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SLOW FRENCH episodes of January 2021 in Cultivate Your French

Une journée remplie de vert

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In December, I could not find my Carte Vitale when I needed it. The Carte Vitale allows to directly send by Internet a note of the expense that you had at a doctor, a dentist, etc to the Social Security. Then you get, directly on your bank account, a partial reimbursement of the expense. I couldn’t find mine, but I remembered that I had given it to Pietro when he had gone to the dentist with Felicia. No, he told me, I don’t have it, I gave it back to you when I came back.

So, my card was somewhere at home. My bigger worry was to have thrown it away by mistake. I told Pietro that it was his fault, because he had given it back to me not at a proper moment. Yes, I admit this was unfair! I tried not to worry to much. But one night, something happened… this is what you are going to hear in today’s episode.

La galette des Rois présentée par Thomas Paris (boulangerie Montgolfière, Paris 17°

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Dear listeners, I’m very happy to make this episode today.Last week, I had the opportunity to speak with the talented baker Thomas Paris at Boulangerie Montgolfière in the 17th arrondissement of Paris. He agreed to take time from his busy day to have a nice talk about the galette des rois, this wonderful cake that we eat in France to celebrate Epiphany. Thomas Paris explained me to me that to make a good a galette the first thing you need is a good puff pastry, une pâte feuilletée. To make one you need a good butter. Thomas Paris uses a butter from Charente Poitou its a butter with a flowery taste. The butter’s flavour is the common thread of the galette’s taste. He also uses a flour with no pesticides residues and that will allow the galette to keep its perfect circle shape. But there is another subtlety about his pâte feuilletée : it’s inverted puff pastry. Instead of putting the butter in the dough, it’s the dough that is put in the butter. Yes, very strange to imagine, but the butter used is a special one called « beurre manié », it contains flour.

Thomas Paris told me about the impression that you get when you take the first bite of galette des rois made with this type of dough. Then, I asked him how long it takes to make a galette… do you have any idea? This is what you are going to hear in today’s episode.

Les immeubles anciens de Bécon

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The neighbourhood where we live is called « Bécon-les-Bruyères », it is situated at the intersection of three towns : Courbevoie, Asnières-sur-Seine and Bois-Colombes.

The train station of Bécon-les-bruyères was opened to the public in 1891 and then buildings started to appear around the station, as it happened in all the Parisian suburbs at that time. Even though, they were mainly buildings with flats to let, each of them had it own style! They are often rather colourful because bricks were often used in this period. Architects used to play with the different colours or finish of enameled bricks to draw patterns on the façade.

During the second lockdown, my friend Anne-Laure and I met every thursday for a walk in our neighbourhood.I had pulled out from my library the excellent book by Historian Pierre Mignot about Paris façades. We often started our walk at the station. Buildings from the same period can be so different. We also noticed the houses. It was important at that time to be close to the railway, close to modernity. There are a lot of very big and very nice houses near the railways. Each walk offered us some nice discoveries, this is what you are going to hear in today’s episode.

Le goût de Kougelhopf

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I received as a Christmas present from my parents a kougelhopf baking tin. I really enjoy this enriched bread typical of the East of France (and other countries of Central Europe) because I ate some when I was a child. It had such a wonderful taste, the taste of kougelhopf.

During the holidays, I started to bake some and it has become Micaela and Felicia’s favourite breakfast. I baked two pieces at the same time and I kept them in a large metal tin.

Did my kougelhopf had that special taste? This is what you are going to hear in today’s episode.

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