If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young [wo]man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.Ernest Hemingway


Best Champagne Bars In Paris – Black Book Magazine by Paige Donner

By Paige Donner
Black Book - Best Champagne Bars Paris by Paige Donner screenshot Oct 4 2011Black Book – Best Champagne Bars Paris by Paige Donner screenshot Oct 4 2011

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 Read More On  Black Book MagazineLe_dokhans

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L’Avant Comptoir, Odéon, Paris

L'Avant Comptoir, Paris, Local Food And Wine by Paige Donner

By Paige Donner

Small plates are a Spanish thing. They’re known as Tapas and they’re a great way to share a meal with friends. It’s also a great way to do wine tastings when you can share the bottles with a group or taste by the glass.

French “small plates” dining wasn’t heard of in Paris until L’Avant Comptoiropened its doors next to Le Comptoir du Relais, a restaurant that boasts a 6-month waiting list for reservations. But no reservations are needed here at L’Avant Comptoir. It’s the place to come before lunch or dinner to get an “appetizer.”

Hors d’oeuvres, however, is not what I would call these small plates. Out of respect for Chef and Proprietor Yves Camdeborde, I won’t call them French Tapas but I do think of them that way.


When I’m in Paris on assignment, there’s often no time to sit down to a meal. So I’ve gotten into the habit of popping into the closet-sized, standing-room-only boudoir of a Basque-and Bearnais -inspired deliciousness where I can eat a couple plates like seared fois gras on a skewer, a wooden cutting board covered with amazing Carpaccio de Boeuf, wash it all down with a glass of Saint Chinian – or whatever the chef recommends to me that day – and am out the door in under 10 Euro and less than 20 minutes. (I even ate Boudin there once – and liked it!)

Of course, when I had a friend visiting recently, a pal who can’t pronounce Si’il Vous Plait to save his life but knows good food and has the charm to get what he wants, always, I had to drag him there. Compared to several sit-down, expensive meals, after an evening spent eating at L’Avant Comptoir, squashed between the elbows of our fellow gourmands-on-a-budget and up against the long pewter counter laden with fresh bread and the best butter in Paris, my Food Dude buddy couldn’t stop raving. We would have been back there for lunch and dinner and snacks every day if he had had his way. Every day!

The great thing, too, for Non-French speakers is that there are pictures of all the small plates hanging right above your head, in addition to the day’s specials, that you can mutely point to and you’re still sure to get what you want.

A Franco-American we chatted up there one evening confessed that L’Avant Comptoir is his favorite place in Paris because it’s the only place, he said, where people will talk to you openly and unreservedly.

This place just plain rocks. Once you go there, you will keep coming back AND it will always be on your Top 5 Paris Picks. Bon appetit!

L’Avant Comptoir, 9 carrefour de l’Odéon, 75006, Paris; 011-33-8-2610-1087. No reservations. Open daily.




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La Revue du Vin de France Paris Salon 2011

By Paige Donner

La Revue du Vin de France held its wine salon this past weekend in Paris at the “ancien Bourse” which is the old stock exchange of Paris. As you can see here, it’s a beautiful building. It’s spacious and airy and the perfect place for wine tasting on a sunny Spring Sunday afternoon in May.

Le Salon LRVDF May 2011 c. Local Food And Wine

Honestly, if I have one recommendation to make to visitors to France, it’s that you really must coordinate your travels with these wine salons. For a few Euro, you get to not only see the interior of a national monument, you get to drink and taste your way through the wines of France.

Le Salon LRVDF May 2011 c. Local Food And WineI was so pre-occupied with tasting wines from Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Loire and Provence that I had to remind myself to sip a few drops of champagne every so often – just to clean the palate, you know.

So many wonderful wines. It will take the rest of the month to wade through all my tasting notes.

Le Salon LRVDF May 2011 c. Local Food And WineAnd the crowd was super friendly. Maybe it’s the sunny weather in Paris in Spring or perhaps it’s simply that good French wine brings  out that “conviviality” that the French speak so glowingly of when discussing their wines. Whatever it was, the LRDVF crowd was super friendly, very forthcoming with anecdotes about the wines they were pouring and the wines they were tasting and just plain, well, welcoming.

Le Salon LRVDF May 2011 c. Local Food And WineIf there is only one little note I might give it’s that the Spanish wines were much too hard to find. Certainly, once I found my way upstairs, I loved the private room where the Spanish winemakers had stashed themselves, with the old stock exchange board that featured handwritten company signage such as Printemps and Paribas on it… But they were much too isolated up there. Since it’s the first time the salon has welcomed foreign wines amongst its midst in its 5 year history, perhaps affording them more accessibility would be a gesture of convivial diplomacy.

By the time I left, it was with a full glass of Spanish red liqueur wine. So sweet and rich and nothing like “ice wine.” I’ll definitely have some words to share about that and about the Priorat wines I discovered at the Paris Stock Exchange.

Le Salon LRVDF May 2011 c. Local Food And Wine



Le Chateaubriand

posted by Paige Donner


This year Chef Inaki Aizpitarte’s Le Chateaubriand made it into the Top Ten of the World’s 50 Best list.


129 avenue Parmentier 75011 Paris

+33 (0) 143574595
Google map

Chef Inaki Aizpitarte, Chateaubriand - Paris Food And Wine

The dinner choice is Prix Fixe and no one has ever complained. If you have one restaurant to try when you are in Paris, this is a Winner!

Chateaubriand - Paris Food And Wine

In 2010 Le Chateaubriand was #11.

In 2011 Le Chateaubriand is #10 on the 50 Best Restaurants in the world list.

Chateaubriand 2010 Paris Food And Wine




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Paris’ Best Cooking Schools For The Hungry Tourist

By Paige Donner

Read Complete Article on Black Book Magazine

Paris’ Best Amateur Cooking Schools for the Hungry Tourist

Now that French Cuisine has been declared a World Cultural Heritage Listing by UNESCO, how could you dream of planning a trip to Paris and not penciling in time for an amateur cooking class? (Trust us: They’re not all like the onion-chopping nightmare in Julie & Julia.) Here’s a sampling of a few of the city’s top kitchen destinations to consider on you next journey to the City of Light — and Food.

Ecole Ritz Escoffier – 15 Place Vendôme, 75001 
If you have a lunch hour to spend at a cooking school in Paris, Ecole Ritz Escoffier is your gig. First of all, it’s effortlessly easy to find, at 15 Place Vendôme. It’s posh, it’s excellent and the classes are given in both English and French.

Ecole Ritz Escoffier kitchens are located in the basement of Ritz Paris Vendôme Hotel, right next to the hotel’s working kitchens where they create all of the meals for the entire hotel. It is also, as legend goes, the inspiration for the kitchens seen in the celebrated Pixar film, Ratatouille.

But in spite of all the international outreach and friendliness (the school is also partnered with the Tokyo School, Vantana) it remains very much an iconic bastion of French Culinary Tradition. Executive Head Chef is the larger-than-life Michel Roth, the ninth Executive Chef the hotel has known in its 110 years of existence. His teaching team at the Escoffier Ecole is both accomplished and easygoing.

My class was scheduled for a Thursday afternoon from 1:00 – 2:00 pm. On the menu was:…Read Complete Article on Black Book Magazine.




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Secret Picnics Paris

by Paige Donner

Paris is catching on to a wildly popular UK dining custom called “Secret Dinners.” In certain parts of the U.S., such as L.A. and NYC, they are popular, too. Essentially, they are moveable feasts where the people, the food and, most importantly, the locales are never the same.

Secret Picnic - Local Food And WineParisian foodies will nod and smile and confess that they have no idea why the Secret Dinner trend hasn’t quite taken hold in their city. It might be partly because when you do a search on the internet under Paris Secret Dinners this huge article of a catacomb tribe who held seances (not really, much tamer than that, but it’s fun to spread these blasphemous rumors, isn’t it!?) in the secret tunnels below the Trocadero surfaces.

Local Food And Wine - picnicIn Paris there are a few who are carrying on the UK tradition of Secret Dinners and Secret Lunches. One goes by the name New Friends Table and another by the name Miss Lunch. Neither wanted their photos published or even too much written about them, given that it’s all, well, you know, Secret!

The concept is a good one for travelers or transplants to a new city. Anyone can eat out at a restaurant, but how often do you get the chance to be invited to someone’s home where you can share a meal, meet other people, talk to locals, and generally get an authentic glimpse into how people live in a given city. Well, you might, if you have an old college roommate or a cousin living in a foreign city, but if you’re off for a romantic weekend or on business overseas for a week, you likely won’t get that opportunity.

As a single woman, it provoked some thought to agree to attend a Secret Dinner where an address isn’t provided until a few hours before the start time and where you must swear to secrecy about the identity of the people putting on the dinner.

Local Food And wine - Paris PicnicsSo when a Secret Picnic was alternately proposed, I felt confident that this was the better choice. Sunshine and spring weather on a Saturday afternoon in a Paris park is paradise on Earth. Add to that a picnic basket filled with some of the best delights Paris has to offer, in the form of cheeses, bread, wine, olives, chocolate, traiteur salads and cold dishes, and a couple of outrageously decadent desserts all delicately spread out on a colorful flower tablecloth on the grass and you’ve got yourself a Picnic a la gourmand…secret or not.

Sightseeing is tiring. And while shopping for cheese and wine can be fun, you might not know where to get the best stuff when you’re in Paris for 72 hours. It’s also time consuming to make the pilgrimages to the various arrondissements to gather the truly famous goods.

You have the option of either joining in on a Secret Picnic already planned or you can order your private picnic for two, as you desire. Now you’ll just have to try to figure out who the Secret Picnic people are. Good LUCK!  Hint: they are not in the catacombs under the Trocadero.




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144 rue St. Honoré

By Paige Donner

There’s a new sandwich shop in the shadow of the Louvre and it’s called 144. Very catchy name considering it is at 144 rue St. Honoré. I half suspect that its young owner, Italian-French “Tony,” is internet savvy enough to realize that this is the way to rank high in a mobile search. Name your shop the address. Simple.

Local Food And Wine/ Paris - 144 rue St. Honore Lunch Counter Well, it’s good thinking, because on a hot, dusty summer afternoon after you have been traipsing through the priceless halls filled with magnificent artwork that is the Louvre, the last thing you want to do is scurry your way past all the souvenir shops on Rue Rivoli in hopes of finding an affordable place to rest your weary feet and quench your parched throat.

