Francophile: (n.) an individual who has a strong positive predisposition or interest toward the government, culture, history, or people of France. This could include France itself or its history, the French language, French cuisine, literature, etc.
That word describes me perfectly, especially when it comes to French cuisine. Having studied French for over 10 years, and spending a small amount of time in Paris, I consider myself to be French food snob. (Probably unreasonably so.) But I just could not bring myself to eat escargot. I mean, come on… it’s a snail.
That changed two years ago, when I was sitting across the table from my aunt in a restaurant in Baltimore. (I can never remember if it was her rehearsal dinner or her reception, but I do know that her wedding was involved in some capacity.) Her appetizer smelled delicious, like a hearty butter. She offered me a bite on her escargot-sized spoon, and the rest was history.
My adoration for this cuisine has followed me back to Pittsburgh, where I have been searching for the best escargot in town. I found it at Paris 66. I decided on this restaurant after some great reviews from our friends, and I quickly ordered their Escargot Bourguignon. My date wrinkled his nose, as I once had, but I promised him that those little soaked snails would win him over.
They arrived at our table on an indented metal tray, dripping with garlic, parsley, and anis butter. I devoured one instantly, but noticed he was still apprehensive. After a little coaxing, he bit one in half — an escargot no-no — and swallowed. Unlike me, he didn’t immediately fall in love.
Too bad for him, more for me.
(Photo by Taste of Pittsburgh. Read her review of Paris 66 here.)