Le printemps est là!


Spring is here! Spring is here! First daffodil sighting of the year, yesterday at the Parc Montsouris, which I cross on my way to work. I spotted them first after a client lunch, walking by with two of my coworkers (“Oh, des jonquilles!”, exclaimed I loudly, but they have ceased to take notice of my strange bursts of enthusiasm), and again a few hours later as I was going home. I could swear they had already grown by an inch. Now I hope the weather stays mild mild mild — we don’t want those daring spring pioneers to be cruelly seized by a new wave of cold.

And I cannot think of daffodils without thinking of Wordsworth and his poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”, which my 10th grade English teacher had taught the class during a trip to the Lake District in England, some 11 years ago. Reluctant at first (we were 15: what were we not reluctant to?), by the end of the trip we all knew it by heart and recited it happily at every half-occasion.

Important note: of course, considering this is a food blog and everything I had to research daffodils and cooking but no, daffodils are not edible. “The bulb of daffodil contains lycorine or narcissine a toxin that acts as an emetic [read: induces vomiting] in small amounts and can cause collapse and death by paralysis of the central nervous system in larger doseages.” Oh. Not such a good idea, then.

Update: Ahem. So, as an observant and more horticulturally-savvy than I pointed out, these are in fact crocuses, not daffodils. Oh well. Still pretty, still springlike!

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

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  • pounagate

    c’est drôle les jonquilles sur la photo ressemblent à des crocus! mais c’est sûrement que la photo est petite.
    Je voulais te demander, je voudrais faire une tarte avec un fond en pâte filo; combien de temps à l’avance penses-tu que le feuilletage résistera avant d’être détrempé? Autrement dit, dois-je essayer de la faire cuire le plus tard possible ou elle tiendra le coup une heure ou 2? Je te demande cela car j’ai vu que tu avais fait faire un petit voyage en métro à certaines de tes confections en pâte filo…
    En tous cas, ton site est super, quand je pense que tu n’a qu’un an de plus que moi, j’ai un peu l’impression de ne pas savoir mettre à profit ma jeunesse, mais bon… moi je ne suis pas dans l’action, plutôt dans la contemplation… (ça me rassure de penser ça!)

  • Dena, Toronto

    Thank you for your lovely, lovely site… I only wish I were in Paris too, admiring the daffodils.

  • Pounagate – Merci pour la correction, tu as tout à fait raison, ce sont des crocus! *embarrassed smile*. Et pour ta tarte, je te conseille de la faire cuire à la dernière minute: après son petit voyage en métro, mon strudel avait dû refaire un petit séjour au four pour cause de ramollissement…

  • Oh I’m jealous! It’s not quite time for the daffodils here in New Jersey, and I just can’t bear waiting much longer. I can’t tell you how it warms my heart to see the way that beautiful Wordsworth poem stayed with you. I have taught it to a number of 15 year olds myself, and only hope some one of them remembers it as fondly as you do when spring arrives.

  • Charlotte Freeman

    My sweet dog Raymond can attest to the emetic qualities of the daffodil — last fall, just after I’d planted them, he dug up and ate a bulb. My basement was a very sad place the next morning … and he was so deeply ashamed of himself in that sad, doggy way. Here in Montana, where it has been unseasonably warm, my miniature daffodils just started to bloom yesterday, and this mornign we have a fresh inch or two of snow. If I can get a pic, I’ll post it on my blog …

  • Hello Clotilde,
    I too loved that poem as a young girl. It was such a pleasure to meet you last night, and you speak and write English so beautifully that I’m astonished to learn you are French (I had only read your posts in the past, and not the “About me” part. Forgive me for calling your blog “Zucchini et chocolat”, but I can’t seem to think of it any other way!! I would do a food blog if I had the time, but don’t need to bother now, as yours in unbeatable.
    Bye for now,

  • Flaneuse (Flâneuse), de Barcelone vient de nous regaler [ nous = la Catosfera = Blogosphère Catalane) avec l’un de ses merveilleux posts.
    C’est gràce à elle que j’ai connu ce trésor de ton blog C&Z.
    Toutes mes félicitations les plus sincères.

    Voilà, tu as un nouvel admirateur.

    Vive le mois de la Francophonie.

  • nosy parker

    I adore your cuisine commentary, but I appreciate seeing bits of life in Paris just as much. Those daffodils springing up gives me a great glimpse of life in France.
    Thanks for the lift!

  • Larraine

    More Paris pictures please! I adore Paris. My husband and I lived in Germany from 1972-79. We went to France all of the time since we were only an hour away from Alsace. We visited Paris many times. What a great place. I’m so glad I found this place. Food and France – what could be better!

  • michael

    of course, since they’re crocuses, you should make something with saffron in their honor! one of the best uses of saffron i’ve seen is made here in chicago where i live. a local chocolatier makes a truffle that is infused with saffron. she then coats them in large, multi-colored sugar crystals and calls them “gaudi” after the similar looking mosaics one sees in barcelona. and now i’m thinking of barcelona, which makes me want to dust off the paella pan and use some saffron in that guise too….
    merci pour ton site super! paris me manque!

