How to Cook Al Dente Pasta

Pasta is a common go-to meal for many of us because it is easy to prepare (even in bigger portions) and also because there are so many types of meat protein to add for enhanced nutrition. But do you know how to get that perfect plate of al dente pasta that springs delightfully in the mouth? Read on to get a few easy pointers!

Pasta is easy to cook and so we need not fuss over the type of pot—it can be small or large depending on what you have in the kitchen but many chefs prefer a deep pot because long strands of spaghetti can sink to the bottom more quickly. Do remember, however, that you would require more salt if you’re starting out with more water in a big pot. We’re going to toss in some salt next as soon as the water is boiling. You should have heard of this “allimportant” step because it helps to give flavour to the pasta other than the sauce, which you stir in at the end. Aim for 1 tablespoon of salt for every 16 cups of water, which works out to about 500g of pasta.

Stir the boiling water as soon as you put the pasta in. This prevents them from sticking to one another or to the side of the pot. Taste the pasta soon so that you have time to adjust the cooking time if it has not yet reached a level of al dente. It should be chewy and slightly firm at the core. Finally, stir in your sauce of choice and garnish!

Did you know that at The French Grocer, we have an Italian Corner that offers a small but well-stocked range of pastas? From spaghetti to ravioli and even to ready meals that you can pop into the oven for a quick lunch, we have it all. Visit https://thefrenchgrocer.com/shop/65-frozen-pasta for the complete selection!

The Acclaimed Mont d’Or Vacherin Cheese

Often celebrated as the “holy grail” of cheese, the Vacherin Mont d’Or is an exquisite type of cheese that comes from the Haut-Doubs region of France. Enjoyed either cold or warm, its rich, creamy consistency truly pleases the palette after a quick warm-up in the oven. What makes this cheese so exclusive is also the fact that it is seasonal—available only through the months of September to March of the following year, it is made from milk of cows that has gently changed after autumn, giving it its characteristic fatty taste.

The changing of season and how it affects the cow’s milk is of particular interest here. During the warmer spring and summer months, the herd graze on high alpine pastures and produce greater quantities of milk for their offspring during this period. As autumn nears, the cows stop having calves thus reducing their milk production. This is why the milk extracted during this period is richer and creamier, rendering it less suitable for other types of cheese such as Gruyère. However, the milk quality is simply perfect for making Mont d’Or Vacherin cheese!

This special cheese is ripened and encased in a spruce container thus giving it a unique “woodsy” fragrance. There are many ways to enjoy this cheese and it’s certainly up to individual preference but we recommend two broad and simple methods to get the most out of this exquisite cheese. You could simply spoon it out and eat it on its own or go for the heated option (which is also the most flavoursome!) For this method, add a dash of white wine and grind some black pepper over the cheese before popping it into the oven.

We love it over hot potatoes or green pickles but in all honesty, just pick your favourite food and drizzle this cheese over it…you won’t go wrong! We are taking orders now so head on down to https://thefrenchgrocer.com/product/mont-dor-vacherin-cheese-400g to indicate your interest today

The Remarkable Wonders of Honey

At The French Grocer, our pantry is stocked with a variety of food such as canned tomatoes, olive oil and even Basmati rice, but what we are most eager to present in today’s article is honey from Lifou, New Caledonia!

The beauty of New Caledonia
New Caledonia is a French territory comprising dozens of islands in the South Pacific. It’s known for its palm-lined beaches and marine-life-rich lagoon which is among the world’s largest. A massive barrier reef surrounds the main island, Grand Terre, a major scuba-diving destination. The capital, Nouméa, is home to French-influenced restaurants and luxury boutiques selling Parisian fashions. This French territory is an unspoilt paradise with natural scenery and a mild pleasant climate. And this is why the island is such an optimal place for cultivating honey!

Honey from Lifou (A French Grocer special)
The honey that we carry on our online store does not contain any preservative, pesticide or colouring – that is our guarantee. It is 100% natural straight up from the pristine land of New Caledonia. The unique fragrance of this honey originates from the vast floral diversity on the island of Lifou. With different flowerings throughout the year and a clean environment without any trace of pesticide, the honey from Lifou has high nutritional qualities and an exceptional taste. This is an artisanal product from independent apiarists who extract, filter and decanter the honey in a modern honey house. This honey has also been awarded the Médaille d’Or au S.I.A.L de Paris!

How to store honey
You probably won’t be finishing the entire jar of liquid gold in one sitting, so how do you keep it fresh? Remember to keep the remaining content tightly-sealed and store it in a dark location. You do not need to store the honey in the fridge as it does not go bad if it is protected from moisture.

So there you have it, honey from the beautiful island of Lifou, New Caledonia! Visit our pantry at https://thefrenchgrocer.com/product/100-pure-honey-250g-jar-miel-production-artisanale-nouvelle-caledonie to grab a jar today!

Recipe For Moules Poulette (Mussels in White Wine and Cream)

Mussels are in season now and what better way to enjoy this protein-rich delicacy than a tray of premium mussels from The French Grocer! Here, we share with you a time-tested recipe of mussels in white wine and crème fraiche (commonly known as “Moules Poulette” in French).

