March 14, 2011
While some French food enthusiasts cherish the macaron, the piled high buttercream cupcake or the newly-enamored whoopie pie, I remain an original meringue fan. Whenever I pick up my baguette in Paris, I always add a simple gigantic meringue to my order, as every bakery keeps a few at the ready. A lot of egg whites and sugar, whipped and baked, meringues are an old standby and perfectly resilient. We think the new Au Merveilleux de Fred bakery, a spot heavily dedicated to meringue, will change all that soon. Thanks to our friend Rosa Jackson for sharing it with the world and, hopefully, making it au courant again. – Maggie
When my friend Maniko casually mentioned a meringue shop in her neighborhood, I stopped her in mid-sentence.
“Did you say a meringue shop? As in a shop selling only meringues?” Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 25 Comments »
August 12, 2010
Rosa Jackson, the fabulous food writer and chef, is based in Nice where she conducts market tours and succulent Provençal cooking classes. She travels to Paris frequently (as one must) in order to keep up with the restaurant scene. Here she checks out Tien Hang, a true haven for Parisian vegetarians!
Rosa Jackson’s vegetarian son Sam in Zen restaurant
A few months ago, my son Sam declared himself a vegetarian. Now, if we lived in California this might not sound unusual, but this is France, proud land of steak-frites and saucisson, andouillette and tête de veau. What made his decision even more surprising is that both of his parents are meat-eaters. If much of my cooking relies on fresh vegetables from the market, I also can’t deny having a passion for steak tartare.
At first I wasn’t sure how to react. He had been making noises about becoming vegetarian ever since watching a cooking show on the television channel Arte in which a group of 12 to 14 year-olds visited a rabbit farm to see where meat came from. Picture the poor bunnies dangling from hooks, then cut to the skinned rabbits a few seconds later, ready to be chopped up for lapin à la moutarde. Who could really blame Sam?
For two years (he saw the show when he was five) I persuaded him that eating a little meat and fish is not a bad thing if you choose it carefully. But, as he got older, he became convinced that anything with a heart and a brain shouldn’t die in order to feed him. When he started to categorically refuse meat and fish, I decided not to fight it.
Rosa Jackson’s Stuffed Tofu – Tien Hang
I quickly discovered, though, that becoming vegetarian in France isn’t so simple. First, there was the school’s reaction. The teacher and canteen supervisors came to me saying, “Is he serious?” When I assured them that he was, they frowned and shook their heads. In France, school canteens operate on the principle that every child should eat everything, or at least try everything, unless they have a religious or health reason not to. The upside of this is that France is a nation of unfussy eaters. The downside is that la différence is not welcomed.
I went to see the économe, the woman in charge of collecting money for the canteen, and explained the “problem.” She gave me a sympathetic yet puzzled look.
“Vegetarianism is not a recognized diet in France,” she said. “We’ll have to put everything on the plate even if he doesn’t eat it.”
Thus, my son who doesn’t want to animals to die for his sake still gets served meat or fish every day at school, and has to eat around it.
As any vegetarian who has travelled to France knows, eating in restaurants is also a challenge. Fortunately, I live in Nice where the Italian influence means that gnocchi and fresh pasta with pistou or tomato sauce are nearly always on the menu. Nice also has one of the best vegetarian restaurants in France, La Zucca Magica, where children under 12 eat for free. Paris bistros are a bit more problematic, but since Sam is not fussy in other ways he will settle for almost anything that doesn’t contain animal protein (as long as goat cheese is not involved). He is also thrilled to eat miso soup and vegetable maki at my favorite Japanese restaurant, Zen.
Last night, as we were meeting a friend who has also gone off meat (or at least non-organic meat) after reading Eating Animals, I decided to see if we could find a good vegetarian restaurant in Paris. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | 27 Comments »
June 16, 2010
Rosa Jackson, the fabulous food writer and chef, is based in Nice where she conducts market tours and succulent Provençal cooking classes. She travels to Paris frequently (as one must) in order to keep up with the restaurant scene. Last year, she stayed at Haven in Paris’ very own Houdon flat. This lovely write-up ensued on her blog…
I have a vision of my perfect Paris apartment. It would be high up – stairs don’t scare me – with a small balcony and a sweeping view over the zinc rooftops, punctuated here and there with church spires and glimmering domes. There would be parquet floors, big windows on both sides (east and west, ideally) and a sunny kitchen that opens onto the living space. Oh, and it would have central heating.
When I first laid eyes on Erica Berman’s apartment just south of Abbesses Métro station, I felt slightly breathless. That might have had something to do with the five flights of stairs required to reach it, but it also came from the certainty that this was my dream apartment. I loved the antique table and mismatched chairs, I loved the contemporary paintings and well-tended plants, and I especially loved the vintage wooden pâtisserie sign above the kitchen, which Erica found at a market in Provence.
It’s no surprise that Erica’s flat should seem so effortlessly tasteful, given that she is the owner of the hippest apartment rental agency around: Haven in Paris. I first met Erica when she came to do one of my food tours in Nice, and I immediately realized that we had many things in common: our love of Paris, Provence and Italy (especially Liguria), our fondness for off-the-beaten track bed-and-breakfasts, and our insatiable curiosity about new Paris restaurants.
When I dropped by her Paris apartment before a meal at the nearby bistro Le Cul de Poule (here is a report on the Haven in Paris blog), she beckoned me onto the balcony for a glass of Italian wine. Erica has lived in Paris for 17 years and there is almost nothing she doesn’t know about the city, as proved by her frequently updated blog. We chatted about good and not-so-good meals she has had in the Pigalle and Montmartre area: her current favorites are Le Miroir (94 rue des Martyrs, 18th) and Guilo Guilo (8 rue Garreau, 18th), the second run by a renowned chef from Kyoto.
