Travels with a Gourmet

a food lover's travels, memorable meals, culinary trials and gastronomic experiences

On our last evening in Paris, we met up with friends from Dubai, Daria and Chad, who moved to Paris in March last year. We had drinks at their apartment in the 5th then walked the few blocks to Brasserie Balzar, another of Paris’ traditional brasseries. The place was packed for a Sunday evening so it was a good thing we had reserved a table. The girls took over the banquette and the boys sat across. As soon as we ordered, the boys caught up on each other’s work news while Daria and I caught up on gossip and shoes – typical girls’ stuff.

We all decided to share our appetizers – Chad had the beet and lamb’s lettuce salad, Daria the goat cheese salad, A the leek vinaigrette and the pumpkin soup for me. Sourdough bread and demi-sel butter were set on the table along with a bottle of chilled Brouilly. The starters were good – exactly what we wanted. Next came Aile de Raie au beurre noir (skate wing with black butter) and steak tartare for everyone else. Again, no mistakes here – crispy fries, spicy tartare and the skate was as it should be, soft and buttery.

We stayed on after dinner and talked some more, ordered two desserts to share – profiteroles and the last (extra-large) slice of mille-feuille on the pastry table. Slowly, the places started to empty and soon enough there were only a few tables left so we asked for the bill, walked back to their apartment to say good night and ask for some Ziploc bags for the two cheese we were taking back to Marbella.

It’s been a week since we left Paris and there is only a small hunk (hardly) of cheese left. We’ve been nibbling the cheese daily since we arrived – a little slice after dinner, a small wedge for a snack and now there’s only a little bit left. The Comté was nutty and perfect for a little snack. I also had some in a gourmet grilled cheese with some fresh Ciabatta bread. The Mimolette was a first for us both – harder than the Comté and orange in colour, we were surprised at how similar to Parmesan it tasted but with a little bit more of a bite. This is the kind of cheese that you hack at continuously and nibble bit by bit. Thanks to Tonger for this gourmet gift that made our Paris break last a week longer. Now, it’s time to plan our next holiday – Las Vegas in a week.

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