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Traditional Apple Frangipane Flan

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Restaurant Helene Darroze, Paris, France

In the heart of Paris, Michelin Chef Helene Darroze brings her native cuisine of Landes and presents it in contemporary haute cuisine style in her acclaimed Restaurant Helene Darroze. After her apprenticeship with the legendary chef Alain Ducasse and working at their family estate, Darroze set up her own restaurant in Paris to share with guests her original cuisine with a menu that changes almost daily depending on what is in season and the dayâs produce. She uses only the freshest and best quality ingredients to produce some of the finest food in the county. 
One of the most celebrated chefs in France and a very hard-working woman, Chef Helene Darroze puts an elegant touch to traditional family recipes and country cooking creating a distinctive culinary style of her own. Her restaurant, decorated by her cousin, is stylishly decorated yet very homey and cozy. The ambiance exudes charm and grace, reflecting the character and style of the founder and owner. 
The restaurant consists of two floors and dining areas. The first floor is a more relaxed and casual ambiance where guests can sit back and munch on appetizers and tapas while sipping wine and other beverages.  The second floor is much more formal and romantic setting where guests can savor the gastronomic creations of Chef Darroze. Foie gras is a prominent feature of the menu and appears in a lot of the dishes. The female sommelier aids guests in selecting wine to pair with the sumptuous dishes.         
Some of the signature dishes in the restaurant include Suckling lamb from the Pyrenees and Roast wild duck stuffed with truffles and foie gras. For starters, guests can pick from a wide selection of sausages and cheeses from southwest France. A ham trolley goes around the restaurant featuring homemade cold cuts and regional specialties.
Restaurant Helene Darroze, Paris, France
Auberge des Templiers, Les Bezards, France

At the crossroads of Sologne, Gâtinais and Val de Loire, in an ancient posting house, with a thatched roof and half timberings all covered with virgin vines, Françoise Dépée is ready to open doors wide, to welcome us inside the hostel of the Templiers. 
The history of Auberge des Templiers can be traced back to 1160 when Major General of the Templars Everard des Barres built a guars post on the site, which was later destroyed Philippe le Bel and much later, in 1946, renewed by the Depee family. One of the eight establishments in the original group of Relais & Châteaux (originally âRelais de Campagneâ), Auberge des Templiers has been around for more than 65 years and continues to be one of the most elegant and beautiful places to stay in the region. Defined by style, luxury and refinement, Auberge des Templiers exemplify the art of fine living in the French countryside.     
Haute cuisine is served at the hotelâs fine dining restaurant, Les Bezards, including classic country dishes like ravioli of mild mushrooms and velouté with truffle jus. A great way to start is with a mille-feuilles of liver with stewed apples, or an onion and parsley sauce with virgin oil followed by a Gâtinais chicken, all terra-cotta crusted, and finish with a crispy-crunchy pineapple covered with glazed coconut. The hotel also houses an impressive collection of local wines. The dining room is tastefully decorated with soft carpets, Aubusson tapestries, burnished leather, plush fabrics, elegant oak beams, and a romantic fireplace.  
Very near the Loire, with its pinky sand and its thousand castles, you will find the quite renowned museum of the crockery of Gien, as well as a museum of hunting and shooting in this region where, as soon as Autumn peeps in, the hunters close up and crowd hurriedly.
Auberge des Templiers, Les Bezards,...
Le Château de Goulaine, Le Marquis de Goulaine,France

A former castle fortified in the 12th century and transformed by the Goulaine family into a chateau, Le Château de Goulaine is also the home of the estate-bottled wine Le Marquis de Goulaine. Located near Nantes, France in the Loire Valley, the chateau has been home of the marquis de Goulaine and family for over a thousand years. The high pitched slate roofs of the chateau has similarities with the central Loire estates of Château de Chambord and Château de Blois, but Château de Goulaine was built earlier and thus has a more conservative style of architecture.  
It was during the 12th century that the first Goulain, Jean de Goulaine, leader of the city of Nantes at that time, fortified the castle to defend against the attacks of the Normans. The Goulaine were recorded in the Seventh Crusade in 1248 and were of old nobility. The Goulaine fought for the Catholic League during the Wars of Religion and took the chateaux or Trogoff (Plouescat) and of Kérouzéré (Sibiril) in 1590. The ownership of the estate remained in the hands of the Goulaine family until 1788 and then was sold to a Dutch banker, which saved the chateau from destruction during the French Revolution. In 1858, a member of the Goulaine family reacquired the chateau and until today it remains in their possession.       
Perhaps the oldest known wine business in existence, the estate of Château de Goulaine has been producing wine for centuries initially for family consumption and later for commercial purposes. Le Château de Goulaine is the third oldest commercial enterprise in the world and the oldest European family owned business. The chateau is also one of the last Châteaux de la Loire that produces wine to this day. The estate produces mostly Muscadet as well as Sancerre, Vouvray, and the first commercial Chardonnay in the western Loire Valley. Château de Goulaine also grows some Folle blanche.
Le Château de Goulaine, Le Marquis de...
Geneva, Switzerland