Just one street up from Rue Rivoli and close to Metro stop Palais Royale, 144 is the coffee shop-lunch café that serves up comfort not just in its decor but also in its choice of menu items. Want a bagel and cream cheese? (the real kind, the Kraft Philadelphia kind), you have come to the right place.

144 rue St. Honore Local Food And Wine - Paris

144 ru St. Honore - Local Food And Wine - Paris

Want a slice of cheese cake? The NY kind. You can have it. There is also a small salad bar that you pay for by the gram. (A gram is sort of like an ounce but smaller – in case you’re new to the European thing. Think of it like miles and kilometers. Or Fahrenheit and centigrade. Same thing just different.)

Also in the glass lunch counter are delicious Focaccia including a salmon and cream cheese with thin slices of red onions foccaccia that Tony or his staff will toast for you on the spot. There is also theCalifornia Bagel, cream cheese and avocado, the Miami Bagel and the Bagel 144.

Pulco - Local Food And WineIt’s not all American, however. There’s also a good selection of Italian choices. And you can have cupcake or a cookie to go with it. Wash it all down with an Orangina, Smartwater or our favorite, Pulco, Les Recettes Citronnade. Very refreshing and no added sugar, coloring or preservatives.

Tony just opened up 144 rue St. Honoré mid April. So give a guy a break and go get your cupcake. Wi-Fi complimentary.

144 Rue St. Honoré, Paris 75001  M. Palais Royale or Louvre Rivoli




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Bob’s Kitchen

by Paige Donner

Bob's Kitchen, Paris

Bob’s Kitchen is the place in Paris that all the New Yorkers say is THE place in Paris for Sunday brunch, – and lunch and breakfast any day of the week. Mark, the American co-owner and original instigator of Bob’s Juice Bar, and his French partner, Amaury, import their bagels from Brooklyn. So now you know.

Bob's Kitchen, Paris

The popping place is open from 8am to 3pm. Good luck finding a stool at one of the two communal tables in this fairly cosy Marais locale. Apparently health is not just a craze with the vacationing fashionables in Paris, it’s a staple to be relied on every day. The partner-owners are young(ish) and for Amaury, who majored in business, this is his first restaurant. He got lots of good experience, however, when he used to deliver pizzas. Mark has been at his Bob’s Juice Bar for a good six years and had already built up a following when Mark convinced him to partner on this new venture two years ago.

Amoury, co-owner of Bob's Kitchen, Paris

Bob’s Kitchen is reliable and tasty, and, yes, reliably tasty. You can count on a daily freshly made soup, juice blend, stew and sandwich (on a – yes, you guessed it! – bagel). The ingredients change every day. So one day you might get a pumpkin soup and the next day a tomato cashew basil soup. And one day you might enter the Paris lunchroom to find a hummus bagel to greet you and the next day it might be grilled vegetables. The countertop also always has the maki handrolls, vegetarian, that people seem to grab as soon as they walk in.

Mind you, none of my hippest Parisian foodie friends (some of them editors) seem to really know about the place. I heard of it when, during Fashion Week, I was strolling one of the showrooms with a chi chi Fashion PR Exec and he and one of the young designers (from Brooklyn) were making lunch plans and the conversation went something like this: “Do you know Bob’s Kitchen?!” “I love Bob’s Kitchen! I eat there every Sunday for Brunch!” “OMG! Me too! Well, when I’m in town from Brooklyn.” And thus their date was made.

The buzz is that all the Fashion Editors ate at Bob’s Kitchen during Fashion Week. But, honestly, if you work as a journalist, or an editor, during Paris Fashion Week, you don’t have a minute to eat, let alone sit down to a meal and eat, and definitely not in the Marais which is near absolutely nothing (from a Fashion Editor’s perspective).

Bob's Kitchen, Le Marais, Paris

Nonetheless, the reason to go to Bob’s Kitchen is that the food is good, it’s healthy and nourishing, the people are nice, there’s an electric guitar in the window and a piano in the corner and rue des Gravilliers is right smack in the center of the wholesale shopping district, the Marais. Enjoy. I know I do whenever I pop in. And remember to get yourself some of the carrot cake or at least a matcha green tea and white chocolate cookie.




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Poule au Pot, Le Meurice

posted by Paige Donner [On Local Food And Wine]

La Poule au Pot, by Camille Lesecq at Le Meurice, Paris Food And Wine

Le Meurice, the original Parisian Palace hotel, story reflects the history of France as well as Paris’cultural and gastronomic heritage…In 2009, Le Meurice’s 3 Michelin-starred Executive Chef Yannick Alléno launched his new “Terroir Parisian” menu, where all the ingredients are sourced locally, paying tribute the Ile-de-France region and its supplier.

Camille Lesecq, Best Pastry Chef of The Year, Le Meurice, Paris - Local Food And WineToday it is now the turn of Camille Lesecq, voted Pastry Chef of the Year, to honour the Parisian roots with a delicious and original unique idea to celebrate Easter; the “Poule au Pot”! The “Poule au Pot” was originally instituted as the national dish of France by French King Henry IVwho wished that even the most humble of french families in his kingdom could at least have a’Poule-au-Pot’ on Sundays.

The pot was a large dish hanging above the fireplace, in which families would cook whatever came into their hands, “at the luck of the pot.” This chicken, which possible originally came from the Gâtinais area of France, now appears in theprestigious kitchens of 228 Rue de Rivoli and has been given back its glamour thanks to the talented Camille Lesecq.

Colourful, imaginative and amusing; the chicken’s plump beak is an invitation to taste! The body ismade from white chocolate and is decorated with vegetables made from almond paste, which inspires lovers of French tradition as well as delights and surprises children with its playful, creative design.

Through his passion for deserts, Camille Lesecq transmits the conviviality and authenticity of french cuisine and adds a touch of subtlety, humour and glamour. The “Poule au Pot” will be available at Le Dali restaurant from Monday 18 April until 25 April 2011, priced at 29 euros.

Reservations can be made at: 0033 1 44 58 10 44. The Poule au Pot by Camille Lesecq.




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Paris En Scene’s Local Cuisine

by Paige Donner

There’s a new dining experience on the Seine in Paris and it’s all about Local Cuisine and Local Spectacular Sights. Starred Chef Tateru Yoshino follows the rhythm of the seasons and sources his vegetables from organic, local producers to provide his guests with a menu that is completely “terroir” while staying true to his Japanese heritage.

Olivier Jamey (left), Owner of La Compagnie de la Seine, pictured with Master Chef Tateru Yoshino, Michelin Star

Every Sunday evening, for an hour and a half, Paris lovers and Lovers of Paris can indulge in a gourmet meal while taking in the breathtakingly beautiful sights along the River Seine: Le Grand Palais, Assembleé Nationale, Eiffel Tower… and everything along the way and inbetween.

The Paris en Scene boat is configured a little differently than its predecessors: It’s intimate seating for two, four or small groups; Its leather, elegant chairs and its floor-to-roof glass walls are all conducive to fine dining and romance. All for the very reasonable price of 50 Euro per person. And the departure is from St. Michel, just steps from the Notre Dame, which makes it unique among the Dinner Cruises along the Seine. They have also partnered with local businesses so that after your 1 and 30 minute dinner cruise, for an extra Euro or two you can take in a movie in the area or a theater show. Be sure to ask about what’s on offer when you make your reservations.

Mont Blanc, Chef Tateru Yoshino

For Spring the menu that Master Yoshino proposes is:

Richelieu en croûte, médaillon de foie gras, – A humble starter for what follows

Saumon « Stella Maris » mi cuit sans peau, – This salmon melts in your mouth. It is salmon cooked so perfectly that your mouth doesn’t know if it’s sashimi or if it’s simply heaven.

crêpe de Vonnas & tomates au thym, – little cherry tomato pops of herb flavors a la Provence

Mont Blanc « maison », crème de marron & glace – if your only reference to Mont Blanc is Angelina’s this will leave you gasping. So light, so flavorful, so classic and innovative all at once.

And while the food is amazing it is the landscape that will have you continuously turning away from your dinner companion. The 6:30 dinner cruise is timed just perfectly to catch the Eiffel Tower when it lights up in twinkling sparkles. For reservations:

Paris en Scene, Seine River Paris

Eiffel Tower from Paris en Scene

Eiffel Tower from Paris en Scene






Paris Chefs Embrace Local Food

Chef Yannick Alleno, Le Meurice, Triple Michelin Starred

Posted By Paige Donner

Several of Paris’s Starwood Group Hotels, in addition to independently-owned restaurants and cafes have dedicated their Spring menus to using exceptional, locally Ile-de-France sourced ingredients. Local here is defined as originating no farther than 200 km. outside of Paris. This both supports Ile-de-France regional growers and eliminates much of the negative environmental impact that long-distance transportation of food products requires.

At the Paris restaurants: L’Orénoc duMéridien Étoile,  the First at the Westin Paris-Vendôme and the Étoiles at the Sheraton Paris-Charles de Gaulle, you will find these specially crafted “Local” gastronomic menus that are being served in their main dining rooms, for room service and even for conferences and meetings.

In addition, at Le Meurice, the triple-Michelin-starred Chef Yannick Alléno has created a “mythical and savory” menu which he has dubbed « Terroir Parisien® » that he is serving for his lunch time guests.  A range of products he has sourced from nearby Ile-de-France villages including mint from la Forêt (52 km).

Similarly the new trendy Lafayette Organic on Grands Boulevards is featuring all organic produce and products from Ile de France. And if you choose to dine at the restaurant, Chez Bruno, you will have the chance to enjoy artisan coldcuts from Michel Ballereau,  of Sceaux (14 km), farm-raised chicken from Pouligny à Jouy in Morin (76 km), and fresh cheeses from the 30 Arpents Farm in Favières (41 km). And that’s not all, you will also get to try local honey from beekeeper Rémy Vanbremeersch and Carl Marletti’s artisanale pâtisseries. And when you find yourself in the Denfert Rochereau quarter with an appetite for some local flavor, stop in at Ghislaine Arabian’s restaurant, Les Petites Sorcières, where she is spotlighting the local produce of Claude and Catherine Gallienne from Neuville (67 km), and the fresh-baked breads of Parisien Jean-Luc Poujauran.







Le Jour Du Macaron

by Paige Donner

March 20th is Macaron Day in France where famed patissiers such as founder of Macaron Day, Pierre Hermé, are giving out samples of the flavorful crispy/soft cookie-dessert of choice of French gourmets all throughout the city and even in his Tokyo locations.

All the members of Relais Desserts participate in this joyous and delicious celebration of the arrival of Spring, hosting tastings and sample giveaways in their confectionaries and bakeries not just in France but also in Belgium, Luxembourg and even as far away as Japan and the U.S. The day benefits the rare disease charity dedicated to those who suffer from the Williams and Beuren syndrome.

