In any case, France is a country of delicacies, particularly on 14 February. Top 5!…
Ingredient 1: Black gold
It is the season of the tuber melanosporum or the black truffle. Truffles bring to life plain ingredients without the need for any fancy decoration. Place the truffle with some fresh eggs in a closed jar for a few days, before preparing for your sweetheart delicious scrambled eggs, sprinkled with flakes of this wonderful mushroom, on this special day. Or simpler still: at a cheese shop, pick out a truffle Brie or Brillat-Savarin: bliss is guaranteed!
Ingredient 2: Scallops
Intimidating? Of course not! They are easy to open: keep them slightly open with your thumb and then slide a round-tip knife under the top shell to slice through the muscle. Whether fried in butter with a pinch of bergamot zest and juice, “au gratin” in the shell with some cream, mushrooms and bread crumbs, or raw in a carpaccio... scallops adapt to all of your whims. Feeling like a chef? Dry the shells for two hours in the oven on a low heat, then, in a mixer, turn them into powder that can be sprinkled on the scallops. You will blow your other half away!
Ingredient 3: Hot saffron
The valuable pistils of the crocus flower are harvested on small farms throughout France. Their full-bodied flavour and golden colour delight the pallet as well as the heart. Dissolve the filaments in tiny quantities in a hot liquid: for example, in a broth to prepare a Camargue-rice seafood pilaf or even in milk to make custard that will accompany a chocolate fondant.
Ingredient 4: Rainbow trout
Who can resist a perfect trout meunière, dipped in milk and flour, and browned in butter with a dash of lemon? If you prefer it smoked, serve with a chopped-herb whipped cream: chervil, parsley and a touch of tarragon and dill. For extra pleasure, top the trout with a small spoonful of rainbow-trout eggs, whose orange-pink colour is both delicate and seductive.
Ingredient 5: Thanks for the chocolate
Purchase your chocolate from a recognised ‘bean to bar’ chocolatier, who selects and roasts the cocoa beans before turning them into bars. Now it is over to you. Prepare a ganache by melting the chocolate in warm cream of equivalent weight, before letting it set in a cool place and serving it with salted butter caramel or even fleur de sel. Or go full circle: shape your chilled ganache into truffles; roll the “truffles” in cocoa that you have previously flavoured with a pinch of Espelette pepper or cognac. Subtly intoxicating...