A couple of weeks ago on a beautiful, sunny Sunday morning I had the chance to do a food tour with Discover Walks and their wonderful guide Marie. As most people know, us bloggers LOVE to talk about, write about and photograph food, so it was the perfect tour for us to take! The tour took place on Rue Montorgueil, my absolute favourite place in Paris and one of the oldest and most authentic streets in the city.
Our tour started with a very warm welcome from Marie followed by our first food tour stop -the boulangerie! Marie told us the story behind the origins of the baguette which was so fascinating. As far as we know the baguette was invented in the 19th century by engineer Fulgence Bienvenue who supervised the construction of the metro. There were a lot of fights between the workers due to their different origins (notably Bretons and Auvergnats) and as the workers carried knives to cut the round shaped bread, they unfortunately ended up using the same knives during their scuffles! This, of course, was deeply unhygienic and spread a lot of illness and disease. Bienvenue asked a baker to create a different, longer style of bread that could be broken into pieces by hand rather than having to use a knife and therefore avoid potential weapons being taken into the workplace. This is why, even now, French people do not cut baguettes with knives!
After the bakery we made out way to the next food tour stop, the fromagerie La Fermette! Marie explained that France actually has over 370 different types of cheeses so you could eat a different cheese every day for a year! She also told us about the legend behind the creation of Roquefort. Legend has it that the cheese was discovered when a young man, eating his lunch of bread and ewes’ milk cheese, saw a beautiful girl in the distance. Abandoning his meal in a nearby cave, he ran to meet her. When he returned a few months later, the mold had transformed his plain cheese into Roquefort and this delicious, strong cheese was born! She also advised us to look out for the AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) labels which are often displayed on cheeses and wine bottles to indicate where they were produced.
After collecting some cheese we wandered to the boucherie to buy some other staple foods for a French picnic – charcuterie (sliced cooked meat), rillettes and pâté! We picked up some garlic sausage, some small saucissons, pâté and goose rillettes. Rillettes are similar to pâté and are usually made from pork. The meat is cubed or chopped, salted heavily and cooked slowly in fat until it is tender enough to be easily shredded. Last but not least it’s cooled with enough of the fat to form a paste. It’s delicious but not something you eat every day as it’s extremely fatty!
Our last food tour stop before the picnic was Stohrer, Paris’ oldest patisserie shop founded in 1730. The pastry shop is famous for its chocolate eclairs which are considered the best in all of Paris and has even been visited by Queen Elizabeth II! Marie explained to us that originally Stohrer was a pastry chef for King Louis XV from 1725 in their home, the Chateau de Versailles. Five years later he opened his own store on Rue Montorgueil and for the first time ever, pastries were made available to the public.
After our nice stroll down Montorgueil it was now time to taste all these French delicacies! We sat in the park at the end of the street and ate our delicious picnic, after we had sufficiently photographed it that is…we are bloggers after all 🙂 My favourite things were the goose rillettes and the goats cheese…just heavenly!
Last but not least we rounded off the food tour with a coffee and a cake at Fou de Patisserie which literally translated means crazy for pastry – a very appropriate name! Marie explained to us that the idea for this unique pastry shop actually came from a blog where two women would write about the best pastries in Paris and where to find them. Fou de Patisserie brings together all the best pastries from a variety of pastry chefs around Paris so you can really try the best of the best. We tasted the salted caramel millefeuille and both the vanilla and the lemon financiers. Everything was melt in the mouth delicious and I will definitely be bringing all my sweet tooth friends here!
We had an absolutely fantastic time with Marie on the food tour and I would recommend anyone living here or visiting to do this tour. Having a local guide makes such a difference and learning so much about French food and the history behind it was just fascinating. If you are interested in doing a food tour with Discover Walks click here and use my code BLOGLOVE10 to get 10% off your booking!