Events

2013 Omnivore Festival: Inspiration Notes

Omnivore 2013

The 2013 edition of the Omnivore Food Festival (officially called Omnivore World Tour now that it’s a traveling festival) was held at Paris’s Palais de la Mutualité last week. I spent two days out of time in a dark auditorium, watching chefs cook on stage and jotting down notes in a handwriting that looks considerably more pulled together, I’ve only recently found out, if I use felt-tip rather than ball-point pens.

Every year a few common themes or ingredients emerge, and this time we saw a lot of oysters, cabbages, onions, and vegetables cooked to the point of being charred.

Aside from the excitement of climbing into a chef’s brain, seeing him (overwhelmingly more than her, regrettably) do his thing, and listening to him talk about his craft, what I love about those sessions is being inspired by details, pairings, or techniques that I can take away and perhaps rig into my own cooking sometime.

Looking through my notes a few days later, I thought I would wring out a list of these ideas to share with you, in the hope that they may inspire you, too.

From Guillaume Foucault, formerly at L’Artémise in Uzès, soon to open Pertica in Vendôme, in the Perche region:

- A pork belly, cooked for 30 minutes in the skillet, then soaked for 1 1/2 hours at warm room temperature in nuoc mam infused with star anise, cinnamon, and clove (pictured below).

- Talauma, a Vietnamese spice that you grate (a bit like nutmeg), pairs well with game meats.

- Fresh, uncooked green beans layered with coarse salt and meadowsweet flowers in a barrel and left to rest for a while. He then cuts the beans in small slices and uses them as a condiment or seasoning, especially with fresh cheese.

Omnivore 2013

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Omnivore World Tour in Paris

Omnivore World Tour

The Omnivore World Tour — formerly known as the Omnivore Food Festival — is an inspiring event during which an audience of pros and enthusiasts watch live demos by up-and-coming chefs.

The French edition will be held in Paris (rather than Deauville*) this year, from Sunday, March 11 to Tuesday, March 13, and I will be hosting the chocolate masterclasses, a series of chocolate-centric demos and discussions with pastry chefs and chocolatiers.

If you’d like to join in the fun, the tickets are available for purchase online. I hope to meet some of you there!

* See my post about the chicken in a bread crust to read about my experience last year.

Chocolate Appreciation Society (Club des Croqueurs de Chocolat)

Chocolates

A little over a year ago, I received the kind of phone call that makes you beam for hours on end, unable (and not really willing, either) to peel the smile off your face: I had just been admitted as a member of the Club des Croqueurs de Chocolat, a famous French chocolate appreciation society I’d been dreaming of joining for years.

Created in the early eighties, when chocolate and chocolatiers didn’t get nearly as much attention and respect as they do now, the Club aims to bring together chocolate enthusiasts for tastings, promote the worthiest of artisans, and share its findings with non-members via a website, yearly awards, and a guide to France’s best chocolatiers.

The Club has one hundred and fifty members at all times. Some of them are food professionals — chocolatiers, pastry chefs, restaurateurs, writers, journalists… — but many are from completely different walks of life — fitness coaches, historians, nurses, photographers… — their only common denominator being a long-standing passion for chocolate.

It can take a while to get your foot in the door of this particular Club, as you have to be sponsored by two current members, write a letter of motivation, and then wait for a seat to become available. But I think the format can be adopted by any group of friends or coworkers committed to fueling their chocolate obsession, so I thought I’d tell you about it in a little more detail in case it inspires you to create your own local society.

Chocolates

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C&Z Anniversary Get-Together: Important Update

Verjus Due to an unforeseen administrative snag, the C&Z Anniversary Get-Together has been rescheduled to Friday, October 21. The venue has not changed: it will be held at Verjus, the wine bar that my friends Braden and Laura (of Hidden Kitchen fame) are just about to open. We’ll be there from 8pm, but feel free to drop by whenever you like. I apologize for this change of date, and hope to meet you there!

Verjus, 47 rue Montpensier, Paris 1er, +33 (0)1 42 97 54 40 (see map).

C&Z Turns Eight! + A Paris Get-Together

Tiny Flowers

Today marks the eighth* anniversary of Chocolate & Zucchini. And just like last year and every year before it, I am divided between two feelings: on the one hand, I can’t really remember what it felt like to experience life without a blog. On the other hand, I consider the years, months, and days, and I think, wow, it certainly is a long time to be keeping an online cooking journal. This year is an especially meaningful milestone, as it appears I have been blogging for an entire quarter of my life**. It’s a little dizzying to think about.

And as always, I feel compelled to mark this anniversary by thanking you, dear readers, for being here. Some of you have been reading since the early days, and some have known me for a shorter while, but it is all of you, with your different backgrounds and opinions and talents, who make it worth my while to write and share here. Your support, your comments, and the way you weave your own stories into mine, make my life immeasurably richer, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

VerjusIf you’re in Paris on Friday, October 21 (rescheduled from October 14), I’d like to invite you to join us for a celebratory drink at Verjus, the wine bar that my friends Braden and Laura (of Hidden Kitchen fame) are just about to open. We’ll be there from 8pm, but feel free to drop by whenever you like. I hope to meet you there! Verjus, 47 rue Montpensier, Paris 1er, +33 (0)1 42 97 54 40 (see map).

* Isn’t “eighth” an awkward word to spell?
** Because yes, 32 divided by 4 is 8.

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