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French Cooking - 6 courses

I am hoping to put together a 6 course menu with a French theme .

So far I am thinking

Goats Cheese Salad
Watercress Soup / Onion Soup
Duck Confit tart
Roast Lamb with spring veg
Cheese with eggplant sorbet
Pears in Red wine / Creme Brulee / Crepes

Any suggestiuons would be great. I am unsure whether to base it on a specific region. Which region would you pick?

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  1. If it's a European theme, you might want to reposition the salad...and serve it after the entree.
    As far as a region, Provence might be a nice summer theme.....

    1 Reply
    1. re: perk

      On the subject (and well after the point has been rendered a bit moot) of European conventions when you refer to the "entree" is that the first course/appetizer or the lamb? I will never entirely understand how we managed to get that mixed up over here.

      While it's certainly typical to follow the main course after something so heavy as duck confit it would be quite nice to have a cool salad with tangy goat cheese to refresh the palate before moving on to the equally heavy lamb.

    2. i like perk's suggestion of a Provençal theme.

      some random ideas for other dishes, including a few that would use some of the same ingredients you listed:
      - herbed white beans with tomato and chevre
      - white bean soup w/pistou
      - duck rillettes
      - eggplant gratin
      - pissaladiere
      - gruyere gougeres with ratatouille
      - apricot or cherry clafoutis
      - almond tuiles with sorbet

      4 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Yes I think Provencal is a good idea. I was thinking Burgundy which (from what I know) is more traditional. Provencal may have more options that are more contemporary and not as rich?

        Great ideas there. YUM!

        1. re: mandarin

          Burgundy isn't any more traditional than anywhere else...just ask the Provencales!

        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Alternately, for the gougeres, serve with tapenade and tomato.

          The almond tuiles can be made into cups for the sorbet..

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            And....it's a great time of year to serve a bottle or two (or three) of rose from that region.
            Sounds like it would work with the menu.

          2. Cheese with eggplant sorbet seems unusual as eggplant is on the bitter side.

            How about Vichysoisse for the soup?

            16 Replies
            1. re: souschef

              ding ding ding -- we have a winner with the vichysoisse!

              1. re: alkapal

                oh, i was reminded that vichysoisse is not french in origin. http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/vich...

                1. re: alkapal

                  Hey! The chef was French and the name is French-sounding, so it's close enough for me.

                  I never would have guessed!

                  1. re: souschef

                    yep…i think of vichy france. not so good for the french.

                  2. re: alkapal

                    Should have been called a Diat Soup

                      1. re: souschef

                        You're not a big fan of puns then?

                        1. re: Harters

                          Would you stoop to puns about soup ?

                          1. re: souschef

                            I also do alliteration. A lot. So I would periodically piss in the potage.

                            1. re: Harters

                              Are your alliterations always amusing, seeing as they're coming from a playful, prolific punster ?

                        2. re: souschef

                          yeah. that one would have udon. ;-)

                    1. re: alkapal

                      oops, i've been reversing the "ss" placement with the "s" (had bouillabaisse on my mind) -- forgive me! anyhoo, check this from wiki: """In 1917, seeking to "invent some new and startling cold soup" for the menu at the Ritz-Carlton, he recalled his mother's soup.[potage bonne femme with added milk]. His experimenting soon led to a combination of "leeks, onions, potatoes, butter, milk, cream and other seasonings". Diat named it "crème vichyssoise glacée" (chilled cream vichyssoise),[after Vichy, a spa town near his birthplace in France that is famous for both its exceptional food and its springs. The new item enjoyed "instant success". Charles M. Schwab was the first to sample vichyssoise and requested another serving."""

                      ok, that is your fun fact for friday!

                      1. re: alkapal

                        Diat was Frencher than French, so by gum it works in my book.

                        1. re: alkapal

                          Charles M. Schwab was not as interesting a character as Charles M. Schultz.

                          1. re: souschef

                            Who made his money the old-fashioned way. I have the Gourmet French cookbook by M. Diat, incidentally. If it was French enough for midcentury Gourmet, it's French enough for me.

                      2. re: souschef

                        I actually like the idea of eggplant sorbet as it will be a nice pairing for cheese - not too sweet with some savory background.

                      3. I have always found that gougere are served hot out of the oven as the wonderful bite with a cocktail or first glass of wine. Made well they need nothing but to be crispy, cheesy and hot.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: escondido123

                          I agree that gougères are best on their own, but you should also try them with tapenade and tomato.