  • Oh how funny, I don’t know Michael, but I know the chocolatier that he’s referring to, because I interviewed her! Katrina Markoff of Vosges Chocolat. Small world, as they say.

    Anyway, I came to comment because I love that poem. Thanks for posting it.

  • Clotilde,

    I have daffodils but no crucuses:



  • /me does a little Maurice Chevalier dance and whips out Cole Porter.

    I like Paris in the springtime.
    I like Paris in the fall.
    I like Paris in the winter
    when it drizzles.
    I like Paris in the summer
    when it sizzles.
    I love Paris every moment
    every moment of the year
    I love Paris
    why oh why do I love Paris?
    Because my love is near.

    Yes, I know my Ella Fitzgerald imitation isn’t very good. And no one likes the drizzle in Paris; we just put up with it.

  • Boreal

    Roman soldiers used to carry bulbs of narcissus into battle with them. Then if they suffered a mortal wound they could eat them in hopes of having a less painful death.

    Cheery spring thoughts for you ;)

  • m

    ooh lovely picture – no daffodils out in my garden but the crocuses are out!

  • stick to vegetables, clotilde, or at least vegetables and edible flowers !
    i dreamed of bluebells last night and missed england for the first time – that’s those blue belly smelly (think penhaligons perfume) sort of flowers you find in english woods.

  • Damned I’ve just find a recipe with pumkin and daffodils :

    Are they trying to kill us or maybe the problem is in the bulb and not in the flower ?

  • verity74


    Crocus are much more food-blog friendly, as the source of saffron!

    We have daffa-down-dillies in the garden in the middle of the Uk so you’ll have them soon.

  • Theresa

    Bonjour, Clotilde. J’aime votre siteweb, que j’ai decouverte d’hasard.

    We have both daffodils and crocuses here in Seattle; and forsythia, my favorite fleur de printemps. I’ve never seen it in California or France, so you might not know what I’m referring to.

    We seem to have mirror lives. I grew up in Mountain View, worked in France for a couple of years when I was younger, and am now back in the states. And I loooove to cook. Different careers, though. I hope you got to see the US outside of Silicon Valley – it’s my hometown, but a bit of a sleepy, boring backwater even now. I’m sure you at least made it to San Francisco a few times.

    Il y a beacoup des expats Francaises ici en Seattle, qui travailent pour Microsoft, Amazon.com, les autres bureaus de technologies.

    Merci encore pour votre siteweb tres interesant!

  • theresa

    J’aime votre siteweb, Clotilde! Je l’ai decovert par hasard ce matin.

    Switching to english (I speak French pretty well, but my spelling is atrocious), I grew up in Mtn. View, worked in France for a couple of years and am now back in the states. And I’ve come to love cooking in the last few years. So in some way we have mirror lives. But different careers.

    In Seattle we have both crocus and daffodils; also forsythia, my favorite spring flower.

    I hope you got to travel beyond Silicon Valley while you were in the US; it’s my hometown, but San Jose is still a sleepy backwater in many ways. I’m sure you made to San Francisco a few times at least.

  • Annette

    Crocuses, daffodils… Who cares as long as it’s spring!

  • T de Belder

    Thank you for welcoming springtime in Paris with your enthusiastic musings (which we your faithful C&Z readers always appreciate!) and the lovely Wordsworth poem.

    I too noticed with childlike glee the colorful crocuses peeking out from tender tufts of grass in my neighborhood while walking to the organic market of Sceaux-Robinson yesterday. Inspired by your recipe for “Gâteau de panais au chorizo” (please scroll down to the March 4th entry, fellow readers), I filled my basket with beautiful parsnips and bade a fond farewell to winter with delicious results, thanks to your wonderfully unique recipe. Bravo!

    Speaking of markets and légumes oubliés, I would like to recommend a few books to you and all C&Z readers of French. Two of them, “Vivre Bio à Paris” and “Cuisiner comme un pro à Paris” are from the “Paris est à nous” series. These cheap, handy little guides are packed with information on organic markets, restaurants, specialty food and supply shops, cooking classes, and caterers in Paris. Also, Bernard Lafon (of “Oh! Les légumes oubliés!”) has a beautifully illustrated and passionately written book called “Le Potager de ma Grand-mère: Saveurs de légumes oubliés.” It includes historical appreciations and recipes for some of our most undeservedly forgotten friends. Do visit his farm dedicated to forgotten, heirloom vegetables if you’re ever in the Bordeaux region! Meanwhile, you can find some of his organic jams and soups at a few organic shops and at the Bon Marché. Just look for the enthusiastic “Oh! Les légumes oubliés!” label!

  • ginaserennissima

    I biked by the same crocuses at the Parc Montsouris the other day…so happy to be here in the spring sunshine!
    The big question du jour…where are the best cannelés in Paris? I am addicted to them…
    Merci pour votre réponse…

  • Steve

    Yes, I think your French friend is right, they are crocus!

  • josie

    french spring is the most gorgeous there is. i wish i had the time and money to jump on the next plane down, and just wander the streets of paris until my soul bursts with joy…. but it will have to wait until summer. i hope you are well and enjoying life, clotilde. keep up the good work.

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