Playground for the Rich and Famous-the French Riviera

Pebbled beach in NIce, France

The French Riviera; playground for the rich and famous, will be the back drop for an amazing adventure for 7 travelers, in April 2020.

French Riviera

The vibrant coastal town of Nice will be our hub for this week-long exploration of the area and Nice has it all.  The magnificent cerulean blue Mediterranean ocean on one side, and 3 mountain caps on the other, home to the sweetest villages I have ever encountered.

Village around French Riviera.

This village with the fortress wall around it, is tucked into the mountains and is begging to be explored.

City view Nice, France.

The colorful city center of Nice is packed with cafes that spill into the streets, with a waft of the Provencal flavors in the air and the casual nature of these establishments hint at the warmth of its people.

Not far from this is SHOPPING!  Nice is a larger city so all of the high-end brands are available and plenty of moderately priced options too!

Te e Tisane al mercato di Eze, Costa Azzurra

Markets in this region of France abound and all with their own flair.  I always love seeing the beautiful spices and…

Confiture in the window, Nice, France.

…the candied fruits; confiture, a delicacy of the region.

Shrimp Risotto

Don’t even get me started on the food.

Penne pasta with basil.

Nice is very close to the Italian border so there is PASTA, so tasty and yet still served with the elegance that can only be associated with France.

Nice, France

Can you tell I am crushing hard on the French Riviera?

I have only 3 spaces left for this amazing trip

The French Riviera April 24th-30th 2020.

Don’t delay, make one of them YOURS Today.  By email to lorie@atasteofparis.netau revoir for now lorie (002)

There is NO Such Thing as TOO Many Bubbles!

 

Glasses toasting in our champagne tasting class

I ask you…is there any such thing as too many bubbles?

I hear a resounding NO in my head, is that YOU?

Mary leading us in a champagne tasting

This is Mary who led us in a wonderful class on the effervescent world of French Champagne.

Lorie about to open a bottle of champagne

We tasted lots of champagne and other goodies

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Charcuterie, Gougeres and the acclaimed Gillardeau oysters known as the Rolls-Royce of oysters.

Monica opening a bottle of champagne

Without a doubt the best part was watching ATOP travelers pop the bottles.

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Our expert, Mary, was teaching us how to open the bottle “so that it gives a soft sigh, much like that of a satisfied women” not a loud pop!

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To open the bottle, take off the foil wrapper, keep your thumb on the top of the bottle, twist the wire tab towards yourself, six times.  Keeping your thumb on the top, and hand over the wire cage, now twist the bottle, not the cork until it releases with a sigh.

Lorie opening a bottle of champagne

I’ll be practicing this new way but I won’t lie, I love the loud pop champagne makes! It lets me know a party is about to start!

The three special ladies you see see in this post will be featured on my Facebook page atasteofparistrips and on Instagram stories @atasteofparis, this week. I hope you will check it out!

MOMS do so much for everyone else!  I love when they do something for themselves like travel to FRANCE with me!

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For information on Travel in 2020 Click HERE!

A huge thank you to L’amour de Paris for the photos at our Champagne tasting, I appreciate them so much!

au revoir for now lorie (002)

 

 

Notre Dame has Inspired Generations

The world watched in horror as Notre Dame, Our Lady Cathedral in Paris, France, burned for hours on Monday, April 15th, 2019. I was in Paris having just returned to my hotel after being near Notre Dame when the fire broke out.

The video you see above was taken on April 11th, 2019 when I visited Notre Dame with my A Taste of Paris, 2019 group.  I feel very thankful that I took this tiny snippet, I don’t usually take video or pictures here as I have visited so many times but, on this day, I had been searching for several new artifacts.

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Notre Dame is ALWAYS on the list of sites to visit with my groups, it has to be one of the most memorable and emotional places we go.

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When you think about the fact that this structure is almost 900 years old, the very first stone was laid in 1163, it gives you chills.  As you enter the structure and see all of the painstaking details, you began to understand just what it must have been like in mid evil times to carry and hoist each and every stone to construct this Gothic marvel.  Notre Dame was completed in 1345 taking 182 years to build. Now that is awesome.

