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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Happy Birthday Chocolate & Zucchini!

Happy Birthday Chocolate & Zucchini!

“- Bonjour madame la boulangère! I would like to buy a cake for my blog.
– What a lucky blog! Is this a special occasion?
– Why yes, it is my blog’s first birthday!
– My my my, how time flies! I remember your blog from when it was just a wee little baby blog, with just a handful of posts — and now it’s one year-old already?
– Yes, I am very proud, and I think it would very much like to celebrate with a cake. Something small something chocolate, something pretty something yummy! What can you suggest?
– Well, we have this chocolate and caramel cake, we have this chocolate and praline cake, we have this chocolate and green tea cake, and we have this chocolate and chocolate cake.
– Oh, they are all so very pretty and look so very yummy, it’s hard to choose… what is your favorite?
– I think I like the chocolate and chocolate best.
– That sounds like a good choice by all standards, we’ll have one of these!”

And so, we put the little cake on a plate. And lit a candle. And sang a birthday song. And blew the candle. And drank a little wine. And ate the little cake. Happy Birthday Chocolate & Zucchini!

And thank you all, dear readers, whether you’re a long-time visitor, newly on board, or just passing by — thanks for reading what I have to say, thanks for your comments and support. Chocolate & Zucchini is a fabulous adventure for me, but it would, of course, be nothing without you.

And since no birthday is quite complete without a birthday gift, I have decided to open forums on Chocolate & Zucchini! I receive the visit of so many interesting people (yes, that would be you) with so many interests in common, I thought it would be a good idea to give you a place to meet, chat and share all the wonderful things you have to say! So go ahead, take a little tour, make yourself comfortable, ask questions, give advice, discuss recipes, cookbooks, restaurants, tips, techniques, ideas, inspirations!

But wait, there’s more! No birthday is quite complete without a party either, so I am also throwing a Chocolate & Zucchini Birthday Party! Mark your calendars : the party will be on Monday, October the 18th, and it will be hosted by my chef-friend Nicolas Vagnon at his restaurant La Table de Lucullus. You are all warmly invited to come, and I will be positively delighted to meet you.

Here are the details : participation will be 30€ per guest (payable when you’re there), and that will get you dinner and wine, selected and prepared by Nicolas and yours truly. If you would like to come, let me start by doing a little happy dance, and then ask you to please email me before the 8th of October with your name, phone number, and the number of people who will be coming with you!

Paris Potluck Recipes

The Paris Potluck

When I went to the Salon Saveurs recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with a few Chocolate & Zucchini readers. A few hours of wandering up and down the aisles brought us closer, and as we all sat down, exhausted but exhilarated, the idea of creating a little supper club was brought up. The idea was to throw a dinner party where everyone would bring a dish, à la potluck. Isabelle and Ethan offered to host the first edition, which took place ten days ago.

We had a wonderful evening in Isabelle and Ethan’s cosy appartment in the 12th arrondissement, everyone engaged in lively — and often food-related — conversation, and I was delighted to see my salon companions again, and to meet new friends.

The whole team from the Salon Saveurs was in attendance : Isabelle and Ethan, Alisa, Amy (who came with her boyfriend Nicolas), Pascale (accompanied by her husband David), myself and Maxence. Meg from Too Many Chefs was there too, and we had the pleasure of meeting Christoph, whose comments you may have read on C&Z, and his wife Suzanne. Three foodie friends of Ethan and Isabelle rounded up the count to fifteen, Jonathan, Malory and Peter. Eight from America, four from France, two from Germany and one from Great Britain — quite the cosmopolitan bunch!

Needless to say, we ate like kings :

– Isabelle made a Zucchini Carpaccio (I had never had anything like this and loved it) and a Spring Vegetable Risotto,

– Meg contributed her tasty Chickpea and Leek Soup, the recipe for which is posted on her blog,

– Amy brought a fantastic Pea and Roasted-Garlic Crostini with Olives and Pecorino Cheese,

– Great minds think alike : Christoph and I both brought terrines from the latest issue of the French magazine Saveurs : he made the Sundried Tomato and Fish Terrine, while I made the Fresh Cheese and Vegetable Terrine, the recipe for which I will post soon,

– Jonathan and Malory brought a colorful Instantaneous Carrot Salad and a lovely Asparagus Tart,

– Alisa made a scrumptious and goodie-filled endive salad,

– And we ended all this on a delightful sweet note thanks to Pascale‘s Hazelnut Financiers (recipe on her blog) and Pistachio Tuiles, as well as Isabelle’s perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies (made from the famous Nieman-Marcus recipe).

And for the picture-curious among you, here are the friendly faces of Isabelle, Meg and Christoph, Pascale, Ethan, Suzanne and Maxence, David, Nicolas and Amy, Malory, Jonathan, Alisa and Peter. And I do wish that my pictures did them (and their dishes) better justice.

Below are some of the recipes from that night — the others will be added when their authors get a chance to type them up for us.

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