France & Belgium Food Diary

Thursday, 12 January 2017

As promised, here's a post dedicated solely to food ;)

My time in France + Belgium was quite the gastronomical experience. This trip was 70% a food run, 29% sightseeing along the way, and 1% shopping. I'm actually surprised (and quite frankly impressed) with myself for staying away from the shopping scene this time. But that being said, there's a LOT to cover if I wanted to talk about everything I ate on this trip...and I don't want this post becoming a 50-page novel. So instead, I've compiled a list of restaurants that I found most memorable/enjoyable (in no particular order).  Bon appetit! ;)

*Warning: Do NOT read when hungry*


La Maison de la Truffe


There were two things I knew I had to eat in France. One of them were truffles. I just can't get over its musky, earthy aroma! I heard a lot of great things about this place, so I had to check it out. We ordered the Crispy Truffled Brie de Meaux as our appetizer (sorry for the lack of photo...we were so hungry my sister dug in before I could whip out the camera LOL) and for the mains, we ordered the Risotto with White Truffle (bottom right), Ravioli with Truffle (top right), and Tagliatelle with Truffle & Truffled Cream (left).

The Crispy Truffled Brie de Meaux was surprisingly delightful. I wasn't expecting too much from this appetizer and mostly had my eyes on the mains, but it was actually amazing. Chunks of brie were fried to a perfect golden-brown crisp and the cheese just melted in my mouth. It came with a tomato seasoning that complimented the truffle & brie wonderfully.

Out of the mains, my favourite was the tagliatelle. The sauce was creamy and aromatic, and the pasta was cooked just right. The ravioli was also wonderful, with a similar creamy sauce. However, the risotto was a bit under my expectations. I love risotto and so I may be a bit strict, but something about this risotto just didn't quite grab my satisfaction. I felt that the risotto was a bit bland and needed some more flavour.

Overall, if you are a truffle lover, I recommend you try this place out! They do specialize in truffles and so their menu is just filled with truffles left and right. They also have a little store up front where you can buy their truffle oils, butters, cream sauces, and other take home goodies. I would recommend the truffle olive oil, as it is AMAZING.

Au Petit Sud Ouest 


The second thing I needed to eat (and eat a LOT of) was foie gras. Ah, foie gras. Just saying that word makes my mouth water. When I was searching for good foie gras restaurants, the two that showed up frequently were Au Petit Sud Ouest and Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie. After doing a little bit more research, it seemed to me that Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie was more popular to tourists and gets a lot busier, whereas Au Petit Sud Ouest was smaller and more preferred by locals. Personally I prefer hitting up restaurants that the locals like, so I went for Au Petit Sud Ouest. And let me tell you, it was so so SO good.

We ordered their specialty Fresh Foie Gras Sprinkled with Sea Salt (top left), the Pan Fried Foie Gras with Apples (right), and a Salad with foie gras stuffed duck breast, dried ham, and terrine landaise (bottom left). We did also order something non-foie gras, which was the confit duck leg that came with potatoes and wild mushrooms (no photo).

Both the pan fried and the fresh foie gras were amazing. If you were to ask me which one I preferred, I wouldn't be able to respond. The pan fried is definitely a lot heavier and fattier, but the sweet apples contrasted and complimented its strong fatty taste perfectly. The pan fried foie gras just melts on the tongue. The fresh foie gras  on the other hand was creamy and smooth, a bit more bitter and "raw" tasting, but in a good way. They give you a basket of sliced bread and each table has its own toaster so you can toast your bread to your liking! I ended up eating so much bread because of the fresh foie gras.

The salad was a fun dish because it was like a mini tasting menu on its own. The ham was nothing too special but the terrine landaise was creamy and delicious, and the foie gras stuffed duck breast was also great.

The confit duck leg was also delicious. To be honest, because we had filled our stomach with the foie gras first, I think the confit duck leg wasn't as good as it could have been. If this was a meal on its own, I would have enjoyed it a lot more, but we were so full on the starters that we couldn't finish it. However, it was cooked perfectly and was full of flavour. Any other time, I would have devoured it all!

L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges 


My mum is quite the foodie, but I'm not complaining. I think her main objective for going to France was eating at this 3-star Michelin restaurant by Paul Bocuse. I'm so grateful that she's into fine cuisine because I can not afford it myself yet!

