Honeymoon ideas?

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Honeymoon ideas?

Postby Scott Lancer » Sat Sep 18, 2010 10:53 am

I will be marrying Francesca October 24, and the honeymoon has been left to me to plan. It is of course a bit late in the game.

She loves Paris and has been to most every part of Europe she has ever dreamed. Does anyone have any suggestions for hidden gems, or a way to make Paris unique for an adventurous lady who has been a dozen times already? In Europe or out, but within an eight or ten hour flight of the States?
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Re: Honeymoon ideas?

Postby Daniel Rogov » Sat Sep 18, 2010 11:35 am

Scott, Hi...

Warm congratulations on your upcoming marriage. As to where to honeymoon, to paraphrase Hemingway "all of Europe is a moveable feast" and to recommend one locale over another is a killing chore, for there are many exquisite options.

Being a man who has been in love with Paris for many years, I will make one suggestion. Why not do Paris as Hemingway did it? That is to say, ignore whatever exists in the city that was not there in the days of Hemingway, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and their crowd. Indeed it remains quite possible to see Paris through the eyes of Hemingway.

First, before going buy and read through a paperback (forbidden to buy it in hardback) copy of "A Moveable Feast". A delightful book, so you will have no problem with that. And then, of course, take the book with you, ideally tucked in the back, left hand pocket of your trousers or, if that is not convenient, in her purse. Following are two pieces that I wrote some time ago that may help you on your Hemingwayesque travels.

Best
Rogov


Paris - In The Footsteps of Hemingway

There are those people who think Paris has changed since the time when Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Anais Nin and F. Scott Fitzgerald were there in the 1930s. Such people are only partially correct, for Paris is a city that absorbs change as easily as the Atlantic Ocean can absorb a few extra drops of water. Those who want to visit Paris of the ‘30s need only visit some of the restaurants that Hemingway enjoyed. Some of these have undergone major restorations but none of them has lost its soul. Paris remains a moveable feast.


Brasserie Lipp: 151 Boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris 6.
It is said that if, as you are walking past the Brasserie Lipp some one jumps up from his table and calls you by name that your social future is forever guaranteed. One of Paris' most famous establishments, presidents, kings, bankers and professors come here for a light meal and one or more cold beers. So do pimps, pickpockets, whores and policemen.

In 1920, when Marcelin Cazes bought the little Brasserie, his menu consisted of sausages, sauerkraut and several kinds of cheese. In 1926 he added Baltic herring, boiled beef and veal
stew. All of these things are still on the menu and definitely worth trying. Also be sure to try the choucroute garni and potatoes in oil. Keep in mind that Lipp probably has the coldest beer and the best chips in the world.

La Closerie des Lilas: 171 Boulevard du Montparnasse, Paris 6.
It is difficult to say whether this fashionable establishment is more closely associated with lovers who come here to show the world how much they adore each other or the famous who at one time or another have made it their hangout. Trotsky, Andre ide, Hemingway and Pablo Picasso are only a few of the well known people who considered this place their own. The colorful people who sit here, a bar that is unquestionably the most beautiful in Pris and its romantic atmosphere make this place well worth visiting. Keep in mind, however, that even though the food here has never been great, it has always been expensive. If money is no object, try the sauteed goose livers. If you're on a budget, have a beer or an aperitif and simply sit and enjoy watching the world go by.

Au Cochon d’Or: Avenue Jean-Jaures, Paris 19.
When Hemingway came here, this luxurious old bistro was located near the slaughterhouses of Paris. The slaughterhouses have moved away and the area has become a cultural center but the famous
restaurant has not changed. The grilled meats are the major attractions here but do not hesitate to try the lobster salad or the mullard breast, both of which are exquisite. Nor should you leave without sampling some of the unforgettable hot desserts.

La Coupole: 102 Boulevard du Montparnasse, Paris 14.
Even though this well known cafe-restaurant has undergone major renovation, its soul remains intact. Many of the people who spend their afternoons at Lipp come here in the evenings as do some of Paris' most colorful characters. Havana cigars, Davidoff cigarettes and joints of marijuana are equally popular in this place that serves nearly 1000 meals every day. Your best bets here are simple, traditional French dishes such as quiche Lorraine, grilled lamb chops, steak with chips, and any of thedishes with oysters or lobster.

Le Dome: 108 Boulevard du Montparnasse, Paris 14.
Lots of dark wood, engraved glass, tiny intimate corners and a good simple cuisine make this one of Paris' most beloved spots. You will not go wrong here with any of the offerings but my own favorites are the calamari with garlic, fish soup, shrimp cooked in cider and, like Hemingway, the spinach souffle.




