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My friend Chloé Doutre-Roussel, who is the esteemed chocolate-buyer for London’s Fortnum & Mason, finally came out with the book she’s spent a lifetime of tasting and working towards. The compact size of her book, The Chocolate Connoisseur, belies the depth of information within.

The Chocolate Connoisseur is a must have for any chocolate lover, and it’s my current bedside reading. Chloé, who was tapped to be the chocolate-expert by Pierre Hermé at Ladurée in Paris, was recently featured in the New York Times, and it’s a sweet treat to read about her chocolate adventures. There’s notes on tasting and sampling, comparison of brands with lots of opinions, a few decadent recipes, and some facts and fallacies explained and de-mystified. Very recommended reading for all.

Speaking of Paris, and chocolate, my friends at the Victoria Palace Hotel are offering a special for chocolate-lovers in April. All guests will receive a coupon redeemable for their choice of chocolates from several of the local chocolatiers, including La Maison du Chocolat, Jean-Charles Rochoux, and Patrick Roger. You can find more information about the hotel here.
Be sure to ask for the Easter Chocolate Adventure to get your vouchers.
And should you need help spending them, kindly let me know.

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Another friend, Heather Stimmer-Hall, who lives here in Paris and writes the excellent (and free) newsletter, Secrets of Paris, has finally started a blog.

Well, actually two.

Secrets of Paris has lots of great tid-bits of information about Paris; where to go, special tips, and lots of sights to see that probably elude the typical visitor or resident to this special city.

Naughty Paris: The Good Girl’s Guide to Being Bad in the City of Light is a PG-13 guide to Paris’ Hot-Spots where they raise the curtain, showcasing the lascivious underbelly of Paris. Heather (and her co-conspirator Carolyn) are often a very naught girls and I hope someday they’ll let me tag along as a spectator.

If not, I’m ready to administer a couple of swift, San Francisco-style spankings.

Although French people never, ever go to the bathroom, the rest of us do. And the good news is that if you’re walking down the street and attempt to use one of the futuristic pissoires you no longer have to scramble to find 40 centimes….because they’re now free! Yes, now you just press the button and go.
So to speak.

But if you’re not near one, here’s a very funny and informative article about “Where To Pick A Flower” in Paris.

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Tasting Menu is asking bloggers this week to name some of their favorite foods. Each day provides more treats to read about from all around the world. Delicious reading for sure and I’m checking daily to see what’s new and tasty.

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San Francisco’s Ghiradelli Chocolate sent me a preview of their new dark chocolate bars to sample. With names like Espresso Escape and Twilight Delight I was a tad skeptical, but in the name of fairness, I timidly broke off a tiny corner of Toffee Interlude, and by the end of the day I had polished off the whole bar and was attacking the next.
I think at some point I’m going to need a chocolate-intervention…

And if you’re a science nerd (or not), you’ll love Heidi’s recent posting on making ice cream with liquid nitrogen. I’m not a big fan of messing around with good food, but when accompanied by Heidi’s terrific photos of steam cascading out of her KitchenAid while the ice cream churns, I found the entry fascinating reading.

Lastly, check out my Flickr page, which I’m going to update regularly with pictures of Paris and my culinary travels.
We’ve added a new icon with previews on the lower right side of this page to click on in the future.

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11 comments

  • I think that you’re forgetting that an intervention is only worthwhile if there is even the remotest hope that the intervenee may give up the addiction!

  • Plum, maybe we could hold a mass Paris intervention, where we do the opposite of reneging chocolate? I looked at your Flickr pics last night, David & instantly fell in love w/ the Absinth Bar photo – the shadows, reflections and patterns are so perfect! Then I open the new New Yorker & the 1st article is Green Gold, The return of Absinthe. You are so au courant ! The New Yorker is racing to keep up with you. Thanks for all the news :)

  • That book cover is simply exquisite.

  • Yeah, my roommate made ice cream with custard recipe out of a 1930′s cookbook and dry ice. Warning — it nicked the beaters of his inexpensive mixer.

  • David, you’re on fire! Every day a new post, just packed with information. I’m thrilled every time I come back and see something new. And hey — we were on the awards the same day! (Is everything in this post an award? It should be.)

  • I think Ghirardelli’s chocolate tastes good, but they add butterfat. :-( Darn, that’s one of my pet peeves. Mort Rosenblum captured the spirit of butterfat very well in his book!

  • I am a big fan of La maison du chocolat and Michel Cluizel and Cacao et chocolat and Newtree….phhh, I cannot stop.

  • Hey David, I tried that toffee Ghirardelli bar at the Fancy Food Show – it was great!

  • “swift, San Francisco-style spankings” – haha! i visited the naughty paris site and loved it. can’t wait to visit.

  • I’m grabbing the book on the way home from work tonight for some weekend reading. I glanced through it last weekend and it looked great. The only reason I didn’t grab it then was the fact I didn’t have a coupon with me.

  • That big peppermint pattie looks awfully tasty!

    So happy to see you’ll be teaching a class soon at
    Central Market in TX – I’ll see you there!