Some flavors to try: passion fruit, rose, orange blossom, chocolate, foie gras with fig filling…and so many more!

Some addresses in Paris to get you started:

Sadaharu Aoki
56, bd de Port Royal – 5e ardt – Tel : 01 45 35 36 80
35, rue de Vaugirard – 6e ardt – Tel : 01 45 44 48 90
Laurent Duchêne
2, rue Wurtz – 13e ardt- Tel : 01 45 65 00 77
238, rue de la Convention – 15e ardt- Tel : 01 45 33 85 09
Pierre Hermé (also in his boutiques in Japan)
4, rue Cambon – 1er ardt – Tel : 01 43 54 47 77
39, av de l’Opéra – 2nd ardt – Tel : 01 43 54 47 77
72, rue Bonaparte – 6e ardt – Tel : 01 43 54 47 77
Publicisdrugstore – 133, av des Champs Elysées – 8e ardt – Tel : 01 43 54 47 77
Galeries Lafayette (espace Luxe et espace Souliers) – 40, bd Haussmann – 9e ardt
185, rue de Vaugirard – 15e ardt – Tel : 01 47 83 89 96
58, av Paul Doumer – 16e ardt – Tel : 01 43 54 47 77
Jean-Paul Hévin ( 19 march)
3, rue Vavin – 6e ardt – Tel : 01 43 54 09 85
231, rue St Honoré – 1er ardt – Tel : 01 55 35 35 96
23 bis, av de la Motte Picquet – 7e ardt – Tel : 01 45 51 77 48
Lafayette Gourmet – 48, bd Haussmann – 9e ardt
Arnaud Larher
53, rue Caulaincourt – 18e ardt – Tel : 01 42 57 68 08
57, rue Damrémont – 18e ardt – Tel : 01 42 55 57 97

For more addresses go to: Jour du Macaron







Alain Ducasse J’aime Paris

Une affaire de goût et de partage avant tout

Alain Ducasse a été toujours un cuisinier au service du goût. La recherche et le respect des saveurs originelles des beaux et bons produits. C’est le premier dénominateur commun aux 230 lieux présentés dans ce beau livre. Chacun raconte une histoire, sa propre histoire du goût.

Buy The Book HERE

Le chef a toujours réalisé une cuisine de coeur, pleine d’émotion et sincère. Avec “J’aime Paris” d’Alain Ducasse, on se met à table pour retrouver des sensations simples autour du goût. Convivialité, partage et plaisir. Ce sont ces valeurs authentiques qui animent Alain Ducasse et Frédérick e. Grasser Hermé dans les relations qu’ils ont tissées au fil des années avec les restaurateurs, producteurs et autres artisans rassemblés dans cet ouvrage et qu’ils souhaitent nous transmettre ici.

Une invitation à un voyage immobile

Alain Ducasse nous invite à le suivre et à voyager dans le temps et dans l’espace, sans quitter Paris. Le Paris d’hier flirte avec le Paris contemporain, tradition et modernité. Toutes les cultures, les cuisines, les influences, les inspirations sont représentées, se croisent, se mélangent.
C’est cela le Paris d’aujourd’hui, sa diversité crée sa richesse. La cuisine y est tour à tour traditionnelle, presque historique, et vivante, actuelle, inspirée. Un voyage en quatre étapes : Paris sera toujours Paris, Paris des Terroirs, Paris Carrefour des mondes, Paris en douceurs.

Mettre Paris dans sa poche !

Restaurants, épiceries, produits, conseils, composent le carnet d’adresses final. Tout comme le chef, le lecteur est invité a créer son propre itinéraire en puisant dans le carnet. Toutes les aventures culinaires deviennent possibles.
Véritable outil pratique, le carnet en couleurs permet de flâner à travers les arrondissements, les types de cuisines… Le plan qui se trouve en tête de chaque arrondissement permet de se repérer facilement.

L’itinéraire Parisien d’un gourmand passionné

Du croissant matinal au bord du Canal Saint-Martin au dîner magique sur la Tour Eiffel, Alain Ducasse nous entraîne à la découverte de son Paris gourmand. Le chef y dévoile ses coups de coeur : des produits, des recettes, des histoires de lieux et de rencontres, les femmes et les hommes qui composent quotidiennement sa partition culinaire idéale.
Ce livre raconte à la fois sa passion de la cuisine et son amour sincère pour Paris.

Un reportage personnel

À la manière d’un reporter, Alain Ducasse nous emmène visiter “ ses ” adresses et leurs coulisses. On y retrouve à la fois le chineur, le collectionneur, l’homme curieux, pas blasé, capable encore de se laisser surprendre. Il regarde de près, il sent, il goûte, il analyse. Il parle, discute, s’étonne, rit. Le tout capturé par l’objectif de Pierre Monetta, discret, complice, retranscrivant fidèlement la spontanéité du moment, de l’échange, de la rencontre. Le livre nous fait entrer dans l’univers gourmand du chef, c’est un témoignage personnel.

Un livre en deux parties

Un grand et beau livre qui nous guide à travers une centaine de coups de cœur d’Alain Ducasse, dans sa première partie, très visuelle. Avec plus de 200 adresses, le carnet d’adresses est un petit guide pratique qui permet à chacun de se repérer par arrondissement, par type de cuisine ou par catégorie de lieux. Un commentaire du chef accompagne chaque adresse.






Anne-Sophie Pic


Collection d’épices et beaux accords de cuisine

par Anne-Sophie Pic le 22 février 2011

Re-Published from Anne-Sophie Pic’s Blog. She is the only woman to have the Three Michelin Star Rating. Read More HERE.

Je vous propose de découvrir au fil des semaines ma collection d’épices, celles que j’aime goûter et travailler, et d’apprendre à les associer et les cuisiner selon les principes qui structurent mes plats. Cette collection d’essentiels est issue de mes rencontres avec des passionnés – négociants, amateurs- qui m’ont initiée à cet univers culinaire spécifique.
Vendues dans ma boutique en ligne et chez Scook, l’école de cuisine, ce sont les mêmes épices que je cuisine dans mon restaurant gastronomique de Valence.

Car au fil du temps, utilisant plus d’épices dans ma cuisine, j’ai eu envie d’aller plus loin, de laisser libre cours à ma curiosité puis d’intégrer les épices dans mes propres processus culinaires.

L’année dernière, j’ai travaillé les infusions à froid qui respectent les épices et conservent le vrai goût des aliments. Une base de lait ou de crème dans laquelle on laisse infuser l’épice au frais pendant plus de 24 heures, vient sublimer un plat au moment de servir… Et les beurres aromatisés – un beurre pommade aromatisé d’une épice, mélange conservé au froid qui viendra parfumer un poisson par exemple.
Pour moi, deux goûts se racontent une histoire: le curcuma sublime les champignons, l’anis vert le concombre, le poivre vert les fruits rouges, le poivre Tellichery la sole…

Affaire à suivre!

Note From Anne-Sophie…

Aujourd’hui je souhaite partager avec vous la passion pour la cuisine de ma dynastie qui depuis Sophie, mon arrière grand-mère, André, son fils, puis Jacques, mon père, n’a jamais cessé de remettre chaque jour sur la table cette excellence raffinée et chaleureuse qui caractérise la maison, passion qui me vaut d’être la seule femme chef en France 3 étoiles, une exigence de chaque jour.
Anne-Sophie Pic






by Paige Donner

Le Comptoir de Tunisie

On a snowy, wintry day in December, a friend invited me for lunch. The address he gave was in the Palais Royal quarter of Paris, which is one of my favorites and also easy to get to. Normally. Not so easy, in fact, when snow has halted Paris’s bus service and sent all and sundry scurrying to the city’s connecting arteries, otherwise known as the Metro.

His description of Le Comptoir de Tunisie, could not have been more intriguing…nor enticing. Always one to be drawn to what might be a “Secret Garden” experience, the upstairs semi-private dining area of this spice shop, sounded like it was not just centrally located and exotic, but also off the beaten path.

Le Comptoir de Tunisie is indeed a secret garden that perches there on its white-cushioned and sofa decorated second storey, overlooking rue de Richelieu. It’s a taste of Tunisie in the heart of the Palais Royal/Louvre district of Paris.

There’s  no need for any translation of the menu, there is one dish offered for the noonday meal, the only meal the cosy dining room offers. On the day I dined with my friend, our meal started with a subtle and delicately spiced pumpkin soup. Watching the big fluffy snowflakes float down onto rue de Richelieu on that cold wintry Paris day, there wasn’t anything else in the world I would rather have been eating at that moment.

Le Comptoir de Tunisie, Paris

Equally as comforting was the fish that followed on its plate of couscous. The cook, a native Tunisian who didn’t seem to speak much French or English, explained through the Parisienne proprietress (whose daughter-in-law and granddaughter are Tunisienne) that she cooks the same meals that she used to for her family back home.

Wine is served with the meal. A delightful fruitcup flavored with orange blossoms and anise provides just the accent for the apres-repas. Though, if your hostess takes a fancy to you, she just might serve the dark, rich strong coffee with a plate of assorted Tunisian sweets, authentic and lightly epicee’.  Meal costs 15 Euro, before tax and tip.

Le Comptoir de Tunisie,  30 rue de Richelieu, 75001 Paris







by Paige Donner

The cutest, funnest, hippest cooking class in Paris is not easy to get into. Not easy at all. Which runs directly contrary to the vibe once you’re in. Amongst a citizenry that takes its food seriously (UNESCO! cultural heritage designation!)  cooking classes among youngfolk have become the thing to do.

It’s almost replaced hanging out at cafes and smoking cigarettes all afternoon discussing the tortures of romantic love as the thing to do when you’re young, single (or in a couple) and looking for some social activity. Well, scratch that. It has replaced it.

There are increasingly more chef “ateliers” springing up and those that have always been around and are now being rediscovered. What the French have found is that a cooking class is 1) Fun  2) a great ice-breaker 3) a level playing field 4) a learning experience and 5) a great way to enjoy a meal or a dessert.

The Super Hip “concept” store, Colette, which is located at 213 rue St. Honoré is the location for Cooklette. The store has such a following that the cutest boys in Paris hang outside of it 5 minutes after closing pleading with the bouncer/doorman to let them in for just another 10 minutes so they can find a last-minute gift for their girlfriends. The 7 ft. tall bouncers invariably say, “No.” Explanation is that it happens every day. But that’s what Colette has become: The trendy Parisian club of concept stores.

