Results tagged American from David Lebovitz

Sugarplum Cake Shop

sugarplum bakery in paris

There are a lot of things I like about living in Paris. There’s shopping at the outdoor market and knowing the vendors and having them give you the good peaches, and not sticking a few icky ones in the bottom of the bag. Picking up a still-warm baguette and ripping the end off the very moment you step outside the bakery. And getting to go all the way home and re-do that file of paperwork that you carefully spent the last six months assembling isn’t acceptable because you’ve used staples to fasten the pages together rather than a paperclip.

Living abroad in a different culture certainly has its challenges (like being able to determine if paperclips or staples will be acceptable…and at which particular agency), and sometimes one wants a big ol’ generous American hug rather than just a few bisous pecked on both cheeks. For the same reason French people congregate on Claude Lane in San Francisco, sometimes you just want to walk in somewhere and not have to worry about feeling like an outsider. Or you want free WiFi that’s doesn’t shut down after twenty minutes. Or you want ice.

Continue Reading Sugarplum Cake Shop…

Askinosie Chocolate

I’ve been a tad remiss in doing a write-up about one of the newest American chocolate-makers: Askinosie. When I heard about them, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some bars of their bars. The only problem was that I wolfed them down too-quickly, before I could even write ‘em up.

askinosie

Then I’d heard in the news (the chocolate news, which I read rabidly…is there any kind of news?) that they’ve been making a white chocolate bar that’s made from non-deodorized cocoa butter and goat’s milk, instead of the traditional cows milk. As someone who likes white chocolate, and enjoys the tang of goat milk, this sounds like heaven to me.

In my 89 Random Things About Me, #3 was that I thought small-batch chocolate makers summed up all of the best qualities of America, most notably the eagerness to do something different and improve something, making it even better than before.

Continue Reading Askinosie Chocolate…

Theo Chocolate

People often say I’m the luckiest person in the world for the kind of life they perceive that I lead. But I’ve found some folks who’ve got me beat, hands-down.

I’m back from my book tour, which was exhilarating but made me a tad homesick. Although really, if one thinks about it, how many times can one visit Target in a month? And don’t even get me started on Walgreens…I mean, how much chapstick does a guy need? (Well, plenty, it seems…)

With my suitcases stuffed to the gills, my last weekend was spent in Seattle, Target-free, where I had lots and lots of good things to eat and drink, from sipping espresso with gal-pal Shauna, to get-together with a gaggle of food bloggers that was well-oiled by lots of good wine mixed with plates of the freshest food overlooking the water. There was time to catch up with new and old friends, unwind, and after a few glasses of wine, a bit of comparing notes was in order.
So watch it out there, readers!

On this last day, a chocolate tasting was planned at Theo Chocolate, one of a handful of excellent small-scale chocolate makers in the United States. From the moment I walked in the unassuming front door on North Phinney Avenue, I knew this was going to be a heckuva lot of fun for me and the guests who stopped by to say hi and sample.

originbars.jpg happygal.jpg

It was like a big party going on inside, with lots and lots of chocolate everywhere. I’ve never seen such happy, excited people. Now those people are living the sweet life. But can you blame them? Being surrounded by all this chocolate, I’d be the happiest fellow on the planet as well. And for one afternoon, I was.

As mentioned, Theo is one of the few chocolate-makers in the US, making chocolate from the beans to the bar. Using organic and Fair-Trade beans, batches of beans are roasted, ground, then shaped into tablets of chocolate, many of them ‘origin’ bars, highlighting the nuances of cacao beans from various parts of the world. But unlike some of the other chocolate-makers, they’ve got chocolatier Autumn Martin, who’s crafting some of the finest chocolate confections I’ve ever tasted in my life.

autumn.jpg cocoanibs.jpg

Do you mind if I talk about the richest, purest flavors imaginable?

Okay, don’t mind if I do.
With just two-and-a-half years of chocolate-making under her belt, Autumn’s managed to hit just the right notes with every chocolate I tried.

Continue Reading Theo Chocolate…

Amano Chocolate

In my continuing adventures to bring you some of the more interesting chocolates from around the globe, and get through as much of my chocolate before the meltdown of summer heat attacks my chocolate stash, you might remember a few months back I wrote about a conversation I had when I shocked some unworldly women (who…me?) that asked me which country makes the best chocolate.

For a few years now, I’ve been swapping messages with Art Pollard of Amano chocolate who has spent ten years searching for cacao and learning how to make artisan chocolate tablets at the company he started in Utah. But it wasn’t until just a few months ago I was able to taste his handcrafted chocolate, which he sent me here in Paris.

amanochocolate.jpgpamhands.jpg

Amano isn’t currently making a whole slew of chocolates, but is concentrating on two different bars: A tablet of Ocumare chocolate, and another made from chocolate from Madagascar. I’m a big fan of Ocumare chocolate in general, which is considered one of the finest cacao beans in the world. Grown in Venezuela, some manufacturers claim it’s a criollo bean, and I’ve been told various stories that dispute that, and many chocolate experts agree that pure criollo chocolate doesn’t really exist anymore.

I’ll let the geneticists work that out, and concentrate on the taste of the chocolate. Luckily I had help during this tasting from Pam Williams, who runs Ecole Chocolat, an online school for budding chocolatiers. (That’s her hand with the girly-girl ring, not mine.) An expert on chocolate, Pam and I snapped the chocolate into manly-sized pieces and we tasted away.

Continue Reading Amano Chocolate…

Healthy Hershey’s

I don’t like to stir things up too much around here. Last time I did that, I got my ass kicked in the comments. Truth be told, I’m a people-person and try to see the good in everything and everybody no matter what.

Heck, I’m even listening to Up With People! as I’m typing right now…

I don’t like to trash people or companies in general. But sometimes, every once in a while, someone needs to get their pee-pee smacked.

And in this case, it’s Hershey’s.

hersheyhealthychocolate

Normally I make it a point to eat the best-quality chocolate I can since the good stuff has the same amount of calories as the bad stuff. Because I live in Paris, depending on how you feel about it, I don’t eat much Hershey’s chocolate. But when you have a blog, no matter where you like, you get ‘sales pitches’ from pr folks wanting to send you products to that they hope you’ll mention favorably on your blog. I like to try new American products and since I don’t live where they’re easily found, I let the ones that sound interesting come my way.

But one French company insisted (repeatedly, against my better judgment) on sending me a food basket of goodies a while back.

Continue Reading Healthy Hershey’s…