Moveable Feasts - Dining With Hemingway

For Ernest Hemingway, life in Paris in the 1930s was "an experience beyond beauty". In his thirties, married for the first time, with many friends, and thriving on his first literary successes, Hemingway was probably never happier in his life. And, if his letters to his friends, his diaries and his marvelous little book A Moveable Feast are to be taken as any indication of what his life was like, it becomes immediately clear that hewas rarely happier than when eating.

Because he considered himself an "earthy man", it was not to the highly refined haute cuisine of the French that he was drawn. What Hemingway enjoyed were simple dishes, "the ones the people in the countryside eat, the kinds of food that stick to your ribs and give you the feeling that you really have something that you can dig into with gusto and not worry too much about good manners".

At the Brasserie Lipp he enjoyed sitting on one of the benches, his back against the mirrored wall with a small table in front of him. He would start of with a beer and then follow this with an order of potatoes in oil and mustard sauce. "The beer was very cold and wonderful to drink," he wrote in A Moveable Feast. "The potatoes in oil were firm and marinated and the olive oil was delicious. I ground black pepper over the potatoes and moistened the bread in the oil. After the first heavy draught of beer I drank and ate very slowly, and when the potatoes were gone I ordered another serving and a cervalas, a sausage-like heavy, wide frankfurter split in two and covered with mustard sauce. I mopped up all of the oil and all of the sauce with bread and drank the beer slowly until it began to lose its coldness and then I finished it and ordered another."

Although Hemingway enjoyed Lipp's, he was specially fond of the Closerie des Lilas, which he considered "one of the best cafes in Paris. "It was warm inside in the winter and in the spring and fall it was very fine outside when the tables were set under the shade of the trees". In addition to the oysters he often ordered,one of his favorite dishes there was "a simple masterpiece of little radishes and sauteed goose liver with mashed potatoes".

Hemingway was a man of habits, returning frequently to the same restaurants and in each of his favorite places he would invariably dine on the same dish over and over. The only occasions on which he would order something new in one of his favorite haunts was if someone else was paying the bill.


Potatoes in Oil and Mustard Sauce
A recipe from Brasserie Lipp

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
6 spring onions, whites only, diced
1 teaspoon powdered mustard
salt and pepper to taste
4 medium potatoes
1 Tbsp. parsley, chopped, for garnish
French bread for serving
Cervalas or Knockwurst sausage, cooked and split in half
lengthwise for serving (optional)

In a small mixing bowl combine the oil, vinegar, sugar, garlic,
spring onions, mustard, salt and pepper. Whip, and then cover and
let stand at room temperature for 1 - 2 hours.

In a large saucepan with lightly salted boiling water cook the
potatoes until done but still firm. Remove from the water and
peel. Allow the potatoes to cool until lukewarm and cut into
« centimeter thick slices. Pour over the dressing, toss lightly
and let stand, covered, at room temperature for about 1 hour. To
serve sprinkle over the parsley and serve with French bread,
radishes and sausage. (Serves 4 - 6 as an appetizer or light
lunch).


Mullard Breast with Strawberries
A recipe from Au Cochon d'Or

2 Tbsp. arrowroot
3 Tbsp. port or Madeira wine
the boned breasts of two mullards (or ducks), boned
1 tsp. salt
about 1/4 tsp. pepper
pinch or two of thyme or sage
1 small onion, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced
24 strawberries or 48 cherries, pitted
about 2 cups beef stock
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
5 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. Cognac
2 Ttsp. butter
2 Tbsp. Port or other red wine
1 Tbsp. lemon juice


In a glass or small bowl mix together the arrowroot and port
wine.

Season the breasts with half the salt, the pepper, thyme, and
sage. Place the breasts in a shallow roasting pan, skin side
down. Surround the breasts with the onion and carrot and place the
pan at the middle level of a very hot oven for 15 minutes. Reduce
the oven temperature to medium and turn the breasts so that the
skin side will be up. Pay attention to the temperature during
cooking so that the meat is always making slightly crackling
noises but the fat is not burning. Remove the excess fat -
occasionally, but do not baste.

After the duck has cooked for about 40 minutes, check for
doneness by pricking one of the breasts with the tines of a
cooking fork. If the juices are faintly rosy the duck is medium
rare. The meat will be well done (and this is not ideal for this
dish) when the juices are pale yellow). Take care not to over-
cook.

When the breasts are done transfer the meat to a preheated serving
platter. Turn off the oven and place the meat in the oven with
the door left open while making the sauce.

While the breasts are roasting make a base for the sauce as
follows: In a medium saucepan combine 3 Tbsp. of the sugar
with the vinegar and boil over a moderately high flame for several
minutes, until the sauce is a nicely brown syrup. Immediately
remove from the flame and pour in 1/2 cup of the stock. Simmer for
1 minute, stirring to dissolve the caramel and then add the
remaining stock. Beat in the arrowroot mixture and then simmer for 3
- 4 minutes or until the sauce is clear and lightly thickened.
Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper and set aside.

