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Thanksgiving in Paris : Who Cares About Leftovers?

Tour de Eiffel

Most people think Springtime in Paris — but why not Thanksgiving in Paris?

, the network of scholars who lead walking tours in several European cities, is hosting a special Thanksgiving dinner at historic restaurant Le Pharamond on Thanksgiving Day, November 22.

It will be hosted and presided over by docent and dining historian Carolin C. Young, chair of the Oxford Food Symposium and author of Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver, an ode to and history of feasts.

“Typically Thanksgiving is a day when we celebrate, through food, American national identity,�? notes Context founder Paul Bennett. “But this year, rather than comb the Bastille market for a turkey, we’re hosting an intensely French experience—a feast at Le Pharamond organized by one of the top historians of French food. The meal itself will be an exploration of the history and traditions of the very best Parisian cuisine.�?

The celebration begins with a short walking tour of some of the most important sites in the history of food and dining in Paris, including the Palais Royal (scene of some of the most famous French meals in history) and Les Halles.

The walk itself will be partly based on the imaginary itinerary set forth by Alexandre-Balthazar-Laurent Grimod de la Reynière, the world’s first food journalist, in the earliest edition of his Almanach des gourmands (1803).

The group will then retire to Le Pharamond, now owned by Sylvain Le Barbier, the former sommelier of L’Ami Louis. Participants will take a behind-the-scenes tour of the restaurant, meeting Le Barbierand his chef Stéphane, before sitting down to a sumptuous four-course lunch,

The menu, designed in conjunction with Carolin Young, draws from French traditions and history and like the turkey in the American Thanksgiving feast, aims to give participants a lens through which to discuss French national identity. Young and Le Barbier will annotate the entire experience, elucidating the design and composition of each dish and enlivening the conversation with anecdotes about famous meals from Madame Pompadour to Salvador Dalí.

The menu includes:

Champagne Ruinart

Foie gras, Escargots de Bourgogne, Coquilles Saint-Jacques, Bouchées à la reine
Served with Alphonse Mellot 2005, Sancerre blanc

Main courses
Roasted ‘poulet de Bresse’, Sole normande, Côte de bœuf,
Côte de veau de la Vallée d’Auge, Rognons de veau, Tripes de Caen
Seasonal vegetables and sides
Served with Clos de Lumbrays 2000, Bourgogne, Grand Cru

Salad and a selection of French cheeses

Équitoriale noire, Poire de la Grande Truanderie,
Tarte fine aux pommes, Crème brûlée
Coffee/tea/infusion/mineral water

The event is part of Context’s Out of Context series of special lectures and events. The price is 220 Euros per person, which includes the cost of a four-course meal and wine at Le Pharamond.

Founded by National Geographic writer Paul Bennett and designer Lani Bevacqua, Context is a network of English-speaking scholars and professionals—including art historians, writers, architects, and gastronomes—who organize and lead didactic walking seminars across five cities: Rome, Naples, Florence, Paris, and Venice. In May 2007, Travel + Leisure named Context one of the top European tour companies for its innovative approach to travel and the depth of its programs.

Tour Eiffel. Photograph by Sue Frause, April 2006.

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