Notre Dame de Paris at night
Notre Dame de Paris at night

A few facts about Notre Dame you might not know:

    • When Notre Dame was built it could hold 10,000 people for worship, standing of course, there were no pews.
    • Notre Dame was built on the exact site of the pagan temple of Jupiter built by the Romans in the 6th century.
    • In 1804 Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned the first emperor of France here.
    • Victor Hugo’s, Hunchback of Notre Dame was completed, in 1831.  At that time, the cathedral was in a terrible state of disrepair.  As the novel gained in popularity, people began to visit Notre Dame and the French government decided to restore this massive beauty.
    • The crown of thorns worn by Jesus, a nail from his cross and a piece of the cross are housed in the crypt at Notre Dame, in the deepest part of the structure.  These artifacts are brought out for viewing only 1 time a year, on Good Friday.  Luckily, these artifacts were saved from the fire.
    • Notre Dame is one of the largest religious structure in the world.
  • Every year more that 13 million people visit Notre Dame

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The above image is the center front facade of Notre Dame.  You dont have a complete picture here but what you are looking at is Jesus in the center with his 12 apostles, Peter being just to His left.  Above Jesus you will see the last judgement taking place.  I love sharing this scene with my travelers in great detail and cannot tell you how grateful I am that it is still standing.

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The French have vowed to rebuild Notre Dame and hope to have it completed within 5 years. I look forward to watching the progress that I am sure will amaze.

I would love to hear from you guys about you first visit to Notre Dame or any detail you would like to share!

au revoir for now lorie (002)

My Favorite Valentine Treats!

french chocolates

Valentine’s Day means plenty of chocolate everywhere!

Red Velvet Brownies with cream cheese frosting in a glass baking dish.

I am sure you saw my recipe for decadent Red Velvet Brownies last week.

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How about Chocolate Lava Cake, a quintessential favorite and oh so easy to prepare as long as you know the secret…bake the cakes cold from the refrigerator!

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And of course Chocolate Truffles like the ones at Maison du Chocolat in Paris are unbeatable and surprising simple to make!

I hope you will be inspired to make a chocolate treat for someone you LOVE today!

Consider joining me in the kitchen for upcoming Cooking Classes, where Fun is Always on the Menu! Seats are limited, register TODAY! 

au revoir for now lorie (002)

Plate of Macaroons

ATOP Named to TOP 150 Food Blogs!!

I am thrilled to report that A Taste of Paris was named one of the top 150 food blogs by BrandBallot.  What an honor to be among so many talented food writers!  I hope you will join me as I celebrate this fantastic news, thank you BrandBallot!



Teaching this holiday season was filled with fantastic food, amazing people and so much fun, thank you for joining me in the kitchen!

The winter and spring cooking class schedule is live and filled with fabulous food experiences. There are several new class styles added to the assortment. Registration is open so make your choices TODAY; and  email lorie@atasteofparis or click HERE. to secure your seat.

I look forward to seeing you soon!!

Cooking Classes Winter Spring 2019

Eating Well-January 25th 11:00-1:00-Being well in the New Year is at the top of everyone’s to-do list.  In this entertaining class we will explore simply GOOD FOOD that will feed your body and your soul. In this class we will sip red wine as we start with breakfast, pretty Poached Egg and Veg Tartine. Nothing heals the soul like classic Chicken Noodle Soup, when made from scratch it really satisfies.  We will prepare Baby Kale salad packed with nuggets of goodness.  Wild caught Orange Glazed Alaskan Salmon with Balsamic Roasted Root Vegetables is quite possibly the best dinner ever. Marinated Pork Tenderloin served with cranberry apple chutney with quinoa hash alongside will get your crew to the table fast! Cinnamon Baked Apples make a great side dish or dessert and for a truly decadent finish we will prepare chocolate cups filled with dried fruits and nuts. Class Fee $59.00

XoXo Chocolate- February 6th 6:30-9:00 Valentine’s Day right around the corner and my mind always drifts to Chocolate. Chocolate is an interesting food; of all the foods on earth I have the most passion for this rich dark flavor. Maybe it’s the seductive quality of chocolate or simply the fact that there is artistry involved in creating with it, either way I look forward to sharing with you in this amazing class.  Bourbon pairs perfectly with chocolate so we will sip a Mint Julep while we dive into chocolate. Our first Chocolate recipe will be savory, Cocoa Rubbed Short Ribs served with Roasted Carrots and Cauliflower and a Picada (herb and chocolate) Sauce. We will prepare an exquisite Decadent Chocolate Cake stuffed with Whipped Chocolate Ganache and topped with silky Ganache. Next up, we’ll make White Chocolate Pot de Crème with Strawberries. No chocolate class would be complete without an irresistible cookie; ours will be Chocolate Shortbread, dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with peppermint!  Vanilla Lavender Chocolate Truffles are like little bites of heaven. We will keep the chocolate love going with Chocolate Crepes stuffed with cream and berries and drizzled with chocolate Ganache. Each guest will decorate a Chocolate Pop as a take home treat!  Class Fee 62.50