Continue Reading »
Posted in Homes, Parisian Living, Travel | 8 Comments »
May 7, 2010
I was pleasantly surprised to discover Pramil with Rosa Jackson and Paule Caillat for a tasty dinner of refreshingly delicious, and reasonably priced French fare and excellent company. Pramil is a tiny bistro tucked away on a small side street in the hip Arts and Metiers neighborhood of Paris. I’m already plotting my return and thanks to Rosa’s great write up, I can re-live the savors and the experience until I’m able to find my way there again! — Erica.
When it comes to restaurants, I’m not really that demanding. I want the basic ingredients to be seasonal and good. I want the cooking to show restraint: nothing puts me off more than an overly complicated plate. And I want the chef to have a heart that shines through in the food.
Sounds simple, right? Yet these three elements come together more rarely than you might think, even in Paris. That’s why a recent meal at Pramil felt so refreshing.
Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Tours and Classes | 2 Comments »
January 6, 2010
I spent Christmas of 2008 in Paris, strolling along the glittering boulevards, ducking in and out of specialty shops, sampling seasonal foods, and fueling myself with vin chaud. It was utterly magical, and while there’s no substitute for a real Christmas in France, Rosa Jackson and Paule Caillat managed to re-create the culinary splendor for a lucky few this December when they crossed the Atlantic to host a 2-day workshop at the Culinary Loft in New York.
Photos: Foodnetwork.com and Deliciousdays.com
The two sessions (“Christmas in Provence” and “Christmas in Paris”) entailed the preparation—and enthusiastic consumption—of a variety of traditional holiday foods from these two parts of France. I was lucky enough to be invited to the Provence workshop, where I learned how to knead, whisk and poach like a pro, all while enjoying the company of the group—replete with Francophiles and gourmands—that turned out for the workshop.
Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, HiP Recipes, Tours and Classes | 3 Comments »
December 1, 2009
Macarons with sprinkles. Photo: Miss Wadever Blog
Lazy? Have a sweet tooth? Have we got the job for you! Our friend Rosa Jackson (of Edible Adventures) is working on her second cookbook, Les Meilleurs Desserts des Paresseuses (“Lazy Women’s Best Desserts”). From now until mid-February, Rosa will be testing recipes to include in the book, and she is accepting ideas from lazy people far and wide.
The main idea? “Easy, fast recipes for lazy people who want to impress without breaking a sweat.” Most of the recipes will be variations on traditional French desserts, but Rosa will also include some Italian and Anglo-inspired dishes (and a few organic options for the health-conscious). Continue Reading »
Posted in HiP Recipes | 2 Comments »
November 27, 2009
As the holidays approach, why not brush up on some new cooking techniques that will wow your guests and provide a little variety to your holiday menus. If you can make it to New York City on December 13 or 14, we have two French-inspired cooking workshops you won’t want to miss.
Our Provence-based friend Rosa Jackson (of Edible Adventures) will be teaming up with popular French chef Paule Caillat (owner of the Promenades Gourmandes cooking school in Paris), to share their regional cuisines with home cooks on this side of the Atlantic. Friends and collaborators, the two will teach participants a variety of recipes from their “home” towns (Nice and Paris) and will feature a powerful trifecta of ingredients: olive oils, truffles and sea salt. The women will infuse traditional recipes with modern flair—truffles will make their way into savory madeleines, olive oil will enrich desserts, and sea salt will add Mediterranean flavor to colorful vegetable dishes. Continue Reading »
Posted in Events, Tours and Classes | 2 Comments »
October 1, 2009
Guest blogger Rosa Jackson (one of our favorite France-based foodies and author of Edible Adventures) shares some insight into the art of the mirabelle–in season right now!
Text by Rosa Jackson
When summer decides that it’s over in the south of France, it doesn’t fool around. For a few days last week, it was as if someone with a wicked sense of humor was aiming a giant fire hose at the city of Nice. Local artist Sylvie T.’s mother, who delights in chatting with passers-by in front of her Old Town gallery, put it more poetically. “In Nice it doesn’t rain; it’s the sun that’s crying.”
The tomatoes are no longer as sweet, eggplants are on their way out and peaches are ancient history (even if there are still some impostors at the market stalls), but unlike the capricious sun, I’m still finding reasons to stay cheerful. First among these are mirabelles, little yellow plums with a pink blush that appear at the market for no more than six weeks every year. I first spotted them this year at the Paris markets in early September, and was not surprised to see them pop up in various guises wherever I turned: when a fruit has a season this brief, no cook can resist it. Continue Reading »
Posted in HiP Recipes | No Comments »
June 10, 2009
Photos Courtesy of Rosa Jackson
We recently found ourselves in Nice for a night and were fortunate to be able to book a morning tour of the Nice food markets with Canadian food guru Rosa Jackson. I had heard about Rosa’s food tours of Paris and Nice from numerous clients and was intrigued, and ready, to discover.
Olive Photo Erica Berman
We met Rosa at the Cafe La Civette du Cours on the edge of the central market – Cours Saleya. A cafe noisette and a brief history of Nice and the old marketplace which started in 1861, and we were on our way.
We wandered the market admiring the mounds of olives, basil, and sundried tomatoes, the amazing variety of herbs and spices, the heaps of fresh produce, and the fresh seafood (although we learned that there is only one local fisherman left in Nice). We met with some organic farmers, and purchased some deep red cherries to munch on. Rosa bought us a wonderful tourte de blettes sucré to taste, which was delicate and delicious – layers of dough, cheese, raisons, rum and blette (swiss chard). I bought a thick tomato fougasse (the French idea of foccacia) to sample later.
Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Tours and Classes, Travel | 2 Comments »