13 Years of C&Z: 13 Lessons for Blogging and Life


Hey, you know what I did thirteen years ago, like, to the day? I went ahead and created a blog! About food! And I called it, wait for it, Chocolate & Zucchini. Because it had a nice ring to it, and I liked chocolate, and I liked zucchini (and fortunately still do).

It has been an utterly amazing thirteen-year ride, and most of my life’s blessings have stemmed directly or indirectly from that single decision.

Where and who would I be if I hadn’t created C&Z? It’s anyone’s guess and it makes me a little dizzy just thinking about it, but I can’t imagine how I could possibly have found a more fulfilling, happier life path. (It’s a pretty good feeling.)

I want to thank you, whether you’ve been reading for thirteen seconds, thirteen weeks, or thirteen years. None of this would make sense, or even be possible, if it wasn’t for your interest and your readership.

I will be organizing a Paris meet-up soon, to celebrate with those of you who happen to be in our fair city. (It will be free; the idea is just to get together for a drink and a chat.) If you’re interested, please fill out this form and we will notify you when we’ve arranged the details of date and venue.

I have done a lot of learning, thinking, and growing over the past thirteen years, and I want to pass on these thirteen lessons for blogging and life. I hope some of these resonate with you. I’ll look forward to hearing your thoughts if they do!

Basket of produce at the market

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Best of September

Golden sunset on the Moulin de la Galette.

Golden sunset on the Moulin de la Galette.

Who’s with me in the I heart September camp? I enjoy the summer so much, and love it when Paris empties out and we get the city all to ourselves. But this is all to set the stage for that magical month of September: the good resolutions, the exciting new projects, and the very best, most bountiful time for French produce.

I have been cooking up a tornado with my fab assistant Anne, developing and testing five to six new recipes each week for my upcoming book, Tasting Paris. It’s been a lot of fun, we have been eating really well, and I can’t wait to share with you. (In the meantime, you can follow along through my Instagram stories!)

Best Eats this September

Best of September 2016

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Best Eats in Lyon, From a Local

France is such a beautifully diverse country, I want to make sure you see and taste the best it has to offer! When it comes to Paris I’ve got you covered, but there are many other cities with exciting and delicious things for you to experience. So I’ve asked a team of French bloggers from different cities to share their favorite spots, and I am offering them to you in this series.

QuentinIn Lyon, Quentin recommends…

Our guide to Lyon is Quentin Caillot. A lover of food and travel, Quentin created the blog Geek and Food, which focuses on culinary trends, dining recommendations, and urban agriculture. He is also the co-founder of a communication and culinary creation agency, and the first culinary coworking space in Lyon, La Food Factory.

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Flammekueche (Alsatian Pizza)

Flammekueche (Alsatian Pizza)

When we get to spend time at my parents’ vacation house in the Vosges, a mountain range in the Northeast of France, one of our favorite daytrips is to drive over to Colmar, a historic Alsatian town on the other side of the mountain.

We’ve been going for as long as my parents have had the house, a little over twenty years, and though Colmar is as gorgeous as Alsatian towns get (i.e. very), with paved streets, pretty canals, and amazing architecture, the capital-D Draw for me is the flammekueche we get for lunch.

Also known as tarte flambée, the flammekueche (pronounced flam-küsh*) can be described as the Alsatian pizza: a super thin round of dough topped with cream, finely sliced onions, bacon strips, and sometimes mushrooms (la forestière) and cheese (la gratinée), baked in a woodfire oven until the edges are golden brown and crisp.

Sitting at one of the outdoor tables outside our favorite restaurant in Colmar, we make conversation as we wait for our tartes flambées to arrive, and our collective joy vibrates through the air as the waitstaff brings them out, all hot and fragrant, on wooden boards.

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Christine Ferber Jams

Christine Ferber Jams

Over the summer, Maxence and I spent a few blissful, brightly sunny days hiding out in my parents’ vacation house in the Vosges mountains. One day, we took a day trip to Alsace, the region just on the other side of the mountain famous for its wines, its storks, and little houses with pointy roofs and exposed beams.

We went on a pilgrimage to Niedermorschwihr, the Alsacian village where Christine Ferber, whom I’ve mentioned before, officiates. This is where the Jam Fairy makes the best French jams, and this is where she sells them, in a little bakery named Au Relais des Trois Epis.

I had been dying to go there ever since I learned about it, and grew increasingly excited as we neared the village. We parked on the tiny church square, got out of the car and were instantly knocked off our feet by the intense fruit smells. They were coming out of a small ground floor window in the back of the shop, through which we could see the lab where the magic happens.

{A cat is hiding in the picture. Can you spot it?}

Somebody’s pet is hiding in the picture. Can you spot it?

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