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Chic French Nibbles: Purple Macarons With a Savory Twist

Cristina Lasarte is the voice behind the gorgeous blog From Buenos Aires to Paris. Her mouthwatering photography and playful recipes, inspired by her Argentinean heritage and her new life in France, keep us coming back to her blog again and again. Here, she shares her recipe for Blue Smoked Salmon Macarons, the perfect amuse-bouche for your next elegant get-together. Enjoy! – Geneviève


It was exactly my fourth post ever…  Those who had been following my blog right from the very first day (if I did have any followers to speak of then) saw a shy Argentinean blogger producing some mauve macarons, photographed in a ring box.

The photo was picked up by Foodgawker and before I had even really understood what blogging was about, the world was looking at my blog: Singapore, Alaska, Arkansas, Russia… One thousand clicks in two hours. That was back in 2009. You can still find the recipe here, and in Audrey Hepburn’s company here.

Savory macarons are not my invention. In fact, the “father” of modern macarons, Pierre Hermé, started playing with the idea of giving traditional sweet macarons a savory twist long ago.

One day, I thought of making something elegant… Something with salmon, and something black… Yes, black macarons!

I went to G. DeTout to buy black food coloring. Back home, I started adding tiny quantities of this coloring to my Italian meringue, and it started turning…mauve. Mauve? Another half coffee spoon… deeper mauve! I paused and wondered: should I continue adding color, or stop here? I hate it when macarons dye my tongue! And this shade of mauve was so beautiful… And it matched my poppy seeds perfectly! Yes, the match was sealed.

Today, my mauve salmon macarons have become a trademark of my Menu Malbec catering service. After all this time, I decided a new photo shoot was in order. After all, two years of blogging had improved my photography skills.

I have to admit that sometimes people look at me with a skeptical eye: “Salmon in a sweet macaron? Is the crust savory at least?” Until the first bite, when all doubts vanish!

The savory macarons are here to stay… Not only with salmon, but with foie gras now as well…who could think of something more appropriate for holiday parties? Chicissime! Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, HiP Recipes | 10 Comments »

Discovering Nice & the French Riviera: One Day Trip at a Time

Sunny, sweet success! After carefully planning a Côte d’Azur getaway in 2010 and being thwarted by an angry Eyjafjallajökull, I finally managed to reach Nice on a fresh attempt nearly a year and a half later. And oh là là, was it ever worth the wait.

I’d been to the French Riviera before — Antibes, Juan-les-Pins, Villefranche, Monte Carlo — but not to Nice and never for long enough to really dig in, explore, and feel at home. So this was my glorious two-week opportunity and I intended to make the most of it from a home base in the charming, tangled streets of the colorful Old Town (known locally as Vieille Ville or Vieux Nice).

Nice is nice. Really nice. Really.

Old Nice was just as lovely as all the pictures and write-ups lead you to believe, only more so. The painterly churches and architecture of all kinds, featuring shuttered windows and trompe-l’oeil surprises are more than mere eye candy — it’s guilt-free dessert for the soul! Which is pretty handy given all the ice cream, gelato, and tempting local treats on hand around every corner. And as corners go, one street was sweeter or more brilliant than the next. But after 12 days I whittled down my favorite flavors to a short stretch near the top of the Old Town where a seemingly single building melted effortlessly from lemon yellow into burnt orange, then a rusty red, and finally a pale peach with celadon shutters, door, and matching mailbox. Truly a Technicolor work of art, Vieux Nice.

When I wasn’t snacking on socca, salted caramel crêpes, Niçoise salads, Fenocchio ice cream, or the most amazing variety of vegetables and other delights seasoned to perfection à la Provençale, I was trekking up to the top of Castle Hill (Colline du Château), tucking into the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMAC), shopping for local art and other items you can only find in Nice, or soaking up the sun and people-watching à la plage. And beyond that, I was taking the most enchanting day trips to nearby towns, both inland and along the coast. Continue Reading »

Posted in Travel | 15 Comments »

10 Signs That Spring Has Arrived In Paris

…When you can eat ice cream outside and actually, perhaps for the first time, really enjoy the coldness. Maybe you even have to hurry up a bit since the ice cream is melting.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 13 Comments »

Au Revoir, Stuffy French Cooking; Bonjour, Rachel Khoo!

When I moved to Paris in the spring of 2009, I was as ravenous to explore the city’s food scene as I was to find a home and community of friends. One way I found I could meet people, learn a bit about local culture and customs, and eat some delicious food all at the same time was by taking the occasional cooking class. Which is how I met Rachel Khoo, author of La Petite Cuisine (Penguin, UK) and host of Little Paris Kitchen on the BBC, both debuting this spring.

It was a bright and sunny August afternoon that I found myself attending the modern Electrolux-sponsored kitchen inside the Palais de Tokyo. There were 12 of us students and I could tell the pretty Brit with red lips, a retro sundress and kitchen confidence had something going on. That something—I learned while whipping eggs for our plum clafoutis as she filleted our Provençal sardines—was pastry training from Le Cordon Bleu and a  burgeoning career as a “food creative.”

Over the next few months I experienced Rachel’s creative food endeavors: a muesli-tasting party while she developed recipes for her first cookbook, Barres à Céreales, Muesli et Granola Maison (Marabout, 2010). A pie-making class at La Cocotte. An 80s-themed dinner party, complete with Pac-Man shaped foie gras. And, most exciting of all, I was invited to be there for the grand opening of her Parisian restaurant—a wee party of two at La Petite Cuisine à Paris.

