How to Bring France to Your Backyard This Summer

July 3, 2017

One of my favorite places in the world is a place that I’ve never even been to – France. I have dreams of the French countryside and vineyards, visiting Paris at night, and indulging in French wine and cheese at a quaint bistro.  Maybe someday I’ll get to live out my Parisian fantasies.  For now, I’ll try to bring a taste of France to my own backyard this summer.  

Since we do a lot of cooking and dining on the deck during the summer, my vision for a culinary visit to France wasn’t too hard to achieve.  All I needed was the right ingredients and atmosphere! If a summer vacation abroad isn’t in the cards this summer, today I’ll show you how to bring a taste of France to your own backyard.

Set the table with French-inspired decor

Our table was set with French country style placements, a sunflower print dish to serve grilled salads on, and a chic cheese plate to be filled with small bites of bread, French cheeses, and strawberries.  A ceramic statue of the Eiffel Tower was placed on the table, as well.  Throwing a nighttime party? Place a few candles on the table to create a soft glow. 

Play your favorite French music

I am a big fan of the French group, Air.  Their electronica songs are breezy and easy listening.  I recommend their album, Talkie Walkie.  It’s one of my favorites!  I also quite enjoy Vanessa Paradis (yes, Johnny Depp’s ex). She has some catchy tunes like, Be My Baby.  It’s one of her English hits with a fun beat!

Drink French wine

I must admit that I haven’t tried too many French wines.  Les Vins George DuBeouf were quickly added to my list of favorites after opening my bottle of Pouilly-Fuissé 2015.  It’s a delicious Chardonnay that’s crisp with notes of almonds, pear, and peaches.

The George DuBeouf Beaujolais-Villages 2015 is a light-bodied red wine with notes of strawberry and black currant.  You may also want to try Saget la Perrière’s Marie de Beauregard Vouvray 2015 (fresh golden wine with notes of pear, honey, lemon, and candied fruits) or  Marie de Beauregard Chinon 2015 (notes of blackberry, cassis, and some woody notes, as well).

Make a cheese plate

No party is complete without a cheese plate and especially a French-inspired soiree!  I really don’t discriminate when it comes to cheese, although I’ve never quite tried cheeses like this before. The Ile de France® brand sent me some fabulous cheeses to try.

As a huge lover of brie, the St. Andre® soft ripened triple cream cheese was, in fact, a buttery, “heavenly cheese.”  It paired beautifully with the strawberries on my cheese plate and was delicious spread on slices of baguette.

The St. Agur Blue Cheese has all of the intense flavor you typically expect from a blue cheese.  However, they make their blue cheese with cow’s milk, not goat’s milk, to give it a creamier texture.  It was perfect on top of my grilled salad.

Cook with French ingredients

Believe it or not, you most likely have a lot of French ingredients already in your home.  The French like to cook with different flavors and textures. So I made a crunchy grilled summer salad to pair with my creamy cheese plate.

It’s so important to season your food to bring out the flavor in dishes.  La Baleine sea salt is environmentally-friendly, all natural, “white gold.”  I am particularly enjoying the La Baleine Grey Sea Salt. It’s a very rare sea salt from the region of Guerande.  You only need to use a little to really make flavors pop in a dish!  It’s perfect for cooking or as a table salt.

Eat like the French

We all know that the French like their wine and cheese.  But to eat like the French, you have to cook with balance. Offset those heavy creams and cheeses with lighter, fresher flavors and have a variety of textures in your dish.  

The cheese plate I made has a nice balance of sweet and savory.  The main course of Grilled Steak & Blue Cheese Salad bursts with different flavors, a lot of crunch, and finishes with a creamy bite of blue cheese. Dressing the salad with lemon gives it a wonderful citrus pop that’s perfect for summer.

Of course, like gracious host that I am, I wouldn’t leave you empty-handed.  So I am sharing the recipe for my Grilled Steak and Blue Cheese Salad. This salad is tres magnifique!  The variety of fresh flavors and textures in this salad will delight your guests!  It paired very well with the Pouilly-Fuissé 2015 wine that I poured and mon petit cheese plate. Bon appetit!

