Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Patricia Wells, France and Fallot Mustard

As I was scrambling through the Salmiyya Sultan, looking desperately for a few good ingredients on Thanksgiving morning, I stopped short in sheer wonder. There, on the shelves, here in Kuwait, were mustards by Edmond Fallot.

Monsieur Fallot makes the best mustards in the entire world. One year, we did a “French” turkey, slivered with a thousand slices of garlic carefully placed in a thousand tiny slits just under the turkey skin. It was magnificent. We served the turkey that year with a variety of Monsieur Fallot’s mustards.

We lived in Germany, and we often travelled to France for a couple weeks at a time, exploring different regions. We used lots of books, but the three we used most often for France were Patricia Wells Food Lover’s Guide to France, Patricia Wells Food Lover’s Guide to Paris, and a book published annually called Europe’s Wonderful Little Hotels and Inns.

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We didn’t have a lot of money, but what we lacked in money, we made up in energy, optimism and research. We found wonderful places to stay, fabulous meals and affordable side trips. We lunched out of charcouteries and boulangeries, we dined demi-pension in Michelin “Red R’s” (good local food at reasonable prices.) We found ourselves in the Burgundy area again and again, and Patricia Wells led us to Monsieur Fallot’s mustard factory in Beaune. Click there for a virtual visit to his factory in preparation for your real time, in person visit.

As I stood there, transfixed, in the Sultan Center, I was back in Beaune, travelling in France with some history and “foodie” friends, and we made a special stop at M. Fallot’s factory, whose address was listed in the original Food Lover’s Guide to France I was using then. I am guessing he has asked NOT to have his address given any more, maybe he had too many visitors like us. We couldn’t get enough of his mustards – we stayed and watch him filling jars with many different kinds, and bought at least one of each variety. His mustard is the gold standard of mustards. Worth a trip to Beaune.

Except you don’t have to go to Beaune – you can find M. Fallot in the Sultan Center in Salmiyya, or in William-Sonoma if you are in the U.S. and in other parts of the world where you find fine condiments.

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The latest edition I could find of the Food Lover’s Guide to France was 1987, for $1.99 used, through Amazon. The latest edition I could find of Food Lover’s Guide to Paris was 1999, and the cost, used, was $9.99, again through Amazon. (Disclaimer/Disclosure: yes. I do own stock in Amazon. Help me keep Amazon stock high, please. 🙂 ) I imagine some of the information in both books is outdated, restaurants have closed, newer, haute-er places are open, but I would still say they are worth the price.

Both guides list market days for various arrondisement/towns/villages, and for that alone, they are worth the price. Wells describes local specialities, and best of all, Wells is deliciously readable. Even if you don’t have a trip to Paris or France in your near future, Wells’ books are fun to read, and full of wonderful, valuable information.

The most recent edition I can find of Europe’s Wonderful Little Hotels and Inns on Amazon is 2003, but I know there are more recent editions because mine is 2004. It is edited by Adam & Caroline Raphael, and has hotels listed throughout Europe, not just France, although the lion’s share of hotels listed ARE in France. They range from budget to unbelievable luxury – and the twist is, this book is made up solely of recommendations from customers. Someone has to recommend the hotel, another has to second the recommendation, and readers keep the postings up to date. We have found some truly memorable hotels using this guide, hotels full of charm but affordable for the region. Most of the hotels were awesome. Even used, even outdated, one good hotel stay at a charming but reasonably priced hotel will pay the cost of the book.

November 25, 2006 Posted by | Adventure, Books, Cooking, ExPat Life, France, Kuwait, Shopping, Uncategorized | 5 Comments