And, it’s all up in my belly! Have you eaten in France? Anywhere in southern France? Monaco, perhaps? If you have, then you know everything over there is just better. I hate to say, but really, it is.
In the last post, I mentioned $7 eggs in Carrefour, a grocery store chain in Monaco and France. Who the hec pays $7 for eggs? Furthermore, what the hell is in those eggs making them worth my L’Oreal mascara (that by the way lasts me at least 4 months)?
At this point, I really don’t know and don’t care. Okay, well maybe I do care a bit. The most important thing is that they are the best I’ve had in my life! I had completely forgotten how good French eggs were until 2 weeks when I had my 1st breakfast in Monaco.
We stayed in a 2 bedroom condo with full amenities, kitchen being the most important (pls. refer to previous post). With the dollar trading at $1.42, eating out everyday was NOT an OPTION. Yucky Coke costs $5 a can and appetizers run anywhere from $15-$50. In order to save some money for other excursions (like boutique shopping) we went to the local store and did a GOOD bit of shopping, totaling more than $170 (to feed 5 in two days). I took my time in perusing the aisles, while boppin’ my head to Bob Marley from the scallop fridge, looking, smelling and touching everything in sight. From fresh tarragon to ultra red beets. It was all beautiful. Expensive as hell, but beautiful. A lot of things missed the cart, but we had no choice but to buy 3 dozen eggs, seeing as though I eat at least 2 a day; yolk and all.
I couldn’t leave Carrefour without stopping in the cheese aisle. Cheese in every shape, color, form, price point and agedness was available. So I picked what my mom calls “stinky cheese”–camembert. For $2.50 you can eat some of Normandy’s most delightful and perfectly aged cheese. I walked away with 4 different brands. And with the cheese, I had to have fig.
I’m not big into jams or jellies, even if they’re home made. But I like to indulge fully in other gastronomic cultures so I had to see what was there. The choice of sweet spreads was overwhelming and Mami forced me, like the a little girl that I am not, to pick two. So I did: rouge fig and orange ginger. If I tell you nothing more about eating in Monaco, know that their fig is nothing like our fig.
By day three, we had to make another trip to the store. Primarily because I had devoured 2 packs of camembert and one of the fig jars (with my finger!). And, my 88 year-old grandfather will eat anything you put in front of him; at any hour of the day.
Breakfast in our condo consisted of eggs, a variety of yogurt, cornflakes (yes, cornflakes!), buttered baguette and Bustelo café con leche.
So the eggs. Back to the eggs. Someone tell me what’s in those devlish things!? They’re meaty, full of flavor and the yolk color resembles buttercup flowers I used to pick as a young girl. It was like eating a somewhat sweet piece of filet mignon. No lie. Certainly, it couldn’t be the oil we used to cook them in? Could it? My mouth watered for more, and so I found myself having 3 sunnyside-ups every morning, for 7 days.
For lunchtime, if we weren’t out and about Fontvieille or somewhere in the Cote D’Azur, then we packed our lunch. This is when I resorted to baguettes with “stinky cheese”, to which the odor is so foul incredible, we’d roll all 4 windows down. Or, I’d stop somewhere and order a nutella crepe. They’re good, but I’m kind of bored with them.
There is no doubt French cuisine is on top of the world, and of the finest. Quality, presentation, preservation and cultivation are so integral in their reputation, it finally made full sense on this trip. Yes, I cooked with and ate with the top dogs of world re-knowned French food and resto’s, but everyday food reflects it, too. Probably better. I mean for us to whip up spaghetti with hot dog marinara the way we do at home, and it taste like really good restaurant food (assuming they use excellent and fresh ingredients), underscores my point and was heavenly!
This is what we made one night for dinner…and dessert I made, with caramelized sugar (the same way I make caramel for my flan) over-top bananas.
Walking around Monaco-ville (outskirt streets where Prince’s Place is located) is like walking around Paris’ Champs Élysées or closer to home, the Chelsea neighborhood. Everyone’s in a hurry, packed with panting tourists and annoying kids begging mom for every souvvy they see. If you can’t afford $8 cappuccino’s, you’d better have purchased Carte Noire (ironically owned by Kraft) at the store and injected your veins for the day. Mi madre and I are insanely addicted so we swiped my dad’s pockets for euro change in order for us to indulge.
I passed all sorts of quaint cafés but stopped at a convenience store to check out the products. And the dude. He was kind of cute. So I was curious. Enter, inquire on pricing, and smile. $10 for a jar of jelly I once purchased in Manhattan for $4! I knew it was a French brand but thievery is unattractive even in those places.
(student orders panini’s from sandwich shop)
(what I want, but not crazy enough to buy $10 jelly at a convenience shop)
And finally, as if eating orgasmic food at our temporary home wasn’t exciting, the daily market in La Condamine is replete with fresh vegetables, the most beautiful flowers from the bucolic countryside of France, and rain puddles. Don’t think about taking a picture of the pretty artichoke if you don’t want to be spit at! Well, just about… geesh, dude was not nice about my point and shoot skills!
That market square was also home to our wifi hijacking trysts at 10pm!
But not for wack ass 50 lb. limitations, I would have returned with goodies for all of my faithful readers! But, liquid is still forced to be packed in luggage so I only brought the essentials: loads of cheese, fig, nutella, limoncello, Port, Brandy, nougat, vanilla, coffee and spicy olives and black spaghetti.
Even though the food culture in Monaco (and France) bears absurd prices (the cheese was delightfully the cheapest thing), I’d trade it for our daily staples, notwithstanding the sacrifice of scaling back on my stiletto purchases!
***WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO VISIT BECAUSE OF THEIR FOOD?!***
MY SPOT ON VERIZON! (WILL SHARE VID HERE!)
PS: I INVITE YOU TO TAKE A MOMENT TO READ A THOUGHT-PROVOKING POST I WROTE ON BEING THANKFUL. CHECK IT OUT HERE.
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.