2014-2015

Chocolate bars

In a film a while back, there was a line that became famous – “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Years later, Apple introduced a music device with the slogan “Life is random,” which referred to the music player that “shuffled” things around for you, randomly (so you never knew what you were going to get), although some speculated that it could have been a metaphor for Steve Jobs’ cancer diagnosis.

Fortunately I’m in good form, perhaps thanks to those antioxidants in all the chocolate that I seem to find myself surrounded by. But as much as we try, we never know what’s going to happen or how things are going to turn out. That’s particularly true when someone uproots and moves somewhere else. You’re not just moving out of your city or town, you’re moving out of your culture into unfamiliar territory – a new unknown.

When I first arrived in Paris, I’d bring people I barely knew treats to share; some chocolates, a couple of pieces of cakes, a tin of cookies, or other recipes that I was working on. From the astonished looks I got, I quickly learned that locals don’t bring edible gifts to shopkeepers and market vendors. However no one seemed to mind. (Although it doesn’t seem to be a trend that’s caught on…) It’s been over a decade since I arrived in Paris and each day is — well — like a box of chocolates. And it’s always amazing. Not always amazing in a “wow – that was great!” kind of way, but not always “amazing” in a bad way either. It’s just that each day is different, and like life in any city, it comes with challenges, an occasional defeat, a number of victories, and (fortunately) some lasting rewards.

Many of us who live in Paris often get emails from people wanting to move here, just like I did eleven years ago when I arrived on a whim. (Although as anyone who gets up and moves around the world knows, it’s not like it just happens. It takes a lot of planning and work.) Like me, most don’t have a clue as to what awaits them. I wasn’t quite prepared for what would happen to me in subsequent years and there were lots of hurdles to overcome. Yet I set up home, snagged a terrific partner (score!), learned the language (yet those French verbs continue to challenge me…), and managed to become, in my own way, a small part of the great city of Paris.

Chocolate bars

Recently I’ve noticed a change in the city. I’m still not sure why. But people in my neighborhood bakeries, chefs who run their chocolate shops, vendors at my market, neighbors, and even the guy who fixed my dryer last week, have been noticeably warmer and friendlier. I even got a laugh from a saleswoman at the BHV department store when I was holding a burnt-out bulb from my freezer, looking for a replacement, and she told me – “Ça n’existe pas.” (“It doesn’t exist.”) When I replied that she was presenting me with an existential crisis – how can something exist, that I’m holding in my hand – not exist? She thought about it for a moment, and said (in French), “Hmmm, you’ve got a point there.”

So I am, indeed, gaining some points around here. And no longer just the customer with a funny accent anymore. (Who mangles all the verbs.) But things are smoother and I’m understanding why things are the way they are. If you have been reading my blog for a while, way back when, many of the observations were ones of astonishment and often, disbelief. They say that you never feel more American than when you leave America (which would be true for any other person that moves away from their country), and it’s been interesting and rewarding to immerse myself in French culture, which also gave me a chance to look at my own. Now I’m finding the cultural quirks and differences not just amusing, but they started to click and I find myself understanding them, and they’re not just observations anymore, but part of my life.


One of my favorite parts of 2014 was going on book tour. My publisher was nice enough to foot the bill and send me around the U.S. to various places. And while I couldn’t go everywhere (who can?), the places I went to were great fun. I got to meet so many of you, and let me tell you, I have wonderful readers. True, I get to meet some of you via the comments, sometimes by interacting on social media, and other times, at book events. So thanks to all for sticking around along with the ups and downs of my crazy life. You make it all rewarding and fun.

2015 is here and I’ll be involved in some projects that will take me to other places, so I’ll be here and there — sometimes here, and sometimes there. (Alas, none of the “there” places includes tropical beaches. At least in the near future.) I’ll be returning the places that I love very much – including Ireland, Sicily, and New York, and since life in random, hopefully I’ll get to see a few new places, too.

Last year saw the balance of my life sometimes tips towards doing less what I really want to do – bake, cook, write, meet people, because of the less-fun stuff (technology, paperwork, conjugating verbs, etc) that took up too much of my time. And when I was talking to a friend of mine who lives between three different countries about all the stuff we have to juggle, she agreed, but responded; “… but it’s how we live.” Which is true. But I’m hoping to find a new balance as I start work on a book project that I’m really excited about, which I’m going to plunge into shortly, hopscotching a few borders. So life in 2015 may get a little more “random” than usual.

There are a few things I did take care of before the start of the new year, to get things off on the right foot. One was to clear a whole bunch of files off the desktop of my computer. Another was to clear a bunch of files (and paperwork) off my actual desktop, to make a fresh start.

change

Change isn’t always embraced in tradition-minded France, which is why so many people love coming to visit. (Although if you want to be embraced by French shopkeepers, it helps to have exact change, as that kind of change also seems to be in perpetual short supply.) And many French people like to keep their country they way it is – or the way it was. On the other hand, change is inevitable. No matter how hard we try to stop it, it’s natural to progress and move forward.

Like most stories, we don’t know how they’re going to unravel or how they will end. A while back, someone wrote a spot-on article about being a writer, and how to respond when people ask you what you’re writing about. We all go into things – whether it’s writing, working, or just living our lives – with a general idea of what direction we’re going in, but we can never sure how they’re going to turn out, or even what it’s all “about.” But I don’t know if that’s all that important, and sometimes random works. As does chocolate.