Good food with emphasis on fresh locally sourced ingredients, authentic preparations, slow cooking, and regional tastes define the restaurant and culinary scene in Geneva, the capital of cuisine in Switzerland with over a thousand restaurants established all over the city, from small cafes to gastronomic havens. Local specialties in Geneva include a variety of casseroles, smoked sausage, lake fish dishes, raclette, and cheese fondue. Food from around the world is also available in the city, especially French haute cuisine and European fares.    
Many gourmet restaurants and fine dining establishments in Geneva are quite pricey but there are a lot of small restaurants and tons of cafes that serve exquisite local and international food at more reasonable prices. Service charge is typically included in the bill or mentioned in the menu so tipping is not required but you are free to give additional if you find the service and the food extraordinary.   
Some of the best restaurants, hotels and eateries in Geneva are located around the lake, offering stunning views and super fresh food. In the evenings, guests are encouraged to wear formal dress especially in the luxury hotel restaurants. Lunch specials at these establishments are set at reduced prices and provide a more relaxed ambiance. 
For authentic Arabic, African, Thai, and South American food, as well as American cafes, the place to go to is the Paquis. Prices here are low but most establishments and eateries do not accept credit card.    
For classic French cuisine in a cozy setting as well as traditional Swiss eateries, head off to the Old Town where there is a great place to eat in every corner. Most of these quaint cafes and restaurants have romantic ambiance and candle-lit dinners in a medieval setting. The most experimental cuisine and trendy restaurants in the city are huddled in Carouge, where there is always something new to try.
Geneva, Switzerland

Cooking Recipe Videos

There are many ways to improve your cooking skills: reading great cookbooks, taking cooking classes, and good old fashioned practice in the kitchen are traditional methods. But these days, online cooking recipe videos are another excellent resource for aspiring chefs. Here's how to get the most from the cooking videos you encounter.

Find Them

There are lots of cooking recipe videos out there, but not all are created equal. Before you spend time watching any, consider the source. If you want to widen your cooking horizons, videos featuring famous chefs are a must. Such chefs might include television personalities (who may or may not have formal cooking backgrounds), cooking legends (like Julia Child, Graham Kerr, and Wolfgang Puck), or Michelin star-awarded chefs who've impressed the cooking world with their expertise and talent.

Live Demos

Once you find cooking recipe videos by esteemed chefs, you will probably discover you learn the most if you watch the videos more than once. In the first viewing, you'll likely only get the overall picture of what the chef is doing. If you watch the video once or twice more, you may notice and remember details you didn't before.

Bear in mind that you're not just learning how to make a particular recipe. You're also hoping to learn cooking techniques you can rely upon for other dishes. For example, you might see a Michelin chef chop up food in a faster, simpler way than you've ever seen before. Or you might see how a meal is flambéed. Or you might learn a new way to cook meat so it's crisp on the outside and tender and juice on the inside. There is nothing quite like a live demo, to make those techniques stick in your brain and come to life next time you are in the kitchen.

Share it

Although cooking recipe videos are helpful and educational, they're also fun. You can make them even more entertaining by sharing them with friends. What does your best friend think about trying to make a flambéed meal with you? Does she have a funny story to tell about attempting this on her own? Does your work mate drool over gourmet desserts as much as you do? Are you and your friends inspired by a certain video to try a pot luck gourmet party? Let cooking videos be part of you and your friends online entertainment, and you'll have fun while you improve your cooking skills.

Try it Out

After watching cooking recipe videos, it's a great idea to make the recipes in your own kitchen. The best cooking video websites also have printed recipes to go along with their videos. Print one out and give the recipe your best go.

Or, you could just try out one or two techniques you learned by watching a great chef. For example, maybe you've never tried blanching vegetables before. After watching a chef demonstrate this on a video, you can try the technique almost any time you're preparing veggies.

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