Louis XV in Monaco was a culinary delight, writes exploring gastronomist Arundhati De. Was it money well spent?
It is my third day in Monaco, and I am effortlessly getting used to the life here. After all, it isn't too tough to wake up every morning, in a perfectly comfortable bed of a suite in the turn-of-the-century, historic hotel, L'Hermitage. And then, to open the drapes, and see the glittering Mediterranean bay of Monte Carlo, dotted with the most stunning yachts, belonging to the rich and the glamorous.
After enjoying this wonderfully energizing sight, I head to the breath-taking breakfast room, in the "Jardin d'hiver". Literally meaning, "The Winter Garden", this area is a jewel of an area, completely designed in the Belle Époque style, and I enjoy a cloud-like egg white omlette, using the season's finest and most delicate herbs; along with a glass of the most delicious strawberry juice.
Yes, this is the life... and like I said, it doesn't take too much getting used to!
For me, the most fantastic element of this trip has been the culinary experience that I have gone through. Over the 3 years that I spent in Paris as a student, I learned a lot about eating, drinking and cooking. It took me some time, but I believe I understand what it is about French fine dining that sets it apart from the food from the rest of the world. And the simple fact is, it is prepared with not just love, but with the highest form of respect. Respect for not just the preparer and the eater; but above all, for the ingredients.
So as I walked into, the Hotel de Paris, home to the world's finest (and let's be honest, most expensive) restaurants, Louis XV by Alain Ducasse; I was filled with a gush of excitement at what this extraordinarily special experience had in store for me. All I knew was that it was going to be very, very fancy food (for my naive palette) and I wondered what code of conduct I ought to follow. Would I find diamonds in my champagne? Was the cutlery made of gold? Was I expected to bow when I met the chef?! I truly wasn't sure. But these myriad thoughts melted away, as I walked into the gorgeous room -- with gilded gold details, frescos on the