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Best of July

A Bench on Avenue Trudaine

Have you had a chance to go on vacation yet? Will you be skipping town later, or not at all this year? Whatever your situation, I hope you’re having a beautiful summer full of small joys and vibrant flavors. Seeking summertime inspiration? Here are my best summer recipes!

Best of July 2016

• I love height-of-the-summer tomatoes so much it hurts! The producer who delivers a weekly selection of vegetables to our door every Monday has switched to full-on tomato mode with fruits of every color, every shape, and fabulous flavor; I couldn’t be happier. If you want to see what his selection looks like on any given week, watch this Facebook Live video. As for my favorite tomato recipes, check out my panzanella, my gazpacho and the tomato panade that’s included in The French Market Cookbook.

• I was out running some errands in the grands magasins neighborhood (= the Printemps and Galeries Lafayette department stores on Boulevard Haussmann) and I dropped by Café Pouchkine. Their blueberry bostock caught my eye, and I’m glad it did: it’s a slice of brioche garnished with almond cream à la almond croissant with a blueberry filling tart enough to balance out the overall sweetness of the pastry. Mind-blowing!

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Best of June

I just love those ultra-Parisian entrance lobbies with the vintage tiling.

I just love those ultra-Parisian entrance lobbies with the vintage tiling.

The end of the school year is fast approaching, and I attended my first end-of-year party (in French, une kermesse) as a parent, twenty years after graduating from high school. Twenty years! I get dizzy just thinking about it, but if I was offered to push a button and go rewind my life to that day, I’m really not sure I would. As Paul Nizan wrote, “I was [sixteen]. I won’t let anyone say that it’s the most beautiful age of life.”*

June Eats and Accomplishments

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Best of May

Sinking building on rue Lamarck

When you’re out and about in Paris, it’s good to remember to look up, so as not to miss a special architectural detail, a beautiful play of light between buildings, or an especially striking perspective. (You do want to look back down at your feet often enough, though, as some Parisian dog owners shirk their responsibilities in a despicable manner.)

And sometimes it’s sideways you should look, such as here, at the foot of the Sacré-Coeur, where a steep little slope on your right allows you to get this trompe-l’oeil view of a “sinking” building on rue Lamarck.

Good Eats

Best of May

• We had a delightful dinner at Yard, a pocket-size restaurant in a super cute micro-neighborhood of the 11th that serves market-fresh dishes and natural wines in a fun, unpretentious atmosphere. The stand-out for me was this starter of trout with slim grilled zucchini and almond cream. I would have licked the plate clean, but their beautifully crusty bread volunteered to mop up the sauce.

• Whenever I’m in the Belleville area, I can’t not get a fabulous banh mi from Saigon Sandwich. Maxence and I have been total fans of their Vietnamese sandwiches for years and years, and in fact, they were my first meal after I gave birth to each of my sons, special-delivered by Maxence to my room at the maternité. My favorite is the chicken (poulet spécial) with extra chile peppers.

• I was happy to discover the Compagnie générale de biscuiterie, the brand-new cookie shop that star pastry chef Gilles Marchal (formerly of La Maison du Chocolat) opened in my neighborhood. (Montmartre is becoming more and more of a must-not-miss destination for pastry enthusiasts. Ask me about my walking tours!) It’s a workshop-slash-boutique where you can see the team at work making puff pastry treats and butter cookies. I recommend the paper-thin arlettes and the chocolate chip sablés.

• If more proof was needed that Montmartre is on the rise (ha ha), Melbourne coffee shop Hardware Société chose it to establish its Parisian outpost. It’s a gorgeous space with lots of light, a beautiful view, and a wall of butterflies you kind of want to take home with you. On the menu: all-day brunch (what’s not to like?) such as these poached eggs served with grilled mushrooms, ricotta, mâche and watercress on a thick toast of walnut bread. (On weekends, get there early or late to avoid the crowds.)

Find my top Paris spots on this map of favorites, and follow me on Instagram to see many more food shots and Paris recommendations throughout the month!

Latest Reads

Markets of ProvenceThe Pot Thief Who Studied EscoffierBonjour KaleMinimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking

More reading recommendations »

Food Blogger Pro Enrollment

Food Blogger ProNot long ago I told you about Food Blogger Pro, a membership site that offers invaluable resources for food bloggers. I continue to draw great value from my own membership, and you can read about it here; I’m especially excited about the new food styling course that they just added in. The current window of admissions is closing on June 2, so if you want to give it a try, this is your chance. (You can sign up for just one month if you’re unsure, and they have a 60-day money back guarantee.)

5 Cool Links

  1. My friend and fellow food writer Caroline Mignot has a YouTube channel where she shares behind-the-scenes videos with the best food artisans. I especially enjoyed her recent video on massaging butter and the one with pastry chef Johanna Roques of Jojo & Co. It’s in French, but just watching is enough!
  2. The elaborate politics of using the grocery belt divider at the supermarket.
  3. Puzzled about edible seaweed? This quick guide should clear things up.
  4. Do you let your kids near sharp knives and hot stoves? (Related: My Parents Who Cook series.)
  5. Surprise surprise (not) there’s a big gap between what “foodie culture” presents and what people actually cook and eat. I’m no elitist and think that any kind of home cooking is a win. What are your thoughts?

Follow me on Twitter and like the C&Z Page on Facebook for many more links throughout the month.

Note: This post contains some affiliate links. This means that if you decide to make a purchase using those links, I will receive a commission from the vendor, at no extra cost to you. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Best of April

Happiness is a bunch of tulips

The French have a saying that goes, “En avril, ne te découvre pas d’un fil,” which means that April is generally too early and too chilly to remove layers of clothing. It has certainly been true this year, though we have had beautifully sunny weather in Paris. I have been to the greenmarket a couple of times with my sons, and we picked out these beautiful, fresh tulips — one of my simplest recipes for happiness.

