Paris

Paris, the Grande Dame of gastronomy, is constantly, magically revitalizing herself. Paris has always gazed across the culinary universe and picked out the best parts for herself. She has perhaps not been the quickest consumer of passing Anglo-Saxon trends, nor has she been a great enthusiast of wild, far-flung and exotic ingredients. Paris has, however, always pondered things slowly and strategically, primping herself according to a dress code that is sometimes perfectly incomprehensible. Introducing new flavors, oddly creative pairings and radical attitudes just for the frisson of it, or for the sake of modernity, has seldom suited her behavior and demeanor. Her eccentric, hedonistic and incomparably chic ways of constantly and generously surprising her guests will always be a hot topic among connoisseurs. Yet her lack of acceptance, coupled with certain language-barriers, results in an invite-only policy that shuts the majority of people out of her most poetic dinners and secret lairs. She’ll never forgive her estranged younger cousins New York and London for not adopting this discreet and vaguely elitist comportment.

Paris lives sentimentally through her glorious gastronomic past; a past that sometimes just needs a quick polish to reveal intricate details that others might unorthodoxly claim as their own inventions. Her current multiple injections and bursts of sudden vivid creativity signal a fine maturity, not to speak of forward-thinking craftsmanship; Paris knows very well she will forever be way ahead of most other cities. Not by six months, nor by fads, but by 200 years of document, incessant culinary flowering.

12forward by White Guide lists 12 eateries in each chosen city that represent the very forefront of gastronomy.