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3 July 2017 / leggypeggy

France, food and portion control

Melon salad

Melon salad in St Brieuc—very manageable

We’ve been overseas for almost two months and enjoyed almost three weeks travelling around France. We’ve enjoying the landscapes, the museums and other touristic sites, the language, the cheese, the wine and the food, in general.

But nothing prepared us for portion control.

The French have a wonderful lunchtime option called the ‘plat du jour’.  It’s only offered at lunchtime on weekdays and it can be one, two or three courses—meaning an entrée (or starter depending on where you live), a main and a dessert.

The plat du jour is usually quite generous and usually ranged in price from 10 to 15 euros. I usually ordered an entrée and main, while Mr. Sweet Tooth usually opted for a main and dessert. When we ordered the plat du jour, we usually went very light on dinner.

Butter tart

Custard tart

Fromage blanc with strawberries

Fromage blanc with strawberries

When we headed out to start our 200+-kilometre bike ride in Brittany, we had a compulsory change of trains in St Brieuc. It was a couple of hours, so we sought out a likely lunch spot and ordered their plat du jour. It was a melon salad, fish with vegetables and a fancy custard tart. We each ordered two courses, and you can imagine who ordered what.

The melon salad was quite nice and just what I’d hoped for.

After seven days on bicycles (more about that soon), we met up with daughter and son-in-law, Libby and Daniel, to enjoy the surrounds of Limoges in southern France.

We did a lot of exploring, visiting and eating.

One of the most telling experiences was in Le Sans-Lys, a restaurant in Martel. Their plat du jour listed a starter of another melon salad, a main of duck and a dessert of I don’t remember what. I was completely stonkered (Aussie slang for outdone) by the salad alone. It really was all I needed.

Hope you appreciate the difference between the two melon salads, and the difference between the portions of the elegant north and more -down-to-earth south of France.

Oh wait, I still dream of the amazing dessert I ate in Brittany (northwest of France). It was fromage blanc fraise (white cheese with strawberries). I could eat that every day. I have found a recipe and will share it if it turns out with any success.

Melon salad in Martel

Huge melon salad in Martel



Leave a Comment
  1. theunassuminghiker / Jul 3 2017 11:17 pm

    All I can say is, YUM! I love European food, they make it an art.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. beetleypete / Jul 4 2017 12:00 am

    That second salad is a belter! The sort of portions they like to get here in Norfolk.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. susan@onesmallwalk / Jul 4 2017 12:08 am

    Sounds like a great trip. Anyone who bikes that distance should have whatever they want to eat at all meals!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. sidilbradipo1 / Jul 4 2017 12:46 am

    The huge melon salad in Martel is terrific delicious ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  5. pvcann / Jul 4 2017 12:50 am

    a wonderful and amazing journey. I laughed out loud at stonkered, haven’t heard that for a while, but a great word to use for the vision before you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jul 4 2017 8:46 am

      I was doubly stonkered when the duck dish arrived. It was just as huge, but I was too stonkered to lift the camera.

      Liked by 1 person

      • pvcann / Jul 4 2017 9:40 am

        Another 50km ride for you then. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Jul 4 2017 10:20 pm

        Yes, as soon as my arm is better.


  6. dinosaursdonkeysandms / Jul 4 2017 1:11 am

    All this food looks so yummy! The two salads made me laugh though, they couldn’t be anymore different in size of style! xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jul 4 2017 8:46 am

      Amazing how the simple words ‘melon salad’ on a menu can mean such different things.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Andrew Petcher / Jul 4 2017 1:13 am

    I read once that plat du jour is a legal requirement in France to compel restaurants to provide a reasonably priced meal for working people. Probably yesterday’s left overs! A great idea just like the Menú del dia in Spain. And why most restaurants take it off the menu just as quickly as they can.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jul 4 2017 8:50 am

      You’re right Andrew. Plus many employers give each employee a chèque déjeuner (voucher) that they can use to pay for their lunch. Restaurants have a sign in the window indicating whether or not they accept these vouchers.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sy.S / Jul 4 2017 1:55 am

    Hummm, and I always thought that French dishes are small in /size… which is actually good for your health. And I believe that they eat small portions and savor every fork/spoonful full.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 4 2017 8:50 am

      That’s what I thought until my second melon salad arrived! 🙂


  9. spearfruit / Jul 4 2017 2:16 am

    Anything fruits and vegetables works for me. It all looks yummy Peggy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. spugwash / Jul 4 2017 4:17 am

    The last salad looks magnifique

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Phil Huston / Jul 4 2017 4:33 am

