Ok, first things first !!! This is not any picnic…if you think that the average French normally has a picnic like this, you are wrong…This past Sunday, June 13th, (with awful weather for a change!) was the Prix de Diane (Diane Prize) at the Hippodrome de Chantilly...yes, next to the Château de Chantilly, there where Eva Longoria married Tony Parker…a few kilometers from Paris.
Probably, following the example of Ascot, in England, the Prix de Diane is the occasion for French bourgeoisie to show itself and see the others….the sinequanon condition? a conspicuous hat, gorgeous dresses or suits, and great picnic food and drinks…!
And the first question for a foodblogger is…what do you eat there?
Well, you can take your own food….you could buy a picnic lunch there, or there was a “gastronomic” restaurant offering a menu at 185 euros per person (clearly this option was out for me!)
So I quite liked the idea of buying the picnic there ( I had been cooking a lot at home for my blog…), and besides I could not resist not buying the “hat boxes” specially made for the ocassion, not to carry your hat, but containing a very French idea of a picnic…Let’s see !!
Don’t you find the boxes lovely? Apparently, four people were going to accompany this elegant lady in her skirt and hat in Toile de Jouy...
Now, what was IN the boxes???
1. a bamboo basket, with cherry tomatoes, and Noirmoutier salt (Have you seen that I am not the only person obsessed with “fleur de sel” and all that…?)
2. Mini Penne Rigate Salad, with “confit” tomatoes, and little Mozzarella balls.
3. a “viennois” bread sandwich, with corn grains, chicken (probably), egg, butter and mustard.
4. “roots” chips: carrots, parsnip, and beetroot (no potato chips…! why? it’s not chic enough?
5. the “perle d’abricot” must have been a kind of apricot mousse (since they indicate it’s airy!) and I am guessing because finally I couldn’t get a box for myself because boxes have to be reserved beforehand !!! (yes, here is when I find so much organization exasperating!), or to get one of the few boxes left, you had to join a line and wait for hours !!! (How is it possible that there was not a box reserved for Cristina, the GREAT Parisian blogger??? ;D
6. a raspberry financier, cooked in a pine cocotte lined with parchment paper.
7. some cookies “sablé” type
Included in the basket: a bottle of mineral water Evian (of course!, not the cheaper mineral water you buy in the supermarket…), a napkin, a “vinaigrette” (olive oil, balsamic vinegar), bamboo cutlery set, a paper napkin. You had a choice of red or rosé wines, 7/12 euros the bottle.
I would like to know your opinion about this basket. Do you like what was there to eat? Do you consider it was enough? How would it have been in your country?
Now, let’s analyse what people has brought themselves, from their homes, their idea of a picnic….
Well, these people clearly went all out in their picnic efforts and they really deserve the first prize !!
You know that I have a soft spot for the esthetical presentation of food, so I just couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this!! the Dior pink tablecloth, the spurs !! gracefully tied together with a ribbon…the flowers, candles, little pink glasses as flower vases…the cutlery…
Oh, SO beautiful !!! I wanted to eat here !!! (I was so hungry…!)
Now, what were they going to eat? well, In the foreground, there seems to be a home-made onion tart, to the left, ham (not the supermarket type!), some little tarts (bought in the supermarket or Picard!!), home-made salads !!! (I think one is baby spinach leaves, confit tomatoes…), baguettes !!!!, some cakes (probably not sweet), salmon….
Then on paper, a pâté de campagne, and what seems to be a “mousse de canard” (duck mousse (I love the texture of this mousse, nice to use as a spread, not as consistent as the “foie gras”), to the right, there seems to be a home-made pissaladière (a kind of tart or pizza, from Nice, made with anchovies, black olives, and onion)…For dessert, cupcakes !!! (the American influence everywhere). They seem to have bought something like macarons…(What a shame!! Havent’t they followed my recipe??!!) As for the drinks, champagne, white and rosé wines…(the bottles of water rest unopened…for the time being!)
Let’s look at their neighbors !!
The two ladies in red seem to be engaged in “intense” gossiping…Food has not been very important for them…There seems to be a tarte tatin, some cherry tomatoes, or cherries…probably, they had already finished eating a pie of some kind….Drinks? Champagne and white wine…bottle of water, stays unopened here too…for the time being!
These incredibly elegant ladies have brought several salads; they seem to be eating a “verrine” (something served in little glasses, here plastic ones, containing what could be an asparagus mousse…or something like that!), there seems to be fresh fruit…now, the ham directly from the supermarket…that’s a “faux pas”…Red wine, champagne….the bottles of water stay unopened…for the time being!
People thought about all the details: Monsieur has brought something to keep his champagne cold….cherry tomatoes again, radish, juices…and then Madame, to the right, the quintessence of French elegance !!!! so chic in her simple outfit (less is more!) I think she has a badge…she must have won a prize…for sure, it was French charm! (btw: Monsieur also deserved a prize!)
Is Madame N°2 really engaged in a phone-call, or did she just want to make me green with envy at her pearls !!! I want that dress for this summer !!! (too) AND her étole...too !! Have you noticed the incredible number of baguettes in all groups?? Who said bread is fattening? These people couldn’t be fitter !!!
I couldn’t see what these young people were eating, but they clearly deserved a photo…Sweet Birth of Youth !!!! (Do you like Tennessee Williams?)
While I was busy concentrating on this “culinary analysis” of a picnic, the “scientific” conclusion about all this, concocted by my husband, is that he had never seen so many beautiful girls together in France !! (ah, men…no comments!)
The dog has a right to drink too, doesn’t he? (How lovely!!!)
Some people preferred to sit, at the champagne bar, to drink while eating cherry tomatoes….
and of course, macarons !!! We ARE in France, after all…!
Et oui !!! Chic people don’t come to picnics with their food in supermarket plastic bags…it has to be “comme il faut” (as it should be). Madame has chosen a picnic “suitcase” to match her dress !!
Got a little windy? Hair dishevelled? Don’t worry !! There are hairdressers here….
Homesick for “la Provence”? We have brought a lavender field, just for you !!!
For dessert? icecream !! (it was supposed to be a hot afternoon, though nice weather has deserted us a long time ago!) Now, icecream with Chantilly (whipped) cream on top !!! This is Chantilly, and the most famous of creams was created here !!
Now, THE thing I loved the most from all this social gathering was to see this old Renault 4 truck, this is the other France (my favourite), the simple France…the France that with its hard work sustained the other….rich in traditions, excelling like nobody in gastronomy, in “savoir-faire” (to know how to do things well)…Without them, the others wouldn’t have existed, to THEM my homage, and all my respect and admiration!
PS: I want to thank all the “participants” of this post… They saw me taking the photos, since I don’t have a professional camera, so I was pretty close to them…yet they didn’t seem to mind… Thanks a lot! I would like to add that NEVER would I have produced such incredible picnic food…and I would have never been SO elegant..! Congratulations to all !!!
Please !!!! There are some food questions I would like to make you…They are here….If you are so kind, I would like you to give me your opinion about this…
1. What did you think about the eating habits of these people? 2. Would a picnic have had the same type of food in your country? In what way would it have been different?3. Do you consider that what these people prepared was healthy or not? 4. Almost all seemed to be in shape…Do you think this is food related?
Thanks for answering this with a comment ! =D