Events

Chocolate Appreciation Society (Club des Croqueurs de Chocolat)

Club des Croqueurs de Chocolat

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.

Club des Croqueurs de Chocolat
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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.

C&Z Turns Seven!

Heart stencil

Today marks the seventh anniversary of Chocolate & Zucchini, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you, dear readers, for being here.

The past seven years have been, without a doubt, the fullest and the most exciting of my life, and it is in large part thanks to this blog and to you.

I feel lucky to have such an enthusiastic, curious, kind, positive, funny, helpful, thoughtful, articulate, inspiring and well-informed crowd gathered here, and it is an honor and a joy to converse with you.

To celebrate this anniversary, I want to invite you to get together in Paris, and my proposition is twofold:

On Saturday, October 16, you can join me at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France from 11am till noon, for a discussion on food blogs (in French) as part of a series of talks called Les Samedis du Savoir. (The event is free and open to the public.)

And on Sunday, October 17, please come and have a drink with us at Café Charbon; we’ll be there from 7pm (109 rue Oberkampf in the 11th, see map).

I hope you can make it to one or both of these occasions, and I look forward to meeting you in person.

(Note: neither of these is a booksigning event per se, but if you own one of my books, feel free to bring it along; it will be my pleasure to sign it.)

A Sandwich for Dessert

Le Club-sandwich Framboise et Crème de Gianduja

[A Sandwich for Dessert]

“Un Sandwich pour le Dessert” is a project I worked on for Fraîch’Attitude, a Parisian gallery that specializes in Eat Art. Eat Art is an offshoot of ephemeral art that uses food as its primary material: some of the exhibitions are actually edible and are meant to disappear into the visitors’ stomachs, to be recreated the next day.

The gallery just opened a new exhibition yesterday around the theme Picnic, and a couple of months ago I was asked to submit something (“anything! you decide!”) for the exhibition’s catalog, which also serves as a cahier de style — a reflection of current trends and inspirations.

I decided to create visual recipes for four simple dessert sandwiches, easy to make and easy to pack, for a colorful picnic on a nearby patch of grass or on the floorboards of your living-room. (Click on the names to view the recipe.)

Le Club-sandwich Framboise et Crème de Gianduja: sandwich bread + gianduioso (or nutella) + raspberries = raspberry and gianduioso club-sandwich.

Le Sandwich Petit Beurre à la Fraise: strawberries + petit suisse + butter cookies = strawberry cookie sandwich.

Le Petit Pain Amandes et Mirabelles: plums cooked with a little sugar + toasted almonds + a mini loaf of bread = plum and almond mini-bread.

La Brioche Figue et Citron: lemon curd + a pretty brioche + figs = fig and lemon brioche.

Notes from the Gourmet Voice Festival

Gourmet Voice Festival

Well, here I am, back from Cannes! The Gourmet Voice festival was a fabulous three days of food- and media-oriented conferences, conversations and debates. I feel tremendously privileged to have had the opportunity to attend, it was really heartwarming and exciting to meet so many people from all over the world, all sharing that same passion of communicating on, with and around food.

The festival started out in the most auspicious way for me : as I hopped into the car that was to drive me in from the airport, I suddenly realized with a miniature stomach lurch that the person sitting to my right was none other than Ken Hom. This was just the first in a string of private little joys which I mostly kept to myself of course, pretending it was just the most natural thing to be sitting in a car, sharing a bathroom sink or striking up a conversation with celebrity chefs and journalists.

The talks covered a variety of subjects, from the history of cookbooks to guidebook politics, from cookbook best-sellers to the responsibility of food critics, from the making of a wine guide to the relationship between food TV and pornography. My own talk went very well, and I hope I did you all justice — fellow bloggers and readers alike — in speaking about the wonderful world of food blogs.

Here are a few of my personal highlights :

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