Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 6: Halles de Lyon & Graduation

11PM: Halles de Lyon
       Today is a bittersweet day- we get to visit Paul Bocuse's "grocery store", but we also graduate from his Insitut. I'm not ready to say goodbye to my favorite Chefs! But before I start my wallowing, we'll look at the sweet part- the fancy grocery store of Lyon (as I like to call it)
          Rows upon rows of sweet, delicate pastries, aisles of cheese, and meat carcasses hanging from ceilings. Yup, this is true. Everything was as fresh as can be. I wasn't particularly grossed out, I was more fascinated at the freshness of everything around me! The chicken is sold with the heads on so that the customer knows not only the freshness, but also what type of poultry you will be getting. If in America they did this, people would NOT eat chicken because their heads would be pulverized from all the cruelty that goes on in factory farms! Sorry about the rant- it just astonishes me every time I see the difference in America and Europe- everything in Europe is so fresh, and you can definitely trust your vendors as to what you're buying!
         Enough about the meat and more about desserts- these macarons looked to die for! So many exotic flavors that are so hard to find! My favorite place was called "Seve"- I bought some chocolate encased in a hazelnut meringue and brought them to my family. These little truffle-bites are a Lyon specialty- and my family loved them! I also bought some Epoisse cheese from another MOF (this is the cheese we taste tested and was my favorite). My brother loves cheese, and the consistency of the cheese reminded me of something like string cheese for some reason! Obviously, if I told the MOF this, he might have a slight heart palpitation. But Chef Patrick told me to get it vacuum-packed because it is a very "stinky" cheese- thank goodness he did otherwise all my luggage would smell! 

1PM: Back at IPB
          When we got back to the Institut, we had something I was craving at the Halles de Lyon- Paella! It was crazy- the top picture here is a Paella that was at Halles de Lyon and the bottom picture is what we had at the Institut- they look so similar! I love how in Europe, when you ask for something, you get what you want every time. It's like, all their recipes are all handed down! for example- if you ask for a hollandaise sauce, or there's a stock, you know that it's going to be homemade hollandaise (not the powdered and add water) and the stock is going to be freshly prepared (not from a bullion cube). This kind've freshness is what makes me love the aspect and environment of France- no wonder why everyone looks so vibrant and healthy!

2:30PM- Graduation
          Our time at IPB has come, and I bet the chefs felt bittersweet to have us crazy Americans graduate! We had a little ceremony for each of us- and our pastry chef made us a cute chocolate and raspberry cake and gave us some champagne! When I received my diploma, the chefs called me the girl who couldn't eat anything (haha). I bet it's hard for a chef to cater to someone with so many restrictions, which made me feel a little bad, especially with the Celiac Disease. I bet in Europe, they don't have as many dietary restrictions- I feel like it is something that America battles with more than most countries usually do. Trying to tell someone in Europe "sans gluten" is like trying to figure out a math problem created by Albert Eistein. But in America, it's becoming so common and so well-known, nowadays many restaurants cater to such dietary restrictions. I keep on saying that if I lived in Europe, I would probably consume meat and such, but in America, after HRIM 228 and even before that class, my vegetarianism began to kick in. Well anyways, our time at the Institut has come to an end, and it was a great experience and opportunity to be with such prolific chefs. probably the most memorable experience of my life. All the recipes we made I've been inspired to either renovate, or create. I can't wait to go home and recreate the recipes!

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