Assiette de Beurre

This week, a friend of ours is hosting a high-school-aged family friend from the US. This has given Sarah the opportunity to play part-time tour guide for Aric (that’s the friend-of-friend) during the week, while his host family has been working.

Their time thus far has been split between Versailles, and a shopping/cafe/chocolate tour through the downtown core. Sarah has some experience with the latter, and I think she’s getting pretty good at finding some of the finer choices around town.

I met up with them last night towards the end of their day, just in time to catch a quick dinner before Aric had to run off to Zorro: The Musical. They’d both already had the standard quick bites that the city has to offer (sandwich, panini, kebab, etc.) so we opted for brasserie fare instead. We managed to find a reasonably priced menu that included dinner and dessert and would give our guest some choice in what he’d like to try.

Between us, we ordered one of each of the dishes offered that day…

  • A Duo of Fish, in a butter and chive sauce, served over ratatouille.
  • Tortellini Primavera.
  • Chicken Fricassee (basically roast chicken and boiled potatoes, swimming in buttery chicken broth).

…with Apricot Pie, Apple Tart and a cheese plate for dessert. The cheese plate was a little unusual compared to what we usually find in France. Typically, you’d get either an assortment of three cheeses, or a single type cut very large. Aric’s plate came with two slices – one blue and another cream coloured.

I’m sure if you understand the title, above, you know where this is headed at this point. Unfortunately, poor naive Aric, and his not-so-bright hosts, did not.

Aric dared the blue first, but I don’t think he’d really developed a taste for it just yet, so it didn’t sit well. At this point in the evening we were running behind so we counted out our change for the waiter, and rushed to pull our bags and coats together before running out the door. “Eat the white one then…” we encouraged, “I don’t know what it is, but just cut a big piece and let’s get out of here.”

OK, so that was a bit of a fib. I was actually pretty sure it was comté, a harder cheese that’s a little like a mild cheddar. Or possibly a gouda of some kind. In any case, it had to be tasty, there are very few cheeses that are not worth eating in this country.

“Well, what do you think?” I asked.

“I think…” he quietly started, interrupting himself to take a bite of bread and a large gulp of water, “…that it was butter.”

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