How to Bring France to Your Backyard This Summer


  • 2 heads of Romaine lettuce, halved
  • 1 pound flank steak, sliced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, sliced
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 lemon
  • St. Agur Blue Cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • La Baleine Grey Fine Sea Salt, to taste


  1. Prep all ingredients for the salad.
  2. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add sliced mushrooms and the fresh sprig of rosemary.
  4. Saute mushrooms until softened and olive oil has been completely absorbed.
  5. Remove mushrooms from heat and discard rosemary sprig.
  6. Preheat grill over a medium flame.
  7. Season slices of flank steak with La Baleine sea salt and cook on each side for a couple of minutes. Then, remove from heat.
  8. Brush grill grates, drizzle Romaine lettuce halves, and place them sliced-side-down on the grill. Place onion slices alongside the lettuce.
  9. Cook for about a minute or until char marks are achieved and onions have softened (may take longer than the lettuce).
  10. Plate lettuce halves and squeeze lemon juice on top.
  11. Top with steak slices, rosemary-infused mushrooms, onions, and sun-dried tomatoes.
  12. Crumble blue cheese on top, season with La Baleine sea salt and serve with more lemon halves.
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How will you bring France to your backyard this summer?


  • Reply Aleshea July 3, 2017 at 10:42 AM

    That salad looks so good. And what a great idea to bring a little culture and fun.

    • Reply Jessica July 3, 2017 at 6:23 PM

      Thanks! It’s always fun to switch it up every now and then!

  • Reply Lani // Life Anchored July 3, 2017 at 11:09 AM

    This salad looks amazing, My husband is asking when I’m making it!

    • Reply Jessica July 3, 2017 at 6:06 PM

      I hope you make it soon and enjoy it as much as we did! Thanks!

  • Reply Bekah Walsh July 3, 2017 at 11:09 AM

    I am drooling over that brie….and it looks like it’s actually sold near me. yay!

    • Reply Jessica July 3, 2017 at 6:10 PM

      That St. Andre® cheese is one of the most amazing triple cream cheeses I’ve tasted. Like buttah! So good! Enjoy!

  • Reply mkcole25 July 3, 2017 at 11:40 AM

    This sounds like it would be a fun date night.

  • Reply Brooke July 3, 2017 at 11:43 AM

    I can’t even handle my life right now. That salad looks SO FREAKING GOOD.

    • Reply Jessica July 3, 2017 at 6:12 PM

      Haha! Thanks so much! It’s a summer must-make, for sure!

  • Reply Mindy Marzec July 3, 2017 at 4:07 PM

    Great suggestions. I love a good summer cheese plate (or any time of the year, really).

    • Reply Jessica July 3, 2017 at 6:13 PM

      Oh, I’m totally with you there! A cheese plate is a good idea any time of the year! Thanks!

  • Reply Carrie R July 3, 2017 at 4:09 PM

    This is such a fun party idea! And this salad looks & sounds amazing. 🙂

    • Reply Jessica July 3, 2017 at 6:27 PM

      Thanks so much! I had forgotten how much I love grilled salad in the summer! I won’t be making that mistake again! 😉

  • Reply Ashley July 3, 2017 at 6:34 PM

    So fancy! It looks amazing. Now I’m starving.

    • Reply Jessica July 3, 2017 at 7:00 PM

      Thanks so much! I hope you get to eat something fancy soon!

  • Reply Miranda July 3, 2017 at 10:47 PM

    This all looks so good! I wanna do this tomorrow for the 4th!

    • Reply Jessica July 4, 2017 at 1:08 PM

      Thank you! Enjoy and have a Happy 4th!

  • Reply sayhellonature July 4, 2017 at 7:40 AM

    This is such a fun and delicious spread! YUM!

    • Reply Jessica July 4, 2017 at 1:08 PM

      Thanks so much! 🙂

  • Reply cosmeticsanctuary July 4, 2017 at 6:38 PM

    I sent this link to my bf and told him he needs to make this for me asap

    • Reply Jessica July 4, 2017 at 10:21 PM

      I do agree! I hope he makes you a great French inspired party!

  • Reply Helen at the Lazy Gastronome July 9, 2017 at 11:23 AM

    OK – pinned!! I have to try this! The whole darned party!! Thanks for sharing on the What’s for Dinner link up!

    • Reply Jessica July 10, 2017 at 8:36 AM

      Thanks so much for pinning! I’d love to throw this party all over again!

  • Reply Carol ("Mimi") July 12, 2017 at 2:22 PM

    All my favorites! This all looks delicious and so elegant. Thank you for linking up at The Blogger’s Pit Stop. I’m sharing your link on social media.
    Carol (“Mimi”) from Home with Mimi

    • Reply Jessica July 13, 2017 at 10:56 AM

      Thanks so much! It’s definitely a party I wouldn’t mind throwing again this summer!

  • Reply Carla Jenkins July 15, 2017 at 6:11 AM

    Steak and blue cheese are two of my favorite foods. They look so good together. I bet they taste yummy too. I have pinned and shared this article.

    • Reply Jessica July 15, 2017 at 9:40 AM

      Steak and blue cheese are a match made in foodie heaven! Thanks for sharing and enjoy the recipe!

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