Last July I commented on the concept of ‘home-made’ and how truth in advertising hasn’t always been adopted universally. We Americans continue to trail the Europeans in understanding what we are eating, where it came from and how it was prepared. However, there are numerous indications that we are, in fact, closing that gap but still have a long, long way to go. The French attempted to address the home-made issue with the Fait Maison regulations. Additionally, France has long recognized Maître Restaurateurs and launched this July was a new association, French Association of Maître Restaurateurs, to formally promote that recognition as well as the Restaurateurs de France et Cuisineries Gourmandes. Membership with all of its privileges requires:
“The quality maitre restaurateur, is a guarantee of cooking elaborated on the spot with quality rough materials by professionals’ team of the restoration. The proposed dishes must be diversified: at least 4 dishes in entrance, 4 main courses and 4 desserts. Besides, in term of punctual suggestions, at least, either an entrance, or 1 main course, or 1 dessert must be daily renewed. This title, awarded by order of the prefect, is subjected to an audit of control respecting every aspect of the specifications of Maitres Restaurateurs.”
There are specific conditions that also must be maintained and I especially liked the ones regarding Products of the Table:
- Cooking is done on site.
- Purchase meats and cured foods from artisans or independent small and medium-sized enterprises with mastery in their products.
- Do not use prepared dishes.
- Use mostly fresh products.
I received my bi-monthly note from La Ferrandaise Restaurant, 8 rue de Vaugirard, located very near to the Luxembourg Gardens on the eastern end of the longest street in Paris. In their current bi-monthly newsletter they announced their Maître Restaurateur status and provided their upcoming menu. If you are going to Paris and would like a true hand crafted meal from locally sourced fresh produce and basic ingredients sourced from small and medium-sized independent artisans then head towards the Sorbonne and enjoy. On our last visit to Paris we had a lunch and a dinner here; the food was very well prepared, the service was crisp yet friendly and inviting, the wine always seems to run out before I do. The other benefit was there are two bus stops close by, either of which would take us back to our flat in the 7th.
Oh, if you do peruse the English version of the menu, don’t be put off by “The butcher’s piece of sucking veal, Roseval potatoes, shiitakes cream” their ability to translate French menus is still better than mine. I think we can all agree that the original version is much more appetizing Pièce de veau lait, pdt roseval, crème de shiitakes.