrate as the skins are pierced by the rot.

If you’ve never had a chance to try one, and don’t where to find one, send us an email and we’ll send you in the right direction.