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And how do I know it’s spring?

Could it be the trees that are blooming, or the sun desperately trying to poke through the gray, cloudy skies?


Might it be the luscious, ripe strawberries with verdant green stems at my market?

Or could it be that it’s no longer just the hearty non-smokers occupying the outdoor tables in the cafés, but everyone, hoping to catch a sliver of sunshine?



How do I know it’s spring?

It’s because the speedy folks at La Poste—just yesterday—returned an incorrectly addressed Christmas card that I’d sent way back in December, to someone who lives about a mile away, in the same city.

I can’t wait to see what summer brings.

Maybe some of the others?



    • rouquinricain

    the poste in paris has indeed gotten particularly bad recently. i suspect them of stealing several internet orders recently (especially since i complained about the service of our facteur – stupid american that i am).
    unfortunately, there’s nothing for it but to stop having packages delivered by la poste.

    • Robert

    I notice the orange barcoding on the envelope. I can only imagine how speedy the service was BEFORE it got automated.

    • Flavia

    David, I hate to change the subject but I have a question on Vanilla Ice cream, my favorite…I made your recipe yesterday: just about as perfect as it gets ! But I was wondering why you ask for vanilla extract (as weel as the beans) instead of just vanilla beans. Is there a specific reason?? I have to admit I increased the amout of beans by 1/2 instead of the extract. But am I missing somenthing that way?? Vanilla has been a bit of an obsession since I took some classes by Pierre Herme at the Ecole Ferrandi. The guy uses 3 different types of vanilla on his Vanilla macaron !!

    • sugarpond

    i loved the outdoor markets in paris, the strawberries look delicious! i can’t wait for warmer weather to come!

    • Kitt

    Ah, spring! Here, we know it has arrived when the postal workers start wearing shorts and kepis.

    Soon it will be time for making your strawberry frozen yoghurt again.

    • Kim

    What a take on Springtime in Paris! Living in Charleston our growing season is sooner than most. I picked strawberries a few weeks ago. Not as glamorous as going to a Paris market, but they were good. I hope you bought the berries, can’t wait to see what you whip up with them?

    • Claire

    I tell people not to send me anything important by La Poste now. It’s safer just to wait til we see each other – and quicker, too, even if it’s not til next Christmas…

    • Karina

    Those strawberries are too damn sexy. Wow.

    Spring here means high winds blowing juniper pollen until you absolutely go mad. And the local PO? I wonder if they’re French? Oh wait. I live in northern New Mexico. Never mind.

    • Mark

    Too funny David.

    Maybe next December you will just have to start your own La Poste and deliver all the local cards in person with little treats. You could contract out and really piss off the La Poste folks…

    • Linda H

    I got a card back from Italy recently that was addressed CORRECTLY. Bummer. Not only that. My strawberry story isn’t any better. We’ve had an especially vicious winter, and from first explorations, it looks like my strawberry plants died.

    • wilmacaz

    Have you tried making the very popular frozen yogurt treat on a hot summer day using fresh (or frozen topping or fresh fruit (berries are great) made with plainyogurt vanilla added with an enzyme to develop that exact flavor- called ‘Fruit fresh’. I think I found the secret to that particular taste. Hope you enjoy.
    Oh is there anything better in this world than springtime in Paris or in NY.?

    • David

    rouquin: Actually, I’ve found that La Poste does a much better job than many of the courrier companies. I remember DHL telling me that my overnight package would arrive in a couple of days! Um, what part of ‘overnight’ don’t they get?

    wilmacaz: You can add ascorbic or citric acid, too, for that taste (am not sure what’s in Fruit fresh, but it’s probably one of those). You can get them at the pharmacy, or sometimes just crush a vitamin C tablet up.

    flavia: I find just using vanilla bean doesn’t give things a rounded vanilla flavor. So often I’ll add both. Harold McGee told me it was because small amounts of alcohol change the way we taste things, which he suspected was why I instinctively added extract along with the beans.

    • Bea

    aahaah, alors la, vive la poste!

    • the italian dish

    You are killing me with the picture of the strawberries! We won’t see that here (in Michigan) for a long time. Love the letter fiasco. Geesh.

    • Ms. Glaze

    I’ll tell you how I know it’s Spring in Paris – I can’t see a darned thing because my eyes water 24/7. Either it’s the pollution, the pollen, or both. Okay, and perhaps I’ve started to notice artichokes from France (instead of Spain) and a vast array of strawberries, including the little frais de bois which I adore.

