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The Marc Negroni

One of the happiest days I’ve spent in my life was the one when I landed at the train station in Beaune, hopped in a car with a stranger, who took me to a cemetery out in the middle of nowhere. I found myself facing a large copper contraption spewing steam in the air, surrounded by bins of what looked like the outcasts of an…

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Cranberry Auberge cocktail

I discovered this drink in The Auberge of the Flowering Hearth, a book I seem to reread every couple of years. Written by Roy Andries de Groot, it’s an ode to a charming auberge (inn), nestled in the French alps, where two women created magical meals for their guests. Like most meals in France, their menus began with an apéritif. One in the book was a…

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Plum Flaugnarde

Once again, I found myself with an overload of fruit. Sure, I like pears and apples, which show up at the market on the cusp of autumn. But I want summer to last as long as possible. So when I see good nectarines, peaches, and plums lingering at the market, I pack my market basket to the brim, carefully making sure the delicate fruits aren’t going to get…

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Orange-Glazed Polenta Cake

Apparently I’m not the only one who loves polenta cake. The Italians like it so much that it’s called Amor Polenta. Which means “Polenta Love.” Well, at least that’s what I thought it meant, because amour in French means “love.” And I assumed that it was the same in Italian. (Another reason for finally getting on that life-long ambition to live in Italy and learn…

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Vin chaud: Hot Mulled Wine

Yes, it’s winter in Paris. And when the temperature drops, folks move inside the cafés to escape the cold, except for the fumeurs, who are remarkably hardy and seemingly immune to the chill outside, while they puff away on café terraces. We’re all bundled up, shivering on the sidewalks, lured into the cafés with chalkboards scrawled with the words, Vin chaud. Vin chaud (hot mulled…

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Sprinting Toward the Finish…

Everything is a mess, including my computer. I started writing this story, and lost it. (The story, I mean. I don’t mean that “I lost it” – although I fear that’s coming.) I have piles of paperwork stacked up all around my apartment, including on every chairs and the couch. Next to my kitchen counter is a stack of unfinished recipes I’m testing, with notes…

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Globus

Yes, Switzerland has a reputation for neutrality, but the food in Switzerland is often an international mix. There are some wonderful local specialties but a good number of other dishes are influenced by its neighbors; namely Germany, Italy, and France. So it seems only fitting that the most wonderful department store in the country is named Globus, because its name seem to incorporate a philosophy…

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Cognac

How does Cognac get to this… …from this? I didn’t know, but I was determined to taste as many glasses as I could to find out. The first thing I was asked before heading down into my first Cognac cellar during my recent visit was, “Are you afraid of spiders?”

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Kirsch

If I had to name five items that are obligatory in my baking repertoire, after The Big Four (sugar, butter, flour, and eggs), a bottle of kirsch is essential for me, right up there with vanilla, vying for numéro 5. A few drops of kirsch highlights and augments the flavor of peaches, nectarines, plums, and every kind of berry imaginable. And since it’s summer and…

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