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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Petit Bisous to Petite Marmite. Food Names on French Menus With the Prefix Petit or Petite in French Cuisine.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
Petit Bisous – Little Kisses.

Petit or Petite – Little or small.

This post is about foods and food products that have names that include the words Petit or Petite.  (For more about the usage and pronunciation of petit and petite see the final paragraphs in this post).

Names that include Petit and Petite on French menus:
Petit Bisous – Little kisses; small sweet biscuits or bite-sized servings.

Petit-beurre - The petit beurre biscuit.  True to its name, this biscuit, which translates as little butter is made with very little butter; however, there is plenty of sugar in the recipe.  The biscuit's creation is claimed by Nantes, the capital of the department of Loire-Atlantique in the region of the Pays de la Loire.

According to a well-founded tradition, a Mr. Louis Lefèvre-Utilem who owned a small pâtisserie created the petit-beurre biscuit in the late 19th century; his biscuit would bring additional fame to that beautiful city. (see Baba au Rhum).

Petit-beurre biscuits.
The picture shows the L U mark, the initials of Mr. Louis Lefèvre-Utilem
Petit Déjeuner – Breakfast.  Breakfast in a French private home is most often a baguette or another bread, hopefully, fresh that morning, possibly toasted but certainly buttered.   In the larger towns and cities, a buttered baguette will be behind the traditional Tartine Beurrée, that may be offered with marmalade or another preserve and accompanied by the most popular French breakfast drink which is a large café au lait, a very milky coffee.  Croissants  are usually saved for weekend breakfasts.  (see Café, Café Crème, and Tartine).

Some of the most memorable breakfasts I have ever had have been hotel breakfasts in France.   One, which comes to mind, from a bank of pleasant memories, was at a small hotel in Paris. We ordered our breakfast the night before for 8:30 am.  At 8:20 am we were called on the telephone to advise that coffee would be coming in ten minutes; time to organize ourselves I suppose.  Exactly ten minutes later there was a knock on the door and following my entré, enter, a waiter entered with a tray carrying two cafés au lait and two French newspapers; these were delivered to our bedside.  Our breakfast followed another 10 minutes later; another knock,  another entré, and in came a waitress pushing a beautiful antique trolley holding shining silverware, starched  table linens, freshly squeezed orange juice, English tea with cold milk as requested, fried eggs for me, warm croissants and a still warm baguette, cut, buttered and with marmalade on the side.

Along with all this came, a huge bowl of flowers and a small bowl of fresh grapes (along with a finger bowl); a gift of the house.  The waitress pulled out the sides of her trolley, created a small table, arranged our breakfast, set two chairs, next to the table and with a slight curtsy left.  As you may imagine everything at breakfast was outstanding; I forgave them the lack of an English language newspaper.

The French can make a room-service breakfast much more civilized than many other nations do. In most of my US experiences with hotels of a similar classification the room service breakfast will include cold toast, de-frozen orange juice, lukewarm coffee, and soggy scrambled eggs.

Delivering breakfast in bed.
Petit-déjeuner Buffet –A buffet breakfast. (Déjeuner is lunch, and dîner is diner).

Petit-déjeuner Enfant – A child’s breakfast. Usually, a French hotel’s children’s breakfast menu will offer cereal, a glass of milk and or fruit juice and occasionally fresh fruit.

Petit Épeautre – Wild Einkorn, Einkorn or Small Spelt. Small spelt is another small grain and an ancient family member of modern wheat; it is also grown in Provence and a few other places in Europe. It may brighten up the menu with something not seen every day.
To the left regular wheat, to the right small spelt.

Petit Farcis Niçois  - A traditional Niçoise dish of stuffed vegetables. Depending on the season you will be served a plate of stuffed courgettes, aubergines, bell peppers and or tomatoes.  The vegetables will be stuffed with chopped pork, veal, and rice and flavored with fresh herbs. The dish will usually be sprinkled with grated parmesan or gruyere cheese and browned under the grill before serving. (Cusine Niçoise also called Cuisine Nissarde is the Cuisine from the City of Nice on France’s Mediterranean coast).

Petit Gris – The small gray; the popular small escargot, the smaller of France two popular edible snails; the other larger snail is the Escargot de Bourgogne. The Petit Gris has many local names including Lumas, Chagriné, Carsaulada, La Zigrinata, and Cargouille.

Petit Gris - One of the names used for the gray agaric or gray knight mushroom more usually called the griset.  

Petit Pan A bread roll.

Petit Poisson de Roche - Small fish. The name implies small fish caught close to shore, near the rocks but is used for many different small fish.

