With all MOFs (Meilleurs Ouvriers de France) you encounter in France, you will only experience unrivaled excellence, which is why we love checking them out as often as possible. The pastries and confections of Philippe Rigollot, who is not only a MOF but also a Champion du monde de pâtisserie, blew us away during our last visit to Annecy. I thought I’d share some photos with you. We tried all the flavors of the macarons, chocolate and five different pastries (not enough!). We noticed that they ran out of the Paris Brest every time we stopped by so make sure to grab one of those.
If I lived in Annecy, I’m sure I’d be a regular at L’Encas Bio, an organic restaurant that’s tucked away in the Vieille Ville somehow distanced from wandering tourists yet right smack inside the historic area.
Specializing in delicious, healthful light fare, they offer fruit juices, smoothies, ice cream, quesadillas, vegetarian meals, soups, wraps, salads and more.
There are so many gorgeous places in France, it’s hard for us to see all of them – especially if we keep returning to one place. We can’t help it. We find ourselves going back often to Annecy and its surrounding areas. We sat by the lake and I turned on my camera to capture the moment.
“Perhaps nothing symbolized the American team’s efforts at the Bocuse d’Or better than its beef cheeks. At the world’s premier chef’s competition, which ended on Jan. 28 in Lyons, France, the Estonians transformed the cheeks — a required ingredient this year — into pot-au-feu, the Brazilians stuffed potatoes with them, and the Malaysians spiced them up into rendang. But the U.S. competitors, 28-year-old Timothy Hollingsworth and his assistant, Adina Guest, braised the meat until it was silky, set it on a tiny round of baby turnip, and topped it with a floret of broccolini. Smuggled through customs, the vegetables came straight from the garden of the famed French Laundry restaurant in Napa, California, where the two chefs work, and gave the presentation a delicious, locally grown flavor that could only be American. Sadly, in a context where extravagance and adherence to the rules of classical cooking take precedence, that might have been part of the problem.
From the heavy presence of seafood mousses to the cheesy compliments the MC paid the female judges, the Bocuse d’Or is nothing if not French. But because it is also a kind of culinary Olympics, with teams from 24 different countries competing over two days for a gold trophy that brings prestige and a $26,000 prize, the contest is imbued with national rivalries that extend from the fans in the bleachers to the flavors on the elaborate platters.
In fact, for the young chefs who compete in the contest — founded by revered French chef Paul Bocuse — navigating between the desire to demonstrate the glories of their national cuisine (to say nothing of their own creativity) and the wish to please a jury that tends to favor the classic French style is precisely the challenge. “If you’re playing soccer, you can’t use your hands,” says Antonio Saura, a Spanish filmmaker whose 2007 documentary El Pollo, el Pez, y el Cangrejo Real featured the competition. “The Bocuse is the same way: you have to play by their rules.”