More Cheese Please
A couple of nights ago we found ourselves doing what the French do with such aplomb, sitting outside on a warm evening, eating and drinking oh so well. As you might remember, I’ve been agonizing over how a low carb life would be compatible with eating out in France, and this was the first true test.
We were seated in the close company of pigeons at a great little place called Le Grillardin. I normally am not fond of Montpellier, which has the most hellish traffic I’ve ever seen and is not very pretty into the bargain, but for this place I’d gladly make an exception (so long as someone else is driving me there).
My dinner got off to a lovely start with this warm pig’s feet salad. Pig’s feet are one of those things that are almost always better when someone else makes them, because the deboning and extraction of the tiny morsels of meat is something I’d rather leave to professionals. I love a good kitchen project, but boning pigs feet is right up there with making homemade blood sausage on my list of tasks to avoid. Been there, tried that, now worship those who do it for a living.
After the salad I chose a main course called Roasted Raw Milk Camembert with Saucisse de Morteau and new potatoes. Naturally, the potatoes were problematic. In my experience French waiters aren’t big on substitutions, since every plate is balanced in the kitchen and changing one element might throw the whole thing off. However, when I asked for green vegetables instead of a creamy potato gratin, our server relented.
And here’s what he brought me. Right, a whole Camembert, all melty and bubbling, with a side of sausage, salad, and beans. I’d really ordered it because of my devotion to Saucisse de Morteau, one of the best cooked sausages in France. I’d imagined a wedge of Camembert on the side, not a whole cheese served with a spoon. Of course, when presented with such an opportunity, what would any sensible person do? Eating cheese with a spoon right from the box sounds either decadent or tacky, depending on your perspective. In my case, not stopping to consult my arteries, I dove right in, a headlong plunge into a low carb dream of warm meltingness. But even I, a cheesehead from the get go, couldn’t polish the whole thing off.
I tried, believe me, I tried. I only surrendered when I realized that a shot of Calvados would cut through it all in a most delightful way, and thus was I saved from having to report that contrary to expectations one person can eat an entire Camembert and live to dine another day.
Pigs feet, Saucisse de Morteau, Calvados, and most of all, Camembert. Yes, I’m beginning to think that a low carb life in France is possible, although it will take a few more great meals like that one to convince me completely. When it comes to the low carb life in France, there are many options, but in the end, the cheese stands alone.