On New Year’s Eve, we were sitting around talking about what age we were and what year we were born. And that’s how I learned that I was a year older than I thought – d’oh! – because I never pay attention to those things. (In addition to grammar, I’m not so great at doing math in my head nor did I ever get around to sitting down with a calculator and figuring it out.) It was a bit of a jolt to age that quickly. But on the other hand, I guess it’s true, that time really does fly when you’re having fun!

time flies


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114 comments

  • January 2, 2015 5:15pm

    Beautiful post! Thank you for pointing out the “Don’t ask me what I’m writing” article, really love it :)

  • Tatiana
    January 2, 2015 5:16pm

    Happy New Year David! Thank you for another great post.

  • January 2, 2015 5:24pm

    Bonne Annee David (I think that’s happy new year!) – great post!

  • Chelsea
    January 2, 2015 5:28pm

    Happy New Year David. Reading your blog brings me lots of joy and renewed my hobby-reading . And found a new one – cooking. With love from Malaysia.

  • Ann Marie
    January 2, 2015 5:46pm

    Thank you for a terrific post, David. I was lucky enough to have you sign your book in Union Square NYC last year for my husband, K. We are looking forward to being back in Paris soon. Hope to see you again in Gotham!

  • January 2, 2015 6:16pm

    Thirty years ago I left New York City for Minnesota. It’s another country. And although I freeze in my igloo, I have also learned that the natives are friendly, chocolate heals and I found an amazing partner (score!). Thanks for such a lovely posting to begin the year.

  • Leslie
    January 2, 2015 6:18pm

    Bonne Année, David. Your writing is a joy.

  • Stephen sussex england
    January 2, 2015 6:18pm

    Thank you for your blog- I’ve only been following it for six months and look forward to reading it- helps me escape in my mind to another location and a different world… and always I think… One day I shall leap!!;-) and yes, I follow some of the delicious recipes. Happy 2015 to all

  • Kay
    January 2, 2015 6:22pm

    David, How I relate to the verbs! Subjunctive and conditional —so challenging especially when the verb is irregular. I hope Vincent corrects you if you want him to.
    Happy New Year and have lots of fun.

    • January 2, 2015 6:29pm
      David Lebovitz

      The funny thing about correcting is that if you do it too much, (I think) it’s not always helpful, as you become afraid to say anything. I know someone who was always (always) correcting me, and I was afraid to talk to him anymore. Many of my French friends speak English and I only correct them if it’s something that I’d think they’d want to know, or I do it in a passing way, rather than make a big deal about it. I think the French know how challenging their language is – even they make mistakes – so most are pretty forgiving when foreigners make goofs and gaffes.

  • sharon
    January 2, 2015 6:27pm

    Thank you, you always make me smile

  • January 2, 2015 6:31pm

    Looking forward to your new book and the year ahead. You said it yourself-life is random. Here’s hoping you’ll get the chance to hit a few tropical beaches in 2015 after all.

  • Helen
    January 2, 2015 6:33pm

    Thank you…and Happy New Year to you, too! Don’t be worried about being a year older than you thought. Five carats are better than four! :)

  • grace
    January 2, 2015 6:34pm

    Just lovely, David. Thanks for the wrap-up and thanks for the musings on living in Paris. Happy New Year!

  • January 2, 2015 6:34pm

    Hi David, Beautiful post, as always. I kept waiting for the recipe for the chocolate bark in the photos, wanting it because it looks so delicious, not wanting it because I’m not eating sugar these days. Disappointed and relieved that it wasn’t in the post! The deliciousness of your writing is ultimately enough!

  • Roberta
    January 2, 2015 6:36pm

    Buon anno! And thanks for sharing, I love reading your blog.

  • Anne
    January 2, 2015 6:36pm

    Thank you for your warm and beautiful post and hopefully many adventures and posts will follow this year. Have a good and pleasurable year, David! Sometimes I can feel a little jealous when reading your posts, but you just showed everything exciting comes with a back side as well.

  • January 2, 2015 6:39pm
    David Lebovitz

    Will: Ha! Let’s hope that my “shuffle” ends me somewhere near a warm beach…at some point…

    Diane: Well, in case you go back to dark chocolate, you can find the recipe/technique here

    Helen: – whew! : )

  • Gayle
    January 2, 2015 6:49pm

    As someone who came the other way (Europe to US) only a year ago this post is really useful David. And it good to hear that mix of excitement, confusion and surprise stays even when things become more familiar.

  • Jennifer
    January 2, 2015 6:51pm

    Dear David,

    Happy New Year to you and thanks for this beautiful post. After studying in Paris for a year in the late 80s, I’ve had this persistent dream of returning to live there. Somehow, I ended up in Poland (never, ever dreamed of living here), which is a whole let closer to Paris than California is, but it’s definitely not France. But it’s where am, and I enjoy mangling the Polish language, with frequent interludes in France where I do an even better job of mangling the remnants of the 30-year-old French I learned so long ago.The point of this is, life’s a ride and you never know where it’s going to take you. When mine takes me to Paris, as it did for Christmas this year with my lovely (new and much improved second) husband, we pretended to be Parisians for a week and relied heavily upon your recommendations for food and drink. This also saved us from wandering around hungry clutching a map and looking like lost tourists. You run a terrific blog. And while reading your post, I was waiting to read that you were going to abandon it. I raced to the end with increasing relief!!! Thanks and keep it up.

