Paris

Twelve Hours in Paris

Three and a half years ago, I followed my friend Adam’s lead and imagined what I would do if I was given just Twelve Hours in Paris.

I still stand by the choices I made then — except for the Caramella gelato shop, now sadly defunct. But, prompted by reader Patricia’s recent comment on that post, I thought it would be fun to revisit that theme now, and dream up another ideal Parisian day, featuring shops and restaurants that have opened in the meantime.

My twelve hours in Paris, 2012 edition, would begin in late morning with a croissant from Gontran Cherrier’s bakery: he makes it with feuilletage inversé, the puff pastry that’s typically used for millefeuilles (napoleons), and it is extra flaky and extra good. I would also buy a half loaf of his rye and red miso bread, if I didn’t mind schlepping it around with me all day.

I would then spend a couple of leisurely hours walking up and around the Montmartre hill, which remains full of secrets even when you’ve lived in the neighborhood for (gasp!) nine years. I would climb up staircases and down cobblestoned streets, check out the vineyard, peek into courtyards (and tiptoe in for a closer look if the gate happened to be open), and enjoy the village-y quiet and the greenery.

Hopping onto the metro or catching a Vélib’, I would go and have lunch at Bob’s Kitchen, the vegetarian restaurant where I cooked for a short while last year. I would order the day’s veggie stew, the satisfying mix of grains, legumes, roasted vegetables, and crudités I lunched on day in, day out during my stint there. I might also get one of their irresistible maki (garnished with avocado, mango, and daikon radish) to share.

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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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