    • laura

    ooooh i am so jealous (not about la poste!), i would loooooooove to be there right now! but if i can’t be in paris, san francisco isn’t such a bad second. it’s 70 degrees and sunny and i’m looking out my window at the Bay and the ballpark and the marina so can’t really complain…. a bientot ici j’espere…

    • AMR

    I loved “just the hearty non-smokers occupying the outdoor tables in the cafés”.
    Yes, they’re so full of fortitude those smokers! Too flippin’ funny.

    • AMR

    …and realized my error. Non-smokers are not so funny.
    But the rest of your post is.

    • Steve

    Wait a minute…I’m in San Francisco and it’s April 3rd, and it’s NOT 70 degrees where I am! Geez, for every block east around here the temperature rises a degree.

    • Sandy

    I live in America and just ordered a book from and stupid me thought it would be as speedy as the service here in the US. WRONG!! They took forever to mail it and then the tracking and delivery were a nightmare. Twice they listed it as “Livre” which i translated to delivered. Then the next day it was still in transit. My friend finally got the book. Oh, she mailed me a gift at Christmas…I got it 10 weeks to the day she mailed it!!! In February!!!!

    • ParisBreakfasts

    Wouldn’t you know it.
    I leave town and the sun comes out.
    Was it warm too? I noticed on the rare occasion when the Paris sun was shining it managed to stay freezing cold! What a wuss am I…
    I was surprised at all the Parisiens who came out from under their rocks at the meerist hint of sun – like it was Bastille day or something?
    Those strawberries do look divine..are they from Espagne?

    • David

    Parisbkfsts: yes, the sun is out..and I saw people in T-shirts today. (Although Parisians flock to the slightest sliver of sunshine, even when I don’t think it’s quite warm enough.) But I’m packing up my hats and gloves quite yet. I’ve been through this before and have seen it go back to bitterly cold.

    Béa: Well, I had a similar experience with the US Post recently, where something was returned (and it was even correctly-addressed.) Still, it only took a couple of weeks, and it was traveling across American.

    This was only going a couple of blocks!

    Sandy: I feel your pain. I once ordered a photo album from Apple on iPhoto as a Christmas gift for someone here, and it got ‘lost’ in the mail. I did get a refund, but was left to scramble for a less-prefect Xmas gift.

    AMR: Interestingly, the cafes said once the non-smoking law was passed, their business would suffer. But during the winter, everyone was huddled outside, drinking their coffees en terrasse, where it’s usually deserted—and most expensive!

    • Hillary

    Oh my g-d those strawberries look beautiful! Thanks for preserving their freshness in a photo – those will never get moldy! :) Yum!

    • Sara


    I’m glad to hear that despite all the trickery global warming causes in our ability to deduce the weather, the post office remains quite the same. Apparently some things, including the unreliability of the post office, are sacred.

    • Belle

    WTF…That’ll learn ya to post your holiday cards in July comme toute les autres Parisiens!

    • loulou

    I just had a Christmas card returned too! This one went to the States and back though.
    We’re finally having some warm, spring weather down here too.

    • Rina

    Mmm strawberries.

    • Lorna

    Remember sitting at La Poste in a designated waiting area for someone to assist me for about 30 minutes….then a French guy just walked in from the street, right up to the window and got waited on immediately.

    Rather like the French woman who laughed charmingly with the bathroom attendant’s mention of paying to use the woman’s room at Versailles…. All the tourists were paying like sheep.

    btw – have signed up for your Parisian Desserts Class in Fort Worth this Friday. We’re really looking forward to it!!

    • Elphaba Green

    I have a friend who has recently moved to Paris, and though I thought our correspondence would suffer, we are both (so far) pleased with the post. I mailed her an enormous amount of peanut butter (for fun), she send books and handbags to me, I have mailed her hand-stitched curtains for her salon, and all has arrived swiftly and painlessly.

    I do want to say that your blog has only recently hit my radar, but I am checking on you regularly and have become an avid fan, I was also thrilled to discover that you are a friend of my other favorite blog, Chocolate and Zucchini, which I have recently purchased the cookbook and it improved my gastronomic experience and those of my friends as recently as last night.

    I can only imagine the time consideration it takes or you to run a blog and while most of us find ourselves too busy for such tasks, I thank you for your efforts to entertain and educate, for it is well appreciated her on this Mac, and it looks like around the world. Cheers!

    • Helen

    You are so lucky! It is snowing here in London today, At one point it did stop snowing – there was hail for a bit and then it started snowing again.


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