Petit Salé – Salted pork. Salted pork entered the French and English kitchens as one of the most important foods that could be stored for long sea voyages. The pork would be cured in water and salt for anything from four to six weeks and then air-dried.  Smoked salted pork was cold smoked for up to a week or more. Both air-dried salt pork and smoked salt pork could be stored for months, and the recipes made with salt pork have become part of the traditional dishes of many countries.
Petit-Suisse – A very popular 40% fat, white, soft, creamy, cow’s milk cheese and the most popular fresh cheese in France. The cheese was created in, and a great deal is still produced in, Normandy; it is not a Swiss cheese.
Petit Quinquin (Menus du) or Menus du P'tit Quinquin -  P'tit or petit Quinquin is a little child in the language of Piccard, the original language of Picardy in North Western France; local menus occasionally use Petit Quinquin as a cute heading for a child’s menu.  The words P'tit Quinquin are also the best-known title of a song otherwise called L'Canchon Dormoire, The Lullaby. The song was written by a favorite son of Picardy, Alexander Desrousseaux (1820- 1892); he wrote in the language of Piccard.  In Lille the most famous square for visitors is the Place du Général de Gaulle, who was born in Lille; but for the locals equally as famous is the Square Foch which many call the Le P'tit Quinquin square as apart from a statue of Maréchal Foch the square holds a bust of Desrousseaux. A tune from the song the  P'tit Quinquinis is sounded every hour by the carillon of the belfry of the Chamber of Commerce of Lille. (Since 1-1-2016 Piccardt is part of the new super region of Hauts-de-France).

Names that include Petite on French Menus:

Petite Friture – On your menu for a tasty entrée of deep-fried little fish. (see the appendix Fish: Poissons de Roche). 

Petite Friture de Lac – Deep fried little freshwater fishes from the lake. (see the appendix Fish: Poissons de Roche). 

Petite Portion –  A small portion. A menu may offer different sizes of the portions of a particular dish; that allows the diner to choose a smaller portion as an entrée. 

Petite Marmite –A petite marmite in a French kitchen is a small cooking dish while the petite marmite on your menu will be a stew served in that same dish. By tradition, the stew will have been cooked in the bowl in which it will be served.  Petite marmites are usually made from beef and or chicken but may also be made with fish. Most marmites will be accompanied by carrots, turnips, cabbage, leeks, and herbs. Petite marmites are the name given to similar and smaller, cooking pots than those called a marmite without any prefix. The stew cooked in a petite marmite will often be served in it. The traditional shapes used for the pots called marmites and petite marmites have long gone, but the recipes remain.

The Marmites above are 100% French marmites.  They have nothing to do with or will taste anything like the UK Marmite. The UK Marmite is a yeast extract flavoring that was loved by Queen Victoria and is still popular, in the UK, today. 

Names that include Petits on French menus:

 Petits-fours – Tiny cakes and pastries served at the end of a meal; usually served along with the coffee. Some may be fairly simple preparations; some may be works of art that are nearly too beautiful to eat.

Petits Légumes or Petits Légumes Printaniers - Small, young vegetables or small young spring vegetables; a translated menu may note small or miniature vegetables. Most restaurants using the words petits or nouvelle, small or new, before the name of a particular vegetable will just be advising you that the vegetables they are using are young, small, not fully grown; the inference is that they will be sweet and tender. 

Chefs also create attractive dishes with miniature vegetables and these are fully grown, but tiny cauliflowers, eggplants, etc.  These are called mini-légumes, miniature vegetables.  They taste the same as the full-grown original but on your plate add to the restaurant theater.
 Petits Pois – Small, fresh, sweet, green peas.

Le Petits Pois

Petit or Petite  –  Small or little.
Masculine and feminine.

Petit is the masculine form, and petite is the feminine of the words little or small. The pronunciation is different with the masculine petite pronounced without sounding the final t (pronounced petee)  and the feminine petite (with the e added) having the final t  sounded (pronounced peteet).
For the correct pronunciation, I suggest using one of the programs below. They offer sound bytes and that is much better than my written suggestions and I use them. (Best for single words)

Unlike English where we can get away using "it" for most nouns, there are no grammatical rules for French masculine and feminine nouns, usage is learned.  Le Petit Concombre, the small cucumber is masculine, and La Petite Carotte, the small carrot is feminine.  When ordering in a restaurant I don't worry if I make mistakes, the Maitre d's (or Maîtres d') are always forgiving. 

My original notes on French menu listings were memory prompts written for my own use;  however, for the book Behind the French Menu, I try to use examples that others have checked. Nevertheless, mistakes may remain and they are mine alone.
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Searching for the meaning of words, names or phrases
French menus?

Just add the word, words, or phrase that you are searching for to the words "Behind the French Menu" and search with Google. Behind the French Menu’s links include hundreds of words, names, and phrases that are seen on French menus. There are over 450 articles that include over 4,000 French dishes with English translations and explanations.
Bryan G Newman

Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2018.
For information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Bolet, Cèpe Jaune des Pins or Nonnette – The Weeping Bolet Mushroom in French Cuisine. The Mushrooms of France IX.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
The Weeping Bolet.
The French love wild mushrooms and, from the end of April through September, the Weeping Bolet mushrooms are so bountiful they will be in nearly every French market and supermarket.  These mushrooms have a faint smell and a mild mushroomy taste and are the mushroom behind many menu listings that include “wild” mushrooms; in season there really are lots of weeping bolets.
In the large towns restaurants may order wild mushrooms from specialist wholesalers but in the smaller towns and villages, the chefs will be working with  “ramasseurs,” independent, wild mushroom and herb gatherers.  The ramasseurs know exactly where to look after each rainfall; they treat the forests like a supermarket and the weeping bolet is easily spotted.  The mushroom’s cap, its umbrella, is a light brown from  5cm - 10cm ( 2” -4”) across, with a white stalk, and with so many of these mushrooms at the beginning and end of the season much of the crop is dried.  (Unlike many other mushrooms, the dried weeping bolet has a stronger taste than the fresh variety).

