I am gradually catching up on writing the reports of my recent travels to England and France and would like to share my experiences with Chowhounders. These were written from notes made at the time.
Rue des Abbesses, Paris, France
For our first Parisian lunch together, F wanted to take me to Montmartre were we could sit on a sunny sidewalk terrace and while away the time over some simple French food. He told me that Le Sancerre is always the first place he visits whenever he hits town. F had long been raving to me over this sauccisson and that saucisson, none of which are available in the USA so I considered it my duty to find out what he had been talking about asap. I sampled, therefore, a plate of the charcuterie.
Pork rillettes were a little salty for my taste but nonetheless delicious. The pate was strong in the liver department, and I am not a huge fan of liver (unless it is called foie gras), but it had a good garlicky flavour. The French relative of serrano and prosciutto, the 'jambon pays', was outstanding. It was dry, more like a serrano but without the tinge of bitterness I sometimes detect in the Spanish version. Jambon blanc, the regular French ham was I expected, and very much like English ham, but nothing like American ham which is always smoked or flavoured in some way. You can buy this type of French ham in the Bay area - I always purchase it from Mollie Stones where it is simply called "French Ham".
F started giving me my saucisson lesson. Sausisecche is a small dry garlicky sausage whilst the larger fatter saucisson sec was a little less dry and consequently less of a favourite with me. The platter of cold meats was served with cornichons (de riguer avec les Francais), salad, baguette and butter. I took a Kir to whet my thirst - a blend of white wine and cassis whilst F celebrated the afternoon with a large cold beer. He had been dreaming, aloud, about a saucisson sec, beurre and cornichon sandwich for weeks, and at last the picture he'd been repeating in his head over and over again was a happy reality.