The sister saying to the above is, “En mai, fais ce qu’il te plaît !” (In May, do as you please) and I intend to do just that.

Good Eats From This Month

Best of April 2016

• The gorgeous weather has made it possible to have a few balcony lunches (bundled up) in the sun. What bliss! Pictured here is the veggie hotbox from Nous. Is it al fresco dining weather yet where you live?

• The famous ramen house Ippudo has recently opened its first French outpost, and their Akamaru special was the best bowl of ramen I’ve had this side of Tokyo. (See highlights from my trip to Japan.)

• They say you should eat the colors of the rainbow and I can’t think of a more delicious way to do so than this toss-it-yourself quinoa salad from vegan haven Le Potager de Charlotte. What’s your favorite way to eat the rainbow?

• How lucky am I that the first Éclair de Génie café has opened right in my neighborhood, on rue Lepic? It offers delicious éclairs galore, of course, but also these irresistibly flaky rolls of brioche feuilletée. Pictured here is the plain version, but they also come in apple, raspberry, or chocolate. Which one would you get first?

Check my map of Paris favorites and follow me on Instagram to see many more food shots throughout the month.

Latest Reads

Minimalist Baker's Everyday CookingPlenty MoreTasting RomeHungry Healthy Happy

More reading recommendations »

5 Cool Links

  1. Would you recognize these staple foods if you came across them in their natural habitat? Yeah, me neither.
  2. Ever wondered what French students eat? (Interviews in colloquial French, if you feel like practising!)
  3. If you have trouble drinking as much water as you should, this one’s for you!
  4. I was so very excited to be a guest on the Food Blogger Pro podcast, which I listen to and love. The episode is up now if you want to listen to me discuss my blogging ups and downs, maintaining a bilingual blog, and embracing change.
  5. I walk past the Sacré-Coeur every day and love seeing these old photos of when it was built.

Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for many more links throughout the month.

Best of March

Sainte-Gauburge priory in Saint-Cyr-la-Rosière, which houses the Perche's eco-museum.

Sainte-Gauburge priory in Saint-Cyr-la-Rosière, which houses the Perche's eco-museum.

Happy spring! I hope you’re enjoying the longer days, the switch to daylight saving time, and the first springtime crops that are starting to appear on market stalls. Asparagus, strawberries, and tender greens! Such a bright, exciting time of year, it warrants three exclamation marks in the same paragraph!

Best of March 2016

Good Eats

• I had the freshest, most lovely lunch at Health Inside, a vegetarian juice bar that recently opened on rue Charlot in the 3rd, an area that’s heaven for people who like that kind of veg-happy food (see also: Wild &The Moon, Café Pinson, Nanashi, Rose Bakery, the list goes on). I especially enjoyed my lentil salad, made with French green lentils and chunks of avocado. The dressing had a touch of honey in it, but what made the dish were the still-warm, just-roasted hazelnuts scattered on top. What’s your favorite kind of lentil salad? I’m also in love with this one.

• I was blown away by the sheer magnitude of the gianduja éclair I bought at Boulangerie BO in the 12th — intensely flavored, not too sweet, and generously studded with caramelized hazelnuts. (March was hazelnut month for me apparently!)

• I also had a very special guest in my kitchen: Mariah, a high school senior from Minnesota, was flown to Paris with the support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation to pursue her passion for baking. She was whip-smart and super sweet, and I was honored to bake my favorite French sablés with her.

• A sunny lunch at Taillevent ended on a wondrous note with an green apple and carrot plated dessert created by the young and talented François Daubinet. An inventive pairing he ran away with, expressing it with fresh and bright flavors.

Perpetual Giveaway!

Starting this month and every month after that, every subscriber of the C&Z newsletter will be automatically entered to win a copy of one of my books. He or she will be offered to choose between Chocolate & Zucchini, Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris, The French Market Cookbook, and Edible French, which I will ship to any mailing address in the world.

This is my way of showing my appreciation for your support and loyal readership. If you don’t yet subscribe, you can sign up now. Keep your fingers crossed and good luck! I will announce the winner in the next monthly newsletter.

Loving this

For years and years I’ve wanted to incorporate a meditation practice into my daily routine, but I could never make it stick until I got a meditation headband as a holiday gift last December.

Muse headbandIt’s a digital device that analyzes your brain activity, and gives you gentle feedback to help quiet your mind: you choose a soundscape (I like the rainforest and the desert best) and start meditating. When you’re completely calm, you start to hear birds chirping; when you are losing focus, the wind picks up and the weather gets gradually more intense, which reminds you to let go of your active thoughts, and bring your mind back to your breath.

It works in conjunction with a smart phone application that logs your meditation sessions and provides tips and encouragement as well.

The irony of buying something to engage in a minimalist activity that should only require one’s brain is not lost on me. But for those of us who have trouble committing to the practice without some sort of structure and accountability, this has proven to be a great tool to overcome my curiously powerful resistance.

I anticipate I will no longer need it after a while (and will give it away or resell it then), but for now I am enjoying my Muse band very much, and never before have I been so consistent with the practice. Do you meditate? If so, how do you do it? If not, is it something you’re curious about?

French food cheat sheet

Will you be visiting France soon? I have put together a printable cheat sheet of French terms and useful phrases to help you navigate the food scene like a pro. You are welcome to download it here; I hope you find it useful!

French Food Cheat Sheet

5 Cool Links

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