Downstairs, in the Water Bar, on the first Friday evening each month, they stage “Cooklette” which is their free cooking class. How do you get in? You have to be one of the first twelve to sign up on their website as soon as they announce the date in their newsletter.

January’s class was devoted to making Galette des Rois. These are the flat round tarts filled with almond paste that the French eat for the New Year. Custom has it that the cake must be cut into as many parts as there are people present, plus one.

It is also always baked with a tiny feve which is a small porcelain figurine or button that designates the recipient the “King” or “Queen”for a day. Another custom, which Cooklette faithfully practiced, is that the youngest in the group sits under the table and chooses who gets the pieces of cake and when. This is so that the person who cooked the cake can’t choose who gets the feve. Égalité, Fraternité, Degousté!

The La Galette Colette class was taught by Catherine Kluger who is famous among Parisian gourmands for her Tartes. Her Tartes Kluger are at 6 rue du Forez in the 3rd. She does sweet and savory tartes: Zuchini, Tomato, Mozzarella;  Ham, Parmesan, a touch of Bechamel with some Bacon Crispies on top. Sweet tartes include: Tarte au Cafe’ with grains of coffee and chocolate; Tarte a La Mousse au Chocolat Noire; Rhubarb and Milky Rice.

A very self-effacing chef, Catherine approached the class as if she were teaching a group of friends in her own kitchen.  She used her own recipe which rendered a simple but flavorful frangipane galette that was moist, flavorful and flaky.

According to Anais Sidali, Cooklette is just something that Colette does because they want to offer a fun activity for their customers to participate in. The downstairs Water Bar is an ideal location. They just pushed some of the center tables together and Voila’ we had a cooking atelier.  Diners were welcomed to stay and observe at the booths that hug the walls of the 20-cover or so blue and white simple diner. A Marseille-based blogger, So Food So Good, did just that

To my left was Stephane Bureaux, the author of Design Culinaire, a book full of fantastic photos and food ideas. Colette sells the book and still has a few copies left. You can’t miss it: It has a carrot and a fork on its cover. As far as culinary concepts go, Design Culinaire is to food what haute couture is to fashion.

To my right were a couple of young ladies who had, after three attempts, finally gotten lucky enough to get the reservation for the course. According to Sidali, they don’t take reservations months in advance, just the first ones to sign up that month get to come. It attracts the most passionate foodistas: The girls were raving about their intended brunch that Sunday at Chloe S.

Our advice: Subscribe to the Colette Newsletter;  Sign up for Cooklette the second it’s announced; Get Ready for some Culinary Fun ‘cuz it’s a nice cooking class if you can get it.







La Garde Robe

by Paige Donner

Translated, “La Garde Robe,” is a closet. Which is about the size of this snuggly little wine bar just off the rue de Rivoli, a hop and a skip from the Louvre.

Wandering in late one night after a meal with friends, there were just enough stools at the bar to accommodate the few of us. The high tables and the low tables towards the back, were all full of revelers who had the appearance of having spent the entire night at the comfy little “closet” swilling vins naturel and chomping on made-to-order plates of cheeses and thinly sliced meats.

La Garde Robe ha a loyal following and locals will name it as one of Paris’s top wine bars.  You can get a good glass of red for anywhere between Euro 3,50 and 7,00. Come with a sense of adventure, ready to try something you haven’t before. It might be within a recognizable apellation, but likely you’ll find producers you haven’t yet tried.

Or just come for the ambiance. It’s one of those exquisite central Paris hole-in-the-wall wine bars that you’d never know was there until you purposefully set out to look for it. And on these cold winter evenings when a lighted window friendly beckons you to come in from the cold, well, if there’s still room for you to squeeze inside, you’ll be glad you did especially once you’ve tried a few things you may not have before.  This is Paris, after all! You can also buy your bottles to go.

La Garde Robe, 41, rue de l’Arbre-Sec (rue de Rivoli) 75001

Transit: Pont Neuf, Louvre-Rivoli


Café de l’Homme

by Paige Donner

There are 6360 restaurants in Paris. But there is only one that lays claim to the throne of the Trocadéro. There, seated at the right hand of arguably the most recognizable monument in the world, is the Café de l’Homme.

It would be easy to choose to stop in at the Cafe to warm up or cool down, depending on the season, after a session of sightseeing. But it’s not really that kind of cafe. Indeed, it’s not at all a cafe, not even in the French “brasserie” sort of way. It’s a full-on restaurant.

Just slightly at arm’s length, despite its famous address, it is a restaurant that is easily overlooked. You reach the Café de l’Homme by entering through the same monumentally sized doors as you do for the Musée de l’Homme. This is probably why it took me a bit of time to brave the experience.

But once inside, I realized that the Cafe’ is completely independent from the Museum and neither are places that are even remotely intimidating. The Café de l’Homme’s actual entrance is shielded by a floor length dark olive velvet curtain that the Butler/Coat Checker and the Maitre d’ keep firmly shut to keep in the warmth.

Once through the olive emerald veil, the red warmth with tones of leather couches and sparkling wine glasses, greets you. That’s if you can peel your eyes away from the straight-shot view of the Eiffel Tower.

It would be lovely to be able to order a drink at the bar as you await your dinner mates, but, alas, the Maitre d’ will fussily try to seat you straightaway or usher you back outside into the cold hallway to wait. Not exactly overabundant in the art of graciousness. There is a couch-loungey seated area off to the far left of the dining room where you can share drinks with friends. It seats one group. Only.

All snootiness is forgotten however once your meal is served. Appetizers include choices of Riquette salad with parmesan shavings and pine nut kernels; Tuna belly with Basque Country lettuce hearts; and even King Crab salad.

For the main dish the Grilled Iberico Pluma (pig) marinated in ginger is tender, sweet and spicy; the roast French Rack of Lamb with Terragon sauce is a classic; and if you want steak, they serve a 200 gr. Fillet. It’s not cheap: the main courses start at 23 Euros, and quickly average at around 32 Euros.

Remember, you are paying for the view. When you think about it, those across the river who are dining at Jules Verne and looking down at you don’t even have the view that you do. And you didn’t even have to take an elevator to get where you are.

Reservations are definitely recommended. The dining room might have some empty seats at 7:30 but by 8:00 they will all be filled. Leave room for dessert. They do the chocolate molten cake pretty well, but their Strawberry soup with Sichuan pepper and organic vanilla cream is interesting enough of a blend of flavors to have to try. They also serve a satisfying plate of A.O.C. cheeses.

Café de l’Homme. Come for the view. Stay for the food!

Restaurant Café de l’Homme – 17 Place du Trocadéro, Musée de l’Homme – Paris XVIe – Tel : +00 33 (0)1 44 05 30 15






Paris Food And Wine Gossip: Blake Lively Does Gastronomy!


Blake Lively Posted by Paige DonnerBlake Lively, dynamic actress, and one of the young emerging Hollywood stars, is also passionate about gastronomy: recently a tailor-made workshop was held for her and her guests at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. Chef Franck Poupard demonstrated French culinary techniques by preparing the following dishes:

Guinea fowl baked in a sealed casserole, sautéed winter root vegetables Soft centered chocolate fondant, orange compote

Blake was delighted with her course, she tells us about her experience: “My dream as a passionate cook has been to go to Le Cordon Bleu. Never could my most incredible dream have lived up to the experience. The food, the lesson, the chef, the ingredients –all the best of the best. I see why Le Cordon Bleu is world renowned. Now I only dream to have more time to go back to Le Cordon Bleu and spend months learning from the gods of food!!

Read More About Paris Culinary Tours and

Cooking Classes

Local Food And Wine

Blake Lively does Gastronomy – Local Food And Wine/ Paris

Blake Lively star of Gossip Girl, Goes For Gastronomy in Paris
Photos: Fabrice Danelle





Bettane & Desseauve’s Festival of Wine

Le Grand Tasting, Paris

by Paige Donner

On a recent weekend in Paris, I found myself underneath the glass pyramid of the Louvre, in the grand marble Agora Exhibit Hall, spitting out champagne. And not just any champagne, the best champagne in the world:  Louis Roederer, BollingerVeuve Fourny et FilsPiper Heidsieck, Perrier- JouëtG. H. MummNicolas FeuillatteVeuve Clicquot PonsardinMoët et Chandon…When Moët poured me their 1975 Reserve Vintage, that’s when I started drinking. It would have been a sacrilege to spit that out.

If there is a metaphor for the Festival of Wines that Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve have organized for 5 years now, it is this: Your cup runneth over.

le Grand Tasting, Paris, 2010 - Local Food And Wine

At the festival, named Le Grand Tasting, I found myself in an earthly paradise filled with many of the world’s best wines, from mythical vintages to ones barely known outside of their own appellations, and most all of them from France. This year, 2010, as an exception, there was a side exhibit of Italian wines also featured.

As a local explained to me, Bettane & Desseauve are more than just a couple of France’s most celebrated and respected wine journalists, they are even more than simply the authors of Le Grand Guide des Vins de France, they are the “Robert Parkers of France and French wines.”

Bettane & Desseauve on Local Food And WineAnd they are exceptionally approachable people. You will not find Wine Snob here.

This year’s event was held over the Friday and Saturday of December 10th and 11th at Paris’s Le Carrousel du Louvre, which is the underground shopping center/ exhibit hall that is right underneath the Louvre. For a mere 25 Euros you could taste your way through more than 2000 wines and 350 individual producers from France and a small representation from Italy.

“We have Festivals of Film, we have Festivals of Litterature, but until Le Grand Tasting we haven’t had a Festival of Wine…Every wine, like a book or a film, tells its own story. It is the story of the winemaker, of the creator, and sometimes, of genius…” said Thierry Desseauve who, with Michel Bettane, is the co-founder of Le Grand Tasting.


Desseauve and Bettane, according to Desseauve, have plans to take their show on the road to English-speaking countries. Their highly successful Hong Kong Festival of Wine earlier this year has injected them with enthusiasm and they are starting to eye the U.S. and Canada.Their Grand Guide des Vins de France will be published in English in 2011 by Abrams Books.

When asked how was it to take the Festival of Wines to Hong Kong, Desseauve replied that he enjoyed the Chinese habit of embracing fast-paced development and he also noted that as Europeans, they are accustomed to dealing with significantly different cultures and languages. He pointed out that Germany, Italy, Spain are just as different from French culture as is the Chinese culture, in many respects.  Both Bettane and Desseauve invested many years as journalist and wine critic at La Revue du Vin de France until it was bought by the Marie Claire publishing group five years ago, which is the same time they founded Le Grand Tasting.

