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How To Say La Tour D’argent Audio
La Tour d'Argent is a restaurant in Paris which prides itself on its long history. According to the official website, La Tour d'Argent has roots dating back as far as 1582. The modern restaurant certainly dates back to at least 1860, and is still flourishing, which makes it the oldest restaurant in Paris. The menu is firmly haute cuisine, and the restaurant boasts magnificent views, superb service, and a wine cellar filled with treasures. This is fine dining at its most traditional, and an experience to be savored.
The restaurant is most famous for its duck - there is a separate category for 'Caneton' on the menu. The duck served at the restaurant all come from a special farm, and diners who order it are given their duck's serial number on a postcard.
This somehow makes me think of Proust's novel 'À la recherche du temps perdu' ('In Search of Lost Time'). That postcard will certainly help you to recover your memories of the time you ate the duck. (I'm being facetious - La Tour d'Argent' is mentioned in this novel, although not in reference to the duck as far as I know.)
Their most famous dish, which originated at the restaurant, and is still on the menu is "Caneton Tour d'Argent", and is also known as 'Pressed Duck', or "Caneton à la Presse". If you are squeamish, stop reading now, because I'm going to describe how this dish is made.
First, the duck is strangled so it retains all its blood. Don't say I didn't warn you!!!!! I can't say how exactly the duck is strangled, but I surmise that perhaps they employ Henri the Brute to dispatch the duck manually, or maybe they have a special strangling machine. It's best not to dwell on these things, except to point out that if you keep Kosher or Halal, or are vegan, vegetarian, or sensitive, this dish is not for you.
The duck is then partially roasted, and its liver, breast and legs are removed. The rest of the carcass is placed into a special press to extract the blood and juices, which are then thickened with the ground liver, and served as a sauce with the breast. The sauce is usually flavored with cognac and butter, but other ingredients may be added.
If all this makes you want a lie-down with a cold cloth pressed to your forehead, the good news is that that's not the only duck dish on the menu. You can also have the far less upsetting "Caneton à l'Orange", and "Caneton rôti" (roast duck), as well as other dishes, but as duck is their speciality, and you are unlikely to be eating there every day, that's probably the sensible thing to order. If you are a vegetarian, there is not much for you on the menu.
La Tour d'Argent means 'The Silver Tower" in French. The restaurant currently boasts only 1 Guide Michelin star, having been downgraded in recent years. This is a sensitive topic, and one best not mentioned while dining there. I have no doubt the duck press can be set to accommodate tongues....
I should mention that the French word for 'duck' is 'canard' - caneton more correctly means 'duckling', but English speakers tend to think of duckling as that sweet, fluffy little hatchling, whereas the canetons are definitely bigger than that. Thinking of them as teenagers will probably make it easier to come to terms with their demise.
If you have eaten there, please comment away. If you are planning to eat there, and want help with the menu, ask and I'll add the pronunciations in. You will find full details, along with the latest menus on the Tour d'Argent website.
la tour d’argent
lah toor dahr/zhah~
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