  • Catherine N
    January 2, 2015 6:56pm

    “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” That resonates with me as I reflect on my turbulent 2014. Surgery, followed by 30 grueling radiation treatments, a few serious setbacks, and months of recovery. On the day of my surgery, my daughter, living 4,000 km. away in San Francisco, found out that she was pregnant.
    A month and a half later, her Mother’s Day present to me was your newest book. She arrived at the bookstore where you were speaking and signing books. There were no seats left, and feeling ill, she had to crouch down several times to stop herself from fainting. She persevered and got the book for me, signed by you. I am much better, and am happy to report that I now have my first grandson.
    “My Paris Kitchen” is a special gift, not only because it is a book that I wanted very much and is signed by you, but because of what she went through to get it for me. Happy New Year to you and those you love.

  • Veronica Gronek
    January 2, 2015 7:02pm

    Thanks for your wonderful post! Enjoy them, and your books ever so much. They travel between my kitchen and nightstand depending on my mood. I wish for you and yours a happy ,healthy and prosperous 2015. Have success in all you endeavor. I have learned much from reading your books and blog and for this I say merci beaucoup.

  • January 2, 2015 7:02pm

    O David, I am so grateful for you! I can so relate to the whole “uprooting” and starting over in a new culture. I was 16 when I left Egypt to study in Canada. Two years later, I moved to the United States for university. Found myself getting married in Michigan, and my plans to go back home never materialized. Life is a shuffle, indeed! But I prefer the metaphor, “life is like a box of chocolate.” Your chocolate bars look decadent, BTW. Happy New Year! Excited to follow your 2015 journey.

  • Linda Danylyshyn
    January 2, 2015 7:11pm

    I discovered your blog about 6 months ago and thoroughly enjoy everything you write. I have your cookbook and instead of just reading and enjoying it I will have to plunge in and actually try some recipes. I have over 200 beloved cookbooks and mostly just read them like a novel, but I am an avid cook, an Italian American and rarely use recipes. My husband and I took our first trip to Paris in early October and found the natives to be charming, helpful and most welcoming. Even though I caught a terrible head cold on our second day of the trip I found the pharmacies to be able to suggest something to ease my misery, and what better for a cold then French Onion Soup. I loved Paris and all the usual tourist spots, but I fell in love with Giverny and the small medieval town of Sinlis. My husband is Ukranian and we wanted to see the temporary home of Queen Anne of Kiev. It was well worth the trip. Keep writing and reminiscing and I look forward to your next book. Thank you for being you.

  • January 2, 2015 7:12pm

    Good grief, I love your blog and this post is a wonderful way to start a new year. Thank you!

    You reminded of a favorite book about how long it can take to be accepted by the locals in Paris, and what a reward it is when it happens. If you haven’t read “The Piano Shop on the Left Bank” by Thad Carhart, it is a small treasure I think you would enjoy.

  • Tam
    January 2, 2015 7:13pm

    Happy 2015 David & fellow David fans. David, your blog is more than food, recipes & beautiful photos. It’s about life & you have done a fantastic job creating a life you enjoy & can be proud of. You’ve also inspire some of us with your cooking & life choices. I took my children to Chez Panisse for lunch over thanksgiving while in the SF Bay Area because of you. Your blog inspires & reminds me to focus on what is important to me & make it happen. Know that you have impact many people. Thank you.

  • Harry L
    January 2, 2015 7:24pm

    This is a great insightful blog entry. Being an older guy I had a lot of experience cooking and baking for family but that was it. Then I bought your book “The Sweet Life in Paris” and made the chocolate macarons. The response was so amazing it changed my life. I started baking other things and discovered I had a talent for pastry. I’ve learned that you have to do it over and over until you get it right, and sometimes you never do. My only wish is that I was 50 years younger so I could start over as a chef. By the way, I have probably made over 2000 chocolate macarons by now. Thanks David

    • January 2, 2015 8:02pm
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks Harry, that’s a terrific story and glad the recipe inspired you, and happy your family is profiting from the sweet life you’ve created in your own kitchen!

  • Angela Gutierrez Bortugno
    January 2, 2015 7:27pm

    Happy New Year, and thanks for the great post. Looking forward to hearing about the next book but I just got My Paris Kitchen and have some time off work so I’m going to enjoy spending time with this one for a while.

  • Sue
    January 2, 2015 7:29pm

    Happy New Year! Just finished reading My Paris Kitchen (gift to myself) – loved it. Always enjoy your blog as well. Thank you for all the wonderful tips and recipes.

  • January 2, 2015 7:31pm

    Lovely post, as someone who moved countries once at 16 and then again at 18 I love the observations about how at first all the quirks and oddities of new countries are foreign and nonsensical and then after a while you completely understand them and even adopt them. And now whenever I visit my home country, I become hyper aware of our all our own quirk and oddities….

  • Rainey
    January 2, 2015 7:33pm

    I just love your writing! I moved to France a few years ago, with my French husband of nearly 40 years. You are so right about the lovely moments when you feel like you are really catching on, and that everything will be OK. The other day, woman in line at the post office told me I sounded comfortable with my French. I could have kissed and hugged her right there! But, I just smiled like I had won the lottery. Bonne année!

