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Learning French in Jamaica
Bonjour! I enjoyed cuisine inspired by France to commemorate the completion of 2 French examinations: End of semester exams as well as the internationally-recognized DELF A1. In January 2017, I started reacquainting with the language at my own pace until classes at the Alliance Française de la Jamaïque were discovered. Thanks to the lessons recalled from high school plus the 3 weeks of independent learning, I started at a beginner+ level then progressed from there. I marked the completions by indulging at 2 French restaurants in Kingston: Fromage Gourmet Market and Tea Tree Crêperie.
Prior, I subsequently won a creative writing competition that I mainly did for extra practice! The prizes received included a certificate, workbook, and a free registration for the DELF examination above (thankfully). The surprise win turned out to be a blessing; I wanted to undergo the examination for professional reasons but wasn’t sure it would’ve been financially feasible. This is yet another example of mine of attracting opportunities into your own life.
French Restaurants in Kingston
This has been my go-to place for French-inspired eats treats so far. This is because I’ve sampled a number of different meals and have yet to pick a favourite. Each option so far has come with fair to filling serving sizes, are delicious and lightweight, and can be enjoyed without “shutting your eye” to pay. The visit following the DELF examination was my 3rd time at the establishment, with one visit for each meal time.
Breakfast at Fromage Gourmet Market
A lox breakfast flat (comprised of scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, herbed cream cheese, onions, and capers) can be enjoyed with a side of iced coffee for brunch. The capers were new to me, I wasn’t very fond of their flavour, which spread to the salmon, but the dish is an overall tasty meal. Tastes of the power scramble (eggs with sweet peppers, smoked sausage and mozzarella), and apple streusel pancakes were also savoured. Everything tastes like a lovely start to the morning, as it should!
Lunch at Fromage Gourmet Market
For the first time since visiting this restaurant, the seat beside the Eiffel Tower backdrop was available after my exams, woot! It seemed appropriate to mark another French achievement while sitting by the country’s most famous landmark. Alfredo pasta and a white wine sangria were chosen as the well-deserved treat meal.
I asked for the added chicken to be spiced to ensure its flavour wasn’t masked by the creamy alfredo sauce. ME SEH! Be careful what you wish for. A generous serving full of flavour (and spices) was presented; the sangria was quickly finished trying to subdue the fire in my mouth. “Ethnic fatigue” kicked in, having me contently leave the restaurant filled, sleepy, buzzed, and with yummy leftovers.
Dinner at Fromage Gourmet Market
My first ever visit to this restaurant was actually for dinner to commemorate the writing competition win. A chowder du jour in bread boule (flavourful fish soup served in a bread bowl) is a comforting [and filling] starter meal. The bread is so0o0 soft, and deliciously soaked in the soup’s goodness! I finished it against my better judgement, knowing well that room should be left for the main course.
For the entrée, pomegranate glazed salmon served with vegetables and a side of mashed potatoes, plus a sangria is always a good choice. The side of potatoes were ordered thinking the salmon and vegetables wouldn’t be filling enough…WRONG! One of the first lessons learned here is that there are generous serving portions. The shrimp scampi with pasta in a white wine sauce has just the right amount of flavour, and as with all other meals enjoyed here, is very satisfying in both taste and portion.
- Delectability 77.5% 77.5%
- Food Variety 85% 85%
- Staff Interactions 80% 80%
- Ambiance 65% 65%
Following the final French transition class, I waltzed next door from class to Tea Tree Crêperie, located in the same establishment as Nirvanna Indian Cuisine, to enjoy savoury crêpes. It’s almost hypnotizing to watch from your seat how the flat pastry is spread, then folded with all ingredients inside from a front row viewing of creation process. I ordered a crêpe filled with beef tenderloin, tomato salsa and mozzarella cheese, while my friend’s crêpe contained chicken, mushrooms and mozzarella.
The thickness of a single crêpe was enough to satisfy hunger for the rest of the evening! Between the two, mine was dubbed the favourite, mostly due to the great difference in flavour from the meat choices (which I expected). The simplistic, light atmosphere makes it easy for guests to be comfortable; it’s also a hot spot for many to sit and get some work done as they eat. Before leaving, we grabbed a few markers and searched for spaces on the glass to add our names to the space’s customer-influenced decoration.
- Delectability 65% 65%
- Food Variety 80% 80%
- Staff Interactions 70% 70%
- Ambiance 80% 80%
There are other fusion and French restaurants in Jamaica. Le Vendome Negril on the western side of the island and L’Escargot on the northern coast are 2 other popular destinations for French cuisine.
If you’ve enjoyed any French restaurants, what or where would you recommend?
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