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A Visit to A l’Etoile d’Or (Video)

A place like A l’Etoile d’Or could not exist anywhere else in the world but Paris. In this charming shop up by Montmarte you find a carefully selected assortment of candies and chocolates from the best artisans across France. Darting from shelf to shelf, owner Denise Acabo charms patrons with animated descriptions of every sweet bonbon in her collection. It’s always a pleasure to chat with her in her shop, which I visited on a rather chilly day in Paris. (Hence the trouble I had wrapping my frozen lips around the word “Lorraine”.)

Every time I go into her shop, I am helpless against Madame Acabo’s charms and I always leave with something special tucked in my bag, whether it’s a Kalouga chocolate bar filled with gooey salted butter caramel from Bernachon, almond-rich calissons d’Aix from Provence, or bright jellies flavored with the tangy juice of the elusive bergamots made in Alsace.

Even if you can’t make it to Paris, I hope you enjoy this visit to her shop as much as I did.

-David

(You can watch the video here by clicking on the arrow. To view it in a larger version, click on the title, which will take you to Vimeo.)

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Visit to a Paris Market (Video)

Everyday in Paris (except Monday), there are outdoor markets taking place in the various neighborhoods spread out across the city. Each market has its own distinct personality – and personalities – and like many residents of Paris, I like to do my shopping at an outdoor market.

As a dedicated market shopper, I find myself gravitating toward my favorite stands and sellers, such as the friendly gent who sells potatoes (and who wears just a t-shirt all year long, no matter how freezing cold it gets) and the people who come bearing gooey wedges of locally made Brie as well as unbelievably delicious crème fraîche, the kind you just can’t get anywhere else but in France. There are sturdy metal tables heaped with plenty of ice to keep all the pristine seafood and shellfish fresh, and come fall, when I don’t pick them myself, I rifle through bins of irregular apples to find just the right ones to bring home and caramelize in a warm tarte Tatin.

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A Visit to Babycakes NYC (Video)



When I was in New York City, I was delighted to spend some time with my friend Erin McKenna, owner and head baker at BabyCakesNYC, which is one of the sweetest places in Manhattan. And Erin may be the sweetest thing in all five boroughs – and beyond!

We had a nice chat, then headed to the kitchen where she taught me how to make gluten-free doughnuts (recipe included) and create the signature frosting swirl on their fantastic cupcakes, which I was anxious to master. Because those who succeed, have the distinct honor of proudly wearing the BabyCakes uniform.



Related Links

BabyCakesNYC (DavidLebovitz.com)

BabyCakes Covers the Classics (Amazon)

BabyCakesNYC

Start Your Own…Bakery (NY Magazine)

BabyCakes (Gluten-Free Girl)

Quit Your Job! A Q&A with Erin McKenna of BabyCakes (The Awl)

A Visit to Fouquet Chocolate & Confections



Fouquet is one of my favorite shops in Paris. I’m absolutely addicted to the thin crisps of spice bread enrobed in dark chocolate as well as to the house-made pâtes de fruits and the coconut-filled rectangles cloaked in chocolate. And, of course, the caramelized almonds, too.

It’s rare to find a shop still making candies the old-fashioned way and I thought it would be fun to share it with you, along with meeting Fréderic Chambeau, whose family has owned the shop for several generations.

Fouquet
36, rue Laffitte (9th)
Tél: 01 47 70 85 00

Two other boutiques in Paris:

-22, rue François 1er (8th)
-42, rue du Marché Saint-Honoré (1st)



Related Posts and Links

Fouquet (Twitter)

Fouquet (Facebook)

Fouquet (My Previous Visit)

A Visit to Patrick Roger (Video)

Ready for Dessert (Video)

A Visit to Patrick Roger Chocolate (Video)


Recently I visited the laboratory of master French chocolatier Patrick Roger. His shops in Paris are some of my favorite places to swoon over chocolate and it was wonderful to have the chance to step behind-the-scenes and watch him make his extraordinary confections and impressive chocolate sculptures, as well as visit his garden and apiary.

(To view the video in a larger format, you can watch it at Vimeo.)


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The French Bread Machine

I was a little surprised when I moved to France and learned that bread machines were popular here. I was equally surprised to see a generous selection of frozen breads at Picard, the chain of stores that spans across France which sport a comprehensive, and somewhat impressive, selection of frozen entrées, appetizers, main courses, and fancy desserts. Out of curiosity, I’ve tried a few things, and came to the conclusion that most of it tastes like the food you hoped to be served on an airplane, and might be if you were seated in business class.

Interestingly, I have not met a French person that ever had a bad think to say about Picard. In fact, a survey showed that it’s the most popular chain in France. Even people I know who are accomplished home cooks rave about it. I have to say that I like the frozen pitted sour cherries, and the corn kernels taste good to homesick Americans, especially when sautéed with ancho chile powder, butter, and cilantro, but I don’t crave frozen sushi nor do I need (or have space in my freezer for) a bag of already chopped onion pieces.

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It’s Ready!


Today is the release of my newest book, Ready for Dessert—a hefty volume of my all-time favorite recipes!

Ready for Dessert

You’ll find everything I love in this book, from the Chocolate Chip Cookies that won over les Parisiens to a French inspired Apple-Frangipan Galette. I figured out the secret to truly chewy Peanut Butter Cookies, and frosted Black and Whites finally get their due. I riff on Gâteau Basque (okay, there are two riffs), there’s a cool and creamy Butterscotch Flan, and…at long last, the cookie recipe that I spent almost ten years perfecting.

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