According to Bernadette Vizioz, press liaison for the event, 10,000 people attended Le Grand Tasting over the course of two days. It’s not hard for them to keep count, the price of admission includes a glass for the wine tastings, supplied by Riedel. The attendees on average were surprisingly young and very much the trendsetting crowd. I’ve heard mention a few times that the regional wine syndicates are actively promoting their wines particularly among the French whose consumption of their native juice is down significant percentage points in recent decades.

Le Grand Tasting does its part to elevate wine drinking to its proper podium among Gen Y in France. And the event is doing so in ways that present the people who make the wine as people who are just like you and me, except they spend their days in grape vineyards and in fermenting cellars. What sold out in advance were the special courses, such as the Master Class, that took place simultaneously in the rooms adjacent to the Hall Agora. The standout of these courses was, according  to French site iDealwine « Le Génie du Vin ».

The ‘Genius of Wine’ class, included Cuvée René Lalou by Mumm (1998 Vintage), Chateau Angélus 2000, Chateau Gruaud Larose 2000, Clos de La Roche GC (2004) from Domaine Dujac,  Châteauneuf du Pape (1998 Domaine duVieux Télégraphe,  château Climens 1989, Ridge Monte Bello represents California and finally riesling Clos Ste Hune 2000 by Trimbach.

Another sold out course offering, of which there were 20 separate classes, was l’Ecole des Terroirs. I managed to bump into a few Americans while I roamed the airy, well-lit, elegant and wonderfully climatised hall – underneath the Louvre! – who were thrilled to have just accidentally happened upon the festival last year.

This husband and wife marvelled at the feast of wines they were getting to taste, all for a mere 25 Euro entrance fee. They loved last year’s event so much that they actually planned their trip around the Festivalthis year. We North Americans couldn’t help but compare Napa’s $25 average cost per wine tasting flight/ per winery to the 25 Euro entrance fee which put 2000 wines, including the best champagnes in the world, at your fingertips and lips. The only limitation to your wine tasting is the hours in a day and your stamina for how many tastings you can fit in.

Le Grand Tasting marked a few firsts this year,  notably in the category of positioning themselves more internationally. To that effect their Italian space welcomed 2000 visitors in a relatively small area of 90sq. meters located towards the back of one of the main halls.

In addition, this was the first year that they invited notable European wine critics:  José Penin (Espagne, Penin), Neil Beckett (Grande-Bretagne, World Of Fine Wine), Armin Diel (Allemagne), Marco Sabellico (Italie, Gambero Rosso), Enzo Vizzari (Italie,L’Espresso)!

An elegant, hip, affordable, culturally illuminating wine tasting event,  Le Grand Tasting’s Festival of Wine is not to be missed.

Read More Here: Guy Savoy and Thierry Desseauve discuss holiday food + wine pairings.





Caviar Kaspia: Amour, Passion, Folie

by Paige Donner

After the opening private reception for BVLGARI at the Grand Palais, where else would one dine than at Caviar Kaspia, Pl. Madeleine?

The more wisdom (?) I accrue, the more I realize that the world is but one big treasure. The key is to intuit the map that allows you to decipher the secret passages that guide you to the soft, exquisite, and often delicious, hidden treasures.

For the most part, the “hidden” treasures are hidden in plain sight. Paris is full of these. One of the most famous is Caviar Kaspia.

Caviar Kaspia sits discreetly and prominently, on the Place de la Madeleine and has done since 1953. When he founded his business in Paris in 1927, Russian immigrant Arcady Fixon simply wanted to share the culinary best his country had to offer with the city’s glitterati. In those days, when Paris was  comfortably settling into its own as the world capital of haute couture, of arts and letters,  of the ballet and opera…Caviar Kaspia instantly appealed not just to the Russian artistocracy who were flocking to the city, but also to the elegant society as they retired from their evenings at the Opera or Comèdie Française, to the dancers from the visiting Russian Ballet of Monte Carlo…indeed Caviar Kaspar quickly became the place to dine for Paris’s privileged society.

Private Dining On Place de la Madeleine

Walking up the narrow wooden stairs on the left as you enter the 8eme’s Caviar shop, you begin to feel like you have just fallen down the rabbit hole. For the upstairs dining room is sumptuousness itself. On a cold wintry December night, sipping Cuvée Kaspia champagne, swallowing dollops of Beluga Caviar, and washing it all down with velvety, fiery, iced Russian vodka…well, does it get any better? Oh yes, imagine having the chance to talk to the Bulgari jewels exhibit designer for the Grand Palais Paris show during dinner. Ok, now, can it possibly get any better?

But it does. The service as Caviar Kaspar is the kind that is impossible to train for. Either a person understands graciousness and has the gift of anticipatory intuitiveness, or they don’t. At Caviar Kaspar, the waiters are not just handsome, they are gracious, discreet, present, and anticipate all your desires even if it’s simply to replace your slightly warmed glass of champagne with a fresh, exquisitely chilled one.

The iconic restaurant creates seasonal special menus. Click HEREkaspia_sylvestre for the Menu de la Saint-Sylvestre 2010.Their classic appetizer is the raw smoked salmon served with blinis. But if your palate is searching for lighter and flavorful, the crabe royal du Kamchatka salad is divinity expressed on a dinner plate.

Beluga Caviar with Russian Baked Potato, Caviar Kaspia, Paris

Caviar served on a baked potato is one of the Kaspia signatures. Honestly, it is so easy to forget one’s good breeding when you see something like that in front of you. The impulse is to dive in. Thank the sea gods that they serve the dish with a small flat spoon that is perfectly designed to lift the caviar off the top of the potato and savor it all on its own.

They offer two categories of caviar: wild or “caviars sauvage” and cultivated or “caviars d’elevage.” Of the former category you can try these varieties: Beluga, Oscietre, Sevruga and caviar pressé.

Or you can try: Oscietre Tradition, Caviar d’Esturgeon Blanc, Caviar Impérial Baeri,  Caviar de l’Empereur, Caviar de Printemps.

Caviar Etiquette

As the Parisian purveyors of caviar, they follow a few rules of etiquette for serving and tasting caviar. These are designed to release the fullest flavor and experience of caviar’s subtle tastes.

They allow the caviar to “decant,” or aerate for at least 15 minutes before serving on a small mountain of ice.  Avoid allowing the tiny grains of caviar to have contact with anything metallic, which is why it is always served at Caviar Kaspar with the small spoon made of either porcelain, glass, or mother of pearl. Always allow yourself the time to roll the small eggs around in your mouth before biting into them to help release their fullest flavor. Always serve with neutral accompaniments such as blinis or baked potato. The drink to pair the meal with is champagne or chilled Russian vodka.

The small dining room that accommodates up to 18 people that is just off to the left of the main dining room has a hidden cache of pictures of top models dancing on its table tops. Which is a good reminder that although caviar is a serious gastronomic delight, we needn’t be so serious about it that we forget to delight in the sheer raw exquisite pleasure of the experience. Snow. Place Madeleine, Paris. Bulgari jewels. Grand Palais. Caviar Kaspia. Champagne. Delightful company. Gracious service.

The world is indeed full of treasures!

Caviar Kaspia, 17 Place de la Madeleine, Paris 75008





Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière Benefit Wine Auction For Reforestation

by Paige Donner

The Fouquet's Barrière team and Marie-Laure Lurton team
Dedicated Staff from Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière at this year’s Vendanges in Bordeaux. Proceeds from the harvest, earned at auction, go toward reforestation and also biodiversity research. Photo courtesy Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière.

« Vente aux Enchères du Fouquet’s 2010 » The Landes Forest of Gascony in southwestern France is the largest maritime-pine forest in France. It is located in the well-loved wine region of Bordeaux. The area was formerly known as “the moors of Bordeaux” and its roughly 10,000 sq. km covers the French departments (counties) of Landes and Gironde.

Landes Forest area in Bordeaux Region of France.

All of this is very important because earlier this week, the Eco Luxury hotel,Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière which regally stands on Avenue George V and the Champs-Elysées, partnered with Bordelaise winemaker Marie-Laure Lurton to auction off the equivalent of 1500 bottles of the new October 2010 harvest to patrons of both wine and the environment.

Rarely does doing right by an Eco-system get to feel this good. Mme. Lurton oversees the making of her wine at three châteaus in Bordeaux: Château La Tour de Bessan – Margaux; Château de Villegeorge – Haut-Médoc; and Château Duplessis – Moulis en Médoc. Last year, 2009, was the first year that she and Hôtel Fouquet’s teamed up on the reforestation project for Landes Forest and in support of biodiversity. Last year, the harvest was from hectares within the Villegeorge domain. This year, it was all Margaux.Marie-Laure Lurton Wines from Bordeaux

The auction was presided over by 1992’s World’s Best Sommelier, Philippe Faure-Brac, who owns the notable Bistrot du Sommelier in Paris as well as being an author and TV-Radio Host. His co-presenter was Pierre Cornette du Saint-Cyr. They both heartily greeted the host of Le Bal de Paris when he made his appearance about 1/3 of the way through the auction, just in time for a key bid.

According to Marie-Laure Lurton, the instigation to partner on this reforestation and funding of biodiversity research came, to a large extent, from the hotel’s Purchasing Director, Mssr. Christian Rossi (pictured in top photo, left). Now in its second year, the elegant evening, which saw 150 invited guests mingle with flutes of champagne and bid on batches, and even a few barrels, of Margaux wine in the property’s acclaimed Le Diane restaurant, was also hosted by NéoPlanète founder Yolaine de La Bigne.

Hotel Fouquet Barriere’s Restuarant Le Diane, Paris.

The harvest is conducted by the Hotel’s own staff who man up for the Fall harvest in Bordeaux, and physically pick the grapes off the vines. They harvested 2 hectares for the wine tagged for auction this year, from a total of 29 hectares that is the Domain.

The goal this year was for the auction earnings of the 1500 bottles to top last year’s 50,000 Euros in sales that all went for reforestation and tree planting. Some of the total of 61 lots up for bid included Impériales of Cuvée Villegeorge, Jéroboams of the Margaux, Doubles Magnums and even a Nabuchodonosor, the equivalent of 20 bottles. Of exquisite value were the bottles of Pouilly Fumé 1995 that had been stored under the sea. The bottles still had vestiges of shells clinging to the glass. It is rumored that the cool dampness of the ocean helps to age and refine the wine as it reposes in the dusky slumber of watery depths.