Prepare the cherries or strawberries by tossing them in a small
saucepan with the lemon juice, cognac and remaining sugar. Let
these soak for 30 minutes.

After the breasts has been set aside, deglaze the pan juices by
skimming off the excess fat and then heating the liquids together
with 2 Tbsp. more of wine and scraping the pan well. Add the
cherries to the pan and heat through, without allowing the liquids
to simmer or boil, just until the cherries are well warmed.
With a slotted spoon remove the cherries and distribute them over
and around the bird.

Bring the sauce to a rapid boil and let boil until the sauce is
reduced and somewhat thickened, stirring regularly. Correct the
seasoning. Remove from the flame, add the butter, swirl in and
pour the sauce into a warm bowl, spoon a bit over the breasts and
serve, slicing the breasts at the table. (Serves 6 - 8).


Quiche Lorraine
A recipe from La Coupole

125 gr. sliced bacon
1 crust for a 23 centimeter pie
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/2 cup Emmenthal or Gruyere cheese, diced
1 cup milk
1 cup sweet cream
3 eggs
1 tsp. chives, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash each white pepper and nutmeg

Cut the bacon in 1/2" (1 cm) pieces and cook them in a heavy
skillet stirring constantly until the fat is rendered but the
bacon is not yet crisp. Drain the bacon on absorbent toweling.

Brush the pie dough with the lightly beaten egg white. Sprinkle
the bacon pieces on the pie shell and over this sprinkle the diced
cheese. Bake in a medium-hot oven for 15 minutes, not allowing
the mixture to brown completely.

In a saucepan combine the milk and sweet cream. Over a low
flame gently scald the mixture and then set aside to cool for 10
minutes.

Beat together the eggs, chives, salt, pepper and nutmeg and
over this pour the cooled milk. Pour the mixture into the pie
shell and bake in a medium-hot oven until the top is golden brown
(35 -40 minutes). Do not overcook. Allow to cool and serve
lukewarm. (Serve 4 - 6).
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Re: Honeymoon ideas?

Postby Mike_F » Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:00 pm

Hi Scott,

Congratulations and best wishes.

If it must be Paris, there is also the option of following the footsteps of a guide from an earlier period than Hemingway - see http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/11/22/tr ... ref=travel

If willing to consider other options, my suggestion would be in and around Siena, Toscana, Italy. It is small and beautiful, surrounded by the Chianti wine region and easy access to many well preserved medieval towns and hamlets of both historical and food/wine interest (Monterrigioni, San Gimingiano, Montepulciano, Montalcino) and an hour away from Firenze. At that time of the year the tourist hordes will have abated somewhat, and if any location seems overcrowded, a short drive in any direction will bring you to solitude and beauty in the nature and vineyards.

enjoy,

Mike
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Re: Honeymoon ideas?

Postby Ian Sutton » Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:24 pm

Congratulations!

I guess the question is what sort of place appeals to you?

Assuming the honeymoon is straight after the wedding, then although rural might be nice, we tend to lean towards towns and cities at that time of year, where it's walkable to restaurants and where there's life in the evenings.

If Tuscany does appeal, then we may be able to share notes, as we're planning to visit in mid-November (and my prep is slowly getting underway). Here's one option from Siena - a steam train to a Chestnut festival OCTOBER 24 > Chestnut Festival on Mount Amiata
A day to celebrate nature: it starts with a long walk in the woods where you can pick up chestnuts, and continues with lunch at a local restaurant to taste the specialties of the mountain; you will be able to sample local products.
Departure from Chiusi at 8:00 a.m., from Siena at 8:15 a.m. and return scheduled at 7:00 p.m. to Chiusi and at 6:00 p.m. to Siena.
.

We're looking at Siena + Montepulciano and either Lucca or Pisa.

Venice, Verona, Ferrara might make for an atmospheric break in the North West of Italy.

Possibly the most romantic place I've been in Italy is Ravello (amalfi coast), with stunning views, great peace, lovely gardens & walks and such a wonderful evening ambience in the main square. I saw my workaholic bro-in-law remember what relaxation was there, so it's a powerful relaxant! However I'm not sure whether this time of year would compromise it's charms too much.

regards

Ian
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Re: Honeymoon ideas?

Postby Matilda L » Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:26 am

This is great news - I am happy for you and Francesca.

Honeymoon ideas? All the husbands I've had, and never managed a honeymoon or for that matter an engagement ring. I must be moving in the wrong circles.

Does Francesca like little villages? There must be lots of small historic villages in France. Could be a nice alternative to the city?
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Re: Honeymoon ideas?

Postby Trevor F » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:23 pm

Taormina in Sicily.......... Grand Hotel Miramare http://www.miramaretaormina.it/

Food and ice cream great. More on this in a future post.

Note that the clocks go back 1 hour in Europe on 31 October so it gets dark earlier.

Sicily is a great place - Francesca will love you even more for that.
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