frenchman-with-arms-folderBe inspired by these yummy, easier-to-prepare alternatives for an intoxicatingly delicious fall dinner. True to the spirit of Thanksgiving but gastronomically enhanced by French organic nature-to-table locally available delights. The pre-holiday food buzz is all about fall harvesting and foraging what is out there now.


Besides poultry, delectable oysters, scallops, olives, mushrooms, chestnuts, Brussels sprouts, endives, apples, pears, walnuts and hazelnuts are all in season.

micheldupont-mushroomhunter-cepesLet’s Talk Turkey
French turkey farmers have free-range birds timed for Christmas, so they aren’t really ready now. But the alternatives could be even better.

With much darker and extraordinarily flavorful meat, plus simply scrumptious crunchy skin, slow-roasted goose and duck are both fatty, flavorful birds that don’t need basting or dry out. Their rich juices also make exceptional gravy and outstanding roasted potatoes.

A grand bistro fave, duck simmered in a rich thyme and fennel-seed laced sauce, with brine-cured green olives is a mouthwatering option.

Capon and guinea fowl are also succulently seductive birds, the former with a bit more white meat, and the latter with darker, tender meat. Both are easier to roast and less prone to drying out than turkeys.

chestnutsAlice B. Toklas developed her signature turkey stuffing with chestnuts, mushrooms and oysters, customizing it for Gertrude Stein who could not decide which of those three fall specialties she wanted. (No comment about other magical ingredients she might have used.)

Delectable oysters are being advertised on French television now. And fall mushrooms are a favorite fall French foraging objective. Prized “capes” aka porcini, “pied de mouton,” or sheepsfoot, “trompettes de la mort” or horn of plenty and chanterelle mushrooms have been in the woods and are in stores right now.

cepes-freshpickedfromforestVegetarians can delight in savory organic vegetable soups, stews and risottos with pumpkin, kale, celery root, chestnuts, apples and sage. Apples and pears are literally falling off the trees right now, fig season just ended but superior dried figs are available. So there is really no excuse for not making a simply sumptuous fresh fruit tarte. The big culinary trend in Paris is organic farm-to-table direct produce so fresh everything is easier than ever to buy.

Innovate your Thanksgiving recipes:
Jamie Oliver’s Festive Alternatives to Turkey
Saveur-Roast Duck with Olives

Z’Scoop Thanksgiving Restaurant Recommendations — Paris:
For those who can’t bear the thought of cooking and just happen to be in Paris, there are many options. Among them, these look particularly good:

harrys-new-york-bar-parisHarry’s New York Bar Paris
Having recently celebrated a 100th birthday, Harry’s — originator of the Bloody Mary — is particularly festive right now and will have a Thanksgiving dinner menu November 27, from noon – 3:00pm. Menu: pumpkin soup, club sandwich, coleslaw, pecan pie, brownies, a drink and café for 39€ ($45 est.).
5 rue Daunou, 75002 PARIS, Tél. : +33 1 42 61 71 14

Joe Allen
Serving a three-course traditional Thanksgiving meal for 45€ ($50 est.) on Thursday.
30 rue Pierre Lescot, 75010. Reservations: +33 1 42 36 70 13.

Ralph’s (Ralph Lauren)
Relaxed American luxury with a special Thanksgiving menu for a whopper price: 120€ ($135 est.) per person.
173 boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris 6e, 6 – 9:00pm

Tel: +33 1 42 99 90 50, service.clients@dalloyau.fr
Royal caterer dating back to 1682, Dalloyau has seven boutiques, and five tearooms in Paris, providing extraordinary food. For an estimated price under $45, a Thanksgiving degustation meal-to-go could be the Invalides plateau repas, containing many of the seasonal delicacies mentioned above:

  • Velouté de butternut squash with chestnuts and cream;
  • Guinea Fowl stuffed with cèpes, red cabbage and chanterelle;
  • Fine seasonal cheese with dried fruits;
  • Chestnut-cassis dessert.



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