                          This is an adaptation of an hors d'oeuvre that I frequently serve - puff pastry squares topped with goat cheese and tomato, then baked, and as soon as they come out of the oven, topped with tapenade and served immediately. The texture, temperature, and flavour contrasts are great.

                        2. I'd drop the duck confit tarte -- very, very rich, pretty heavy, and with the lamb and veg, just a bit much, IMO.

                          It's more than okay to only have 5 courses -- most French restaurants and home tables go with 5.

                          I agree that the salad moves to after the main, if you're going for true French style...OR have the chevre salad as the appetizer. If you move the salad to the end of the meal, it's very appropriate/accepted to serve the salad with the cheese...in which case you'd put the chevre on the cheese plate and not on the salad.

                          I'd drop the eggplant sorbet, too -- I agree that it tends to the bitter side. Serve some grapes and walnuts with the cheese, or some dried fruit -- apricots or prunes -- depending on what sort of cheese you're serving.

                          Then dessert -- Crepes tend to be more cafe fare than restaurants -- and fair warning: they're a complete pita for a dinner party.


                          Watercress Soup
                          Roast lamb with spring veg
                          Pears or Creme brulee

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: sunshine842

                            I'm generally with sunshine regards the salad.

                            My visits to France are to the north of the country where I have never seen salad served on its own as a separate course. It comes as a starter - the goats cheese salad would be nice - or as an accompaniment to the cheese course. When doing the latter in a French style, remember it's eaten with a knife and fork.

                            FWIW, the menu from our most recent restaurnant meal (in April):

                            Les Escalopes de Foie graschaud, Grains et jus des Vignes

                            Les Noix de Saint-Jacques, sur une Crème d'endive et Caviar Avruga


                            Le Demi Homard décortiqué au Beurre de Corail


                            Les Langoustines Rôties sur Poireaux, compote de Pommes et Gingembre


                            Les Noix de Ris de Veau aux Morilles, Panier de Printemps


                            Le Curry de Lotte, Risotto aux Pommes, Raisins et Amandes


                            Les Filets de Sole soufflés aux Ecrevisses
                            Le Filet de Turbot aux Asperges, écume de Wissant


                            Le Filet de Boeuf au parfum Irlandais


                            Le Plateau de Fromages


                            Le Chariot de Desserts

                            (Restaurant was in Calais - Le Cote d'Argent)

                            1. re: Harters

                              Harters, I thought you did not like French food, or is it that you like it but do not cook it?

                              Re: eating a salad with a knife and fork, that's what I do, and am always amazed when I see someone using a fork in the right hand instead of the left, and the forefinger of the left hand taking the place of the knife, stuck into the food.

                              1. re: souschef

                                I love French food.

                                Although, apart from the classic national dishes, much of modern European cuisine now crosses frontiers as easily as people now can.

                                I suppose what I mean when I say I love eating French food is that I love eating food in France. It's only 21 miles away so there's always been an interchange of cooking.

                                Re. the knife & fork, I meant that they're provided to eat the cheese course with (whether or not salad is served)

                            2. re: sunshine842

                              Lots of great ideas here... I often had salad as an appetiser before the main whilst in France and surprised to hear it is so common to serve afterward. Interesting...

                              I think the gougere would be great as a small nibbly before the sit down courses.
                              Watercress soup or the suggested Vichysoisse (will have a look into that one)
                              THe Salad (to decide where to place) - will most likely be goats cheese so may have to think of another tart or even souffle/gratin idea

                              The eggplant sorbet I mentioned I had served to me in France with a cheese dish recently and surprisingly it was not bitter. Although will have to do a few test runs on that one to see how it goes.

                              I would really like to use duck aswell but unsure where to squeeze that in. But, yes I think the tart may be too rich

                              1. re: mandarin

                                If you want to serve duck, how about a nice piece of seared foie gras. Yes, I know that it's super-rich, but all you need to serve is a small portion.

