June 2006 archives

The Sales

There are two periods during the year when stores are allowed to have Les Soldes, or The Sales. They occur once in the winter, beginning shortly after New Years Day, while the summer soldes start in late June. Although Americans think its odd, the government’s official explanation is that les soldes give stores a chance to blow-out all last seasons merchandise quickly by creating a…

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I was recently staying at a country home in France, Since the house was surrounded by red currant bushes and the branches were loaded with tiny red berries, I spent a good portion of the weekend picking the little red orbs, relieving the branches of the tiny clusters of gorgeous little fruits. As I greedily filling my mouth with the puckery berries, I was overcome…

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Summer is here in Paris. It arrived without warning last week and was brutal. It was hot, and it hit around 31°(about 88°) and so humid, I faced a real-meltdown of chocolate. And just about everything else around here, including me, suffered the same fate. Just when no one couldn’t bear it anymore, it stopped. Then we had rain and cool weather. It’s so other-worldly…

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Want to know what’s it like to visit one of the finest chocolate shops in Paris? Les Itinéraires des Beaux Jours: Richart’s Exquisite Upcoming Chocolate Collection Richart Chocolate 258, blvd St. Germain Paris Tél: 01 45 55 66 00

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Once upon a time, I worked in a restaurant that was well-known for using ingredients of exceptional quality. The most magnificent fruits and vegetables would come barreling through our kitchen door every day, from plump, rare black raspberries to teeny-tiny wild strawberries, fraises des bois. While I can’t really guess the psychology behind it, we would often treat these marvels like precious jewels, reserving them…

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“Can I bring that back?” I’ve been asked that question a lot by visitors to France, wondering if they can bring certain items home. Here are some articles and posts about what can and can’t be brought back into the United States: –Think Twice Before Stuffing Your Suitcase (USA Today) –Transportation Security Administration –Importing Food Products into the United States (FDA) –Travelers Bringing Food Into…

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Green Almonds

Unless you live in an almond-growing region in the US, I’m sorry to tell you that it’s rather unlikely you’ll come across green almonds in your market. They don’t seem to be as popular in America as they are here in France. And right now in Paris, they’re heaped up in big mounds at the outdoor markets. In San Francisco, I would find green almonds…

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Wandering the streets of Paris, I feel fortunate when I stumble across a great boulangerie. In a city with 1263 bakeries (at last count) many of them are good, a few great, and some are disappointingly ordinary. So when I come one that looks, and smells, like it’s gonna be a great one, I hurry inside. Located on a plain, fairly-deserted side street in the…

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I’m currently working on solving two problems, and I beg forgiveness. I recently upgraded to a digital SLR camera, and I’ve been struggling to understand all those little dials, digital read-outs, flashing numbers, and the myriad of switches that will make me look like the pros. So that’s one problem I’m tackling. The next problem: I have too much chocolate. Here is Paris, the temperature…

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