In 2009 the Landes Forest was devastated by a major storm that damaged approximately 300,000 hectares (740,000 acres) of the region, 90% of which were located in the Landes Forest. Other companies and organizations who have actively dedicated efforts to the reforestation of the monoculture pine forest are the Walt Disney company and Earth Organization.

The official reasoning of Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière:

The idea to join forces on a shared project took root in 2009: the Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière Grape Harvest aims to produce a harvest which is then auctioned off to fund the reforestation of the Landes forest and biodiversity research.

Harvest 2010, Bordeaux. Photo courtesy

So far their efforts have resulted in 40 hectares of replanting. In addition, the re-planting supports a solar farm project in the region, which is positioned to be Europe’s largest, spanning a total of 3 hectares.This re-forestation project aims at offsetting the areas that are being used for the installation of the solar panels. Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière sees the project as three-pronged:

environmental, human and social.

Both of the partners practice demonstrated commitment to the environment in their businesses. The wineries owned by Marie-Laure Lurton are maintained in an eco-respectful way by herself and her vineyard manager, Emilie Roullé, who shares her commitment to Terra Vitis. Terra Vitis,, is a strict code of agricultural methods that pertain to the use of pesticides, chemicals and other additives. Its focus is on caring for the soil.

Similarly, though altogether in a different field, that of Luxury Eco Tourism and hospitality, the Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière is the first Leading Green-certified hotel in Europe. This certification, the L.E.C.S., is administered by Sustainable Travel International and is for luxury tourist properties that incorporate sustainable development into their business practices. The Champs-Elysées hotel also offers guests the option of “Make a carbon neutral booking,” which allows guests to fully offset their carbon footprint accrued from their travels.

The legendary Fouquet’s restaurant that is just adjacent and connected to the hotel merits a whole separate spotlight. Let’s just say, if you are in Paris during the César Awards, you can’t miss it! And as for the Château La Tour de Bessan? Perfectly elegant, perfectly robust, on a wintry Parisian night on the Champs-Elysées.


French Cuisine As Cultural Heritage of Humanity

French Cuisine at Unesco![Courtesy Paris Daily Photo]

You probably noticed it if you came to France, food plays a really large role in our culture. Everyone knows how to cook – at least a little – and when you go to any restaurant you expect the food to be good! Of course things have changed (a lot of restaurants use ready made dishes now), but the demand for quality is still there. So I guess it’s no that surprising that, as you may have heard, Unesco officials just declared “French cuisine” as part of the “intangible cultural heritage of humanity” (read more on the NYT)! It’s probably a little far fetched, but it’s good for our nation self esteem. And to illustrated this, here are some zucchini roulés. What’s good, must also look good 😉





Wine By One, Place Vendôme

by Paige Donner

Stephane Girard was the first non-American president of the Wharton School of Business Wine Club.  He’s come a long leap across “the pond” from when he organized tastings for that 700-member club to opening up his first, and a first- of-its-kind, Wine Bar, Wine Shop and Tasting Room in Paris, just off the Place Vendôme. This all-in-one -on-tap -bar and shop is called Wine by One.

Wine by One, Paris, 75002. Photo courtesy Mathieu Garcon.

“We offer a 100 different kind of wines by the glass. We are the only wine bar in the world to have so many different wines on offer at any given time,” explained Girard at a recent wine tasting.

The key to his success – and the wine bar, if measured by the number of people sipping wine and nibbling on appetizers on any given evening, is certainly already a success!  – is the wine pouring/preservation machine that he uses to automate the pouring of the wine tastings.

Girard, a Frenchman, refers to his machine as caves á vins, which houses 8 bottles of wine each and keeps each wine at its ideal temperature and conditions of service and preservation.  He didn’t invent this machine. In fact he saw it used by an entrepreneurial sommelier when he was still back in the States getting his MBA. What he did pioneer for Paris is the business model that allows him to offer wines to people in ways that are accessible, affordable and appealing.

“At Wine by One, people have the chance to taste a Grand Wine without ruining the wine or having to buy the whole bottle.”

Wine By One, wine shop and tasting bar. Paris, 75002.                                Photo by Mathieu Garcon.


The wines are set up in their groups of eight in their respective caves á vins for pouring a Tasting (Impression, 3cl), a Tentation (half a glass, 6cl) and a Sensation (a whole glass, 12 cl).  What’s great about this is that you can commit to the wine a little or a lot, depending on how much you like it. It’s also a great playground for training your wine palate where you have 100 different bottles from all the world’s regions on hand.  They add 5-10 new wines each month, on a rotation method.  The machines are set up as self-serve as well, so you almost have the feeling of it being a 7-11 set up – for top-notch wine!


Wine by One promotes itself as being a very affordable way to try new wines and also great wines. This is true, for the most part. Some of the wine tastings do start at about 2 Euro or even a little less.  But it’s altogether too easy to want to try the 5 and 6 Euro tastings. Also, the tastings give you slightly more than one sip.  So you are more likely to go for the half glass which is easily in the 4 to 8 Euro range for some of the names that you’ve only ever read about.  And, of course, when I saw that Wine By One had Les Sorcières du Clos  des Féesd’Hervé Billeul…on tap!…well, of course I had to go for the glass, (11 Euros).

The long and the short of it, then, is that, yes, you can do tastings for a few Euros but likely you will be tempted by other wines.  Expect to spend at least 25 to 30 Euro per head, and that’s not even including any food or bottles of wine purchased to take home with you.


Two of the additionally seductive factors of Wine by One are that you can order food and you can buy the bottle you just tasted to take with you and enjoy for later.

Not many wine shops in Paris have the permitting required to be able to sell food. Girard has a unique position for his wine shop, then, in that people can order small bites and nibbles as they’re tasting. You can also stop in midday for lunch which is the French style sandwich, tartine, toasted and with a generous amount of gourmet spread, then finished off with a specialty coffee and all for about 10 Euro.

The leather lounge seats by the window, and the rue des Capucines location just off of Place Vendôme make it a great choice, and one that is slightly updated from the regular Bistro, while still being very French.

Just off the Place Vendome, Wine by One is open for lunch, too. Photo courtesy Mathieu Garcon.

Anyone who knows anything about opening up a shop in Paris will quickly recognize that this rue des Capucines real estate is prime and strategic.  Girard’s only comment was that he had a good friend who was doing the real estate scouting for an unnamed American coffee franchise who dominates the market with their green goddess icon and storefronts on every U.S. corner.  When her client didn’t take the shop that morning, Girard was there with his pot of gold and a pen ready to sign by that afternoon…

Another appealing characteristic of the Wine by One biz model is that Girard has engineered a way to make Wine by One feel like a club.  When you arrive, you must sign up for a card that you use to purchase your wine and tastings. Think along the lines of a Kinko’s card. Except that here, they ask you for 2 Euro before they give you the card and you have the option of it being personalized with your name.

More good things:  There’s a Water Bar or Bar á Eaux which offers a dozen different kinds of water from all over the world.  And they offer complimentary WiFi.

Wine by One, 9 rue des Capucines, 75001 Paris,






by Paige Donner

Jacques Bellanger et ModaFusion et Delphine Mac Carty. Fashion show at the 2010 Salon du Chocolat held at Porte de Versailles in Paris, France on October 27, 2010. Photo © Hel-Khayat/Pix’Hel.

Five straight days’ celebrating nothing but chocolate and the only coherent thought left in my brain is that the people who thought of, and then carried out, the Salon du Chocolat are brilliance personified.

“Five days of chocolate madness,” is what they call it and they are absolutely right! That they graciously scheduled the chocolate extravorgasma over Halloween weekend, in France, a country that doesn’t celebrate our American sugar-and-ghouls-day, was just, well, awfully sweet of them! (okay…frightful pun!)

Their names are Sylvie Douce and François Jeantet and they dedicated this year’s Paris show to Fair Trade chocolate, naming it The Green Show.

Sylvie Douce and François Jeantet, Founders of the Salon du Chocolat.

In fact the 2010 Salon du Chocolat was the event for the

organically minded.

The event has historically represented a link between cocoa-producing countries and chocolate consumers. It  has long provided a platform for people to meet and exchange views. Alter Eco, the Fair Trade chocolate brand and importer with offices all over Europe and also in the U.S., was a big sponsor this year, as was Max Havelaar, the French arm of the Fair Trade coalition.

The Paris Salon du Chocolat featured a daily chocolate fashion show where all garments were designed by prestige chocolatiers and made out of chocolate. It featured musical entertainment, the “chocolate trends” parade, photographic exhibitions, a chocolate sculpture competition and more to showcase all the event’s “green”initiatives, which were designed to raise awareness of sustainable development and ethical consumption.

Fair Trade Farmer, Max Havelaar France And Chocolatier Bonnat

One of the more interesting breakout seminars I sat in on was all about Fair Trade and direct from farmer sourcing of cacao.  The speakers, a Fair Trade farmer from Peru who spoke in Spanish which was translated by the moderator, Marie-Amélie Ormières of Max Havelaar France, and 4th generation chocolatierStéphane Bonnat featured a lively discussion about how cacao provides a healthy means of livelihood to farmers who are paid a fair trade wage.

“Cacao for Coca,” is a successful initiative in Peru where coca plantations are being replaced by Cacao plantations farmed under Fair Trade policies. Within five years of re-planting, said the Peruvian cacao farmer, families are able to replace what they earned from coca with their Cacao crops.  He also pointed out that the cacao are all mixed with reforestation programs i.e. the cacao plantations are all mixed with tree plantations. Mexico has the oldest cacao plantations cultivated by man.

It was a lucky seminar to sit in on…Master Chocolatier Mssr. Bonnat passed out rounds of his trademark, pure grade cacao artisanal chocolates  – several times! – and the Peruvian farmer broke open an actual cacao fruit and had those of us who would, take the cacao seeds from inside and chew on it.  It’s the first time I had seen a cacao fruit up close and certainly the first time I’d eaten a raw cacao nut. Bonnat asked us if we could taste the pure essence of the chocolate in the nut. I must say that I did and could understand why it’s considered such a complete food, the “food of the Gods.”

“You can live on chocolate. Chocolate, a little bread and beer. All you’d be missing is calcium,” explained Stéphane Bonnat .

Pierre Marcolini et Ekyog et Marie-Amélie Seigner. Photo © Hel-Khayat/Pix’Hel.
Chocolaterie Stéphane Bonnat et Valérie Pache et Ariane Brodier. Photo © Hel-Khayat/Pix’Hel.

