So, as you may know, I totally went to France last week. Sacrebleu! As is the case with some of these fancy press trips, there’s an airline partner involved. In this case, it was Air France, who generously sent me in economy class from LA to Paris. On the way home, however, I won the seat lottery.
Since I was technically on a staff ticket, I was eligible to get bumped up to any available seat. Business wasn’t full, so instead of riding in the back of the plane (which was actually totally comfortable), I got moved into business. Boom! That’s the sound you make when you know you get to ride comfortably for 11 hours.
Since I was up in J like the baller that I am, I got to experience a much more sophisticated level of food and service. Now you get to hear about it.
The most adorable little bagel-ette you’ll ever see. It was a nice first bite, although a bit salty. I like this as an amuse, but it’s a little odd considering the next course, the appetizer, was also salmon based.
If this was my main course for lunch, I would have been totally happy. Instead, it was just the starter. The salad was fresh — not much to say there. The smoked foie gras terrine was nice, although the massive chilling they did beforehand made it much denser than I would have preferred. A proper terrine is much more malleable, spreadable even. This suffered a bit from the constraints of being held in the arctic temperatures of an airplane. The smoked salmon filets were much more successful. I absolutely loved them. As I mentioned, a little strange to go from salmon to salmon, but these were the star of my entire meal. The tangy parsley potato salad also worked well to balance the richness and smokiness of the salmon. A home run combo in my book. Less appealing was the cold “chestnuts sauteed in honey.” I’m all about chestnuts, but I don’t think a sweet, cold salad is really the way to go.
The fish was heinously overcooked and the fishy taste made it nearly inedible. For anyone out there saying “how can you criticize a fish for being fishy,” I ask you to kindly hold your comments. Fish is only “fishy” when it’s past its point of freshness. This fish ended up that way because it was overcooked, which caused the natural oils of the sea bream to dominate. Not cool. The sauce, “caper sauce with mustard, tomato, and parsley,” tasted like none of these things. A simple caper mustard cream would have been just fine. Instead, it was a mish-mash of discordant flavors. While I enjoyed the rosemary pesto zucchini and the pumpkin puree, I truly wish I had opted for a different choice.
For the Meal Service, aka “Second Lunch Before You Land,” I opted for the risotto with sweet potato, zucchini, and cream. It’s odd to include cream as the ingredient, but this is Air France after all, and when I saw the amount of cream I understood why they felt the need to list it.
Yes, there’s a ton of cream here. I found in my travels throughout France that the French enjoy cooking Italian specialties, but adding a gallon of cream to make them their own. I had several ravioli dishes that were almost like cereal floating in a bowl of heavy milk. This risotto is a fantastic display of what airline food can be. The flavors were indulgently delicious. Seasoned just right with an ample amount of vegetables, I would happily have this dish again. And again.
As I expected, the food in Business was easily better than the economy options. More importantly, J Class on Air France absolutely compares favorably to Business meals I’ve had on other airlines. Merci to Air France and I look forward to flying again soon.