Versailles is one of my favorite spots in France. Yes, the Château de Versailles is touristy. But it still has a majestic charm, despite the hordes of visitors. My husband and I love to visit in winter, when you can have the glorious ‘salles de réceptions‘ almost to yourself.
Many of the towns closer to Paris seem to have slightly more sophisticated menus than in the French countryside, and Versailles is no exception. (It’s no surprise, as it is the place where many of the traditions of France’s aristocratic Ancien Régime cuisine were developed.) In fact, this pre-schooler’s menu has 4 amazing courses! Good thing they get 2 hours off at lunch time — for eating, and then playing (and digesting) outside. I’m going to blog next week about what the kids in primary school eat (an even more amazing menu!).
As you read through the delicious menus, you’ll probably be wondering about the cost. Middle-income families pay around $3 (not much more than the average cost of a school lunch in the US). Cross-subsidies and rebates are used to enable all families to participate; the cost per meal for the lowest-income families is under $1.
Monday, January 9th
Sliced radish and corn salad with vinaigrette dressing, and black olive garnish
Roast guinea fowl (commonly eaten in France instead of chicken)
Sauteed provencal vegetables and wheat berries
Cheese: Saint Paulin (a semi-soft, buttery cheese originally made by Trappist monks)
Dessert: Vanilla flan and “Cat’s Tongue” cookies
Tuesday, January 10th
Grapefruit and lettuce salad, basil vinaigrette dressing
Sauteed porc with curry coconut sauce and white navy beans
Plain ‘bulgar-style’ (thick) yogurt, with optional sugar
Dessert: Organic apple and peach compote
Wednesday, January 11th
Squash soup, with crouton garnish
Salmon in lemon roux sauce, with couscous
Fresh fruit and fromage blanc (a delicious cheese with the consistency of yogurt)
Thursday, January 12th
Grated cabbage salad, with hard-boiled egg garnish and shallot dressing
Roast beef with sauce provençale, green peas
Cheese: Goat cheese buchette (shaped like small logs or ‘buches‘)
Dessert: Apple cake
Friday, January 13th
Rice salad ‘Niçoise’ (rice, chives, shallots, tomatoes, green beans, olives, tuna)
Hake filet with sauce meunière & lemon garnish
Zucchini and potatoes sauteed with garlic
Cheese: Tomme noire (made in the Pyrenees, the mountains in the extreme south of France)
This blog post is part of my French Kids School Lunch Project. Every week, I post the school lunch menus from a different village or town in France, where three-course, freshly-prepared hot lunches are provided to over 6 million children in the public school system every day. These meals cost, on average, $3 per child per day (and prices for low-income families are subsidised). My hope is that these menus (together with my other blog posts about the French approach to kid’s food) will spark a conversation about what children CAN eat, and how we can do better at educating them to eat well.