                            3. I agree with others that serving the salad with cheese after the main course is the more "French" style. I'd start with the soup. Then, instead of a duck confit tart -- which is fairly heavy, especially if followed by the lamb -- how about a leek and goat cheese tart? We had that as a starter at a table d'hote at a B&B in the Loire years ago and still talk about how good it was. Of course, if you have goat cheese in that course, you might want to serve some other variety of cheese with the salad. As for a last, "sixth" course, I'd just serve good coffe with some "mignonettes" -- i.e., small sweets like truffles. In other words:

                              Watercress soup
                              Leek & goat cheese tart
                              roast lamb with spring veg
                              salad & cheese
                              dessert - I like the suggestion of almond tuile with sorbet
                              coffee with mignonettes

                              15 Replies
                              1. re: masha

                                That's a great suggestion, Masha -- if the OP goes with the leek and chevre tart, then drop the cheese out of the salad completely.

                                It's completely normal in France to serve a green salad of JUST lettuce with vinaigrette, particularly with the cheese course.

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  In France, the cheese was always its own course without salad. But I haven't been there in a decade so maybe things have changed.

                                  1. re: escondido123

                                    Maybe it's just a custom in the Loire, but at multiple restaurants our cheese was accompanied by a beautiful salad of greens in a light vinaigrette.

                                    1. re: masha

                                      I've seen it in all of the regions within the last few years, and our French friends typically serve the salad with the cheese at their homes (regardless of where they're from)

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        I'm not sure how common salad with cheese is in restaurants (at least in the Pas de Calais and Nord, where I do my French eating). Of the various places we go to, I can only think of one which serves salad (and it's delicious). The others serve in the more traditional form of just cheese, fruit & bread (although I like the fact that an increasing number seem to be adopting the British practice of serving a chutney)

                                        1. re: Harters

                                          I've seen it in Paris, the Loire, Alsace, Provence, and the southwest....that's a good chunk of the country, although certainly not all....

                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                            Slowly spreading north, then. LOL.

                                            'Tis a fine concept, IMO. Particularly when it's got a really sharp dressing to cut through the dairy.

                                            1. re: Harters

                                              exactly -- and the crunch from the lettuce plays nicely from the softness of the cheese.

                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                Indeed - although the place I've been served it regularly (in Albert, Somme) uses the floppier sort of lettuce. Still works very well.

                                              2. re: Harters

                                                I don't care for sharp dressings at all. To me a dressing should complement the salad, it should not assail the senses (which is what a sharp dressing does to me). In general I find that restaurants make their dressings too sharp. I don't like to pucker up if I'm not going to kiss anyone. :)

                                                1. re: souschef

                                                  OK I am getting there with the menu and the search is on for some great recipes... although Duck is missing from the menu so I would love some suggestions on where to slot it in. I previously had a duck confit tart but, yes, I agree it sounds too rich.

                                                  Watercress Soup
                                                  Salad - goats cheese
                                                  Roast lamb with spring veg
                                                  Cheeses (served with an interesting twist - tbc)
                                                  Creme brulee

                                                  1. re: mandarin

                                                    as much as I love duck AND lamb, it really isn't all that traditional to end up with two animal proteins in the same meal....something light like fish or shrimp as an appetizer, sure -- but not really red meat.

                                                    I even looked through some of my French cookbooks for you, and couldn't find a single red-meat-based appetizer other than beef carpaccio...which isn't really where you're going here....

                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                      I know that it isn't really traditional to do this... but I am thinking of it more as a degustation style lunch... where I have found that it is quite common to be served poultry followed by a red meat dish. The serves will be small.

                                                      For example.. I have previously been served a duck proscutto dish followed by venison, and another time a pheasant dish followed by beef fillet. So I suppose it will be more like a French degustation rather than a traditionally served French meal

                                                      1. re: mandarin

                                                        I should amend that to mean other than charcuterie (illogical, I know, but 'charcuterie' to me somehow mentally gets sorted into 'not a meat dish') -- lots of times there are thin slices of hams, sausages, terrines or pates with cornichons (all cold)....but not something like confit -- that is squarely in 'main dish' territory.

                                                        Cured, sliced duck breast with figs and a soft cheese would be a stellar starter...

                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                          And if you can find smoked cured duck where you are, the starter goes way beyond stellar.

                                                          Tasty, fatty smoky meat, rich sweet figs, a handful of dressed rocket scattered with a little mildish goats cheese. Perfect.

                                2. I remember having a great pizza in California made with duck bacon, so if you can find duck bacon, how about making a flammekueche to replace the duck confit tart.