Artisanal European Breads-February 8th 10:30-2:30 ONE SEAT OPEN There is nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread coming from of the oven.  Imagine yourself with the skills to prepare European style artisan loaves right in your own home!  You will learn many techniques that go into producing amazing loaves including proper scoring techniques and stenciling for beautiful results.  You will be taught the French Baguette, the Batard, Boule and Tabletierie. Each guest will take home 2 full sized loaves, a baguette and second; guests choice.  In addition, you will prepare a batch of dough from scratch to be finished in your home oven. Class includes churning fresh cultured butter.  We will take a break from the ovens and enjoy our warm bread with a lovely Chopped Salad for lunch with wine and cheese of course!  A pretty great way to spend the day and your friends and family will be delighted by the results!  $79.00

Make and Take-Dinner for Two- February 22nd 10:30-1:00 A new offering in the cooking school!  Come and take a cooking class and take home a 4 course dinner for two.  Share it with your spouse or a friend!  This class promises to be lively and full of fun! On the Menu:

Appetizer- Goat Cheese and Cranberry Spiral and ½ loaf French bread

Starter- Sun Dried Tomato Basil Soup with Cheesy Pillows of goodness

Main- Mouthwatering Chicken Cordon Blue with Honey Garlic Green Beans

Dessert-Apple Tart with Almond Custard filling

Chopped Salad and iced tea will be served.  Class size is limited.  Class Fee $64.50

Let’s Make Dinner! March 7th 6:30-8:30 A new offering at the cooking school;  come and make a 4 course dinner to be enjoyed together with a glass of wine.  What a great way to spend the evening!  We will cook together to prepare our feast then sit and enjoy the fruits of our labor with a beautiful glass of wine! You will leave with the recipes; this class promises to improve overall kitchen skills. Class fee 59.50

Food and Wine Workshop March 21-22nd 10:30-2:00 Join me for an extraordinary 2- day culinary event and immerse yourself in good food and wine!  We will explore wine styles and pairings as we work side by side to prepare truly mouthwatering dishes.  We will dine together as we taste wine varietals and enjoy the recipes. Dinner tastes can be enjoyed here or taken home.  This course promises to improve overall kitchen skills that last a lifetime.  Hope you will join the fun! Class size is limited.  Class Fee $192.50

Day 1~Champagne and Crement and Appetizers

We will begin our time together with a mini champagne workshop.  The mystery of this amazing beverage will be revealed as we enjoy it with our appetizers of Tomato Basil and Gruyere Gourges, Crab Stuffed Mushroom Caps and an artistic American Style Cheese Board, packed to the brim with cheese, meat and goodness.

Sancerre and Chardonnay and Lunch

We will prepare and enjoy a crispy Goat Cheese Grapefruit and Avocado Salad and Seafood Crepes as we enjoy these beautiful white wines.

Rose and Dinner

We will prepare a lovely Chicken and Artichoke Tart perfect for dinner when served with a green salad.  For a sweet finish we will make Pears in Chocolate Ganache and tiny Chocolate Madeleines.

Day 2~Beaujolais and Grenache and Breakfast

We will prepare a breakfast soufflé, Bacon and Cheddar to be eaten alongside Fruit and Almond Butter Tartine.

Red Blends and Lunch

As we taste our wines we will enjoy freshly made Creamy Cauliflower Soup and an inventive Crispy Vegetable Salad.

Bordeaux and Cabernet and Dinner

We will learn the origin of the iconic dish Beef Tournedos served with Blue Cheese and Walnut Butter over dreamy Mashed Potatoes.  To finish our days together we will celebrate round an exquisite Double Chocolate Tart topped with Raspberries.

