Wednesday 16 December 2015

Tales of Food and Travel - Bouillabaisse


Scene from the film ‘Our Man Flint’ (1966)

James Coburn (Flint) to Lee J. Cobb (Cramden) after forensic analysis of a poisoned dart is completed:

“Well sir, the usual proportion of garlic to buttered saffron and fennel (in bouillabaisse) is two cloves of garlic, to a pinch of buttered saffron, to a dash of fennel. Now only in a certain small section of Marseilles are these three condiments prepared in these proportions. Now whoever handled that dart was in Marseilles within the last 24 hours.”

The place and the menu - culinary excellence combined with the aesthetic associated with the location are sometimes experiences which one may be weary of attempting to duplicate.

For instance, having a Calamari & Octopi-filled Fritto Misto lunch on the island of Capri by the blue waters of the Gulf of Naples.

Or gently devouring Sea Bass stuffed with minced Langoustine and Sea Urchins while imbibing the gentle ocean breeze emanating off the Tamariz Beach in Estoril.

Would I get the same level of high a second time around? Perhaps yes with a different menu or location Perhaps not.

I aborted a late arranged trip to Marsailles last summer with one pre-planned pleasure being the consumption of the local gift to the national cuisine: Bouillabaisse.

I made do with the same fish stewed meal -minus the lobster- at a decent French restaurant off High Street Kensington.

But here's to making good on a dream of consuming a sumptuous and well-crafted portion of Bouillabaisse in its place of historical origin on a darkening summer's evening by the Vieux-Port eased down with a full-bodied white Burgundy.

(C) Adeyinka Makinde (2015)

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England

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