American dietician in Paris shares ‘unreal’ French school lunches: mussels, fancy cheese, sorbet

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By Dan Sears

Snack-ré bleu!

No steel tubs of mass-produced slop in l’Hexagone. An American dietician in Paris, France, had the online masses salivating after sharing a TikTok video detailing the mouthwatering and highly nutritious dishes served at her daughter’s school.

“I feel so lucky to live in a country that puts such value on making sure all kids have access to healthy food,” gushed Isabelle Bertolami, a registered dietician, in the clip — which revealed an enviable menu that included tasty treats like mussels, hearts of palm, organic camembert cheese raspberry tarts and sorbet.

The mother-of-one, who moved to Paris in 2018 and has a daughter with her French husband, frequently chronicles her experience being a U.S. expat in France to her more than 146,000 followers.

In one of her recent dispatches from the City of Light, Bertolami revealed what the 3-to-6-year-olds at her daughter’s school ate one week earlier this month.

Their selections made the most ostentatious American offerings look like a pack of Lunchables.

Bertolami explained that the menu “follows the same structure every day” with a starter, a main dish, a cheese course and a dessert.

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“So Monday, they’re starting with a salad of hearts of palm, tomato, croutons and vinaigrette,” Bertolami revealed. “Then they’re having fish with a side of potatoes, and then they’re having an organic camembert and a lemon sorbet for dessert.”

Daniel Boulud, eat your heart out.

On Tuesday, the kids enjoy sardines on toast — a dish they likely ate long before its “discovery” by Gen Z food-Tokers — along with an organic omelet with mushrooms.

“I feel so lucky to live in a country that puts such value on making sure all kids have access to healthy food,” gushed Bertolami, who revealed that mussels are part of one school’s cuisine. fudio – stock.adobe.com
An omelet is one of the many gourmet items offered at a Paris school. voltan – stock.adobe.com

This entrée is accompanied by zucchini and potatoes, followed by organic yogurt and seasonal fruit for dessert. (The fruit of that day apparently was pomegranate).

And if that wasn’t enough to take our lunch programs to school, Wednesday’s selection featured chickpea salad with tomato, shallots and beef, followed by a cheese tart and carrot purée.

That was rounded out by yogurt with a chestnut spread and fruit for dessert.

Being a vegetarian in France might seem like a hard-scrabble existence. However, the school caters to plant-eating pupils by making every Thursday vegetarian day — and they aren’t serving an uninviting selection of roughage.

Each student gets real silverware and plates — not unlike a miniature French restaurant. kuvona – stock.adobe.com

This time, the children were fed a sumptuous spread of avocado, corn and tomato salad, as well as rice with vegetables.

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Dessert, meanwhile, consisted of chocolate soy pudding and yet another organic fruit.

To round out the week, on Friday, kids were fed “butternut and cheese on toast, a choice of mussels or eggs served with fries” and “a raspberry tart for dessert,” Bertolami explained.

They aren’t short on presentation, either, as each of the offerings was served on real plates with real silverware and glasses (not paper cups) of water — a setup the Francophile compared to a “little kids’ restaurant in Paris.”

No word on whether the epicurean tykes also take three hours to ingest their bounty, à la their adult counterparts.

Bertolami shared one week’s menu at her daughter’s school in Paris. TikTok/@isabellebertolami/

Viewers were impressed by the Michelin star-worthy school lunches.

“That menu is unreal,” fawned one fan. “I don’t think many American kids would eat 1/2 of that food. Start them young with a variety.”

Another wrote, “I love that they are eating sardines.”

“Yummm I wish lunches in the uk were like this in our canteen it’s mostly just fried food and burgers, there’s one salad option,” said a third.

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Meanwhile, one alleged U.S.-based French teacher asked if Bertolami could send her a photo of the menu to use in a lesson on French youth’s culinary literacy.

This isn’t the first time the American transplant has wowed viewers with a snapshot of French eating habits.

In one of her most popular videos, which amassed 11.4 million views, Bertolami revealed that French students have a goûter — a baguette with butter and chocolate — in lieu of an after-school snack.

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