Paris Chocolate Week

Looking at the photos I’d taken over the past week during my Paris Chocolate Exploration Tour, I noticed something odd…there weren’t too many pictures of chocolate.
(Where did it all go?…)

I don’t know why, since we seemed to have sampled every chocolate that we possibly could have here in Paris. And although I thought I’d never say this—I think I’ve had enough chocolate for a while.

So aside from all the chocolate, here’s what else we ate and drank…

tablerose.jpgbadiotrose.jpg

Since the weather was decidedly decent, we opted for outdoor dining as much as possible. Of course that involved plenty of rosé for cooling down. Leading the pack myself, I found that most Americans get over their aversion to rosé when they realize most of the stuff here in France is quite different than the syrupy-sweet blush-colored wines found elsewhere.

After a visit to my local market, where everyone swooned over Régis the salt guy (and the potato guy too) we stopped in the Place des Vosges and had lunch, and a few bottles of rosé, at the well-situated Ma Bourgogne restaurant, drinking and dining under the dramatic arches of this historic square.

nicoise.jpgsaladlardons.jpg

Although primarily known for their steak-frites, is there anything more lovely than a nicely-composed French salad? The salade Niçoise was anything but traditional but no one seemed to mind. Unlike other French restaurants, thankfully you won’t find any canned corn or mounds of rice on the salads here.

And my salade Lyonnaise with lardons of crispy bacon and a hulking wedge of forme d’Ambert was a fine derivation of the classic. The runny egg that’s normally mixed into the tangle of frisée wasn’t missed at all. One bite of the creamy blue cheese will make anyone a believer in the version served here.

charcuterie.jpggelati.jpg

When I posted a picture of the generous platter of charcuterie on my Flickr page, someone commented that my “…critical focus was lacking“. I took that to mean there was more interest in the butter than the bovine. At least I hope that’s what they meant.

Still, I don’t think anyone was missing any delicious dairy products when we stopped at Pozzetto for gelato. Since man, and apparently woman, can’t live by chocolate (or butter…or sausage) alone, God created gelato di gianduja, a rich amalgamation of hazelnuts and milk chocolate heaped into a crispy cone.

Basta?

abstinthe.jpgmaisonduchocolat.jpg

Pas de tout!

Needing a digestif after our week of eating, we headed over to Vert d’Absinthe for a tasting of six different kinds of the famed liquor. (He stocks over 30 kinds, each tasting quite differently from the others.) Luc-Santiago, the genial owner of the shop, had the fountain ready and waiting for us when we arrived, dripping icy water over sugar cubes into the tiny glasses and passing them around for us to sniff and sip.

And sip we did!

The next day we woke up early (ouch! my head…), after sleeping off the absinthe, and headed over to La Maison du Chocolat for a private tasting with one of their distinguished chocolate experts. As we arrived, no one seemed disappointed in the least to find themselves faced with their own arranged platter with perhaps a dozen chocolates awaiting inspection. As we tasted our way around the plate, sampling chocolates infused with everything from fresh Moroccan mint to Andalusian lemon zest to cinnamon, only a few of us managed to make it through them all. I, of course, triumphed. Mort did too.

asparagus.jpgscourtines.jpg

And for one special day, we piled into the minivan and headed out to Normandy. While everyone loved the visit to the auto boutique, most of us were actually even more impressed with our lunch at Susan Loomis’ home On Rue Tatin. We were greeted at the door before heading into her cozy, but professional kitchen for a tasting of olive oils.

We also had un apéritif with some just-baked scourtines; little buttery cocktail cookies made with chopped olives, which we ate just before our lunch. Then it was into the dining room where we started off with roasted asparagus topped with quickly-sautéed morsels of delectable foie gras before dipping into mortars of garlicky, maximum-strength Aïoli. (I felt more than a bit sorry for our van driver on the way home. Poor guy.)

normandycheeses.jpgmortrosenblum.jpg

Our meal ended with a tasting of sublime Normandy cheese, including Camembert, Neufchâtel and, of course, Livarot, three of the best-known cheeses of the region. Astoundingly, Mort managed to get it all down before heading outdoors to enjoy a cigar.

After our final dinner last night back in Paris, we all collapsed with exhaustion over how much food we’d enjoyed. (Including the seven kilos of chocolates and caramels we divided up from Jacques Genin.) Over an always-terrific meal in the private wine cave at Les Papilles, we said our goodbyes then made our way back home and slid into bed, looking forward to next year’s chocolate adventure.

In May of 2008, we’ll be presenting our third annual Paris Chocolate Exploration Tour.
Mort Rosenblum and I will be adding a few surprises as well as featuring some of the events mentioned above. (Although we can’t guarantee we’ll get another chance at getting all those chocolates and caramels from Jacques!)

To get on the waiting list or for more news when it becomes available, email us your contact information and you’ll be the first to know when that information is available.

Categories:

Uncategorized

11 comments

  • Gluttons! You’re all gluttons!

    Of course, I wish I had been there.

  • David: Sounds and looks like a fabulous tour! Michael, Brian, and I attended a dinner with the 4 course menu devised by Marco Pierre White at Incanto restaurant. The rose with the chocolate dessert was outstanding and we bought a case in anticipation of your bay area visit. Brachetto d’Acqui Rosa Regale 2006, Banfi. I always think of you when drinking Rose, btw!

  • David, trip to Normandy and no lobster? Say it aint so. I’m just venting cause I miss those sweet tender French lobsters up there.

  • Ugh … I just have to get out of here. Eat, feast and — it sounds lovely.

  • Oh my!!! How, oh how will I ever scrape together the funds to do this tour? My scheming has begun. In the meantime, any chance you could say a word or two about a good kitchen scale, or perhaps add one to your Amazon store. After trying to estimate 7 ounces from a 9.7 ounce chocolate bar I realized it is high time I made the leap. Thanks for such a lovely blog!

  • Those were the days when I lived around the corner from Ma Bourgogne..glad to hear it still satisfies. Hope to get back there this summer.

  • Hi Katrina: The scale I’ve used mostly in the US is this one made by Salter, which I like quite a bit. Here in Europe, I could only find one scale that measured in both grams and ounces, which was made by Philips, called the “Essence”. The Salter is better since you can change it from grams to ounces without flipping it over, if I recall.

    This scale by Tanita came highly-recommended from a friend as well, although I haven’t had a chance to use it. But it sure looks cool!

  • Let’s face it: White Zin really killed any hopes for rosé� affection. No after that fiasco, I think it will take the U.S. a long time before it trusts another blushing bottle of wine.
    However, the Bandol I’m drinking right now is really hitting the spot…bisous, Ms. Glaze

  • We had such a wonderful time on the tour this year! David, Jeanette, & Mort, you guys are wonderful. I miss you all. To anyone contemplating the trip for next year: do it- you’ll have a fabulous time. The trip can be summed up best with the new phrase David taught me, “C’est chouette!”

  • Lisa: So fun to have you along. You were indeed very chouette! But I can’t believe how much chocolate you ate. (Although I think you abstained from the chicken-chips…)

    Come back next year! We’ve got a few new things planned and I’m sure Jacques Genin (and Régis the salt-guy…and the chocolate-boy…and the bread baker at Poîlane…) would love to see you again too.

    I’m definitely bunking with you and mom next time around, though : )

  • David:
    That last sounds like an offer that can’t be refused…………..
    Although I would have assumed you want new folks each time, it’s hard to think of not being part of the wonderful time you, Jeannette & Mort provided. I treasure it.
    Lynn “mom” T.