Tuesday, December 01, 2015

David Lebovitz' December 1 Newsletter

Today in David Lebovitz' December 1 newsletter, he expressed best what we are feeling in Paris right now and these past terrible weeks.
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I quote here:
 'In November, a terrible blow was dealt to Paris, a city that we all love so much. It didn't happen in major tourist spots, but in an ordinary neighborhood with restaurants, and nightclubs, which happens to be mine. We don't have fancy chocolate shops or upscale pastry places, but do have outdoor markets, bakeries, and restaurants, and are considered a diverse, multicultural neighborhood. (However it's no problem, because being a small city, you're never all that far from a French chocolate "fix.")
It's hard to comprehend what happened and there were a variety of thoughtful remembrances, opinions and discussions related the attacks. But I hope that the city can not only rebound from what happened while continuing to process the grief and shock, and honor those whose lives were lost, but will reemerge with a greater focus on celebrating its diversity and all the positive qualities that make Paris the iconic city that it's become by evolving, while retaining its unique historical and cultural position in Europe, and the world'.
Thank you David.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Noël Le Bon Marche

Last night I took the 87 bus to visit French Girl. I couldn't get over the glorious Xmas lights in Bon Marche's windows! The holiday street lights were turned on last night too. More to come.
This morning the lights and windows still looked pretty divine.
Bear was thrilled.
We noticed last night an outdoor cafe at Grand Epicerie serving oysters!
Nothing like that a shot zinc when you eat oysters/huitres for breakfast. Miam. Solli was with us but she was not having any...
Le Bon Marche has a special cabas (15€) out just for the holiday covered both sides with petit point (dots to you). If there's one thing I can't resist it's French polka dots. Nobody does em better.
Le Grand Epicerie has fancy-pants hounds scarfing up their new Christmas desserts.
Unfortunately the Passion fruit-caramel cake on the left and the framboise gateaux on the right will not be available until thursday.
You have been warned. Sniff
The Noël theme this year is dots and lighted trees. Not exactly your traditional pine tree. Hmmm...whose idea was that? Still very pretty. No one is complaining.
On the 2nd floor l'Arbre de Noël shop awaits full of Christmas tree decorations.
This little French miss couldn't decide...
Bear knew right away he would give his left pinkie for a giant fraise (strawberries 8€) tree decoration.
What about cherry jam jars on your Xmas tree? Pas mal..though back in the day when some of us grew up we had to settle for plain ole christmas balls, tinsel and candy canes. Things have definitely spruced up.
Bear has the hots for Bon Marche's new winter beanie with the requisite furry pompom (most likely faux, though be advised this does not effect le prix one bit at Bon Marche).
At Raspail Bio Marche today we saw other very dolled-up dogs, tout en rosé (pink). Bear was smitten.
Whilst market dogs, a bit scruffy,  looked on with deep envy.
We are feeling a bit scruffy ourselves, since I am LATE WITH YOUR NOVEMBER MAP LETTER!! ;((
It is still a WIP (a work in Process).
We hope to be done before the end of November...just around the corner literally. Please be patient with us.
The good news is anyone who subscribes to ANY letters in my Etsy shop during the HOLIDAY through January 1 will get a nice Eiffel Tower Gift Tag.
BON(NE) DIMANCHE PBers as they say over here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Are the Parisians going out? Salon Coqs d'Or, Marie Claire Idees SalonCreations et Savoir-Faire