    • January 2, 2015 8:01pm
      David Lebovitz

      I remember when someone told me I had a petit accent, and I was over-the-moon to hear that I had finally mastered the French accent. (Or, er, lost some of my American one…) Then I learned that Parisians put the word “petit” (or, Parisian-style, p’tit) in front of everything. Bon courage to you! : )

  • Nosizwe Martin
    January 2, 2015 7:47pm

    Happy New Year, David.
    Thanks for the post, which I enjoyed reading, not least because I, too, have the experience of leaving home to live elsewhere more than once or twice, including when I was very young. It’s wonderful to read other people’s perspectives, and especially with positive optimism. Thank you for the smiles!

  • Cindy M
    January 2, 2015 7:52pm

    Love the light bulb story – what a triumph!

    I’m going to take inspiration from you and make more time to focus on the stuff I love to do in 2015 – I love the idea of a “new balance”.

    Happy New Year David!

  • Susan Margaret
    January 2, 2015 7:53pm

    David – I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful blog, and all of your lovely books and recipes. For the second year in a row, I’ve made your whole wheat croissants for Christmas morning – to great acclaim! I regularly make many of your recipes, and the end result is always un succès fou. Merci et je vous souhaite une très bonne année!

  • Gene
    January 2, 2015 7:58pm

    David,

    You are funny.

    Makes me read your blog always.

    Love your recipes…easy to follow….in my head.

  • roz harris
    January 2, 2015 8:05pm

    As a long time reader of your blog and one who puts Paris and Budapest in the same position on my return to list, tho have enjoyed each multiple times, I have to tell you that your end of year, welcome the new year post was perfect. It both warmed and hugged me as I enjoyed each word and thought. I am just so grateful that you are continuing to give of yourself so regularly. Forever, I hope, with good health as steady as your love for and from your partner.

  • Rosa Rassi
    January 2, 2015 8:05pm

    Great post David, here drinking tea and tasting a piece of fresh gingerbread to chase out the cold. I love reading your blog, that lets me be in Paris, even from far away.
    Happy New Year to you.

  • Cindy
    January 2, 2015 8:14pm

    You are my absolute favorite blogger, tweeter, instagram’er! I love all your stories and posts and am savoring your recent book. I can’t wait for your next project/book.

  • Leslie Green
    January 2, 2015 8:22pm

    Thanks David. Happy happy new year. Be happy

  • Jane Sherwin
    January 2, 2015 8:25pm

    “What do you want for Christmas Mom?” “My Paris Kitchen.” So i got it and i love it. David your writing is a source of great pleasure, thank you so much. Hope to put together the work and the planning–as you remind us–and be back in la ville de lumiere soon. Bonne Annee!!!

  • Elle
    January 2, 2015 8:37pm

    David, I made your gougeres for Christmas morning and they were such a hit that I think it will become a tradition. I tried them with little pieces of ham stuffed inside — delicious. Thank you — what a fun and easy recipe.

  • Kim B.
    January 2, 2015 8:38pm

    Happy New Year David. Thanks for all the work you do to create and show us beauty! In your writing, in your photography, in your culinary ideas and execution – we’re privileged to have ringside seats. May your 2015 be terrific!! (If you need someone to housesit your chocolate while you’re away on these missions, I can be right over.) : )

  • Hillary
    January 2, 2015 8:44pm

    Happy new year! Thank you for enriching my life. :)

  • Madeline
    January 2, 2015 9:01pm

    Merci, David. I’m a former French teacher/prof and I love sending your comments and recipes on to my former students. Some of them follow you on fb, too. Your food and the photos are so yummy! And your remarks from an ex-pat’s point of view are valuable. Merci, encore!

  • January 2, 2015 9:06pm

    lovely chocolate on top with all the pecans and all the dried fruit…….but couldn’t find the reason for it,,,as you never explained how you made it,,,I have an idea what it is but how every piece is as though they were set in small moulds…..is this correct…?………………thank you….Querino de-Freitas

  • January 2, 2015 9:11pm

    Happy New Year, David. I came across your blog about 6 months back and have been reading it ever since. I love the flow in your writing. I don’t know how you do it when as you said, you have 50 projects on your computer at a time. Looking forward to reading your blogs in 2015.

  • Linda
    January 2, 2015 9:14pm

    We Francophiles live in Paris through you!

  • Doug
    January 2, 2015 9:58pm

    Your blog, newsletter, and books are fabulous! Congratulations on the Cook Book award for My Paris Kitchen – it should also win in the Romance category since it is also a Love Story about Paris! We usually just skip the narrative in cook books and go directly to the recipes but NOT in My Paris Kitchen! It’s like a novel set in the city we love.

    One small question….do I need to go to the Optometrist or have you changed the font of your blog and newsletter recently? :)

  • Lisa M in Indy
    January 2, 2015 10:06pm

    Your blog has delighted me for 2 years, David. Thank you for sharing your musings of Paris life, exciting travels and irresistible recipes. Oh, and your irrepressible humor. Best wishes to you for a wonderful new year full of fun and new discoveries. Lisa

  • Cyndy
    January 2, 2015 10:34pm

    Lovely thoughts, David. And another book to look forward to! We will have to hurry up and finish cooking our way through the pages bookmarked in My Paris Kitchen.

    The entire year that I thought I was 45, I was only 44. Oh, to have gotten that year back to live in real time!

    Happy, healthy New Year to you.

