A favorite late summer treat in France is the Pêche de Vigne, or ‘peach of the grapevine’. These fuzzy heirloom peaches have a dull, very fuzzy dusky exterior that gives little clue to the dazzling flesh within. But slice one open, and…wow! The rare Pêche de Vigne appears only for a short time; just during the fleeting, final weeks in August. Their taste is a…

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It’s been said the hardest thing about fresh shelling beans is finding them. If that’s true where you live, you’re missing something very special and one of the great treats of summer. You may have seen them at your market, but passed them by since you didn’t know what to do with them. And for some, cooking beans bring up images of beanpots simmering for…

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I was talking to my agent in the US the other day (which sounds far more pretentious than it really it….usually our ‘talking’ is me listening while he tells me what I should and shouldn’t be doing with my life.) Obviously I have a need for stern, authoritarian figures. I was telling him that I would be going on vacation for a few weeks. “A…

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What’s up with all the soft, pale baguettes appearing in Paris? A few years back, when I moved to the Bastille, my local boulangerie made the best baguettes I’ve ever had. Each baguette was a revelation. If I was lucky to get there at just the right time, I would be handed a still-warm, slender flute of bread. I’d rip off the end as soon…

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Tang Frères

Spiky, very aromatic durians at Tang Frères, the giant Chinese supermarket of Paris. Tang Frères 48, avenue d’Ivry, 13th Tel: 01 45 70 80 00 Mètro: Porte d’Ivry

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Homemade Rocky Road, from The Great Book of Chocolate, Enrobed in Tempered Chocolate How do you temper chocolate, and why do you do it? The short answer is that chemically, chocolate is composed of lots of different little crystals (six to be exact) but the desirable ones are called beta crystals. The development and formation of these beta crystals are what makes well-tempered chocolate. If…

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Well, I’ve learned a couple of intriguing things lately. One is something I’ve known for a while: when I get obsessed with something, it’s all I can think about for days and days. And all I’ve been thinking about is popcorn in it’s most recent incarnation chez David, as golden, buttery, sweet and crispy Caramel Corn. I’ve learned so much about America’s favorite snack (it…

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“Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos…” -Don Kardong 1976 Olympic Marathoner

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Ladurée

Ladurée makes what I consider the best macarons anywhere. And apparently so do many others: the four shops of Ladurée in Paris sell 12,000 macarons each day, over four million per year. Many Americans raise an eyebrow when confronted with their first French macaron, since macaroons in the US are normally chewy, egg white-based cookies heaped with shredded coconut. But both the French macaron and…

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