January 30, 2011
A Hopeful Week in Paris - Part 2
Have you ever had what seems like a golden opportunity literally fall into your lap?
Then in the end, for one reason or another, you have to say 'no thanks' and walk away from that opportunity?
Well, if you haven't, I can tell you that it kind of sucks.
At the end of November I was ready to make a huge life/career change.
All of the French cheese tasting I've done over the last few years led me to an exciting job opportunity in Paris. I took the train up at the end of November, had an interview and was hired on the spot by a very well known and award winning French fromager.
I was ecstatic to say the least.
So in mid December I happily went off to Paris to do a week long trial period at one of his shops and to rent an apartment.
Then, as I explained in an earlier post, reality reared its ugly head.
I really thought that everything would work out. In the past I've moved to big cities, found jobs and rented apartments in a week's time. All it took was a lot of hustling around and signing on the dotted line. No big deal.
Maybe I was too optimistic. Maybe I was too naive?
The truth is, it was really disappointing.
That isn't to say that the week didn't have its high points.
I had a blast in the caves d'affinage underneath the shop, unwrapping and helping to prepare dozens and dozens of Vacherin Mont d'Or that would be sold during the upcoming holidays.
I spent an hour methodically brushing cheese mites off the rinds of enormous wheels of maturing Tomme de Savoie and Tome des Bauges.
I helped to make kilos of Périgord black truffle infused beurre salé and spent part of an afternoon slathering fresh Corsican ewe's milk cheese with a mélange of piment d'Espelette and balsamic vinegar to create a very special fromage de brebis.
I helped clients make up cheese boards to serve to their guests and offered samples to children who already had a sophisticated enough palate to know that they preferred the rich, 40 month old Comté to the younger, fruitier, 22 month old Comté.
My co-workers were young, entertaining and passionate about French cheese, and the responsable du magasin et cave d'affinage was one of the nicest people I've ever met.
When I wasn't up to my ears in fromage I had the chance to see some old friends and meet some new ones.
Friday Night Drinks with Sarah and husband Gui, Kyliemac (Katia called in sick, darn her!), Sam and boyfriend C and Jenny was a welcome break from the métro-boulot-dodo routine.
At the end of a 10 hour work day on Saturday I spent the evening relaxing with a glass of white wine, good conversation and a home cooked meal with David, which was exactly what I needed.
Camille and Nick suggested lunch at Happy Nouilles on Sunday. The three of us enjoyed big bowls of hand made Asian noodles that were to die for!
And a final lunch at a charming little salon de thé in the Marais with Jenny before the train home on Monday
The week was an experience I'll never forget.
Cold, cold weather, packed Metros, cheese!, Paris all dolled up and decorated for Christmas, unexpected snow, croissants for breakfast six days in a row, walking across the Ile de la Cité past a magically lit up Notre-Dame to have drinks, wandering the Marais at 1:30am after a late dinner, discovering new neighborhoods of Paris and seeing la Tour Eiffel every day from the Metro.
I have to be philosophical about the whole thing.
It really was an honor to be hired by such a prestigious fromager and proves that my skills are more marketable in France than I realized.
Also, I got to spend an entire week surrounded by and talking about French cheese, one of my favorite things!
So for now, I'll continue to look for that next opportunity. I know it will come along. Pin It