    The difference between austere and TA-DA presentations is amazing. The custard tart, though, is a meal in itself. Why do chefs feel the need to create drizzle art? It has reached the proportion of plate graffiti. we ate at an “upscale” Mexican food place downtown (read that as rice with a pyramid presentation) and even there, a fine swirl of mango salsa with polka dot accents spun out the side of the avocado slaw. I liked the thinly sliced cantaloupe, something I may need to try, with spinach, sans cucumber.This has been like the travelogue from beyond without the sugary, fawning host! I thought white cheese and strawberries came out of that little acrylic bin in the fridge…

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jul 4 2017 10:06 pm

      Phil, your comments are always so much fun. I’m relieved I don’t fall into the sugary, fawning host category. Shudder!!!! Your so aptly named ‘drizzle art’ and ‘plate graffiti’ seemed fairly common in the bigger cities we visited in Europe, but not the smaller and country towns (except for one that thought it had to be fancy). Will let you know when I crack the recipe for real fromage blanc.


  12. Catnip Blog / Jul 4 2017 5:38 am

    I am always completely stonkered by your posts . . .

    Liked by 3 people

  13. jeanleesworld / Jul 4 2017 6:40 am

    Ooooooooooo, that white cheese and strawberries look scrumptious! As one of plain and simple cooking, my immediate reaction to that melon salad is, “That would take forever to make!”

    I’m very impatient in the kitchen. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  14. onecreativefamily / Jul 4 2017 6:49 am

    Looks delicious.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Brian Lageose / Jul 4 2017 8:20 am

    The melon salad de Martel looks exquisite. (I might be having visions in my dreams tonight.)

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Chris Riley / Jul 4 2017 8:36 am

    I’m curious as to which of the melon salads was preferable? I think I like the idea of having the cured meat with the melon, but the simplicity of the St Brieuc one also appealed as a starter. Looking forward to your test run for fromage Blanc with strawberries.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 4 2017 10:10 pm

      I liked the size and taste of the first one, but I loved the taste of the second. Wished it had been smaller.


  17. Vicki / Jul 4 2017 10:02 am

    That melon salad from Martel looks divine. Was that thickly sliced Prosciutto with the melon? I love good fresh food and I am really quite envious of the lunches you would have enjoyed in France.

    People think salads take time to prepare, but all you really need is quality fresh ingredients and simple dressings. In fact I use the same home-made French salad dressing for everything in summer. Even potato salad with fresh herbs 🙂 (I’m dairy intolerant and don’t like thick dressings and sauces anyway).

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 4 2017 10:15 pm

      I eat salad almost every day. Love it, love it, love it. I especially liked the prosciutto and red onion in the second salad—I’m a sucker for onion. Oh, and I make all my own dressings. I have about five different ones on the bench—not one is thick or with dairy. So when can you come for dinner?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vicki / Jul 4 2017 10:19 pm

        I love my salad too……and dairy free,,,,,yum! I’d better get those 5 dressing recipes from you some time to try out.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Jul 4 2017 10:21 pm

        Very happy to share. The best ones are balsamic, Italian and oriental. A couple of others are specialty dressings from page-32 recipes.


  18. gerard oosterman / Jul 4 2017 10:27 am

    ‘Plat du jour.’ Now, that brings back memories of bygone years, Peggy.

    Despite the eating of many courses, the French remain fairly slim. They don’t snack nor do they eat while walking, driving or working. It is done calmly and with consideration. Or, has that changed as well?

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jul 4 2017 10:18 pm

      You’re right, Gerard. People sit down to eat in France. But we saw way too many walkers smoking and ‘vaping’. We also saw quite a few people on the plump side,


  19. Green Global Trek / Jul 4 2017 8:09 pm

    Love the plat du jour in France. Best way to go, other than food mrkets for picnics. Melon and ham, a classic French pairing! Fromage blanc ~ YES ~ YUM! Did you try the buckwheat crepes in Brittany, I hope?


    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jul 4 2017 10:19 pm

      A few times in Brittany we had buckwheat crepes twice in one day. Yummo!