                                  1. A week or so of experimenting & seeking new recipes I have made some progress in putting together this menu
                                    -Lavendar champagne cocktail (see photo) served with aioli, tapenade and crudites
                                    -. Potato & Leek Soup is perfected - will be serving with grissini sticks or bread sticks of some sort
                                    -Goats cheese salad - I have discovered a walnut oil/honey vinaigrette recipe to experiment with
                                    -Duck confit is a goer (I was really hoping to experiment with this) serving with duck fat potatoes
                                    -Lamb rack with a ratatouille stack (see picture) I thought it was an appropriate side
                                    -3 x types of french cheese with a coffee cumble & pear sorbet (the cheese journey - a smiliar dish I was served in France, just have to select the cheeses)
                                    -creme brulee

                                    28 Replies
                                    1. re: mandarin

                                      I like the sound of this - very French. A couple of comments though.

                                      I would swap the order of the soup and salad. Salad right at the beginning is very French. You're also serving two main courses in the duck and the lamb - is that not a bit too much?

                                      I'm presuming the taste of your aperitif, etc has worked well in your experimenting but it reads like the strong flavours of the aioli and tapenade might overpower the presumably delicate flavour of the champagne?

                                      I take it my invitation is in the post?

                                      1. re: Harters

                                        actually, you're doubling up on a couple of your courses.

                                        For a starter, I'd stick with either salad OR soup -- not both.

                                        And I agree with Harters -- confit with fried potatoes OR lamb with ratatouille, but not both. Confit tends to be a fall/winter dish, especially with the potatoes, and your guests won't be hungry enough to even touch the lamb.

                                        AND I echo the thought about the strong flavours of the nibbles -- they will beat the subtle taste and texture of the Champagne, give it a swirlie, and leave it sobbing in a corner of the locker room. For a truly Provencale aperitif that will stand up to your planned nibbles, go with a pastis - Pernod, Ricard, etc. (for the record, I'm an avid NON Lavender consumer -- love the smell in toiletries and around the house, but it tends to overpower everything else it touches, culinarily speaking. Lavender-flavored foods exist in France, but they're the exception, rather than the rule -- and IMO it's AWFUL in Champagne. If you are paying for a good Champagne, then serve it properly chilled just as it is. If you're opting for a cremant of other sparking, THEN put the sirop in that.)

                                      2. re: mandarin

                                        I agree with Harters and sunshine that serving confit and lamb would be a bit much, but you did indicate previously that you wanted a tasting-style menu and had been served such a combination before. May I suggest then that you take the confit off the bone and serve only a small portion; or shred it, put it on some pastry and you are back to your duck confit tart. I also suggest that you serve a sorbet between the two to give your guests' stomachs a bit of a rest.

                                        1. re: mandarin

                                          I myself wouldn't serve a creamy dessert after cheese - would suggest something crisp, perhaps with fruit?

                                          1. re: buttertart

                                            for a French menu, buttertart, that's not unusual at all...mousse, creme caramel, any of a bajillion pastries, creme brulee, faisselle, etc., etc., etc.

                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                              Ah oui? Vraiment? Savais pas.
                                              Just kidding!!! I just prefer the contrast aspect myself, it seems to balance things better - especially with fairly heavy intermediate courses.

                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                at our house, though, dessert leans heavily toward fruit -- usually warmed on the stove with a little sugar and booze (depends on the fruit) and served with a little creme fraiche, ice cream, or whipped cream on the side, as the guest desires

                                                Bananas with rum and brown sugar (Bananas Foster)
                                                Cherries with kirsch and honey
                                                Poached pears with red wine
                                                apple slices with honey or maple syrup and Calvados

                                                Etc etc etc -- quick, tasty, fairly light, and wasy.

                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                  Cut peach in half. Put in heatproof dish. Pop a little butter in the stone cavity. Drizzle with honey (preferably excessively). Stick under grill (or in oven) till soft and gooey. Eat.

                                                  Thank you, Nigel Slater - a wonderful recipe.

                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                      Forgot.......you also need your top quality vanilla ice cream of choice for perfection.

                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                        with lots and lots of vanilla bean wandering around in it, please (although Creme Brulee ice cream is nothing to sneeze at with peaches)

                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                          Creme brulee ice cream?

                                                          I want it NOW.

                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                            Take a look at one of the grand surfaces next time you're over -- La Laitiere makes the best one, IMO -- little bits of caramelised sugar in a VERY rich base. Carte d'Or's is good, but can't hold a candle to La Laitiere.