  • elad anna
    January 2, 2015 10:55pm

    I devoured your book! the combination of everyday life with recipes is awesome! beeing an israeli was amazed to read about harrissa which by the way is prepared differently by sfardim and ashkenazim( know the difference?) i would schlepp( bring along) happily some samples if you are interested, (i will be in paris end of june staying not far away from your apartment near place vosges, only let me know)
    in the meantime a happy new your and i hope very much to meet you in new york( its my birthday and i hope to get tickets to degustibus)
    etti

  • January 2, 2015 11:15pm

    Amazing an entire decade to acclimate and understand the nuances with the new territory…it sounds about right…nothing changes overnight. Wishing you many more wonderful experiences that grow you closer to the people around you. Happy Nesting in France.

  • Wendy
    January 2, 2015 11:43pm

    David, you enjoy writing and I enjoy reading what you write. You have inspired me to bake and travel. I am planing a trip to Sicily. I would like to look for capers!

  • Sandra Alexander
    January 2, 2015 11:59pm

    Thank you for a wonderful post David, and a very happy new year to you.

    Might have a suggestion for your work-and-warm-beach problem. The lovely people who run the Ubud Writers Festival in Bali each October have announced the inaugural Ubud Food Festival in June. Go on, force yourself! Although Ubud is in the foothills, a warm beach isn’t far away. There will certainly be a tropical pool at your hotel or villa. And no, I don’t work for them, I just love Bali, and Balinese food, and Ubud, and am a great fan of the Writers Festival. Have a superb and happy year in 2015 in lovely Paris and wherever else your adventures in the food game take you.

  • Lisa
    January 3, 2015 12:21am

    Thank you for another year of amusing and inspiring posts, David. Sending wishes from Los Angeles for a happy, healthy, and productive year ahead. (I usually add “delicious” to that string of wishes, but I know you’ve got that covered!)

  • Bebe
    January 3, 2015 12:23am

    Whew! Like Jennifer, I thought “this sounds like a goodbye letter… ” So glad that you aren’t going away and that we’ll be able to continue to enjoy your writings, travels and recipes (and tips) in this new year.

    Happy, happy New Year!

  • Christine
    January 3, 2015 12:47am

    Best of new years to you, you sweet man you.

  • January 3, 2015 12:48am

    Dear David,
    You’re always a good read. Happy New Year, and Happy Birthday (a few days late)!!

  • Kimly Smith
    January 3, 2015 12:56am

    About a year ago I got a health diagnosis that made necessary a drastic change in what I eat, and I thought I would be better off not continuing with your blog, David, because it is so very tempting, and I denied myself the pleasure for about a month. Thereafter I decided life is really not worth living without hearing what you are doing, thinking, experiencing, even if I cannot eat along with you. Thank you for writing and please never stop.

  • Stuart Falk
    January 3, 2015 12:58am

    Thanks for sharing and all best wishes for a happy and healthy 2015.

    I moved to Paris in 1981, thinking career-wise, I would stay for 2 years and ended up being there for 9 years (plus 4 years in the Principality of Monaco before returning home to the US). So I know exactly what you are talking about when something clicks and you feel no longer an observer but part of the culture and social fabric of French and Parisian life.

    I’m looking forward to spending a week in Paris from April 18-25 and it would be great if our paths were to cross.

  • Janet
    January 3, 2015 1:51am

    Happy New Year David! I met you at Union Square greenmarket when you signed My Paris Kitchen for me. For New Year’s Eve I made your lamb shank tagine and your lemon-pistachio Israeli couscous from the book, using my homemade preserved lemons from your website. Everything was delicious, thank you! Your writing encourages me to be a more adventurous home cook because of its clarity, joy and humor. And your observations about Paris make my annual visits there much richer. Thank you!

  • Johnette
    January 3, 2015 1:52am

    David where can we find the recipe for these fabulous chocolate bars s’il vous plait?

  • January 3, 2015 1:59am

    Dear David, I so enjoyed reading this, as always with your blog, but this one was particularly good… any plans to visit Australia? Hope so : )

  • Barbara Buckley
    January 3, 2015 2:11am

    Thank you David for another year of your wonderful blog.

    I look forward to the arrival of the email to draw me into your messages. We have 4 of your books and have tried so many of your recipes, always look forward to more. The ‘Sweet Life in Paris” was our first and my favorite, I’ve reread it many time and the Chocolate Mouse is now a tradition.

    You words about life are so welcome and this post is beautiful. We’ve been to Ile de Re once, Paris twice and can’t wait to return, Paris is such a fascinating city, the people we have met have been very understanding and helpful to American who speak only a very few words of French. Our thanks for offering the tidbits of life in Paris and giving us so many new things to experience on lour next trip. Please keep on blogging!

    Happy New Year!!!! May 2015 be an awesome year!

  • michael quear
    January 3, 2015 2:35am

    Bravo on an excellent post – both style and content

  • Patricia
    January 3, 2015 2:51am

    Happy New Year. The introduction to your blog post reminded me of my last trip to Paris where I stayed at a tiny hotel near the Dupleix metro station, and I brought a tiny box of chocolates as a thank you gift to the hotel staff (such a Canadian thing to do), and yes they seemed a little surprised ;-)

  • January 3, 2015 3:18am

    Happy New Year, David! Thank you for just sharing your astute and hilarious and delicious observations with us. My best Christmas present? My daughter in law checked out My Paris Kitchen from the library for me!! I’ve got it for three weeks… and hopefully by then a keeper will arrive in the mail!! It is great to have it. Sad you put down instant yeast though. It is a marvelous thing and I use it for a 12 hour rise and the best baguettes ever. It’s only instant in dissolving. check out Baba a Louis Bakery in Chester, VT http://babalouisbakery.com/

    • January 3, 2015 12:08pm
      David Lebovitz

      I don’t use instant yeast mostly because when you write recipes, often you have to decide what people can get most easily (especially for a blog, where people are in different parts of the world – and availability varies) – so I chose to use regular yeast, since that seems to be the most available of all the yeasts for home bakers. But people are welcome to use instant yeast (I think bread-baker Peter Reinhart uses it) and I believe the packages, and the manufacturer’s websites, note how to convert recipes if people want to use that.

