Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Meet: David Lebovitz and his book, L'Appart

If you love Paris you already know DAVID LEBOVITZ, probably follow his blog (since 1999), his Instagram or read his Facebook (I go there before checking the NYTimes) or cook from his many cookbooks. David's latest book L'APART caught my fancy
Its about his first digs in Paris, a double chambre de bonne or maid's room (much like my own mouse hole), his 3-year search for a bigger, better space and the renovations that took place (and are still on-going!). Altogether a very funny book plus recipes.
I have David's book on my kindle so no book signing for me.
David has written 8 glorious cookbooks.
David kept us amused and happy for about 30 minutes. Afterwards a British woman rushed up to me in WH Smith's magazine section, where I go for US nostalgia.
She said, I was 10 minutes late. I've just moved here. What did I miss? 
David did not reveal his plumber's name or other details about his renovations. He did tell of his early experiences moving and adjusting to Paris. How he made lists and visited every pastry shop in town. 
When someone asked for his favorite Paris restaurant and patisserie, he didn't tell. His fav restaurant is too small and he wouldnt be able to get in any more. And anyone who lives here for a bit soon discovers there is no one best patisserie in Paris. You go to different places for different things. He did say he loved the chocolatier Fouquet. They make their chocolates on the premises.
I took a Context marché tour with David in 2006. I'd been reading him avidly for a year and had just started Parisbreakfast. With David I got the complete and indepth tour of Marché d'Aligre.
I remember visiting this tiny bean shop in the marché. David knew the owner and all the best items. 
If some fortune teller told me then,"In 10 years you will be living in Paris and mapping this marché" I would have said "Getouttahere!"
If you live in a chambre de bonne you're on the top floor and have gorgeous views like this.
Or like out my window. You're also very hot in summer and freezing in winter...
And you do not have a gorgeous kitchen. This is mine not David's. Fortunately my mini-bar fridge broke last summer and now I have space for ice cubes and even a light inside. Major luxury in Paris.
I was seriously tempted by this proper oven in the vide grenier(street flea) last weekend on boulevarde Saint Germain.
David mentioned he was looking for a new waterheater but his partner won't let him buy a white one. They are used in old age homes. Uh oh...so far Bear hasn't said boo to me.
David's book is full of tips..the little quotidian things you only pick up from living in Paris a while. After I read his tip on the French preference for green beans I ran out to Picard.
Don't you know the petit French woman in front of me, made a bee line over to the vegetable case, opened it, picked out the haricot vert among the multitude of choices and moved on.
Here's another David Lebovitz secret. The absolute best Tarte Tatin in Paris awaits you at Berthillon. They have a smashing chocolate brownie too that must be all ganache. Not a crumb of flour.
We all left david's talk happy and full of Paris secrets.
No matter how tiny your apart is, Paris offers such grand spaces to enjoy. Its the right balance. Iwent to Mont Saint Michel last March after reading David's post on it. Yesterday I painted La mere Poularde copper pots. Read David's book. I know you'll enjoy it too. Thanks for reading Parisbreakfast. If you enjoyed this newsletter, forward to a friend. I wish I could send you a copper pot from Paris. Get Instead a painted letter in your mailbox and souvenirs too.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Europain Intersuc 2018

Last weekend was the annual professional EUROPAIN INTERSUC fair held at Parc des expositions a short RER train ride outside Paris. I have been munching and painting bread ever since.
I did not expect to fall madly in love with DANONE yogurt at the boulangerie fair but I did. Danone cleverly brought back their original 1919 glass jars. The yogurt inside tastes very creamy and the fruit on the bottom is not too sweet. Perfection in a jar. Plus they make lovely water jars for painting. You'll only find these in your local boulangerie come Spring, not the supermarché.
Europain is huge yet intimate at the same time since you're constantly tasting. No breads are for sale sadly.
But you can munch like mad on the enticing samples provided by the big flour (farine) companies.
Where can I find these breads in Paris is the question?
Dozens of tastes. I don't thnk I've ever eaten so much bread in my life.
I want her job.
They do give out baguettes freely. People on the train home were loaded.
My free baguette is now weapon-worthy. Hard as a rock 4 days later, but still good for modeling.
The best baguettes of tradition have large airated holes inside like this demo.
Ah...the smell of bread baking. Nothing else like it.
Viennoiserie forever.
I ate my croissant model. In fact I ate several croissant models. I am not getting on the scale this week.
Thanks for reading Paris breakfast. If you enjoyed this newsletter, forward to a friend. I wish I could send you a baguette from Paris. Get Instead a painted letter of a baguette or other Frenchie things in your mailbox and memories too.
Bonjour French bread!

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Fete de la Coquille St. Jacques à Montmartre

The French are gifted when it comes to celebrating. Right this minute I should be eating crepes for Chandelier. Last weekend the annual Fete de la Coquille St. Jacques à Montmartre took place.
Bretons storm Abbesses ready to sing, dance and imbibe the winter favorite, Vin Chaude.
So many enticements.
Especially caramel beurre salé in a multitude of flavors.
Tartiner/spreads are always big in winter. Last week's Nutella sales caused riots in the stores
Caramelized, buttery Kouign Amann come in all sizes and shapes from Brittany.
A very hearty Breton stew.
I had a bowl of warming soupe de poisson with croutons and a dollop of rouille on top.
The piece de resistance is the sweet Brittany scallops.
For the past few years I've been investing in a pound box of scallops.
This year instead of wolfing them down within days, I divided them up and froze portions for that rainy day. Wait, its raining every day!
This is a wonderful way to raise your spirits end of gloomy January. A definite don't-miss.
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Bonjour Fevrier and pancakes!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Le Fabuleux Destin des Diamants de Tavernier, L'Ecole des ArtsJoailliers

Two weeks ago I was invited to a fabulous lecture at l'Ecole des Arts Joailliers on...
Jean-Babtiste Tavernier (1605-1689) diamond merchant to the Sun King, Louis XIV, was obsessed with Oriental culture...i.e. The richly embroidered garments and tapestry turban.
Six arduous trips were made to the Mogul Empire of India and Persia by boat and caravan to bring back the finest diamonds never before seen for Louis XIV. The Hope diamond is the only remaining stone among thousands brought back. These 20 different cuts (all facsimiles above) were exceptional for their beauty and hugely influential to the jewelry industry.
The small select exhibition has been on display through January and closes tomorrow. The school and exhibiton sponsors, Van Cleef Arpels know well the creme de la creme of gems.
They offer small, short select indepth classes in the jewelry arts for aficionados.
Even the light fixtures look like a string of diamonds.
Always on display sumptuous models of outstanding necklaces and stones.
We were treated to Champagne, foie gras, smoked salmon.
What to wear to a diamond lecture?
Malheuresement I wore my macaron T-shirt whilst a Sonia Rikiel (HM) diamond-covered sweater was lurking in the closet. Who knew? Will there be another diamond lecture? I hope so...
The lecture was of course in French
Headphones were provided translating the fascinating tales of fearless Tavernier's adventures gathering stones for king Louis in the East.
He kept a journal that is digitized in the exhibition.
While searching in the depths of my closet I found a Bocuse silk scarf from a Bocuse d'Or competition I'd attended.
I'd planned to go to Lyon but the weather predicted chilly rain. We had sun for once in Paris, so I stayed home and painted umbrellas in front of the Paris Opera instead.
Thank you for reading Paris breakfast. If you enjoyed this newsletter, forward to a friend and Gift yourself and your friends Paris letters, maps and watercolors
Bear and I are keeping dry. So far no waders or life preservers.