Did Someone Say Food?

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When traveling with A Taste of Paris, food is pretty much always on our minds.  You know what they say…”When in France, do as the French do” and food is always on the minds of the French!

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When asked, Why France?  Jacqui Cooper, a former ATOP traveler, said it best…”To me, the mere mention of Paris evokes thoughts of exquisite food, wine, and pastries;” 

See the recipe below for Sweet Red Chili Basil Tomatoes from our Parisian chef; you may be surprised by one of the ingredients that make this stunning morsel an explosion in your mouth.

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“the first hint of trendsetter fashions; beautiful countryside and gardens; and a city of lights illuminating some of the world’s magnificent historical architectures.” 

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“Paris also brings to mind the flea and food markets where ordinary folks shop for the necessities of the day.” 

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“I chose the ATOP trips because it enabled me to revisit some of Paris’ breathtaking historical sites,”

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“such as Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, and the Pantheon;”

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“and to enjoy again, the French countryside and wonderful champagne.” 

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“The tour also gave me the unique opportunity to delve into the food side of Paris.”

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  “Of course, we went to lovely restaurants and bistros to partake of the Parisian cuisine,”

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“but the motivating reason for choosing ATOP was the “hands on” activities.  For example, we had an afternoon at the world famous Le Cordon Bleu School, where we actually, under the watchful eye of a French pastry chef, participated in the painstaking detailed process of making macrons.” 

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“Another day found us meeting the Chef for our market class at the food market in mid-morning to shop for ingredients for the day’s luncheon.” 

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“We purchased what was needed and returned to the Chef’s school to cook.  We again participated in every step of preparing a meal and how to beautifully present it on the plate.”

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“These kinds of “hands on” experiences made the ATOP tour truly an unforgettable trip.”

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“An ever present reminder of the trip is the personalized chef’s jacket that Lorie gave each of us while in Paris.  Thanks Lorie.”

So Thank you Jacqui for summing up the A Taste of Paris experience so articulately!

You can still travel with ATOP in 2019 CLICK HERE for all the details!

And try Sweet Red Chili Basil Tomatoes with produce ripe from the field today!

Sweet Red Chili Basil Tomatoes

1-2 cups cherry tomatoes

Basil leaves, one for each tomato

1 teaspoon brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon Piment d’espelette (or substitute, 11/2 teaspoon paprika and a healthy dash of cayenne pepper)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Make a slit in each tomato about ¼ inch deep.  In a bowl, mix sugar and seasonings very well.  Add tomatoes and coat well with the sugar mixture.  Place tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment and using the back of a knife; slide a basil leaf into the slit of each tomato.  Place baking sheet into the oven to warm through for 4 minutes.

See you soon!

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Story Time- Le Vert Galant

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Le Vert Galant does not have a literal English translation; the closest I can come up with is a man past his prime that is still a ladies’ man. The most scandalous stories often come from history!

While registration for A Taste of Paris 2019 travel is open…

A Taste of Paris- March 31st-April 7th 2019

A Taste of Provence- September 7th-14th, 2019 OR September 14th-21st, 2019

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…I am exploring a simple question with past ATOP travelers; “Why France?”

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I was excited to hear from Barbara Wagner.  She has been taking cooking classes with me for over a decade and is a huge supporter of mine.

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“I had been to Paris before, but had never really SEEN Paris until I went with ATOP”

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The best part of the trip was seeing Paris through Lorie’s eyes, the tiny neighborhoods; the cooking stores and the stories were amazing”

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Did Barbara mention stories?  OK, twist my arm, I will tell one of my favorites, the story of Square du Vert-Galant.  I love bringing my Paris travelers here.

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This tiny garden is situated on the tip of the Île de la Cité, an island in the center of the Seine river and just under Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris. Even though this is just a tiny patch of green there is so much history here.

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When you cross Pont Neuf, you see this magnificent statue of Henry IV, the first French monarch of the Bourbon dynasty.  He ruled France from 1589-1610, when the blade of a knife took him to his untimely death, he was assassinated.

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Henry had quite the reputation as a ladies man despite his age and the fact that he was married.

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Legend has it that he brought many lovers to this spot.

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The foliage around the tiny island garden shields it from view, but rumors abound that King Henry could be seen from the palace walls by the queen.  You can imagine that there was a lot of trouble at home!

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His queen, Margaret, had at one point saved his life by converting to Catholicism, which of course is another story.

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Square du Vert Galant offers and amazing view of the Seine, is a great spot for a small picnic or just to catch a few rays. I would love to take you there! For more information on ATOP 2019 travel email lorie@atasteofparis.net or call 214 551 9630.

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Barbara was an absolute dream to travel with and I am so humbled by her comments about A Taste of Paris travel. Barbara is active in many organizations including the McKinney Garden Club; in fact her home was recently on the Garden Club tour and is a shining example of the lovely gardens our city has to offer.  She is a wonderful cook and loves to travel with her darling husband.  Barbara is such a thoughtful friend.

I want to hear YOUR, why France?

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Bucket List

 

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We all have a Bucket List, things we are dreaming of doing…

While registration for A Taste of Paris 2019 travel is open, I am exploring a simple question with past ATOP travelers; “Why France?”

It has been really fun to read the responses from so many wonderful people that have trusted me with their France vacations and to revisit so many memories as I sift through thousands of photos.

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I want you to meet Debbie Finley; here she is receiving her culinary certificate at Le Cordon Bleu.

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She is one of the awesome 9 that trusted me on my very first trip! These ladies will always have a special place in my heart!

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I asked Debbie “Why France?”

She Said “I had always wanted to go to Paris, but my husband was not interested.  When a friend and neighbor told me about the ATOP trips, I realized this was the opportunity of a lifetime.”

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“The food, the friends the experiences were amazing”

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“My favorite moment was the Michelin meal at Jules Verne at the Eiffel Tower, Cheers Jill”

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In our rush to get through our daily activities, take some time to consider your bucket list as a reminder of what is important to you.  When you are doing something you have only dreamed of, time seems to stand still.

It was truly a pleasure to help Debbie put a check by Paris on her list!

Thank you Debbie, for sharing your travel and your thoughts with me!

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Register for 2019 travel TODAY!  Just click for more details or email me at lorie@atasteofparis.net

A Taste of Paris- March 31st-April 7th 2019

A Taste of Provence- September 7th-14th, 2019 OR

A Taste of Provence- September 14th-21st, 2019 hurry only 1 seat left!

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Debbie is a well-known resident of our town.  She is the mother of twin boys and the grandmother to 4 precious children who she adores.  She is an avid golfer and gardener and she is also very active in her work with the International Student Foundation.

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The Iconic Eiffel Tower

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As I explore “Why France?” with past and future travelers, one iconic symbol is on everyone’s list, the Eiffel Tower.  It is the single most recognized symbol in the world and of course when you see it, you think of Paris, the capital of France.

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The Eiffel Tower was designed by Gustave Eiffel and his team of engineers for the 1889 World’s Fair.  Paris was chosen as the location for the fair to mark the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.

Romantic Paris Portraits

The Eiffel rests on the Champ-de-Mars and this structural marvel of iron lattice stands 324 meters tall, the equivalent of an 81 story building.  The tower took only 2 short years to build which is amazing when you think of the rudimentary construction capabilities of the times.

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I believe the very best view of the Eiffel Tower is from the Seine, right at dusk.  The tower lights up and if you are lucky enough to be sipping champagne, it’s magical!

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I am excited to share that A Taste of Paris has partnered with L’amour de Paris for what can only be described as a fashion styled photo shoots at the Eiffel Tower.  All of the photos you see here of me were taken by the talented and adorable CheyAnne and wow was it fun!

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L’amour de Paris has offered a very special price to ATOP travelers, Thank YOU!

Register for 2019 travel TODAY!  Just click for more details or email me at lorie@atasteofparis.net

A Taste of Paris- March 31st-April 7th 2019

A Taste of Provence- September 7th-14th, 2019 OR

A Taste of Provence- September 14th-21st, 2019 hurry only 1 seat left!

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Mix it Up!

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To celebrate, the launch of 2019 travel, I will be exploring France in a different way; through the eyes of my travelers with one simple question…”Why France?”

This is Sharilyn Getz’s answer; she traveled with me in April 2018

“A Taste of Paris Trips are the perfect mix of cooking, shopping and sightseeing in a magical city. It was a spectacular trip!”

I am excited to share some of the memories made on Sharilyn’s trip to Paris.

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Sharing some time with best friends.

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Sharilyn receiving her certificate at the famous Le Cordon Bleu!

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Making French macarons is fun but the best part is eating them!

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Shopping at the flower market,

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and for cheese; the ideal afternoon snack!

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Sightseeing…

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and a selfie!

I enjoyed having this vivacious lady along for the journey!

Register for 2019 travel TODAY!  Just click for more details or email me at lorie@atasteofparis.net

A Taste of Paris- March 31st-April 7th 2019

A Taste of Provence- September 7th-14th, 2019 OR

A Taste of Provence- September 14th-21st, 2019 hurry only 1 seat left!

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Florals to Brighten your Summer

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Is there any better place on earth to window shop than Paris?  I think not!

Store windows and displays were jammed with florals this spring in Paris, proving this feminine trend is here to stay for another few seasons.

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By far the most creative was Dolce and Gabbana’s, their shop on rue Saint Honorè had devoted the entire storefront to the flower market theme.

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This window features a varsity style sweater to toughen the look up a bit.

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 Even, the men’s shop was featuring a print of butterflies and flowers for a formal tuxedo!

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My favorite display featured huge floral pomanders in place of the heads for this trio of mannequins at La Bon Marche.

All of this put me in the mood to get my floral on so I have curated an assortment of fresh favorites for YOU! Click the image to shop!

Let me KNOW how you are wearing the floral trend, you can even post a pic of yourself in the comments section of this blog post!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love this J.Crew Liberty of London blue and lavender floral print.  It looks amazing with white jeans!

These Soludos Embroidered espadrilles are a great way to add a floral pop to any outfit.

Looks like the pretty trend is for table top too, this butterfly/floral salad plate would pop any table setting.

I could not resist adding this blue tile and floral mosaic Dolce & Gabbana bag to the post.  I tried on this bag on at Galeries Lafayette, just for fun and it is stunning!

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A Garden that Lures you IN

 

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My mother and I attended the McKinney Garden Club tour this weekend.  It’s become a tradition for us to traipse through historical homes and yards and then cool off at a local restaurant for lunch.

I enjoy seeing all kinds of gardens and relish in the details that make each one unique.

When in France, I make it a point to spend some time in the little green patches all over the cities;  small community plots begging you to come in and sit for a while.

This year I was particularly inspired by s set of metal envelopes filled with bright blooms hanging from a wooden fence.

Both gates that lead to my backyard have an archway covered by pink climbing roses.  The ideal location for a set of metal planters, don’t you think?

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When I got home I found these extra tall metal bins with wooden handles at a local craft store and I was on my way!

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The first step was to drill a few holes in the bottom of each bin so water can drain through.  As my mother always says, “Plants don’t like their feet (roots) to stay wet!”

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Stones in the bottom of each bin will also help with drainage.

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I filled the bins with potting soil.

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Next, it was time to plant!

I recommend choosing a variety of flowering plants to create some interest.  I like to use one plant that spills over the edge and something that will spike up on top.  Since the metal bins are relatively small it’s important to use plants that really like to show off their blooms all season.

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It was finally time for the best part, hanging the pretty pair of planters.

Every time I look at them, I am transported to that sweet garden in Paris that lured me in!

Join me for a cooking class in JUNE or in Paris next April!

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Trend Seeker

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Did you know, my first career was in the apparel industry? Ultimately, I directed the design of the private label textiles for a 500 million dollar company.  Part of my job was to follow fashion trends.  That was many years ago but when I am not in the kitchen; I still love to seek out the latest craze.

The best place on earth to do this is Paris!  After I wrapped with my A Taste of Paris group this year, I found myself with 4 days in the city.

I had a great time wandering around, window shopping in between meetings. It did not take a rocket scientist to see that WHITE for feet is IN like Flynn!

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On every single block, store fronts were packed with white footwear.

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From oxfords to mules, slides and amped up athletics

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I adore these white boots with the western detailing.  Wishing I’d brought these babies back to TEXAS!

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And I’ll have to admit that I am still dreaming about this pair of leather brogues with the crazy pearl bars.

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Can you guess what was in order when I got home??? A little shopping!

I found these adorable patent leather mules by Bass, the expert on loafers and wow what a steal at less than $60.00! Shop NOW

These Michael Kors leather sandals are light and breezy for summer. The flower motif with gold toned studs makes them irresistible. Shop NOW

Are you in the mood for something a little funkier?  How about these Gentle Souls with a flower and bead crusted vamp! Shop NOW

And if you don’t have to ask

“how much?” This pair of Gucci’s

With bee and star golden

embroidery is ideal to take

you right through fall.

That’s right!  White shoes

after labor day!! Shop NOW

 

White shoes are clearly no longer just for nurses and the gym!

Join me in Paris for a little trend watching and a lot of cooking and tasting.

A Taste of Paris-March 31-April 7th.

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Blood Orange Martini

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I was in Trader Joe’s today and scored 2 bags of blood oranges for only $2.49 each!

In the past finding this unusual orange meant driving the distance to a specialty food store and paying what seemed like a king’s ransom for the honor.  You can understand my excitement about this deal at Traders.

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All I could think about was crafting my all-time favorite cocktail, Blood Orange Martinis this weekend!!

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The bright maroon colored flesh seems like a freak of nature.  The rich and vibrant hue makes me want to break into a happy dance.

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Generally we think about darker colored foods having greater nutritive value but the truth is there is not much difference between a navel orange and a blood orange.

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The flavor is a different story. Blood oranges are less acid than their counterparts and have a distinct smell and taste of red berries. This explains why the seasonal fruit is so special and perfection in my cocktail.

I hope you will grab a few bags of blood oranges, squeeze that precious juice and shake a few cocktail along with me.  We can toast each other!

à votre santé!

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blood orange martini

 Blood Orange Martini

1 part orange vodka

1 part blood orange soda

2 parts blood orange juice

½ part triple sec

Zest of ½ orange

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain before serving in a glass with a sugar rim.

 

 

Laduree, One of my favorite Parisian Addresses

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Laduree is the home of the modern day French Macaron selling more than 15,000 of the little cookies every single day! Can you imagine the ovens needed to produce that quantity of cookies?

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The first French mac was only a fraction of what we know today. In fact it was not French at all but an Italian cookie brought by Catherine de Medici.

In 1533 Catherine, married Henry II who would become king of France a few years later.  It was the Italian chef to Catherine that brought the recipe for the cookies made of almond flour, eggs and sugar.

This is still the recipe that Laduree uses today and the one that I teach in my French Macarons class.  The main difference, the cookies were only 1 layer, an almond meringue.

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A man by the name of Louis Ernest Laduree opened a fine patisserie in 1862 in the current Rue Royale location.  Laduree was an outspoken reformist and prolific writer of the times.

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Rue Royale was a nice address and considered quite posh and still is today.

A few short years later in 1871 the patisserie was burned to the ground in a social uprising.

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Jules Cheret, a popular poster artist of the time was hired to design the new structure.  Cheret is credited with choosing the iconic celadon green used for the exterior, interior and the packaging.  He designed the chubby “pastry cherubs” that adorn the ceiling at the Rue Royale address.

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In 1930, Pierre Desfontaines, the grandson of Laduree, decided to sandwich the cookies together with chocolate ganache, and the first double decker macaron was born!

But there is something else that may surprise you.

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What really makes me stop in my tracks is the knowledge that at the beginning of the 20th century women were not allowed to go into cafes, they were strictly reserved for men.

Laduree helped to change all that by creating one of the first tea rooms for women.

Laduree at Rue Royale is more than a wonderful stop for goodies; it is a historic site for women.  Having tea with friends in public was an absolute liberation for the women of this generation.

No wonder I love this brand so much!!

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The next time you are in Paris, soak up the girly vibe that is Laduree and have a French macaron!

Or, go with me and I will take you there!

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