October 25, 2012
Beer, frites, comics. Blah, blah, blah. No disrespect to lovers of ambers and ales, salty, fried foods, or Tintin, but there’s so much more to Brussels, capital of Belgium—capital of all of Europe—than these perennially touted attractions. Here are three lesser-celebrated reasons to hop on a train and make the 80-minute trip from Paris.
Chocolate boutique in Brussels (flavijus)
At first glance, the architecture in Brussels is incongruous—ugly, even. But in that odd stew of styles are treasures from many eras. Continue Reading »
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July 19, 2012
There are many different reasons people fall in love with Paris: the art and culture; the beauty and history; the fashion and femme fatales. Moi? I can think of no bigger, better, more divine seductress than the chocolate.
Cocoa is the food of the gods, and the French unabashedly worship at its altar. For nearly four centuries, they’ve been evolving the humble brown cacao seed into something decadent, transporting and otherworldly. You can get chocolate in liquid, molten or frozen form. Sculpted into a stiletto—or a squirrel.
As a single-origin bar (tablette) or a decadent box (un ballotin) of many splendored flavors. In fact, in Paris you can toss a truffle in nearly any direction and hit a chocolatier. But don’t leave it to fate. Get yourself to any of these 11 chocolatiers for an unforgettable Parisian experience.
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April 30, 2012
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 »
April 7, 2011
Do you remember the first time you realized “Wow, I am in Paris”? Those of us who have been lucky enough to visit Paris have all, I think, had that moment — a tingling, joyful, excited realization that there’s something about Paris that can make one happy simply to exist and observe. We have asked a few of our favorite writers to share their true First Paris moments with us . For our first installment, Tory tells us about when she discovered the magic of Angelina’s chocolat chaud… - Geneviève
It was the hot chocolate that did it. For a girl who had grown up on watery Swiss Miss with tiny, desiccated marshmallows in it, the chocolat chaud in Paris was a life-changing revelation.
Angelina’s hot chocolate; macarons (Justine Robinett)
First of all, I was allowed to drink it for breakfast. It was no longer something I had to “earn” by clocking hours on an icy ski slope, trying to ignore the fact that I could barely breathe through my ice-encrusted neck-warmer. No, in Paris, it was my inalienable right to drink hot chocolate, simply because I had woken up. No neck-warmer needed. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 13 Comments »
June 1, 2010
June is one of the very best times to be in Paris. It’s starting to warm up, but the temperature stays pleasantly cool enough to be outside all day. Parisians can feel it too – get ready to start seeing more and more natives abandoning their lairs in favor of sun-bathed café terraces. Heather from Secrets of Paris keeps a wonderful calendar of the best things to do in Paris. To help you make the most of your month of June, we’re sharing a few of her top picks here…
June 3 – I almost regret mentioning this here, because I don’t want to have to elbow any of my darling readers out of the way (just consider yourself warned). Expect big crowds at the first Nuit du Gâteau at the Maison du Chocolat (8 blvd Madeleine, 9th), free tastings of their newest creations from 7pm-midnight.
June 4-6 – The Jardins Jardin garden festival takes place this weekend at the Jardin des Tuileries (1st), with a focus on urban garden design and “exterior decorating”. Open from 10am until 8pm. Entry €11.
June 5 – Join the Paris Urban Adventurers for a Scavenger Hunt through the city to raise money for their 2010 charity drive: “This year we’re raising money for solar technology to allow families in developing African countries to study, cook, read and live even where electricity is lacking. So you get to have a good time, and feel good about helping others, all at the same time.” Form your team and register to join the fun.
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Posted in Parisian Living | 4 Comments »
May 26, 2010
As a New Yorker, I find it equal parts utter insanity and totally logical that as soon as I moved to Paris last year—with visions of millefeuilles, pains au chocolat, artisan chocolates and good old Nutella street crepes dancing through my head—I wound up Velib’ing through the back streets of the eleventh arrondissement seeking the city’s then cupcakes-only bakery. It took a few wrong turns down some side streets, but I found Cupcakes & Co, with sunlight happily spilling across the sole café table—an auspicious signpost pointing to the delicious display case of American delights.
Rebecca and Maggie Bellity, the two sisters who opened Cupcakes & Co in 2008, pride themselves on using natural and organic baking ingredients for their petits gateaux. And even though the concept arose from their travels to the states, their recipes are all French. They’ve dreamed up combinations like jasmine and vanilla, lemon and coconut, coffee and hazelnut and over a dozen others that set my heart racing and ensured many weeks of repeat business.
That was well over a year ago. And as my American obsession has waned (grace à new obsessions with macarons, violet éclairs and salted caramels), the Parisians’ has exploded. Continue Reading »
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February 14, 2010
After seven months away, I’m back in Paris for a while and am greedily soaking up every minute of it. After two weeks, I’ve slipped back into many of my happy habits, though I’ve come to realize that settling back into my Parisian life does require a few active adjustments. For instance:
1. Dietary shifts. You’d be surprised how fulfilling a diet composed solely of butter, cheese, Dijon, bread, chocolate and macarons can be. Although I must admit, a steady stream of coffee and wine leave me perpetually dehydrated. Note to self: water is the essence of life, even in Paris.
2. Embracing linguistic limbo. When I get back to France, I regularly find myself in situations where two, three, or four languages are being spoken simultaneously. While the linguistic mélange is always exciting, I find that my English often starts to slip before my French has time to pick up the slack, and I am therefore left in a strange language-less limbo. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 5 Comments »