November 2, 2012
You guys. It’s hot chocolate season, and now that I’ve made it this way, I don’t think I can ever go back to powdered cocoa again.
I first had this style of hot chocolate when I visited Paris last Christmas. Tim and I shared a waffle and a cup of the thickest hot chocolate I had ever had, dipping the waffle pieces in the chocolate and generally being deliriously happy.
(Sorry for the blurry pictures. Part camera wobble, part steam.)
This treat is more lot warm, thick ganache than the cocoa I’m used to back home. It’s thick enough that you can dip a piece of baguette in it, and the chocolate doesn’t completely soak into the bread. Crazy good as an afternoon snack.
September 28, 2012
I was under the impression that there were no Pumpkin Spice Lattes at the Starbuckses here in Paris since my friends seemed to already be enjoying them back home and I hadn’t seen them advertised at all in the city. It makes sense, since the French aversion to cinnamon is well-documented, and there’s no pumpkin pie tradition here like there is in the States and Canada. Oh sure, there are lots of huge, knobbly pumpkins around at the markets, but I don’t think anyone’s using them in sweets.
Despite my best friend being a froth slave under the little green mermaid, I’ve never been a huge fan of Starbucks. Honestly, I prefer to make my own French press or pour-over coffee, and there are better places to go for $4 espresso drinks. But I could never resist Pumpkin Spice Latte season. I remember when my office friends and I would make special trips for an afternoon pick-me-up of extra-sweet, pumpkin spicy goodness. Every once in a while one of us would bring a four-cup caddy to work first thing in the morning to share with our little clan, and it was the best possible way to start off a day at our windowless, flourescent-lit desks.
I had already made this syrup and enjoyed many many coffees spiked with the stuff before I found out that France will, indeed, get Pumpkin Spice Lattes after all, but not until October. Now that I’ve made the homemade version, though, I don’t think I’ll even need to get the original from the mermaid. I like that I can customize exactly how sweet my drink is without having to make one of those dreaded extra-specific coffee orders, and it’s lovely to wake up in the morning and have a little treat like this without having to get out of my pajamas.
September 19, 2012
We went out to dinner with friends last night, and I discovered on the way home that the evenings are now too chilly for just a blazer. Soon enough, it’ll be that time of year when it will be unthinkable to go out without a sweater, a thick wool coat, and a scarf.
I’m actually kind of looking forward to it. Having lived in LA all my life, I’ve never gotten to experience the change of the seasons. When I visited Paris for a week last Christmas, there was nothing more charming than going out in the morning, our breath making little clouds as we walked, and getting a steaming cup of vin chaud from a street vendor to sip as we walked.
August 28, 2012
Because really, the problem with food blogging is that sometimes you don’t want to write about cooking. Sometimes you want to bring home a kilogram of green plums and eat them all in one day and make yourself sick. Well, maybe you don’t want to do that last part.
I discovered Reines-Claudes plums at the Bastille market last week, and have been getting way too many at a time because, jesus, they’re so cheap. It’s hard to tell with that glowing green skin, but these are the sweetest plums I’ve ever tasted, without a hint of that shocking acidity just under the skin that their larger, redder and purpler cousins have.
That thing with eating all of them and getting sick? Yeah, I did that. But then I went back and got more because they’re just that good. Now I’m trying them out in recipes so I’m forced to use them instead of just inhaling them.
August 10, 2012
Digestifs are big in this country. An after-dinner sip of cognac or port makes sense to me — a little boozy punch in the face to get you off to dreamland a little easier, and maybe get the cheese funk off your breath.
Tim’s a cognac man. I am… well, I have a bigger sweet tooth than he does. While he often takes a post-dinner glass of Courvoisier, I wanted something a little less burney on the way down, and after leaving my beer brewing supplies in the states, I missed the experimentation in the make-your-own adult-type beverages department.
July 13, 2012
If fairies were to drink something other than raindrops and morning dew, this would be it.
There’s a shop on Rivoli a few blocks from my apartment that sells honey. Only honey. Oh, and some health products made from honey or pollen. But really, it’s the back wall, entirely covered with different varietals of golden syrupy bee spit, that I’m interested in.
July 9, 2012
Last week, I put together a complex sentence in French, on the spot, at the wine shop: “Désolé pour mon français, mais je voudrais un vin avec des bulles, mais moins cher que du champagne.” The proprietor quite kindly pointed me to the section of wall devoted to bubblies, assuring me that, “Non, mademoiselle, votre français est très bon!” I was so proud of my achievement that I bought the first wine he suggested.
What I ended up with was two bottles of Crémant de Bourgogne, a refreshing blanc de blanc without the yeastiness, tight bubbles, or price tag of Champagne. I tszujed it with a wee mixer — a light strawberry syrup infused with basil — which made it pink and a little sweet and a little herbal. Perfect for a party.