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Puerto Cacao: Socially Minded Chocolate in Paris

Julien Hausherr

Yes, more chocolate! Paris does not lack for it. But in a town that boasts everything from over-the-top delicacies to perfectly executed classics, we’re always impressed when a shop manages to distinguish itself from the cacao-hawking competition.

Puerto Cacao is not the most decadent, shocking or renowned chocolate shop in Paris, but it might just be the most conscientious. On a recent visit, we sat down with store manager José Evrard to learn more about owner Guillaume Hermitte’s vision for an équitable (fair-trade) chocolate shop that does as much to promote social good as it does to promote deliciousness.

Amazing hot chocolate! Tory Hoen

Hermitte’s team works directly with Venezuelan cacao producers, cutting out unnecessary middlemen who might drive up prices for consumers and deprive cacao producers of fair payment. In addition, they work with “entreprises d’insertion,” organizations that help people who have encountered various difficulties (poverty, imprisonment, etc.) re-enter the workforce and improve their lives. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 5 Comments »

Life in Italy vs. Life in France: Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, Erica Berman shared her most telling anecdotes about the difference between life in France and life in Italy. While most of us can only envy the lifestyle that makes intimate knowledge of those details a part of daily life, Erica’s insight into the particularities of French and Italian culture helps us live the dream. In part two, she moves beyond general life to get to the juicy stuff : how the natives operate.

Vongole CamogliPhotos Erica Berman – Seafood Pasta in Italy this summer

Differences between the French and the Italians…

  • Nothing is a problem for the Italians…everything is a problem for the French. I think there are numerous posts to be written on this thought… a suivre!
  • Italians miss pasta and coffee when away from their beloved Italy. The French are hands down pining for bread and cheese when far from home.
Croissant Erica ParisCroissants in Paris
  • The French do not ask personal questions. Italians ask many. The French find asking questions a sign of indiscretion, and they take the utmost pride in being discreet, sometimes to the point of ridiculous (when applying for a job they may not feel comfortable asking the salary).
  • The Italians are curious and their inquiring minds want to know.  In elevators in Italy I have had personal conversations on where I’m from and why I’m in Italy with people I have never seen before and will probably never see again. In France a bonsoir or bonjour is possibly all the chatting you will get after years of being neighbors.
  • Italians remember you after seeing you once. The French might, of course, remember you, I am convinced they do, but will do their very best to pretend that they have never seen you before (my corner bakery in Montmartre is in the running for longest possible non recognition of a regular customer – almost 18 years. The bread is so amazing and their complete neutrality so fascinating, I keep on going).
Continue Reading »

Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Parisian Living, Travel | 49 Comments »

Go Organic in Paris

Guest Blogger, Laura, from the super cool blog My Mélange has shared her favorite organic hotspots in the city of lights. With more and more need to pay attention to the environment, we thank My Mélange for sharing these wonderful organic markets, restaurants and shops for us to explore. Let us know your Paris organic favorites to add to the list. Thanks!

Erica salad in MontmartreErica Berman

These days it’s all about going green, natural, organic, or anything else that is friendly to the environment (and to our bodies).  When you’re home, it’s easy to support local farms through farmers’ markets or buy organic goods from the supermarket, but traveling internationally could pose a threat to your health-conscious lifestyle and eating habits…unless you know where to go to find organic products and eco-friendly services.

In 2009, with the help of President Nicholas Sarkozy, Paris became proactive in supporting organic agriculture.   The government cut subsidies given to large farms and redirected the financial aid to smaller organic and family owned farms.  Paris has been the center of these organic or biologique (or bio) changes and boasts a number of successful organic and natural supermarkets, bakeries, restaurants, wine shops, and even hotels.

Little Brown Pen  GreenLittle Brown Pen

For those of you lucky enough to rent an apartment and enjoy an extended stay in The City of Light, grocery shopping is a must. Biocoop and Naturalia are two organic supermarkets in the Paris region.  Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Green, Parisian Living | 8 Comments »

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