      Glad you like the book and happy baking : )

  • Gavrielle
    January 3, 2015 3:25am

    Bonne année et bonne santé to the only blogger I always make time for! And to Romain as well.

  • Libby Sloan
    January 3, 2015 3:56am

    In 2015, I arrive at my 45th year of expat life in Paris and I have to admit I have gotten lots of mileage during those years from the stories of my encounters with the BHV sales culture. Bravo to you for getting one salesperson to laugh! No small task!

    • January 3, 2015 12:11pm
      David Lebovitz

      Ah, the pleasures (and pitfalls) of a trip to the BHV… It’s like a rite in Paris, especially the hardware store downstairs. Romain once left a power tool that needed to be fixed with them, and they actually called him to tell him it was ready. He was really stunned, and when I asked why, he said, “It’s the BHV. Do you know how incredible it is that someone from the store actually called me?”

      I have noticed that since they’ve rebranded the store, BHV/Marais, they’ve been making more moves to be “upscale,” resembling the Galeries Lafayette, which is rankling a lot of people. I miss the “Brico Café” that was in the basement, the cafe that had tools glued to the tables (and walls), as the place was meant to resemble a tool shop!

      • Doug
        January 3, 2015 11:30pm

        Went to BHV in September for an odd type of light bulb. Shocked at how upscale it had become as well as the prices! Eventually found the bulb much cheaper in our local quincaillerie!

  • Gina
    January 3, 2015 4:06am

    Beautiful bars, David! Molto grazie, for the reference of Gary Taubes ‘Why We Get Fat’, on your Christmas book list. This is changing.my.life. That is why I read your blog. It is more than cooking, more than Paris. You are a good old soul, and I wish you the best. What a gift you have!

  • Kathy
    January 3, 2015 4:15am

    That was lovely. Happy New Year.

  • DALE
    January 3, 2015 4:38am

    Such a raconteur! I always feel so close when I read your stuff. Like standing in the kitchen across the counter, sharing a bubbly and a nibble.

    I am uprooting in the next 60 days; moving two thirds away across the continent. While there is no language change to master, the cultural difference will be a significant change from East Coast to South West. Definitely cutting the clutter here, downsizing to a smaller space and just plain unloading old baggage. Tired of the Old Year, energized by the New Year.

    If everything were perfect, there would be no need for evolution!

    Bonne Annee Daveed!

  • LWood
    January 3, 2015 5:15am

    Thanks for making our 2014 so delicious and taking us all to Paris with you. Best wishes for the coming year. May it bring you happiness, balance and light.

  • mary
    January 3, 2015 7:27am

    I’m not supposed to be ogling chocolate bars right now, but I can dream can’t I? Thank you for the beautiful pics and musings ….and I’ll pretend I didn’t see the link to the chocolate bar recipe…!

  • Zoe Willet
    January 3, 2015 8:09am

    Count me among the multitude of those who were especially touched by this blog. I have a long experience with French, including a major at Smith College, yet whenever I visited a college classmate in Paris, I think I drove her nuts constantly questioning if I was saying something correctly. Then I moved to Mali in West Africa and learned that the important part is to be understood- they don’t really care if it’s “correct”; they more or less speak with the inflections in their own languages and invent words they need that will be understood. And they tutoie everybody, absolutely everybody, even the President! (That problem solved!) So don’t sweat the small stuff!

  • January 3, 2015 8:12am

    Great pictures and a great post for the new year. I am younger than you, but a few years ago I started not worrying about my age anymore… I can relate! FWIW, I am a big fan of your instagram snaps – always intriguing and many times mouth watering.

  • January 3, 2015 9:46am

    Happy new year David! I loved reading this post – I’m wishing you all the best for 2015!

  • Noelene Ekert
    January 3, 2015 11:13am

    Dear David, Happy New Year – and thank you for your entertaining blog posts, newsletters, Facebook posts/links, Instagrams, recipe books and recipes-such great treats and diversions from my everyday life. I am sure at times you would like to take a break! We do appreciate your tenacity. – Noelene

  • Louise
    January 3, 2015 11:28am

    Happy New Year David, what can I say that all the other readers haven’t already said, a fantastic introduction to 2015.

    Thank you so much for your wise and enlightening words. Your blog has helped me come to an of understanding of the French (still confused at times) and beautiful France, and love it even more. Very best wishes for the New Year and stay eternally young.

  • Selma
    January 3, 2015 12:48pm

    Happy New Year Dear David
    What a great way to start the New Year. Please continue to inspire, love and know that you are loved by all your followers and more. I cherish your book “My Paris Kitchen”and gave it as presents to my daughter and a friend. Looking forward to the next treasure by you.
    Peace at home and in the world.
    Selma

  • January 3, 2015 1:40pm

    What a nice message to enter the new year with. We can all benefit from doing some clearing in all aspects of our life.