Encouraging the development of chocolate businesses, Entrepreneur Magazine tells us that chocolate consumption has gone from “sinful to unstoppable.” Joan Steuer, founder and president of Chocolate Marketing LLC, a Los Angeles consulting firm, notes a 40% increase in chocolate sales along with a strong interest in “dark, artisanal, organic, socially responsible and nutraceutically enhanced chocolates.” AIWF

Researching the field of sustainability, it is important to recognize that this area focuses on any environmental factor that sustains, maintains, or improves the quality of our life. While being an obvious component of the sustainable system, food nurtures our basic needs for survival and for remaining well. So, does eating chocolate fit into this sustainable explanation?

Arnaud Larher et Johanna Riplinger et Karima Charni. Photo © Hel-Khayat/Pix’Hel.
Christophe Michalak (Le Plaza Athénée) & Taïg Khris

New York’s Salon du Chocolat is coming up!





Restaurant Eliance Orsay

by Paige Donner

What’s better than eating your way through Paris…while taking in the requisite tourist sites and scenery? (Ummm…we’re waiting…!)

You can get it all in, it’s just knowing your choices. The following two restaurant cafe’s each sit on some of the most prized, beautiful, famous real estate the world over.  And though it might seem that they would be good for nothing than to see and be seen, each offers solid culinary choices that are sure to satisfy after taking in an afternoon of sites and national treasures.

Of course everyone heads to the Louvre when they first visit Paris, but I’ve long found the Musée d’Orsay to be the star attraction and not just because the waiting time to get in is much shorter. The building itself is a masterwork of reclaimed urban heritage sites and shows French design aesthetic off to its best light.

Artwork by Michael Leu. Le Temps d’une Pause, Musee d’Orsay, Paris.

But after partaking of a full repast of Van Gogh, Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec, it’s easy to work up an appetite.

Le Restaurant Musée d’Orsay offers a Le Temps d’une Pause mid-afternoon light menu that perfectly hits the spot. It’s often misleading to think that museum cafes and restaurants will be overpriced. In the case of Restaurant Eliance (Le Restaurant) at the Musée d’Orsay, this isn’t at all the case. My total bill for a cup of carrot cream soup with a hint of orange and coriander served with a piece of carrot cake came to a total of 7 Euros.

Le Restaurant at The Musée d’Orsay, Paris. Perfect place for a pause and a light repast.

It was just perfect to take that “piqued” feeling away that can descend on you after you’ve overgorged on a few too many national-treasure-quality pieces of art in one sitting. Other choices on the menu included Marbled Terrine of Foie Gras and Chicken served with Fig Jam, a slice of aubergine and Tomato Confiture Garnish.I’m always a salmon fan and their Smoked Salmon tartine is served, in fact, on a pita bread, a change from the ubiquitous baguette, with a side of aioli; Twelve Euros.  Also on offer is a Tartine Pôilane, or cured ham “sandwich” though of course their tartines/ sandwiches are openfaced.

You have choices, too, if you want to go in the direction of sweet. They make an American-sized icecream sundae with whipped cream. You can also go for the Pastry selection and hot drink, which includes Max Havelaar – Fair Trade – coffee and teas. Their Spice Cake is a must try.  It tastes especially delightful as you dine and take in the sweeping views of the Seine, of the Concorde, the portrait of Napoleon outdoors and the waving French Flag over the courtyard.

Restaurant Eliance Orsay 1, rue de la Legion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris   Musee d’Orsay

Le Café Marly

by Paige Donner

If you try to find the Café Marly using a map, you will walk up and down the length of the Louvre just across from Rue de Rivoli, swearing to yourself that you’re not blind.  As soon as someone tells you that it’s the Café that overlooks the glass pyramid on the interior courtyard of the Louvre, and you’ll say to yourself, Ahh! Oui! But of course…

This is one of those Paris places that if you catch it on the wrong day, you might just brush up against a bit of that legendary Parisian snob. During Fashion Week, when all the shows are taking place nearby, the Café is not only busy, it is overrun with demanding guests and you very likely will see Russian demi-mondes and Saudi Princesses dining and sipping alongside the tourist straggler fresh from the Louvre who simply doesn’t know any better.

On a recent afternoon when I stopped in at the suggestion of a friend who names the place as one of her favorites, it happened to be raining. This meant that the tables and chairs set out in the courtyard, on the same level as the Glass Pyramid, would be wet and cold. So, of course we opted for the covered chairs on the indoor Terrace. Until our waiter realized that my friend was Parisienne, he was ready to throw us out for not ordering lunch, even though it was 2:30 and officially past the lunch hour.

Café Marly is located in the Richelieu Wing pictured here. You can dine at the restaurant, cafe’ without entering the Louvre Museum. – Local Food And Wine/ Paris

Nonetheless, the hostess was accommodating when we requested a change of station and even offered to move us to the cosy indoors where the velvet upholstered dining chairs lend that exquisite elegance to what is a classic Café housed in the Richelieu wing of the Louvre.

Honestly though, when I go back, I will go for lunch and not accept a café meeting there. It’s a bit too formal for just ordering a glass of wine or water and you risk being told to order food…or leave.  I can say, however, that their Club Sandwich, 14 Euros,  is decent as is their hot chocolate which comes in a pot so you get a lot of from it.

Remember, though, don’t try to find Café Marly using a map. Just go to the Louvre, find the glass pyramid, and look around for the people sitting at the only Café. That’s Café Marly.  A walk in the Tuileries before or after is highly suggested. Or, of course, shopping along the nearby rue Faubourg St. Honoré.

93, r. de Rivoli  Paris 75001  Richelieu Wing, Louvre Museum  8am – 10pm


Pierre Hermé or Ladurée? Paris’ Macaron War Rages On

by Tory Hoen [Originally published on HiP Paris Blog]

*LFAWEditor’s Note: We say it’s a tie: Ladurée for their Orange Blossom Flower macaron and Pierre Hermé for their Rose macaron. Heaven in Paris…

Picture 1

If you’ve spent even a small amount of time in Paris, you know that the macaron is ubiquitous. And in a city of fastidious eaters, it’s significant that a single dessert has managed to win the hearts and minds of so many. But the debate rages on: who produces the best macaron of all? While Dalloyau and Lenôtre both make a commendable run at it, everyone knows that there are only two real contenders.

In one corner, we have the elegant and established Ladurée, which has been turning out sweet confections since 1862. And in the other corner, we have upstart Pierre Hermé, theenfant terrible of the dessert world who worked at Ladurée before setting out on his own. (Word on the street is that the “oppressive” traditions at Ladurée were preventing him from exploring the crazy flavor combinations for which he is now world famous). Naturally, we wanted to get in on the debate, so Sarah (another Hip Paris blogger) and I gathered some friends last week for a comprehensive taste test. Two boxes of macarons later, we reached a nearly unanimous verdict!

In the chocolate category, Pierre Hermé blew Ladurée out of the water. The flavor was far deeper, the texture smoother, the overall experience significantly more heavenly. Pistachio went pretty much the same way. But then we came to the most contentious category of all:caramel beurre salé (buttery salted caramel).


This flavor is no joke in France. You’ll see some variation of it on nearly every dessert menu in Paris. In other words, this category is make-or-break. Initially, Ladurée lured us, as the filling of their macaron has actual caramel in it. Nice touch, but we decided the overall effect was a bit too sugary.  Read MORE on HiP Paris Blog…





58 Tour Eiffel

Why just visit the Eiffel Tower when you can dine at the Eiffel Tower?  The Alain Ducasse restaurant 58 Tour Eiffel, located on the “First Level” of the Eiffel Tower lets you savor not just the taste of palatial views at panoramic heights, but also the Parisian version of a lunchtime “pique-nique” or at dinnertime, contemporary “French Brasserie” fare.

Every detail from the color schemes of red iron ocher contrasting with deep chocolate browns to the shapes of the glasses to the ornamental and decorative motifs on doors and menus and kitchen tiles…everything is taken from, and inspired by, the Eiffel Tower. Collaborators on the restaurant’s design are Chef and restauranteur Alain Ducasse himself and also Pierre Tachon.

Lunch will run you 17.50 Euro to 22.50 Euro and gives you a choice of appetizer and main course or appetizer, main course, dessert. Choices include creamy, chilled, green pea soup; seared salmon; Chocolate/nuts Crousti Eiffel.  The midday picnic concept is that you are given a picnic basket with your cold items when you arrive at the restaurant and are seated, then your server brings you your hot plate items and drinks.

By 5:30 p.m. the music changes to lounge as the lights dim and the restaurant transforms into a chic and seductive Parisian Brasserie. You may want to ask to be seated on the second floor of the 58 Tour Eiffel, and, if you can, overlooking the Trocadero for that world-famous view.  Dinner menu includes choices of the Menu Opera at 65 Euro and at 80 Euro, the difference mainly being whether wine is served with your meal. If you do order a’ la carte, you have additional choices that include lobster salad, seared scallops or sauteed veal chop and then a selection of French cheeses for dessert which is really something I wouldn’t dream of passing up.


La Note Rouge, Paris

La Note Rouge, "Wine Buying Made Simple," In Paris's 3eme

By Paige Donner

Wine Buying for Dummies.  If there were a book with this title – there probably is! – it would be my Bible. Let’s face it, when you’re on the spot, standing in a wine shop or a grocery store at the end of the day when it’s time to buy that nice bottle of wine to bring to a friend’s house for dinner, or share with your loved one on a quiet, cozy night at home… all too often all the fantastic Domaines, Crus, Mas, Vintages and Wineries you’ve so painstakingly committed to memory on dozens of wine tasting trips and hours spent pouring over Robert Parker…suddenly all dribble away like last year’s headlines and all you have left is 5 minutes to buy your bottle and get on your way.

La Note Rouge wine shop, in Paris, specializes in smaller, hard to find, French wine producers.

Enter La Note Rouge.

It’s not just a Wine Shop, it’s a Concept Store. Leave it to the French to figure out how to add a good dose of pleasure to buying wine. Even when you’ve left Robert Parker behind at home, you can still feel on safe ground in Paris’s La Note Rouge in the 3eme arrondissement.

Brainstorm of brothers Yann and Romain Remacle, these two young, handsome, Parisian men decided to take the pomp out of both Parisian and, even, out of buying wine. And just in time. It wasn’t too long ago that I wandered into one of the French chain wine shops and asked the salesclerk on duty what adjectives he would use to describe wines from the Sud Ouest. He responded with that look that indicates, albeit very politely, that you’ve just asked a really stupid question.