Rachel’s itty-bitty restaurant was one of the most coveted reservations in town throughout the spring and summer of 2011. As soon as word got out about her cooking—described by Rachel herself as “an English girl’s perspective on French food”—everyone wanted a taste. My lunch made it easy to understand why. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food | 4 Comments »

Playtime in Paris: Modern French Dining in the 10th Arrondissement

To celebrate Valentine’s Day four years ago, I dined at Le Grand Colbert, the restaurant made famous by Diane Keaton and her roast chicken in the film Something’s Gotta Give. For me, it will forever be famous for far different reasons. Over clangorous dining room voices and crumb-laden plates, my husband proposed to me.

The American couple seated next to us gushed as I beamed with joy and threw my arms around my new fiancé. The fullness of the moment was heightened by the Belle Epoque backdrop and the tuxedoed waiters who dashed back and forth with alacrity between the kitchen and the dining room, forging the surreal sensation of being the stars on a Hollywood film set. Unbearably prosaic but perfectly appropriate for the moment.

Since then, we’ve maintained the tradition of dining out on Valentine’s Day. Some of our choices have been memorable, some not even worth mentioning. We flirted with the idea of returning to Le Grand Colbert last month to relive our engagement but given the caliber of restaurants that have opened over the last four years, we couldn’t be bothered with average food and contrived theatrics, no matter how emotionally significant.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 7 Comments »

March Events in Paris: Our Top Picks

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Paris in March, there are tons of things to do that don’t involve fashion week. Here is our list of not-to-miss events, foodie happenings, concerts, exhibits and general goings-on. -Geneviève

VuTheara Kham

La fête

March 10-11: Colette Carnival in the Tuilleries: Bon anniv’ to one of our favorite concept stores! Colette will be celebrating its 15th bday with a fab – and free – carnival in the Tuileries.

La bouffe

March 17-18: A Brunch Bazar weekend has to be the best one of the month. Two nine-hour days filled with little bits of the things we love: food, music, workshops and even a funhouse for the little ones.

March 11-13: After a long stint in Deauville, the Omnivore Food Festival heads to Paris. In case plentiful tastings from some of France’s greatest chefs isn’t enticing enough, the alcohol and tunes that are sure to be in abundance make this a must-do.

La musique

March 8: Phenomenal Handclap Band at Nouveau Casino:  PHB’s feel-good fusion tracks hit Paris and are not to be missed.  If some old-school soul meets disco is what you crave, get to Nouveau Casino on Thursday night.

March 11: Super Sunday with Patrice is a mixed-medium event inspired by music, dance, graffiti and gastronomy. Enjoy some indie artwork and a delicious menu by Nelson Muller before jamming out to Afro-German Reggae artist, Patrice. Take a peek at the menu here.

March 20-April 1: Les Femmes S’en Mêlent, a cross-Europe indie music festival celebrating female music-makers comes to Paris. Check out the lineup here.

Les arts

March 7-August 5: The magical Tim Burton Exhibition at Cinémathèque Française opens today. Following a wildly successful showing at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the fantastical works of Mr. Burton made it overseas. This show is a true pleasure and treat for the imagination of adults and children alike.

Through March 18: Experiencing the works of a creative mastermind is always a pleasure, isn’t it? The Jean-Paul Goude exhibit at Les Arts Décoratifs is the designer/illustrator/photographer ‘s first retrospective, so it’s only appropriate that happening in Paris.

March 9-16: Louis Vuitton  – Marc Jacobs at Les Arts Décoratifs: Goude, Vuitton and Jacobs in the same location? That’s almost more genius than we can handle – but not quite. Once you’ve digested the former, be sure to check out the latter. The designers’ fabulous pieces are only on view for one week. In the mood for a teaser? Check out this video. Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events | 3 Comments »

Paris Fashion Week: How to Dress the Part

Posing in the Tuileries in between shows, Paris Fashion Week 2012 (Boswell)

When early March hits, something in the air changes. Models come out of the woodwork and women in New York, London, Paris and elsewhere put a bit more effort into their attire. If you’re not in the fashion industry, it’s easy to be bewildered by the overnight switch from simple booties to stilettos. Fashion week is both daunting and exciting; add a locale like Paris to the mix and both sensations are heightened. Fear not, mes amis – dressing like a chic insider for Paris Fashion Week is possible.

Think of this week as an opportunity. March also (hopefully) marks the end of winter, a season when dreary days have the masses stuck in a style rut. Fashion choices are understandably made based on the practicality of pieces rather than how they actually look. After all, freezing temperatures make it near impossible to trade your puffy coat (the one that doubles as a sleeping bag) in for a cropped leather jacket, right?

Comings and goings in the Tuileries, Paris Fashion Week 2012 (Boswell)

Now that the weather’s turning around, ditch the bulk and grab your most daring pieces. Remember that quirky vintage hat you just had to have? Here’s your chance to wear it and not hear “mon dieu” whispered more times than you can count. Or those wonderfully whimsical printed tights that you feel just a little bit funny wearing around on any old day? Pull ‘em up. Parisians embrace Fashion Week, but that’s not to say you’ll get away with what you could in, say, New York. Here are a few guidelines to aid in your PFW sartorial adventures: Continue Reading »

Posted in Events, Parisian Living, Shopping | 9 Comments »