    I also thank you for the love portraits you paint of Paris. I was hoping that 2014 would be my year to see it, but still thinking it will happen one of these days. In the meantime, you give me a word tour!

  • Kate
    January 3, 2015 3:20pm

    David, I really enjoy your blog. I’m an American living in a village in Germany near the Belgium & Luxembourg borders. I’ll always have an accent & my grammar will never be perfect, but at least, I no longer have a strong American accent. Your advice about Paris is so helpful on our trips there. Thank you very much…

  • elena
    January 3, 2015 7:36pm

    Thank you very much for your very usefull blog.

    A very happy New Year.2o15!!!

  • Bev
    January 3, 2015 8:37pm

    I heard you on CBC Radio in Vancouver, B.C., which prompted me to look up your blogsite, which I subscribed to right away. Hence, your cookbook “My Paris Kitchen” was at the top of my Christmas wish list, and YES!!! I got it! Can’t wait to try some recipes, but must say, I wanted it for your writing and photos as much as for your recipes.

    As for those French verbs – I can conjugate them in all tenses (even the subjonctif) but cannot cook remotely as well as you. And you can’t eat verbs!

    Bonne annee, and thanks for your entertaining writing which entrances me every week. – – – Bev, Gibsons, B.C. Canada

  • Cyndy
    January 3, 2015 8:49pm

    @Bev, “you can’t eat verbs…” That’s funny! Thanks for the laugh. ;^D

  • Pat Pavlucik
    January 3, 2015 9:41pm

    A very Happy New Year, David. And, all best wishes for a blessed 2015. And, many thank yous for your recommendation of Juveniles Vin Bar and Bistro! My husband, Drew and granddaughter, Alexa, experienced one of the most memorable New Year’s Eves this past Wednesday as dinner patrons of Tim and Margaux. Their menu for that evening was awesome and my 15 year old teenager ate every scrap! Most of their guests were friends and family, so we felt so honored to be a part of the 30 or so in the delightful space. The chef, an extremely talented young man was a delight to watch. as we could see him work his magic in the tiny kitchen. A totally marvelous time and Tim and Margaux are delightful, friendly warm Parisiennes. Loved every minute of the evening and have you to thank. Merci, David.

    Pat

  • January 3, 2015 10:12pm

    Really like the chocolate quote! And even if you don’t know what you’re getting, it’s probably going to be delicious (at least with chocolate, not necessarily with life; ha)

  • January 3, 2015 10:15pm

    Just joining the hoards of faithful fan and fun readers to wish you the BESTEST ever NEW YEAR and thanking you for your generous sharing of joy, info, pix, wonderful recipes and cookery (books included) with us. You are STELLAR and I only wish I could access your posts quicker and react faster – because when I’m quick enough (seldom), I can subscribe to the comments and can read them when and as they come in instead of having to scroll through the presently 91 former comments! You are so worth every tiny effort of ourselves and I love it that you also share ‘private’ bits of your French Life. Often I can well understand what you say having made and making the same experiences, other times I have no idea what you go on about but enjoy so much just reading your prose – thank you from all my heart – I bless the day I came across your blog! Kiki

  • Carolyn Z
    January 4, 2015 2:41am

    David,

    Hope you and Romain have a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2015!

    Nice that you are having a mini book tour this year as well!

    Your blog is still great. Love the recipes and travel parts. The photos are good.

    Take care,
    Carolyn Z

  • Kathryn Ringer
    January 4, 2015 3:42am

    Hi David,

    HAPPY NEW YEAR! I have enjoyed reading your blog for several years now, and through your writing I have; laughed out load, tried recipes I never thought I would try
    (gorgonzola and purple potatoes on a pizza?!), learned interesting tidbits about French food and language, became mesmerized looking at your wonderful photography, and found out what it was like for you to become immersed (and now embraced!) in a foreign country. Thank you for sharing so much of your life – I look forward to reading more about your sweet life in Paris and beyond! May 2015 bring you great joy, love, and peace.

    Kathryn

  • ClaireD
    January 4, 2015 4:44am

    I first found your blog 3 years ago when, at 59, I decided to realize my dream and go to Paris. Thanks to you, when I finally went in May of 2014, I visited lots of places that didn’t make me look like a tourist and got great food and lots of flea market finds. I’m coming back to Paris in May of 2015. And I have you to thank for numerous recipes that my family loves (chicken lady chicken is a weekly favorite). Thank you, David, and happy new year to you and Romain.

    Oh, and I was also lucky enough to have you sign “My Paris Kitchen” for me at Central Market in Austin just 3 days before I left for my first trip to Paris.

    Claire in Austin

  • claudine Sherman
    January 4, 2015 5:24am

    I just found your blog and i am so happy that i will be able to make my first “galette des rois”…
    I am French living in Florida for 20 years ! …I am so happy that i can follow your recipes because it is in onces and cups .
    Thank you David and a HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015.
    Claudine Sherman.

  • January 4, 2015 7:55am

    A beautiful piece of writing! Of which there have been many over the past year, although this is the first time that I’ve felt compelled to leave a comment. Just wanted to say thank you for your blog. I enjoy reading about your adventures in and beyond the kitchen, recounted with such wit and humour. ;)

    As for the conjugation of French verbs, I’d say you’re doing fine as long as you’re able to communicate effectively. Having studied French in high school and in university, but never been to a French-speaking country, I’m much more comfortable with the grammar side of things than conversing in French. Your position is definitely preferable!