                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                              Drat! Carte D'Or is sold here of course - but no brulee amongst its flavours.

                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                I'd offer to send you some, but somehow I don't think it would work all that well....

                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                  We off to Mallorca next month. Carrefour bought out a local supermarket chain a few years ago so I'll see if the Carte d'Or they sell includes the brulee.

                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                    in Mallorca, they might have something more Spanish-inspired --perhaps a dulce de leche or a flan...might not be the exact same, but might give you that creamy-caramelly-salty flavor.

                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                      Oh, yes, indeed. Lots of sweet stuff.

                                                                      But......brulee......ice cream......you know.......WANT.....NOW!

                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                        if it makes you feel any better, I don't have any in my freezer, and it's Sunday afternoon, so I won't get any until tomorrow, at least!

                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                          Nothing make me feel better at present - I'm trying to lose weight and am on such a restrictive diet that even thinking about ice cream seems to add calories. LOL.

                                              2. re: sunshine842

                                                Looking back at my notes of our last meal in France (in April), we had some superb cheeses from the Pas de Calais, followed by Iles flottant (her) & tarte aux chocolate (moi). I assume creme brulee wasnt on the menu as, if it had been, herself would have ordered it. Herself always orders brulee.

                                                1. re: Harters

                                                  I've had creamy desserts after cheese too, but offsetting the richness with something non-dairy appeals to me after this menu.

                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                    There's some off-setting stuff along with the cheese. I've never seen sorbet served there but as mandarin as eaten it, I presume it must work fine.

                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                      Would something lemony but dairy work for you? Something like a lemon tart.

                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                        IMO, tarte au citron is *never* out of place on a French style menu.

                                                        Or any other style menu for that matter.

                                              3. re: mandarin

                                                would. hate. lavender. champagne.

                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                  I'm with you, alkapal -- to me, lavender belongs in the laundry or cleaning products, or dabbed on my wrists, but keep it out of the kitchen. Pleh.

                                                  Poppy (coquelicot), violet, and rose can be nice IN MODERATION, though -- lest anyone think I have an issue with flowers in general.

                                              4. Ah yes the lavendar champagne cocktail is on my "to experiment list" - I think to me it was the presentation that caught my eye... so I wonder if it were just champagne with a sprig of lavendar as a garnish whether the lavendar flavour would be overpowering? hmmm

                                                Also re; 2 mains... yes, it is a tasting style menu so all portions (of everyting) will be very small....

                                                And , dessert - 2 guests do not like fruit... I was originally loving the idea of pear soaked in wine and settled on creme brulle because it's just so simply delicious! But theres still time to search for something else. How about something like a rum soaked cake... or pastry and cream based dessert? hmmm

                                                7 Replies
                                                1. re: mandarin

                                                  Rum-soaked cake - how about a savarin. It can be served with whipped cream.

                                                  For a pastry and cream-based dessert I suggest salambos - choux puffs filled with rum-flavoured pastry cream, the tops dipped in caramel and topped with chopped pistachios. Or a St. Honoré.

                                                  BTW is your leak and potato soup going to be served hot or cold?

                                                  I agree that if you are serving Champagne it should be served naked.

                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                    I would very happliy scarf up either of those.
                                                    Champagne is best consumed naked.

                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                        That I should. Once I get over a certain other project.

                                                  2. re: mandarin

                                                    Ah, if you want pretty for your aperitif, go for a Kir Royale and drop a raspberry or two into it.

                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                      Definitely. I hate lavender in all applications, especially gastronomic.

                                                    2. re: mandarin

                                                      We like champagne served with a little bit of sorbet, peach, pineapple or lemon are very good

                                                    3. I'm hosting a french inspired tasting menu for my wine club in a few weeks. Its looking something like this:

                                                      Amuse Buche: Poached Shrimp on a fork w/avacado salsa (The French Laundry)

                                                      Raw oysters (3 kinds)
                                                      - Champagne

                                                      Arugula Salad w/Heirloom Beets, Walnuts, Chevre, Raw honey/Dijon vinegrette
                                                      - Sancerre

                                                      Seared Sea Scallop on truffled Beurre Blanc
                                                      -White Burgundy

                                                      Pan Seared Fois on Brioche French Toast and Port/Plum sauce
                                                      - Alsacian Vendage Tardive

                                                      Duck Roulade w/corn and Morels (The French Laundry)
                                                      - Red Burgundy

                                                      Pan Roasted Alberta Lamb Sirloin, Duck Fat fingerlings, Hericot Vert
                                                      - Red Bourdeax

                                                      Chocolate Souflee, Grenache, Creme Anglais
                                                      - Espresso/Coffee/Tea.

