Tag Archives: France

Δείπνο στο Παρίσι.

Με την μαγειρική οι σχέσεις μου ήταν ανύπαρκτες. Τα τελευταία ένα-δυο χρόνια όμως η διάθεση μου απέναντι στο φαγητό και την μαγειρική άρχισε να αλλάζει. Ο κυριότερος λόγος γι’ αυτή την αλλαγή ήταν ένα πολύτιμο δώρο που  έκανα στον εαυτό μου. Χρόνο.

Χρόνο να σκεφτώ, να διαβάσω, να δημιουργήσω…. χρόνο να μαγειρέψω. Δεν έχω γίνει βέβαια ο Pierre Gagnaire, όχι ακόμη τουλάχιστον, αλλά έμαθα να μαγειρεύω αρκετά καλά.

Δυο πράγματα με ευχαριστούν περισσότερο στην όλη διαδικασία του μαγειρέματος. Το πρώτο είναι ο αυτοσχεδιασμός. Έχω γίνει expert στο να αλλάζω τις συνταγές, ανάλογα με τα κέφια και κυρίως με τα υλικά που διαθέτω.

Το δεύτερο και κυριότερο είναι η ευχαρίστηση που βλέπω στα πρόσωπα αυτών που δοκιμάζουν ένα από τα πιάτα μου. Τελικά, δεν είναι τόσο δύσκολο να κάνεις τους ανθρώπους χαρούμενους. Ένα πιάτο νόστιμο φαγητό είναι αρκετό.

Λοιπόν, εδώ και λίγες εβδομάδες βρίσκομαι στο Παρίσι.  Και που αλλού καλύτερα από το Παρίσι να μιλήσουμε για γαστρονομία και κυρίως να δοκιμάσουμε ξεχωριστά πιάτα.

Θα μου πεις εδώ χανόμαστε, βρισκόμαστε σε κρίση, με την γαστρονομία θα ασχολούμαστε.

Ε, ναι λοιπόν θα ασχολούμαστε. Αυτού του τύπου οι ηθικολογίες, είναι πολύ ψευτικες, και με εκνευριζουν αφανταστα. Ειλικρινα, πονω βαθύτατα και συμπαραστεκομαι σε όλους οσους δεν μπορουν να πάνε οσο συχνά θα ήθελαν στα μπουζούκια, ή στο Boschetto και στο Kiku για φαγητό, αλλά αυτό δεν σημαίνει ότι θα παραμερίσουμε οτιδήποτε έχει σχέση με την τέχνη, την υψηλή γαστρονομία η τον πολιτισμό μέχρι να βγούμε από την κρίση.

Δεύτερον, είμαι πολύ μακριά από όλο αυτό το υπέρ-καταναλωτικό με δανεικά λεφτά, τρόπο ζωής. Σε προσωπικό επίπεδο την κρίση την πέρασα την δεκαπενταετία 1990-2005 και ηταν και αρκετα σκληρή, οπότε η σημερινή κατάσταση συνολικά μου φαινεται μαλλον κανονική.

Και για να τελειώσω δεν αντεχω την γκρινια και την μιζέρια. Δεν χρειάζεται να ξοδέψεις μια περιουσία για να ευχαριστηθεις ένα καλο πιάτο φαγητό και ένα καλό κρασί. Τα πιάτα στις φωτογραφίες – από εστιατόρια στο Παρίσι- κοστίζουν από €8 (πρώτο πιάτο) μέχρι €17,50 (κυρίως πιάτο). Επίσης δοκίμασα μερικά υπέροχα κρασιά σε πολύ προσιτές τιμές. Αλλά για το κρασί θα επανέλθω….

Bon appétit!

Bike-sharing. Innovation, Efficiency, Design and Technology.

Bike sharing is becoming very popular and more cities (London, San Francisco and Singapore) are considering a bike-sharing transportation system. Paris was one of the first cities to introduce an ambitious low-cost bike sharing system. On 15th July 2007, Parisians woke up to discover 20,600 low-cost rental bikes at 1,450 high tech stations located at intervals of 300 m on average.

Velib in Paris. Image Credit:http://green.autoblog.com

Despite to vandalism and theft reports, Vélib is a successful story and the bicycles are used by residents and tourists alike. The results from similar bike-hire schemes in other cities have been similar successful. In Lyon, the program is acknowledged as one of the earliest success stories  in France.  When Velo’v was introduced in 2005, there has been a 10 per cent reduction in traffic and a 30 per cent increase in cycling.