  • Terry Covington
    January 4, 2015 12:56pm

    David, I laughed about the birthday thing. I sometimes forget how old I am; I feel 20 years younger inside. This was a most serendipitous post for me, having been through a really rough few months and a lot of changes. Your beautiful writing about change and looking forward to new adventures, and allowing the unexpected, really made me feel better about some of the things that have been happening. Because all of us go through these things, some good, some bad. I wish you and your great partner a wonderful new year, and look forward to reading about your thoughts and adventures.

  • January 4, 2015 1:35pm

    That movie with that famous line is still my favorite. And oh, I love chocolate and I love life. And your photos just gave me some ideas of what to cook this afternoon. Not trying to replicate your chocolate but pretty much the same.

  • Amy -Hunting Valley, Ohio
    January 4, 2015 4:09pm

    You write with such warmth and humanity. Thank you for this blog and for being my virtual friend in Paris. It is a joy to experience the city through your eyes.

  • Regina
    January 4, 2015 4:49pm

    Happy 2015 Daveed, I have been using ‘My Paris Kitchen’ this holiday season. The Olive Crisps and Salted Caramel Mousse were big hits and I made a Lemon Tart for New Year’s Eve as per your blog. So you are always in my heart. Thank you for this blog as it is very timely for us. We are moving from NM to OR this year after owning our own business here for 20 years. We try to plan and plan but you are so right that ‘Life is random’ and we won’t know how it will turn out until it does.

  • January 4, 2015 8:01pm

    Very excited to see where your journeys take you this year, David! And of course, I hope we finally have a chance to share a meal with the guys when you find yourself in town. Enjoy the change!!

  • Peppi the Longstocking
    January 4, 2015 8:41pm

    Happy New Year, David!

    I also don’t pay any attention to how old I or anyone else is. When I turned 30, I told everyone I turned 29. Only days later did I discover by doing some math that I had turned 30. I chuckled, and moved on with life.

  • susan wing
    January 5, 2015 1:22am

    Any news on how Denise Acabo is doing and the fate of her beloved shop? I hope the coming year is kind to her.

  • Robert in Santa Fe, NM
    January 5, 2015 1:50am

    This post is a great example of why yours is the only blog I read. You are always interesting and I learn something each time. Thanks for doing the work David and Happy New Year! I also like that you actually read the comments!

  • CarolS
    January 5, 2015 3:07am

    Oh David. What a great post to end/start a year! You top yourself with such aplomb. A master of baking, chocolate, ice cream, many cuisines, blogging, photography – et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And life in Paris. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and humor with us… we are your family too!
    I have followed your blog since I met you at the little restaurant on Ile St Louis years ago. Your sense of humor shone at that restaurant as well as your love of chocolate, as you eyed my dessert. I have loved you and your blog since then.
    Paris is LUCKY to have you – and so are we. Much health, happiness and travel in 2015 to you and Romain.
    Love and cheers from the American now in Oz!

  • Oonagh
    January 5, 2015 4:27am

    A very happy new year David, and thank you for all the entertainment and education you’ve given me and your other readers over the past year.

  • January 7, 2015 4:29pm

    Hi David, I haven’t commented before so here goes… At this moment I am doing my french homework that I have been trying to learn for the past few years and struggling. I live in London and I am lucky that I can be in paris every three to four months for a few days. (We are just back from celebrating New Years there),like you I have noticed that people are much more engaging. My teenager daughters commented that restaurant and shop staff are more nicer than those here in London! My husband and I are hoping to move to Paris in 18 months, stay a year and then onto Provence where we holiday every August.
    I too am passionate about good, fresh and local food. Growing up in Southern Ireland has instilled a passion for fun and making people relaxed and happy and thats what I like to do with my food. Maybe one day we might bump into each on Rue Cler! In the meantime have a great year and enjoy Ballymaloe !

  • Mariana Zapella
    January 8, 2015 2:28am

    Nice post about life in general and life in France, especially in a day like today…
    I really enjoy reading your posts and am quite sad your near future does not include tropical beaches. I live in Brazil — ok, Sao Paulo is far from being a tropical beach, but aaanyway — and it would be so great if your books were published here so that you would totally HAVE to come for a visit! I contacted a local publisher to suggest and recommend your books, but just as a reader, you know. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Hope to hear news from the new book soon. Love all the way from Brazil.

  • January 9, 2015 9:41pm

    David a lovely end of year post
    Luckily for me i just scored my tickets to ballymaloe
    and seeing you will definitely be a highlight !
    I hope we get to say hello
    regards
    Helen

  • Shelley Sorani
    January 10, 2015 10:48pm

    David, it may not even be appropriate as a comment to your wonderful blog but I can’t stop thinking about what has happened in Paris in the last few days and express my condolences to you, the people of Paris, France and to the entire world. I have a feeling from the content of some of your postings that you don’t live far from the place where this horrible massacre happened. We have rented apartments in the small square around a rose garden off rue de Turenne and know the area well. I hope the world will take a lesson from these recent events and learn to live in peace, love in-tensely and make dinner, not war!! Best wishes for the coming year. May all of your souffles rise!!

  • Pascale
    January 17, 2015 4:59pm

    Beautiful post. Happy new year. I love to read your words- they are so soothing, kind and positive.
    I hope you are safe an not too sad with all the horrible events in Paris. Makes my heart break.
    Take care.