The quality of our mussels are guaranteed
Mussels are a type of bi-valve shellfish that grow in different regions such as tidal sand bars. They like to attach to hard surfaces or ropes in the water. What’s important is that mussels are actually rich in protein and good fat content. Since mussels have been cultivated in Dutch waters for more than 150 years, we source only the best mussels from the food-rich waters of the Oosterschedle and Wadden Sea off The Netherlands. The mussels are selected based on their size after an accurate dilution process and packed for freshness.

How to check the mussels before cooking
Mussels should smell fresh and clear like the ocean from where they were harvested…”briny” is the smell we are looking for here! Take note, however, that mussels should not smell overly fishy. Next, ensure that the shells of all mussels are tightly shut. If you see any mussel with its shell opened, gently tap it on your kitchen counter and observe if it shuts again. Remember to discard any mussels that have unclosed shells.

Recipe for “Moules Poulette”
This is a classic French dish and you can certainly enjoy this at home by following our simple recipe! Heat up a large pot over medium fire and warm the olive oil. Add some bacon and sauté for a few minutes until it starts to crisp. Next, add some shallot, leek and garlic for that traditional cottage flavour.

Now, season up the content with salt and pepper, then let it cook for another five minutes while continually stirring. Take the heat up a notch and it’s time to add the white wine. Bring the gravy to a boil and now you can add the mussels along with some crème fraiche. Cover the lid and let it cook for at least 3 minutes. Open up the lid – you should see the shells open up. Discard any mussels that are still shut. Serve with baguette. Bon appétit!

Top Benefits of Online Grocery Shopping

Even though Covid-19 may have accelerated the boom of online shopping (including that of groceries), did you know that e-commerce is not merely an alternative to brick-and-mortar shops but has many other benefits of its own?

Save more time
When you are at a physical supermarket, you tend to spend more time walking up and down different aisles looking for a particular product that could have been misplaced. Otherwise, that product could have its price tag mislabelled and you would have to spend time again scanning it to get the correct price. Overall, the time spent wandering in a supermarket is decidedly more than online shopping because the physical space is spread out over a large area. Online grocery shopping provides you the convenience of finding items simply at the click of a button or the glide of a mouse. Products are neatly categorised on online grocery websites and you can even apply discount codes if you have one.

Avoid multiple trips to the supermarket
Shopping online for your groceries also allows you to avoid making multiple trips to the supermarket. Even though you can buy food items in bulk during your grocery run, it is far more convenient to just log on to your favourite grocery website and fulfil any purchase that may have been missed out. Also, whenever you check into an online grocery website, there may be updated information or promotions that you can take advantage of immediately if you have registered as a member.

Your shopping experience is customised
Adding onto the previous point, if you are a registered member of an online grocery website, you would be able to “shop by history” because your past transactions are logged in the system. You would be able to quickly and easily pick out your favourite products without having to run from aisle to aisle in the supermarket. Another added advantage of everything being tagged online is that your preferences are recorded and the next time you visit the site again, suitable recommendations may appear just for you, like a butler that brings you around the aisle!

The French Grocer is an online one-stop grocery website where you can not only buy the finest foods from all over the world but also learn about new recipes from Guillaume, the founder! We are constantly enhancing your online shopping experience including the revamp of this website (as you might have noticed) and we will continue to bring you more improvements in the future. In the meantime, happy shopping with us!

Pairing Cheese and Wine – A Few Simple Tips

We all enjoy a cheese platter from time to time, during leisurely weekend picnics or a simple gathering with family and friends. But did you know that if you pair cheese with the appropriate kind of wine, you would be able to enhance their flavours to the fullest? Read on to find out about our recommendations!

Champagne and Brie
Brie is a rich creamy cheese with a soft, almost fatty texture. Champagne works very well here to cut through the fatty layers because the bubbly drink has a sharp and acidic tone. Pair the both of them together and you get a wonderful contrast with the champagne’s sparkling bubbles and the Brie’s fluffy creaminess.

Sauvignon Blanc and Goat Cheese
Goat cheese may not be a common type of cheese on most cheese platters but they make a great choice for variety and taste. Goat cheeses are earthy and tart, sometimes with a stronger depth compared to normal cheese. Therefore, it means that the citrusy and mineral-rich notes found in Sauvignon Blanc can help to bring out the nutty and herbal-like flavours in goat cheese.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Cheddar
Cheddar is big in taste and wonderfully rich in its own right. This means it comes packed with a fatty and bold taste and which makes it a common sight on cheese platters. Cabernet Sauvignon, on the other hand, has a slightly drying effect on the palate with its robust tannins and will match the bold personality of cheddar very well.

Malbec and Edam
Edam has an amazing nutty touch, which makes it stand out from other types of cheese. It is a good complement to other cheeses that may be more creamy or heavy-flavoured. Pairing Edam with Malbec’s fruity notes is a good choice because both products are delightfully aromatic.

So, remember these few simple tips and your next cheese platter could easily take on a whole new dimension with the right wine!