Category Archives: Food

Who Could Resist a Parisienne Romance with Recipes?

Who Could Resist a Parisienne Romance with Recipes?

When Odile Heiller, owner and founder of the Village Voice, Paris’s English-American bookstore, describes a book as a “must read,” no person in their right mind would pass it up. Not only because Odile and her domain are a center of gravity for the city’s Anglophone artistic and literary community, but because she has perfect pitch for matching readers and books.

Once home with my copy of “Cooking for Me and Sometimes You: A Parisienne Romance with Recipes” by Barbara-jo McIntosh, I read – actually devoured – the book from cover to cover in one evening. Barbara-jo, if you are listening, I felt I was right there with you: tasting and testing our way through some of the city’s best pastry, bread, cheese, wine and specialty food shops, sharing walks through my neighborhood on the Left Bank, savoring the lights on the Seine at evening, and always, enjoying the chic and simple dinners in your apartment. You captured it all in a book that is as much poetry as prose.

Barbara-jo shared so much of herself and her Parisian sojourn, that I wanted to know more about her life as a food professional. Her story can be viewed on her Books to Cooks website, where her Vancouver store features cook books, wine books, international periodicals as well as rare and out of print books. A food-focused reading club, events, and cooking demonstrations go on throughout the year and the store’s blog, invites everyone into the friendly conversation.

Take Odile’s advice – whether you are a cook, a lover of Paris, or just someone who appreciates a charming read, “Cooking for Me and Sometimes You” will leave you with the same warm satisfaction as a good meal with a friend. Who could ask for more?

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Marche´Biologique: The Best Organic Street Market in Paris

It’s Sunday, and whether you are planning a picnic or stocking up for the week, one of Parisian life’s great pleasures is a trip to the Marché Biologique Raspail in the 6th arrondissement.  Some of the city’s best celebrity spotting is found here; keep an eye out for the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten, who has an apartment near by, or film icon Catherine Deneuvre, incarnation of Marianne, the symbol of the French republic. Although a traditional market on Tuesday and Friday, Sunday is devoted to all  things organic from produce, dairy products, nuts and spices, to wine.  The stalls line the middle of the street just down from the Luticia hotel, from rue Cherche Midi, to rue de Renne.  Posted hours are from 9-1:30 but savvy shoppers get their early to beat the crowd coming after church. The closest Metro station is Rennes.

Here are some favorites:
Entering at the Cherch Midi end of the market, the first stall on your right is “Les Gestalins” dishing up delicious potato-onion-gruyère cheese galettes as you watch.  The line is long, the following faithful, so you may have to exert some patience – but it’s worth it.
Farther down on the left at “Natural Vitis is Bruno, selling organic wine.  He’ll offer you generous samples.

The produce vendors are artists at arranging their wares to look like Old Master paintings and they vie at having the most tempting displays.  Grab one of the baskets stacked for customer use, gather your choices and hand the basket over to the seller to be weighed.

Exotic jams and honeys are in abundance and the selections of cheeses cannot be outdone.  The stall “La bio Fermière” is especially helpful in assisting with information and sample tastings.

A cautionary note:  The popularity of the market coupled with a narrow aisle means you’ll have to dodge jostling crowds with their “chariots”  rolling shopping carts).

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Finding the best hot chocolate in Paris

Reaching a consensus on the best hot chocolate in Paris is as difficult as agreeing on the definition of beauty or what happiness is but it doesn’t keep us from questing after them. In your own pursuit for the ultimate “Cocolat Chaud” here are candidates suggested by our insiders at I Know A Little Place:

Angelina
226 rue de Rivoli, 1
Métro: Tuilleries

Conversations about hot chocolate in Paris usually begin with Angelina; but, Paris being Paris, they do not end there. A handy spot with unforgettable ambiance, after visiting the Louvre or browsing the bookstores WH Smith and Galigani, Angelina’s Chocolat Africain is a welcome treat.

Café de Flore
Corner of boulevard Saint-Germain and rue Saint-Benoit, 6
Métro: Saint Germain-des-Prés

An international fashion icon living in Paris confided to me that her quest for the city’s best hot chocolate ended here among the friendly spirits of Jean-Paul Sarte, Simone de Beauvoir, and Picasso. It was a chilly night when I met her there, the boulevard Saint-Germain was at its’ most captivating, and it was hard to disagree. To savor the experience even more she always gets a table facing the street.

Jean-Paul Hévin
231 rue Saint-Honoré, 1
Métro: Tuilleries

Enjoy the drink of the gods upstairs in the tiny tearoom and for an extra treat pick up a jar of seriously decadent “pate a tartiner” hazelnut spread on the way out.

La Charlotte de Isle
24 rue St. Louis-en-I’le,4
Métro: Pont Marie or Sully-Morland

Relish this thick confection served in petit cups with an intensity that defies description, surrounded by one of the most enchanting spots in Paris.

Ladurée
Any of the three locations:
21 rue Bonaparte, 6
Métro: Saint-Germain-des-Prés

75 avenue des Champs Élysées, 8
Métro: George V

16 rue Royal, 8
Métro: Madeleine

The Grand Dame of Parisian tea rooms, each with their own personality but all with authentic hot chocolate, only enhanced with a selection of their memorable macarons.

La Maison du Chocolat
8 blvd Madeleine, 9
Metro: Madeleine

The tasting bar offers my own personal favorite “Caracas” – but it’s not for the feint of heart, along with other exotic combinations and flavors.

Ritz – Bar Vendome
15 Place Vendome, 1

For glitz and glamour, and on a day when price doesn’t matter, the hot chocolate at the Bar Vendome is like drinking liquid gold.

SiP Babylone
46 Boulevard Raspail, 7, 9
Métro: Sèveres Babylone

After an afternoon shopping at the near-by Bon Marché reward yourself with a sinfully divine hot chocolate with hazelnut topping.

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