                                                      Do you need wine pairing help?? Once youre menu is fixed, dont hesitate to ask.

                                                      Please forgive my spelling :-P

                                                      20 Replies
                                                      1. re: KraTToR

                                                        Your menu sounds fantastic.. and, yes, wine pairing is the next step. I will post up the finished mennu shortly. Thankyou

                                                        1. re: mandarin

                                                          mandarin, when are you going to prepare this dinner of yours?

                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                            The date is to be decided... I am aiming on 6-7 weeks time. It will be more like a "long lunch" though... starting at noon and no doubt drifting into the evening. Taking time to indulge in food & wine...

                                                            1. re: mandarin

                                                              you, like my sister, like to ponder and mull over and revise your menu for a special event. i think she gets as much enjoyment from thinking about it as doing it.

                                                              hope it turns out well. i'm not planning any parties until it gets much cooler.

                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                Yes I do... been experimenting with each recipe 2-3 times aswell! Half the fun is getting there....

                                                        2. re: KraTToR

                                                          A couple of questions/comments:

                                                          1) How did you come up with Sancerre (my favourite white) to go with the salad? I'm not questioning your choice; I would just like to know the reasoning behind it.

                                                          2) I'm wondering how the soft foie would go with the soggy French toast. Do you not want a textural contrast ? Perhaps just toasted brioche?

                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                            I thought about that, too, souschef -- foie would traditionally be served on *toasted* brioche, not battered as "French toast" -- alternately, toasted plain white bread.

                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                              Good point, I did a practice run of this dish last week and found I had to add more grey salt and minced chive garnish to help overcome the richness of the Foie. Maybe it was the french toast that put it over the edge. I'll test your suggestions before the dinner. What do you think about grilling the Brioche over charcoal? Give it a touch of "campfire toast" flavour?

                                                              1. re: KraTToR

                                                                Nope -- just lightly toasted; no crust -- let the foie sing by itself. If there has to be an addition, keep it simple and traditional -- confit d'oignons or confit de figue.

                                                                Don't gild this lily -- it's best when it's as unmessed with as possible.

                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                  Do you have a good recipe resourse for either of these? personally i'd lead towards the Fig but I do like onion jam with a cheese plate (another time :-)

                                                                  1. re: KraTToR

                                                                    I usually buy it (I'm in France, so local producers are a dime a dozen) -- but I'd bet my lunch money on this for the onion:


                                                                    the confiture de figue is just a regular fig preserves -- figs cooked down with pectin.

                                                                    (I'll eat either, but I prefer the fig -- which is amazing with cheese and charcuterie, too)

                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                      "I'm in France"

                                                                      Now i'm really jealous :-)

                                                                      Totally agree with the fig with cheese and charcuterie.

                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                        The Spanish pan de higo is another good figgy thing with cheese - particularly, IMO, with a really sharp goaty or sheepy one. My partner is currently in Mallorca and has orders to bring some back.

                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                          Do you also like membrillo (quince paste)?

                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                            Yes - but not so much as the fig.

                                                                            Actually, I normally prefer to eat cheese without anything sweet. Cheese, celery, good bread and you have a happy Harters

                                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                                              Me too, but Port and Roquefort - a marriage made in heaven! But on their own, I like neither.

                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                a really good Roquefort, drizzled with honey and a nicely-chilled Sauternes alongside. Food and drink of the gods.

                                                              2. re: souschef

                                                                The Sancerre and Goat's Cheese (Chevre) is a natural pairing and the acidity of the wine will off-set the sweetness of the beets. The dressing has a citrus component (lemon) which works with this as well.

                                                              3. re: KraTToR

                                                                You may have trouble finding morels at this time of the year.

                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                  I saw fresh ones (local) this past weekend at a specialty market, not to say they'll be in season in 2 weeks.
                                                                  I have family on Vancouver Island and they send me a pile of dried ones every year. Not as good as fresh but I've found that if I'm real gently when reconstituting them, they're pretty good.
                                                                  TFL recipe has duck stock, brunious, chives and parsley added to them so I't not like the dried wont work well in this case.