At La Note Rouge, this won’t happen. It won’t happen for two reasons: 1) Yann and Romain are far too accommodating and charming to ever leave one of their customers lacking for knowledge and 2) If, for example, you are like many of us and feel at times intimidated to ask questions about a wine, these two 30-somethings have outfitted their sleek and chic wine shop with computer touch screens mounted to the exposed stone walls programmed with a picture and detailed descriptions about each of the wines they keep stocked in their shop. Touch, and the information, like a cup, runneth over…

Modern Concept Wine Shop, La Note Rouge, near Les Halles, Paris.

Another unique characteristic about La Note Rouge is that they stock wines only from small producers from all over France. “We buy wines from French wine producers who cultivate anywhere from 5 – 35 hectares of vines,” explained Yann Remacle, whose passion for wine led him to open up this shop in one of Paris’s trendiest districts. “I’m not a Sommelier but I know what I like.”

And he’s betting you’ll like it too. Indeed on a recent evening of wine tasting, the shop was non-stop with regulars, tourists and the curious all stopping by to pick up just that perfectly right bottle of wine. Located just a couple blocks up from Les Halles, the decor of the shop is very un-traditional for France, but at the same time very Parisian, with bottles displayed by region. They even stock a French organic brand of vodka distilled from Quinoa, along with a few select bottles of Whiskey.

Notes: Vain du Rû, Dominique Andiron – white, biodynamic, full-bodied, aperitif;  Les Grandes Costes, Musardises, a Rosé from Pic St. Loup, fruity with notes of spice; Le Villain P’tit Rouge, Vincent Ricard, Apellation Touraine Contrôlée – at La Note Rouge, with Frères Remacle, should you drink anything else?

P.S. La Note Rouge was a name inspired by Blue Note. Particularly fitting as what goes better together than Jazz and Wine and Paris? And, when you’re really nice – or naughty – I hear that the brothers might even play you a tune or two on that piano they keep in the back cellar…

Recommend: Dinner around the corner at Ambassade d’Auvergne. Fantastically French and authentically country.

La Note Rouge 212 rue Saint-Martin 75003 Paris





Paris Roses And The Pierre Herme Ispahan

By Paris Patisseries

Some people always need to have the most luxurious and decadent of everything. Me? I keep it simple. Take this croissant I had Wednesday – it’s just your basic billowy mound of buttery-rich pastry, finely glazed, sprinkled with candied rose petals, and filled with an exquisite rose pâte. Like I said . . . very basic and no-frills.

Check out these AMAZING PHOTOS of Pierre Herme’s Pastries on TasteSpotting.

So when I saw the mongrel above at Pierre Hermé, humbly featured as the centerpiece of all the other petit déjeuner goodies, I said aloud, “Much like a three-legged dog at the pound, I’m going to take pity on you and love you as if you didn’t look quite so unfortunate.” Judging by the fact that only a few of these were left by the time I got to the shop, I assume other people were swept by the same beneficent feeling. Now, some of you may be saying, “Hey, Paris Patisseries, croissants aren’t pastries. Are you just reviewing this because you feel sorry for it?” Well, dear readers, while it is true that croissants are viennoiseries, not pastry, a glazed croissant with candied roses and a pâte filling is most definitely pastry. So let’s talk a little about Plain Jane here . . .


Kidding aside, this croissant is obviously ridiculously over-the-top in the best way possible. If you ever have a dream of eating a flaky croissant in a Parisian café, swap out the regular one and insert the Ispahan here to ratchet your dream to fantasy level 5000. Were it a Ladurée croissant that had been used as the framework, it could have been elevated to an actual religious experience. But it was fantastic nonetheless. While a little more chewy than I might like, it still had a nice flake on the outside and moist, buttery, stretchy, tender structure on the inside. The flavor of rose was very well balanced, whether experienced through the candied roses atop the piece or through a direct bite of the rose pâte, which had only a minimal amount of added sugar (exactly how I love it). And it’s really that rose pâte that’s my only modest criticism. A block of the stuff (scan down to the fourth photo). . . it’s a bit inelegant. I realize there’s an inherent massive challenge to making a fine croissant with a filling like this, but I have to think there’s a less heavy-handed aesthetic approach that could be taken. I know I’m being a little picky here, but that’s my self-appointed job as Paris Patisseries.


Even if the internal aesthetics were not entirely a thing of beauty, the exterior was. As you can see from the shots above, stunning might be the best descriptor. As much as I love my Ladurée croissant, it would look homely next to this. I’ve simply never seen so many dazzling surface features on a croissant before. Frank Gehry could probably base his next concert hall or museum on the angle shown above. This pastry is architectural, yet completely organic in its forms. I love it! Clearly Hermé is baking these using the croissant molds Rodin was rumoured to have carved shortly before his passing in 1917, or he’s a master of puff pastry. Flip a coin.


I wish I could tell you whether the Ispahan is a temporary feature at Hermé or a regular item. If any of you, my dear readers, know, please leave a comment below. It would be wonderful as a fixture, but there are plenty of other essences I would love to see croissant’ified. In any case, I recommend you get to Pierre Hermé’s on La Rue Bonaparte as soon as possible to snag one or a dozen of these for a snack.

*Local Food And Wine*



Musee Du Vin, Paris

Posted by Paige Donner

(Museum of Wine, Paris)

Today you can find the Musée du Vin installed in the old vaulted cellars below the 14th century Abbey of Passey and also below Honoré de Balzac’s house. The ceiling even contains a trap door that he used to escape from his creditors!

Musee du Vin, Paris, France, 16th Arr.

Located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris near the Eiffel Tower, this museum is a must for all who enjoy wine and would like to know more about how it is made and the tremendous variety of different types of wine from different wine regions.

Today, these cellars that house the Musée du Vin, exhibit old bottles, vats, instruments, objects and tools that all relate to viticulture and wine producing in ancient times.  The exhibits appear to have everything possible connected with wine… from corkscrews to decanters, glasses to barrels, wine presses and so much more; And a section showing old photographs, articles, portraits, and drinking songs. There is even a hymn to Saint Vincent on display, and he is one of the main Patron Saints of wine!

In this historic setting of the Musée du Vin you can also choose to take a two-hour wine tasting class with a wine specialist or by prior arrangement even organise lunches for groups, dinner parties or have lectures on the fascinating subject of “wine.”

By indulging yourself in a tasting class with the aim of providing amateurs with a better understanding of different wines, you will end up knowing what to pick and what not to, to accompany your food choices.  And although most of the tasting sessions are in French, it is also possible to book English wine tasting sessions as well.

There is also a restaurant that is situated in the cellars that has a fantastically cosy atmosphere and there are different menus to choose from, all with traditional food.

Also upon request there is an option of having a wine tasting session of the famous Grand Cru wines and talks by the experts. Guide books in different languages are available for purchase from the museum.

Open from a Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Closed on Mondays and on bank holidays.

Musée du Vin Rue des eaux, 5 Square Charles Dickens 75016 Paris, France

Telephone: 1 45 25 63 26

*Local Food And Wine *



Organic cupcakes: Chloe S.

by X. Moraga

We all know gluttony is a bad thing, except if it’s helping us to stay in shape and in good health! Thanks to a wonderful pastry cook, who initially studied to become a computer graphic artist and photographer, our body and our taste buds are very grateful!
Chloe Saada’s cupcakes are prepared exclusively with natural ingredients, with no conservatives or colouring agents, with organic products. Because she had to follow a strict diet since her early childhood because she’s diabetic, Chloe S created sugarless cakes! Sugar is replaced by organic agave syrup, without danger for people suffering from that illness.
In the end, we fall for a sweet or salty cupcake like the Kiss, which unlike his name suggest is made with Roquefort! Or the Scarlett, made with chocolate and chocolate and nuts paste, and the Madonna, made with lemon, caramel and salty butter.
Those funny names give us an appetite.

Open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 10:30am to 7pm.


Chloe S.
40, rue Pigalle
75009 Paris
T. : +33.(0)
Blog Chloe S.



*Local Food And Wine *



“Bidoche”, the book: the meat industry threatens the world

by X. Moraga

Journalist and co author of the best seller “Pesticides”, Fabrice Nicolino is concerned by the consumption of meat in the world nowadays. In his book, he talks in a very straightforward way about the frightening issue of industrial meat (“bidoche”, in French). He says it’s of very poor quality, because of the way the animals are fed (with GMOs) and because of the drugs they are given. In Europe, 70% of the total cultivated area is used the feed the cattle because it takes 7 to 9 vegetal proteins to make only one animal protein. Industrial breeding doesn’t only consume lots of energy, it’s also a threat to climate balance and most of all destroys the relationship between men and animals, pushing men to be very cruel. Living beings with sensitivity are reduced to the level of a merchandise. In the book the author describes very clearly the tragic cycle of meat consumption, which is increasing with countries like China and India, to the detriment of the environment, of health (swine flu is one very good example of that), of hungry men and of animals themselves.


« Bidoche », by Fabrice Nicolino, Ed. Les Liens qui Libèrent. 19,95€.

*Local Food And Wine *



Farmers Turn Champs-Elysees Into Huge Farm

This weekend French farmers transformed Paris’s Champs-Elysees into a huge green space filled with fresh agricultural products from French farms and growers.

If you’re in Paris, you still have time to check it out…It’s also in celebration of World Biodiversity Day which was Saturday.

Can’t See The Video? Click HERE

Thousands turn out to see a Green Champs-Elysees

From the BBC…

One of Paris’s main thoroughfares, the Champs-Elysees, has been covered in earth and turned into a huge green space in an event staged by young French farmers.

They want to highlight their financial problems, caused by falling prices for agricultural produce.

Plants, trees and flowers were brought in by lorry overnight to transform the avenue into a long green strip.

More than a million people are expected to visit over the next two days.

The event, which cost 4.2m euros (£3.6m; $5.3m) to stage, has been organised by the French Young Farmers (Jeunes Agriculteurs) union over the holiday weekend in France.

It will serve as a showcase of farm production from sheep breeding to crop growing.

The union, which represents some 55,000 farmers under the age of 35, wants to impress on the public – and the government – the efforts required to produce what goes on the table.

“It’s about re-establishing contact with the public about what our profession is and what they want from it,” William Villeneuve, president of the Jeunes Agriculteurs, said on Friday.

Espace Vert Champs-Elysees, Paris

Vous dites de Nature Capitale que c’est un “happening épique”. N’est-ce pas aussi un trompe-l’oeil, à l’heure où la biodiversité est à la peine?

Read More HERE

*Local Food And Wine FaceBook/LocalFoodAndWine

This is a hot-button issue in France right now. See what Sarkozy promised back in March.

Can’t See The Video? Click HERE.

*Local Food And Wine*



38 thoughts on “Paris

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