Dried, sliced, weeping bolets.
France is blessed with many pine forests, and they are the chosen shelter for many wild mushrooms, but two mushrooms prefer pine forests over other shelters; they are France’s Cèpes, members of the porcini family, and the Weeping Bolet and its family members.  Finding these two mushrooms together is important as in many dishes the weeping bolet will provide the bulk and the cepe the flavor. 

  Wild mushroom soup
The weeping bolet has quite a variety of French names including Bolet, Bolet Granule, Cèpe Jaune des Pins, Bolet Jaune des Pins, Nonnette, Nonnette Pleureuse, and the oddly named Pissacan in Provence.  In English, the names are the Weeping Bolet, Granulated Bolet, Butterball, and Slippery Jack.

The Weeping Bolet on French Menus:

Brouillade d'Œufs aux Bolets  - Brouillade is a light version of scrambled eggs that originated in Provence.  The egg whites are beaten separately and only then mixed with the yolks; that provides a light and delicate form of scrambled eggs; here the eggs are served with weeping bolets.
Dos de Maigre de Corse, Sauce au Noilly Prat, Risotto aux Bolets, Carottes – A thick cut of Corsican Meagre or Croaker, the fish, served with a sauce made from Noilly Prat, France’s first and still most popular vermouth, accompanied by a weeping bolet risotto and carrots.  This Meagre from Corsica is a farmed French Label Rouge, red label, IGP saltwater fish; it is highly regarded both for its taste and the farming methods used.
Meagre from Corsica.
Nonettes à l’Epoisses, sur Craquant de Salade – Weeping bolets cooked with Epoisses cheese, and served on a crunchy green salad.  Époisses AOP is strongly flavored, slightly salty, slightly nutty, very creamy, pale beige, 50% fat, cow's milk cheese from Burgundy.
Plancha de St Jacques et Gambas, Risotto aux Cèpes et Bolets  –  King scallop meat braised on a plancha together with large shrimps and served with a porcini and weeping bolet mushroom risotto.  A plancha is an iron sheet, almost one and a half centimeters (0.6”) thick that provides a very even method of cooking that uses very little oil and results in a taste between grilling and frying; both the Basque and the Spanish with their different cuisines claim the origin of the plancha.

Marinated weeping bolets.
Ravioles de Cèpe Jaune des Pins, Parfumées à l'Huile de Truffe – Ravioli stuffed with the wild granulated bolet mushroom, flavored with truffle oil.  Real truffle oil is made by soaking truffles or truffle shavings in olive oil.  The final product adds some flavor from the truffle for use all year round.
Tartare de Bœuf Taillé au Couteau, Molets et Moutarde à l'Ancienne    -    A hand-sliced, beef Tatar prepared with weeping bolet mushrooms, accompanied by an old-style,  coarse-grained, mild mustard.  Beef Tatar, also called Steak Tatar, is a dish where the texture is 50% of the gratification; when the steak is hand-sliced rather than ground, you will notice the difference.
Pickled lambs tongue and wild mushrooms

Suprême de Caille et Bolets Grillés Quail breast served with weeping bolet mushrooms.  The quail on this menu will be farm-raised; during the season when wild quail hunting is permitted, along with other wild game, the menu would either be called a Menu de Chase, a hunting menu, or the listing will read Caille Sauvage, wild quail.
N.B. If you are traveling in France and go foraging for wild mushrooms be careful.  Do not cook or eat a single one of your finds until an expert has checked your collection.  The Bolet mushroom family has, like many mushroom families, members who are poisonous and in any case, the lower stem should not be eaten.  Many French villages and all towns have mushrooms experts, volunteers that have been trained by the government.  Pharmacists have a list of the nearest mycologist.  To ask for a mushroom expert ask for a “mycologue, "  Their services are free. 

The weeping bolet.
Paris, P. Klincksieck,1891.
The weeping bolet in the languages of France’s neighbors:
 (catalan - molleric granellut), (Dutch -melkboleet),  (German - körnchenröhrling, schmerling),   (Italian – pinarolo, boleto granulato), (Spanish - boleto granulado),   (Latin - suillus granulatus).

Connected Posts:





Searching for the meaning of words, names or phrases
French menus?

Just add the word, words, or phrase that you are searching for to the words "Behind the French Menu" and search with Google. Behind the French Menu’s links include hundreds of words, names, and phrases that are seen on French menus. There are over 450 articles that include over 4,000 French dishes with English translations and explanations.
Bryan G Newman

Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2018.

For information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman