Potatoes Sarladaises

Have you ever visited the Périgord, that gorgeous region in the south-west of France?

It is where Maxence’s grandfather lives, and we have visited many times over the years. We are drawn back again and again, not just by the adorable stories Grand-Père tells of Maxence as a child, but also by the heart-stopping beauty of the landscape, the vertiginous cliff-side villages, the fascinating natural caves with subterranean river rides, and, well, the food.

Périgord is particularly known for its truffles, walnuts, strawberries, ceps, chestnuts, goat cheese (the one and only Rocamadour), and duck products, foie gras and duck confit most famously.

La Roque-Gageac

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The Cheese Geek’s Guide to Affinage

Did you know that France produces more than 350 types of cheese? Each variety is the unique result of a specific production method and aging process, requiring both technical skill and intuition.

Jonathan DeitchWe talk about cheese a lot on Chocolate & Zucchini: we’ve covered how to shop for cheese and the notion of cheese terroir, and today I am happy to present a guest post by Jonathan Deitch, a.k.a. Monsieur Fromage, a fellow bilingual blogger and passionate explorer of all things cheese.

Jonathan is an American who’s lived in France since 2009. He recently attended an intensive two-week professional workshop at Académie Opus Caseus, the cheese industry’s center for education. He has generously offered to walk us through the process of making and aging cheese, with lots of quirky details for us cheese geeks to lap up.

Please visit the M. Fromage blog, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram. Thank you Jonathan!

Part Magic, Part Biochemistry

Goat cheeses sampled on Cheese Day in Paris, in January 2016. Note the blueing on the rind.

My recent two-week professional training with the Académie Opus Caseus was an eye-opening introduction to affinage, the process of aging cheese. The principles and techniques are simple to understand, yet they take a lifetime to master. They also serve as a good reminder of the importance of environment and tradition, and the value of patience, honest labor, and passion.

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Best of February

The Saint-Roch Church in Paris

February was a big and happy month for me. Most notably, we celebrated my youngest son Mika’s second birthday (where’d my baby go?) and I completed the manuscript for my new cookbook, Tasting Paris! I have a couple more sections to write, but the bulk of it–all 100 recipes and accompanying headnotes–is done, and I am proud and excited.

The photos will be shot later this spring by the amazing Nicole Franzen, and the finished book will come out in the US in early 2018. (We’ll be looking for publishers to publish it in other countries and other languages.) I will continue to share the process with you in the coming months.

Things That Made me Happy in February

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Best Eats in Toulouse, From a Local

Photo: @Boigontier

Travel season will be upon us very soon, and I want to make sure you see and taste the best France has to offer. When it comes to Paris I’ve got you covered (ask me about my tours!) but there are many other places 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.

In Toulouse, Lucie recommends…

lucie_jeveuxtoutgouter

Lucie Paimblanc is a journalist with a passion for the environment, plant-based foods, and Chinese culture. She started her blog Je veux tout goûter (“I want to taste everything”; I understand the sentiment) four years ago, to share seasonal recipes and her favorite places to eat in and around Toulouse. In May 2016, she began a second blog, Je deviens écolo (“I’m becoming green”), to document her journey toward a no-waste lifestyle with zero side effects. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

I actually had the pleasure of meeting Lucie in Paris after we connected for this post; if you read French (and/or want to see my kitchen!) check out her post and video. She has taken all of the lovely photos that illustrate this post, as well.

A greenmarket: Le Marché Saint-Aubin

Marché Saint Aubin

If you are wondering what grows around Toulouse at any point of the year, go straight to the food market of Saint-Aubin on Sunday mornings. When facing the massive church, follow the flow of people on your right, where all the local and organic farmers set up their stands.

You will find bread, meat, flowers, cheese, vegetables, fruits, etc. at the main market, and when you arrive behind the church, follow the inside of the first circle around it where a few food trucks may be of interest, serving empanadas and freshly fried beignets, a French donut.

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10 Romantic Things to do in Paris

Hey, Happy Valentine’s Day! Do you have something fun scheduled with your special someone, with your friends, with your kids? I want to hear all about it!

For our first Saint-Valentin as newlyweds, Maxence and I had an advance dinner at a new Italian restaurant in our neighborhood, Il Cuoco Galante (“the gallant cook,” named after an 18th-century book of Neapolitan cuisine), where I had a marvellous dish of fresh-made fusilli.

I also surprised him this morning with a cloud-shaped collage of pictures from our recent wedding on one wall of our living room, plus (going all out, people!) I’ve hand-lettered a card for him, directly inspired by one I featured in my Valentine’s Day gift guide. (Can you guess which one?)

And since I write to you from the city of love, inarguably, my gift to you is this mini-guide I put together with 10 Romantic Ideas in Paris, free to download!

PS: Short on time but still want to mark the occasion? These five last-minute recipes for Valentine’s Day are for you!

PPS: Need help getting into the spirit? Jacques can help: (He always gives me the chills.)

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