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Give Your Next Book Club Meeting a Taste of France

When D’Arcy arrives at the Chateau Lieu des Reves, she doesn’t shy away from indulging in the homemade pastries and food prepared for guests.  Whether it’s that first dinner with Josh or the romantic picnic they share—there’s always something delicious on the menu in France.

To create your own decadent French picnic, Natasha Lester has some suggestions:

 

Tarte Tatin: an upside-down pastry with fruit (often apple) that is caramelized in butter and sugar before the tart is baked.

 

French Baguette: a classic French loaf of bread characterized by its long, thin shape and crispy crust.

 

Paté: a paste, pie or loaf consisting of ground liver with a variety of other ground meat (pork, poultry, fish) combined with herbs, spices and either wine or brandy.  A platter of different types of paté served with slices of baguette will allow guests to sample different tastes.

 

Cheese: like the paté, creating a platter with a few different flavors and textures of cheese makes for a nice tasting experience served with the baguette.  Some popular French cheeses include Brie, Gruyere, Roquefort, and Chevre.

 

Chocolate Tarts: a type of custard tart with a mixture of dark chocolate, cream and eggs are poured into a sweet pastry shell and baked until firm.

 

Macarons: sweet pastries made with almond powder or ground almond, they come in a variety of flavors denoted by different colors and types of filling.  Note that macarons are different from the macaroon, which is coconut based.

 

Palmiers: pastry in the shape of a palm leaf or heart.  They are also known as French Hearts or Elephant Ear among other names.

 

Cherry Clafoutis: a type of tart consisting of a sweet custard batter mixed with ripe cherries and baked.  While cherries are the traditional fruit used in this dish, other fruits can be substituted.

 

Champagne or wine is always a good choice to pair with any of these treats and plentiful around France.  But if you’re looking for something a little bolder Natasha has shared her favorite recipe for a Manhattan.

2 oz. Whiskey
1 oz. sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Serve with a twist of orange