France’s best kept secret

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Michelin starred Maestro Chef Arnaud Faye, Cyril Akimowicz and Lucie Rousseau.
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World famous Chantilly cream

I’m excited. I’m learning at a very fast pace. I’m also luxuriating in all the deliciousness of the experience. I’m in France, my most favorite country and that too in Picardy (where France was born), right next to Paris. I have so much to share and a space constraint, so am going to serve you, small DID U KNOW bites.

DID YOU KNOW…FRANCE WAS BORN IN PICARDY? And this in 486 when Clovis made Soissons the first capital of the Franks, in 486, and later Hugues Capet, was elected king of France at Senlis and crowned at Noyon in 987.

So you see how  this past makes Picardy the original French region?

DID U KNOW…  WORLD-FAMOUS CREAM CHANTILLY WAS INVENTED IN THE 17TH CENTURY ?  The bowl of cream you see in the photograph is no ordinary cream, it’s the stuff dreams are made of. It’s velvety, it’s silky, its Chantilly. It takes it’s name from the domaine of Chantilly  which is part of the regionof Picardy. I not only get a delicious taste of the crème Chantilly in it’s birthplace but also watch it being whipped into the magical snow that it is. It was first created herein the royal banquets centuries ago by the famous ood maestro Vatel. Its in  the picturesque cottage-like Restaurant du Hameau (in the grounds of the castle) that I taste the authentic version.  Along with Olivier and Lucie not only do we eat up the creme Chantilly (with strawberries) but I also go back In a horse carriage (this is the equestrian capital of France) and in the luxurious yet cozy  Auberge du jeu de Paume hotel’s spa, actually have a chantilly cream massage. This is what I call, “having my cream and eating it too” . it sure is the world’s  crème de la crème!

DID YOU KNOW… THIS FAIRY TALE LAND IS NEXT TO THE PARIS AIRPORT?

Not only is Picardy a fabulous fairy tale region but (hold your breath)  it is located twenty minutes away from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport. It’s also within one of the largest most beautiful forests of the Paris region. Im just about getting over these pleasant surprises,  when like in a fairy tale, the Chantilly castle  seems to rise out of the tranquil lake. I zip through it’s finest French collection of ancient masterpieces, (second only to the Louvre) Picardy has carefully preserved the elements of true French lifestyle – medieval châteaux, typical French villages, spectacular seaside resorts, gourmet food, stunning cathedrals, cultural treasures, champagne routes, romantic gardens, and not to forget a certain French art de vivre…

From taking a boat ride on the Floating Gardens, to riding  Europe’s most sensational roller coasters at Park Asterix, I do it all

DID YOU KNOW … DESI FOOD PAIRS WITH FRENCH CHAMPAGNE ?

More suprises…not only does French champagne pair brilliantly with Indian food, but I do an actual tasting of both together. And that too in the historic, medieval cellar of Champagne Pannier. Even though Ive done a lot of TV shoots for my show in the Champagne region I had no idea that the Champagne Tourist Route runs through the Picardy region. A walk through with the champagne expert in the Pannier medieval underground cellar is an amazing trip into history. The guided tasting of the exquisite champagnes is equally amazing. But what blows my mind  is how the French not only pair their precious champagne with Indian kababs and curries but also make an effort to do so for us Indian visitors.  And this premium champagne is served in the l’Elysée Palace (French President’s house) and Air France Business Class too.

MICHELIN MASTERPIECES

Over centuries, Art in every form  has been nurtured in Picardy by kings and queens and llustrious families. Creative geniuses have from Vatel, organiser of extravagant banquets for Louis XIV, to Le Nôtre, creator of magnificent French-style gardens have been celebrated here. Continuing this noble tradition the elegant luxury hotel,  Auberge du Jeu de Paume,  keeps the flame of this tradition burning with its gourmet restaurant, Michelin starred La Table du Connétable.

Arnaud Faye honed his skills under the superstars of gasronomy fromMichel Roth at the Ritz, Thierry Marx at the Mandarin Oriental and is now a superstar himself. He serves up a mix of innovative ideas and revamped classics, celebrating terroir ingredients and traditional know-how.  From Adour salmon façon Bearnaise to crispy ravioli stuffed with green peas.Each dish is a masterpiece. Picardy pampers in every way.

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