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Cheese Festival

6 Jun Gorgeous Cheese Display by Dominique Bouchait
Mariners' rest, a lovely little bar

Mariners' rest, a lovely little bar

Today marks the last weekend of my last academic summer holiday in my LIFE. :O Good thing I didn’t quite waste it. On Saturday, I attended a cheese workshop at Hullet House. The workshop was part of a 5 day festival organized by One Minute Before called Cheese Refiners Days. They invited 2 cheese refiners from France, Philippe Marchand & Dominique Bouchait, to give a series of talks.

Hullet House

Hullet House

In addition, Chef Philipe Orrico of Hullet House and Food Designer Loïc Serot also took part in the festival. More information on this site. I miss French cheese soooo much I had to join!

As my sleeping schedule was so screwed up for the past month, I couldn’t sleep until 5 am, but had to wake up at 9:30 to get to Hullet House in time for the 11 am workshop. :S I had a massive headache that morning, but thankfully a lot of good cheese and wine woke me up.

The Masters

The Masters

First of all, Monsieur Marchand gave a talk on the origins of cheese. He identified the different categories of cheese, which I don’t really remember, but looked it up on his website afterwards. They include:

1) Les pâtes fraîches: fresh cheese

2) Les pâtes molles à croûte fleurie: soft cheese with a bloomed rind

3) Les pâtes molles à croûte lavée: soft cheese with a washed rind

4) Les pâtes persillées: blue cheese

5) Les pâtes pressées non cuites: pressed cheese which is not cooked

6) Les pâtes pressées cuites: pressed and cooked cheese

7) Les pâtes fondues: cheese fondue

8) Les recuites: cheese made from cooked whey (which is called lactosérum in French…that’s so cute! haha. it DOES look like sérum)

9) Les fromages de chèvre: goat cheese

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A Day Filled with Learning and History

27 Apr Louvre at night...even more beautiful

Oh my god I can’t believe the hecticness of today managed to top yesterday! So morning was filled with OTs again, and I even got to see the OTs with local anaesthesia today. I left around 2 pm to head over to the Musée Dupuytren as planned. Also PK-ed at the university and twisted my ankle in front of 5 medical students…2 of which were pretty cute guys. Sigh…I’m a klutz. Oh well…saw LOTS of weird specimens at the museum! There were conjoint twins….stomach cancer…ovarian cancer….skeletons with rickets………it’s really a med student’s paradise haha. Photos prohibited though, so you’re just gonna have to visit yourself (if you’re not creeped out by these kinda things). What I liked the MOST  though was the office prior to the museum where the professors worked. It was filled with boxes of specimens and really, really, REALLY old books!! I regret not taking a picture. 😦 It was really cool. Not something you’d find in HK universities, which are relatively new.

So after that nerdy

Eglise Saint-Germain-des-Près: the oldest church in Paris

Eglise Saint-Germain-des-Prés: the oldest church in Paris

I then took the metro to Saint-Germain-des-Prés to visit the church there, which is the oldest church in Paris I believe (dates back to the 6th century). I actually wanted to come yesterday after the Museum of the History of Medicine, but it was closed for a concert. I find it cool that many concerts in Paris are held in old churches! This church is very different from the other churches I’ve seen. The art is more simple, and there’s a lot of wood instead of stone or marble.

I had the pata de vedao

I had the pata de vedao

I was getting hungry so I headed over to my favourite Monoprix in Paris, the one across from the church. Why is it my favourite? Because they have the biggest bread and pastry selection……duh. My target today was something I’ve seen in my past few visits – something called a pata de vedao. The name sounds Portuguese, but I looked it up and couldn’t find anything about it on the Internet…:S anyone want to enlighten me? It looks like a sponge cake, and was very moist. I’ve never had tres leches cake, but this is what I would imagine it’d taste and feel like. It tasted like it was soaked in some sort of sweet milk, and the exterior was coated with coconut flakes. So I’m thinking they just made the name up…and it’s actually tres leches cake……….but I’ll have to try the real thing some time and compare. I then headed home, picking up half a dozen of Berko cupcakes and a cheesecake for tonight.

A little bit later, I headed out to the Centres Georges Pompidou again to finish where I left off 2 days ago, namely the pre-60s collection upstairs. I liked this part of the museum much more as I can appreciate this kind of art a lot more. To each his/her own I guess. Love Picasso and Matisse! Then……Louvre again. Yes, I went to the Louvre AGAIN. Lol…museum-heavy week.

The famous blue hippotamus in the Louvre

The famous blue hippotamus in the Louvre

Tonight the Louvre closed at 10 (Wednesdays and Fridays), so I hung out until it closed. The Louvre is even more enchanting at night. I’m totally in love.

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Bastille Market

24 Apr Breton galette for meeeeee

Today I planned to wake up early to head down to the Louvre before going to Versailles (yes again) to watch an equestrian performance at the Grand Ecurie. Unfortunately, I’m just not one for waking up early and I woke up at 8:45, which would mean huge line-ups at the Louvre, especially since it’s Easter. I was planning to go to Sunday mass at Notre Dame at 10, and I didn’t think I would make it if I went to the Louvre. So I headed out for some early morning wandering instead…

All-You-Can-Spread at Le Pain Quotidien

All-You-Can-Spread at Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien is a chain store selling organic breads in “naturally” decorated cafés with lots of wood panelling, communal wooden tables, and lots of bread. But that’s not what made me happy. I ordered a croissant au beurre for here, and what was ON the table made me happiest. ALL YOU CAN SPREAD spreads!!! They had Brunette (hazelnut butter), Noisella (nutella dupe but organic), Blondie (white chocolate spread), Noir (dark chocolate spread), and various jams, but who cares about jams when you have unlimited chocolate spreads? Ok, just kidding, their cherry jam was excellent paired with the dark chocolate spread. So, for 2.20 euros, I had a croissant as a side dish to my million different kinds of spreads. And also went through my guidebook (which I only started reading today. Yes, my last week. lol) trying to decide where to go.

Easter Sunday Mass at Notre Dame

Easter Sunday Mass at Notre Dame

I decided I would head over to the Île de la Cité a bit earlier in case there were lines at Notre Dame, and thank god I did, as the lines were SNAKING. Ah spring break. Fortunately, I got into the cathedral just as the Gregorian mass was about to start, and attended my first mass in…many years (not since I switched high schools from a Catholic one to a secular one I believe). It was calming, and I must admit I sort of missed it. 🙂 Not to mention the venue was gorgeous and it’s breathtaking to imagine mass a few hundred years ago here. The picture above is of the English mass, after the Gregorian mass, which I snapped as I was leaving.

My next stop was the Bastille market across the street from the Opéra Bastille, a starkingly modern structure in contrast to everything else in Paris. I actually read about the market in the guidebook this morning, and I’m glad I did. Or else, I would’ve missed the chance to experience an outdoor market!

Bastille Market

Bastille Market

It was bustling and lively. There were stalls selling all kinds of things: raw meats, rotisserie, fresh oysters, Breton specialties, North African goodies, Greek deli items, Italian stalls, cheap clothing, shoes, fruits, vegetables, Chinese food, Bob the Paella guy (I think it’s a franchise), breads, LOTS of cheese, Portuguese food, and street musicians. Oh, and underwear. Yea. Kinda reminded me of 女人街, except the food they sell is a lot classier.

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