April 25th Let’s Make Dinner Details coming soon

May 3rd Make and Take Dinner for Two- Details coming soon

Wine~Another GIVEAWAY

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I love telling you about the treasures in our town of McKinney and Andy Doyle of McKinney Wine Merchant is definitely one of these.

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His vast knowledge of wine, winemakers and wine pairing will astound you!

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Andy brought the wine to the table for the recent Dinner Party 2018, Flavors from a Provencal Market, hosted by Lauren Palmer at The Art of Living Beautifully and Styled by Marcie Henehan and Traci Miller of Unique Unique Designs, with me as the chef!

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I was so enamored with the wine Andy chose for the main course; I wanted to share it with YOU and giveaway a bottle to one lucky subscriber.

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Silver Ghost is a $35.00 bottle, a California Cab that drinks like a $60.00 bottle.  It’s smooth and rich and for red wine lovers it pairs nicely with white meat. The name Silver Ghost pays homage to the wine producing families association with the Rolls Royce Company.

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Swing by McKinney Wine Merchant for all of wine requirements this busy holiday season; you can even call ahead for curbside pickup!

120 W Virginia St, McKinney, TX 75069 (972) 542-4636

GIVEAWAY

I am very excited to tell you that I am giving away 1 bottle of Silver Ghost! To enter, head over to Instagram @atasteofparis for all of the details and I hope YOU win!

To double your odds, write your friends name in the comment section of this post, share the post with them, if they subscribe to A Taste of Paris, you will both be entered TWICE!

GOOD LUCK!

Photos of the Dinner Party were taken and shared by Jettpack Creative
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Autumn in Provence- Through an Open Door

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls. Joseph Campbell

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I adore this image from my most recent autumnal visit to Provence. It draws you in, wondering what could be on the other side of that passageway.

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It’s Friday and I am contemplating the doors that have both opened and closed in my life while sifting through photos and I am grateful for both.

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I am always curious about what is on the other side of colorful doors like this with grand adornments.

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When a door closes it can be very sad.  It’s like we are being pushed forward even though we might not feel ready; it’s times like these that faith and hope get us through.

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And just like that a window opens and things are better than you could have ever imagined.  I think this little kitty agrees!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend, hug someone you love today!

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Autumn in Provence~A Trip to the Market

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Provencal markets are truly a magical place for food lovers.

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Gorgeous seasonal vegetables were relying only on their vivid color to entice buyers.

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Stunning eggplants begging to come home and become something wonderful on your plate!

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I adore the vegetables artfully displayed in sturdy baskets.

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Freshly picked thyme and bay leaves perched in this precious, red riding hood basket.

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The markets of Provence have much more to offer foodies besides just produce.

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Freshly made sausage is always a good bet to go along with a cheese and wine picnic perhaps?

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Nuts and dried fruits as far as the eye can see.

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And prepared foods like roasted chicken or this enormous copper pan loaded to the brim with Paella, just look at the size of those shrimp!

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Markets are bursting with jams, tapenades and spreads along with clothing, table linens, soaps and lavender. All in all a truly lovely way to spend a few hours and we did!

Travel with me next autumn! Two seats are available for

A Taste of Provence September 7-14th 2019

Reach out today for more information!

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Autumn in Provence~Sunflowers and Van Gogh

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I was at Trader Joes this morning gathering supplies for my classes this week, French Foods of the Normandy Coast and 4 Course French Menu at the Arboretum on Saturday and I noticed the gorgeous sunflowers for sale.

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They reminded me of the lovely sunflowers I enjoyed while touring my A Taste of Provence group in September. Sunflowers are such a happy flower!

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So big and bold, they almost don’t look real.

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The Provencal sunflowers surely inspired Vincent Van Gogh to paint this vase chalked full.  This particular painting was done while he lived in Arles, not far from our base in Saint Remy.

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One of the most interesting places we visited this year was the Van Gogh Clinic.  Van Gogh checked himself in and spent the last year of his life here in Saint Remy.

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He was very prolific and painted some of his most well-known pieces here, including Starry Night and Irises.  This is a look at the beautiful interior garden that inspired Van Gogh and many other residents.

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This is such a beautiful view of the outdoor garden at the clinic, also a source of inspiration to the artists here.

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I thought this was such an interesting arrangement I came across while traveling in the area. The sunflowers standing so tall and proud!

Have a happy day!

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