Before I get into the food details, let me first start off by saying that the interior of this restaurant was beautiful. The room was so lavishly decorated, yet at the same time gave a cozy atmosphere. The service, of course, was top-notch.

For my appetizer, I just had to get Paul Bocuse's specialty - the Truffle Soup V.G.E. (bottom left). Yes, it comes at a steep price of 85 euros, but I couldn't leave his restaurant without trying his famous dish. And my oh my, was it fantastic. Remember how I said truffles and foie gras were two of my favourite things? Well, this soup had both...So it's not a surprise that it was love at first bite (sip?). The puff pastry was crisp and buttery (a bit messy to eat, but man was it good) and the soup was light but flavourful. My mouth waters just thinking of it!!

For my main, I ordered the Filet of Beef Rossini in Périgueux Sauce (right). Again, it was SO good. The beef was cooked perfectly and it was topped with seared foie gras and an adorably carved mushroom.


Now, onto the dessert. Just when I thought it couldn't get better, they rolled in (literally) with trays of dessert right to my table. When you order "dessert" you can choose whatever you want (and however many) from a huge variety of sweets--from cakes, to ice cream, to crème brûlée, to fresh fruits. I was honestly in heaven LOL

Le Petit Bistrot

This one's a tiny restaurant tucked away in the alleys of Montpellier. I'm so happy I stumbled across this gem! When I say tiny, I mean it. I was lucky enough to walk by it on a rainy weekday morning when it just opened, but any other time it would be hard to get a seat. This quaint little restaurant just barely fits a small kitchen and one table. However, there are 4-5 tables set up outside in the patio. Le Petit Bistrot is a one man show. The owner, Nicholas, was the chef, server, bartender, host, dishwasher, everything! It was actually quite impressive, the way he handled everything. He was so nice and despite not knowing much English, he tried his best to communicate with us and help us feel welcome. He was honestly such a sweetheart!


Because this is such a small restaurant, the menu is very limited. There were 3 main dishes you could choose from, and a few appetizers and sides and desserts. To start off, we ordered a delicious platter of charcuterie, which came with bread. I'm a sucker for good bread and I could tell this was just freshly baked from a nearby bakery.


We ordered two mains. On the left is called Effiloche de Parmentier de Canard. It's almost like a Shepherd's pie, but with shredded duck in the center. I don't know how he seasoned the duck, but it was amazing! On the right is called Emince de Poulet et la Ratatouille Façon Crumble. The chicken itself is lightly seasoned and nothing special, but it's the insides of that glass jar that changes everything. This dip-like ratatouille is meant to be eaten with the chicken, and it was just wonderful.

If you are ever in Montpellier, this is a must-visit restaurant!!

Claus - La Table du Petit-Déjeuner


This was my favourite brunch spot! Not only is it an aesthetic little boutique-like restaurant, but the food was also amazing. I think out of all the avocado toasts I've had, this place had the best. Topped with prosciutto and a poached egg, this avocado toast couldn't get any better.


We also ordered a fancy scrambled egg as well as a Roesti topped with poached egg and smoked salmon. Both were delightful! The lattes here were also really good.


La Marée


If you're in Brussels, you can't miss out on their mussels (that rhyme though heh). La Marée is a cozy little restaurant with not only AMAZING mussels but also first-class service! I absolutely love this restaurant and would not hesitate to go back if I were to ever make my way back to Belgium. I ordered the Mussels From the House, which were mussels in a creamy sauce with celery, onion, and garlic. I finished every bit of it (except the shells of course). Hands down the best mussels I've had yet!


We also ordered the Fried Cod with Tartar Sauce. This was also delicious, and you can tell they use only the freshest of fish.


Alright, so that's it for my reviews of restaurants! I don't want to make this post any longer than it already is, so I'm going to wrap it up with a list of a few more spots I highly recommend!

Dumon Chocolatier 


Come here for the best Belgium chocolate!



The cakes and pastries here are absolutely amazing.

Café Capitale 


An adorable little cafe I stumbled across in Brussels!

Coffee Club


Another gem of a cafe I came across, but in Montpellier! This cafe is tiny but super cute and run by Nick and Flora who, if I remember correctly, are from England and Australia respectively. They were super sweet and it was lovely chatting with them! Great spot for a short break.

And there you have it! A compilation of some of my favourite places from my recent trip to France and Belgium. I hope you enjoyed it, and if you ever get the chance to visit any of these, let me know what you thought!

Love, Lena

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