Everyone asks me are the Parisians going out?
YES, very much so. Of course there is an undercurrent of sadness and loss, but Parisians are carrying on with their lives best they can with their usual joie de vive.
PR Florence invited me to meetup at Salon Coqs d'Or on Saturday. I went 2 years ago. It's la creme de la creme of French regional purveyors. Here Florence and her maman are in a deep discussion with the pain d'epice guy. It was surprising to see throngs of people only one hour after opening time.
I could not resist Bellanger's extra long dark chocolate-enrobed orangettes. In fact there are 2 pieces of candied orange peel inside the long pencil sticks - his special secret. I'm sad to report though I planned on eating one stick a day the are all gone.
Florence was not familiar with Dijon chocolatier Fabrice Gillotte (no relative).
Jean-Luc Poujauran, famous bread maker to the top restaurants only shows up at the Coqs d'or Salon. Get it while you can.
Jam, confiteur and more jam. By the way you could taste at almost every table including Champagne and Bordeaux wines. To show proper appreciation when tasting, get a far-away, dreamy look in your eyes and shake one hand madly like it was wet. 
That's the French way.
I loved this subtle chart of apple juices. Who knew?
The chicken guys with superb produce. I assumed Florence and her mother were doing advance shopping for Noel. Not at all. 
"Too early to think about Christmas", Florence said.
You could buy a plate of Burgundian escargot (6,50€) Then have them heated up in the restaurant area of The Marriott and no extra charge! Wow
Parisians were ordering plates of fromage, charcuterie, plus Poujauran's bread and eating at stand up tables in the main salon. Fun non?
Yours truly could not pass up an ice cream cone from Paries. I returned to the salon on Sunday to stock up on Spanish anchovies. I remember reading somewhere Jackie Kennedy would stock up on 5-6 skirts of the same design. Well I've got 10 cans of anchovies in my kitchen cabinet with the possibility of ordering a full case if so inclined. Pure Heaven.
On Sunday I ran over to the annual 3-day Marie Claire Idees Salon.
500 stands and ateliers and DYI workshops. The joint was jumping.
I did not know you could take ugly old gourds
And make them into stunning light fixtures?
Or grow your own mushrooms? I thought the girl at the stand might be eating her own home-grown mushrooms for lunch but she was not ;(
What about make your own lampshade kits. Looks so easy. And wouldn't the Paris Maps make fun lamp shades?
Fab French ribbons I'd been looking for all week were at the Marie Claire salon.
Plus Marie Claire had a big stand with adorable DIY Xmas displays.
Of course I bought their cabas (shopping bag) with the latest issue inside. Then I saw another cuter cabas (top) and it was FREE! Why you don't need a $$$$ Chloe bag in Paris. Just shell out a fiver or get a free one and you're set.
Meanwhile Bear is taking breaks from Product fulfillment to hog the holiday Marie Claire issue (Thank you PBers for ordering the new gift 6-pack of Paris Maps!).
Did you know you can subscribe on Amazon and get MCI delivered to your door?
Bear is dreaming of sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie...
Me too.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thank you Chanterelle, A Etoile d'Or, Gift 6-pack of Paris Maps

Thank you Chanterelle, for suggesting Tuesday, in the comments, I visit newly re-opened l'Etoile d'or.
Since 11/13 I've been mostly house-bound. Or venturing only a few blocks off Isle Saint Louis. Heading up to Montmartre was a big step out into the world, but well worth it.
And Thank you everyone for your kind and caring messages this week!
L'Etoile d'Or is maybe the best, dreamy place to visit when your heart needs lifting.
Chocolate heaven.
And Bernachon, (top Lyonnaise chocolatier) headquarters. Everything in the shop is top drawer. La crème de la crème of confisiers.
So many of the best French regional bonbons
Naturally Bear wanted a picture with owner, Denise Acabo.
Cases and cases of deliciousness.
And Denise herself reminds you of Alice in Wonderland, full of joy and delight.
If you're an Alice fan, and who isn't tune in to BBC 4 Extra - a 3-hour special of readings and all sorts of Lewis Carroll diversions available for 29 days.
Amazing Denise was darting around the shop opening boxes, pulling out hidden treasures, force-feeding me Noisettines du Medoc.
No complaints were heard.
I finally decided on
pistachio-filled milk chocolate bar and 2 exquisite mushrooms.
Today at Salons des Coqs d'Ors I visited the stand of chocolate mushroom maker, Fabrice Gillotte from Dijon. No, unfortunately, we are Not related. The mushroom tops are filled with liquid caramel au beurre sale, the stems,  almonds-hazelnut praline. Miam!
At l'Etoile d'Or my eyes seized on the ribbon counter. Maim miam!
                                  Photo from ColeensParis.com
I know I've been MIA (missing in action) this week while I tossed and turned dreaming up a holiday gift tag/certificate (among other things). You definitely need French ribbon for a gift card. Have you been to UltraMode Mercerie? A treasure haven of  buttons, thread and ribbons on 3-4 rue de Choiseul 75002
I ended up with raffia, twine and Japanese braid. The gift card idea took longer..
At last this morning an Eiffel tower emerged (4" x 6") and I printed it on my watercolor paper. It looks like the real thing.
It goes with a brand new gift pack of 6 Paris map letters shipped FLAT in a cardboard-backed envelope. 
You can find it in my Etsy shop right now. The card work as a gift certificate too.
Turn right as you leave l'Etoile d'Or on rue Fontaine and walk towards Metro Blanche and the Moulin Rouge. Glorious.