The idea of bike sharing is not a new one. Amsterdam, introduced the White Bicycle Plan in the 1960s, but the result of this scheme was not the best one as within a month, most of the bikes had been stolen and the rest were dumped in canals.  La Rochelle in France did much better when it introduced its yellow bicycles in 1974 and similar systems work successfully in Copenhagen, Barcelona and other cities.

Bike-sharing in Copenhagen. Image Credit:http://www.inhabitat.com

In Copenhagen, RAFFA Architecture & Design has developed a city-wide bike sharing plan that could increase ridership from 37% up to 50% by 2015. An effective on-line system with attractive bikes that can be stored anywhere – even atop lamp posts!

Bike-sharing in Copenhagen. Image Credit:http://www.inhabitat.com

References and further reading: Velo’v, Vélib, Inhabitat, “Paris Embraces Plan to Become City of Bikes”  The Washington Post, “Aiming Hire” Australian Cyclist.

France wants a ban on international trade in bluefin tuna.

It is certainly a good development that France “wants a ban on international trade in bluefin tuna to come into force in 18 months time in order to protect the over-fished species.”

According to The Independent the French decision will weigh heavily in the final position adopted by the European Union.

The French government source said that “This delay of 18 months was decided to enable new scientific reports (to be drawn up) and to put the finishing touches to a plan for the fleets.”

Bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) is a species native to Atlantic Ocean, as well as the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. It is a critically endangered species; many environmental and conservation organisations have been recommended to avoid consumption until stocks recover.

According to Mr.Roberto Mielgo Bregazzi, a tuna ranching consultant and author of the report in the fishing trade journal Intrafish, the illegal catches of bluefin tuna rose from 3,569 tonnes in 2004 to 25,297 in 2008.

In the documentary film The End of the Line, Roberto Mielgo, a former bluefin fisherman who travels the world monitoring catches, claims that Mitsubishi buys and sells 60 per cent of the threatened fish and that it has expanded its importing stock and its freezer capacity to hold extra bluefin.

Bluefin tuna frozen at -60C now could be sold in several years’ time for astronomical sums if Atlantic bluefin becomes commercially extinct as forecast, a result of the near free-for-all enjoyed by the tuna fleet.

Mitsubishi acknowledges that it freezes bluefin, but only, it says, to even out peaks and troughs in supply. “Mitsubishi Corporation handles between 35 per cent and 40 per cent of Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna imported to Japan,” the company told The Independent.

France and Brazil join forces and urge for climate action

“We are making public”……… “We are fighting for the world to live up to its historic responsibility,” said president Sarkozy.

The French President Nicolas Sarkozy and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, presented on Saturday a joint text – “a climate bible’ according to Lula, which urge rich industrialised countries to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 80 percent from their 1990 levels by 2050.

Image Credit: http://npsglobal.org

The final objective in the text is a “global reduction of at least 50 percent by 2050 compared with 1990″ of greenhouse gases worldwide. The two leaders called on emerging economies to contribute by seeking low carbon growth with “new and substantial financial support” from the rich countries.

“This is a collective responsibility” said president Sarkozy.

They also said that the United States and China had to show more boldness in accepting commitments in Copenhagen. “We cannot allow President Obama and President Hu Jintao to celebrate an accord which only takes the economic realities of their two countries into account,” Lula said.

The two countries also agreed on the creation of a global environmental organisation, which could be set up by 2012.

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It seems that the leaders around the world have realised the impacts that climate change would have to their nations, and regardless of the result in Copenhagen they are determined to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, but they want to do that on a way that serves better the interest of their nations.

I believe – and I have mention this before- that a global deal is the best way to fight climate change, but if this deal is not backed up by a variety of efforts at the national, regional, and local levels, there is not guarantee that will work well, and it will take too long to produce positive results.

The last few months we have seen many governments to response locally to climate change and many countries to sign bilateral agreements.

Last month, on his weekly radio program Coffee with the President, the Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said that Brazil will offer to reduce the pace of deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest by 80 percent by 2020, in other words, Brazil will emit some 4.8 billion fewer tons of carbon dioxide gas.

China and India have also signed a memorandum in order to coordinate their approach to climate negotiations and some domestic policies, such as deforestation (The Guardian). Also,  on 4th November,  the Center for American Progress launched a report with the Asia Society, “A Roadmap for U.S.-China Collaboration on Carbon Capture and Sequestration” which sets out a detailed plan for how US and China can mutually benefit from working together to achieve greater emissions reductions than they can alone.

Sources: Reuters, AFP via Yahoo News