  20. lifeofastayathomemom / Jul 5 2017 2:44 am

    It’s all looks so amazing!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. lexklein / Jul 5 2017 4:24 am

    They both look utterly delicious to me! Starting diet now so I can chow down on my European jaunt this fall! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Anita / Jul 5 2017 4:43 pm

    That looks so yummy, thank you for sharing dear

    Liked by 1 person

  23. adventuredawgs / Jul 6 2017 9:08 am

    It all looks so fresh. And I have to admit my sweet tooth would be going into overdrive. That custard tart…oh my.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / Jul 6 2017 11:02 am

    I will pass on the first melon salad which doesn’t even look appealing, but the second is gorgeous and appetizing.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. amindfultravellerblog / Jul 6 2017 4:28 pm

    Oh I remember plat de jour…..isn’t it just the best? Makes me want to return again and again 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  26. marple25mary / Jul 7 2017 1:21 pm

    So many yummy things! Sounds wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Roberta Pimentel / Jul 8 2017 9:53 pm

    The food looks amazing and France is so beautiful. I have been there once and I loved it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  28. goodlifeforhalf / Jul 9 2017 1:35 pm

    What a fun food experience

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 9 2017 6:11 pm

      Yes indeed. France is full of fun food experiences.


  29. chattykerry / Jul 9 2017 10:43 pm

    The food is so beautifully presented.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Liu Min / Jul 11 2017 1:36 pm

    Waiting for that recipe! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  31. trE / Jul 11 2017 9:07 pm

    *pats belly* All of that looks and sounds delicious. Yummy!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. America On Coffee / Jul 12 2017 3:36 am

    💗A marvel! 💗

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Deb / Jul 12 2017 12:22 pm

    Holy Melon Salad, what a difference! Yum!! 🙂


    • leggypeggy / Jul 12 2017 12:55 pm

      Still amused that they had the same name on the menus.


      • Deb / Jul 12 2017 8:56 pm

        Well there was melon involved…lol!

        Liked by 1 person

  34. Aquileana / Jul 12 2017 7:15 pm

    Looks delicious…. It seems french kids eat in a very healthy way when they are at school, even Public schools… I have recently watched a documentary by Michael Moore “Where to invade next”, which refers to this issue… Have a wonderful day! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 12 2017 8:41 pm

      Thanks and yes, you’re right. We’ve had quite a few French exchange students. They have all been surprised that the schools here don’t offer a compulsory (and delicious) lunch program. If I recall correctly, French school lunches are paid for in advance for the year or half-year. Not sure if there are subsidies for those who can’t afford the meals.


  35. Stephanie ReadsWell / Jul 12 2017 10:27 pm

    I just have one word–Awesome! All of these dishes are looking delicious and mouth watering…aha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 13 2017 8:12 pm

      You’re absolutely right. They all were delicious and mouth watering. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


  36. itakemydessertsseriously / Jul 15 2017 6:07 pm

    these are not food. these are art! looks so good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 15 2017 6:16 pm

      What a perfect description—they are works of art!


  37. J.D. Riso / Jul 15 2017 6:21 pm

    Wow, you passed near my neighborhood (Anjou). The food in France is so damn good. Portion control…haha. There are lots of restaurants serving “cuisine nouvelle”. You know, BIG plates, tiny food. You have to go somewhere else afterwards to be full. I try to avoid those places whenever possible. Bon continuation de voyage!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 16 2017 6:31 pm

      Oh darn, sorry I didn’t get the chance to drop by and say hello. I know what you mean about ‘cuisine nouvelle’. In all our time in Europe this trip, we only had one such meal. I was mightily annoyed AND hungry.


  38. The Year I Touched My Toes / Jul 16 2017 10:20 pm

    Wow i am stunned by that salad. It looks quite spectacular. Look forward to the fromage fraise recipe once you’ve tried and if it works. Louise

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 17 2017 8:02 am

      The salad was amazing and really all I needed for a whole meal. Meanwhile, I’d better get to work on that recipe.

      Liked by 1 person

  39. dinosaursdonkeysandms / Jul 18 2017 5:36 am

    Hi Peggy! Just to let you know that me and Dizzy have nominated you for the following awards. 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jul 18 2017 12:42 pm

      Thanks so much to you both. I really enjoyed reading your responses. Over the years I left my blog award-free because we’ve often been travelling remotely with no internet connection for many days. So it was just easier to say no. But thanks very, very much for thinking of me. Give Dizzy a hug.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dinosaursdonkeysandms / Jul 18 2017 8:02 pm

        That’s ok! You can still know that we love your blog. 🙂 I have given Dizzy a hug from you too. 🙂 xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Jul 18 2017 10:22 pm

        Thanks so much.


  40. Anita / Jul 20 2017 9:00 pm

    Have a very nice end of week dear
    Kisses back to you

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Sheryl / Jul 21 2017 2:14 pm

    mmm. . . the food in France looks incredible.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. kunstkitchen / Jul 23 2017 7:35 am

    Oh Thanks Peggy! That looks totally scrumptious. Enjoy your trip.

    Liked by 1 person


  1. France,food and portion control – SEO

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