I know my post is a bit late and many people have put Valentine’s day behind them. Well, I just received my gifts (prompt much eb*y?) and I thought I should dedicate a post to my adorable ‘Valentin’. In France you either have a Valentin or a Valentine (pronounced va–lan–taem/ va–lan–teen). I woke up on V-day to an intimate note, a huge bouquet of red roses and these adorable chocolate heart biscuits left on the counter :) I loved the gesture. I love cheesy, mush, clichés and just feeling two feet off the ground. At 24, it’s a bit odd to say but this was my first real Valentine’s day. Yes, you read that right. I hated Valentine’s day previously, mainly because I had to always spend it alone :D I have either broken up before V day or started a relationship afterwards and last year Monsieur S. and me were in two different cities. So this really was my first exquisite experience. I don’t give a damn if it’s overly-hyped and commercialized. Any occasion to receive roses and chocolates is most welcome! :)
The French usually go all out during Valentine’s season but I was quite disappointed to find that this year, there wasn’t much festivity in the ville de l’amour. The only people really keen on the day were the chefs in Paris’ fab restaurants. No matter how big the economic crisis, no matter how low the ressources, French people will never neglect their taste buds!
Monsieur S. invited me to a fine dining experience in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, a neighbourhood in the center of Paris, infamous with the culinary elite. You can find some reasonable pubs for some quick grub. But my Valentin decided to treat me to the finest. So we went to Le Procope! The restaurant was founded in 1686 and is the world’s oldest restaurant/café! I had seen the restaurant a few days ago and hadn’t stopped yapping (Freudian slip I guess) about the history of the area, the great food they must serve, the number of literary figures who went there, etc. In fact almost all of France’s 18th century literature was created here by Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, (to name a few).. I was literally in the clouds when we entered the place. It was like we had stepped back in time.
We were surprised to find the prices reasonable enough (to be precise you can have a delicious meal for 40 euros each). We opted for the Philosopher’s menu and since we were sitting exactly were Voltaire did, I say it was most fitting. I decided I would finally try the escargots snails for entrées. I have avoided them all along my stay in France because I thought they were eaten raw and that was just creepy!
But don’t let first impressions fool you (both with people and food) because the escargots were divine! They are not eaten raw, in fact they are boiled and marinated with something awesome. I must have come off as a ridiculous tourist to the other diners with my non-stop clicking, but I didn’t care. I wanted to remember the experience forever. When I felt like a real princess :) ha! There I go again, playing movies in my head!
By the end of
- trout with almonds (for me)
- supreme farm turkey cooked in wine (for him)
- Sabayon (dessert of egg yolk, sugar and wine beaten together..) for him
- Dessert du moment for me which just happened to be made of one of my favourite flavours, cassis! blackcurrant,
we were stuffed! I don’t think I even finished all of my pastry. There wasn’t too much on our plates but we were filled to the brim. That’s what French food does to you. You eat little, but you savour it and thus your stomach is fooled into thinking you’re eating a lot. Hence why French women never get fat!
We took our time in admiring the tiny details of the decor. I loved the framed manuscripts of Marie Antoinette. However, the restaurant’s most prized possession is on the right of the picture, that’s Napoleon’s very own hat. Apparently he offered it to the restaurant because of the excellence in their cuisine. Hat’s off literally!
Our date finished with cocktails at a pub in the quartier. Everything was romantically perfect, including the weather (which believe me is rare for Paris). The thing I cherished most that night was la lune.
|The moon! It was so big and bright. I think on purpose, maybe it wanted to add to the romance on Valentine’s day. Well it worked :)
My gifts are as extraordinary as my chéri. I think only he can understand my craze for vintage, especially vintage cameras! So voilà! Four beauties to add to my collection.
Left: Fed 3b, 1964, ex-USSR.
Right: rare Welta Penti, 1959, Germany.
Kodak Retina 1B, 1957, Germany.
|Voïgtlander Brilliant, box camera, 1932!, Germany.
My favourite! I mean I’m literally obsessed with everything Voïgtlander
(the world’s oldest camera brand) has ever made and to receive the rare Voïgtlander Brilliant is just incredible!
Love is just so lovely isn’t it? :D