Santa winking

Dear Santa…

Santa winking

Have you been dreaming of a trip to France?

I’ll bet Santa is wondering what to put under the tree for you…

I have some good news, there are still seats OPEN in all 3 A Taste of Paris food and wine excursions to France, but registration is heating up so let Santa know which trip he should stuff in your Christmas stocking!

The arc de Triomphe in Paris

 Have you always dreamed of visiting Paris?  Or maybe you have been many times before, and like me, you can’t get enough.  Either way, this trip dazzles with historic marvels, breathtaking masterpieces and unsurpassed flavors.

Eiffel tower at sunset

Paris, the most recognized city on earth, holds unmatched gastronomic treasures waiting to be experienced. Tree-lined boulevards and the romantic river Seine, winds through the city beckoning travelers from all corners of the globe. Partake in the glory that is Paris.

A Taste of Paris- April 12-18th, 2021

 

grapes on the vine in Burgundy France

Are you a lover of wine?  Join the fun and explore the thriving wine regions of Burgundy and Champagne, France; their rolling hills, medieval villages, the labyrinth of centuries old cellars and slow cooked iconic dishes will trill.

Very old dusty bottles of wine in a wine cellar in Burgundy France.

Champagne and Burgundy: Two of the most prestigious wine regions in the world, are as divine as the wines they produce.  French wines delight the senses and engage the soul.  With stunning estates and fruit laden vines that reach to the heavens.

A Taste of Paris- Wine Lovers- April 22nd-30th, 2021

 

View of Gordes in Provence

Or maybe you have been dreaming of Provence; the colors and light have seduced artists for centuries and it’s no wonder.  The countryside of rolling hills, olive groves, pine forests and lavender fields is peppered with Roman relics and elegant churches giving it a storybook quality.

Cassis France harbor view

Provence – where sparkling seascapes, fiery sunsets, and the striking variety of scenery make visitors feel as though they are stepping into a French Impressionist painting. Sun-soaked flavors and a convivial spirit flourish in this region.

A Taste of Paris- Provence- September 11th-18th, 2021

Let Santa know what you are hoping for and dont delay! Christmas morning you may just find it under the tree!

For more information, contact me at lorie@atasteofparis.net OR call 214 551 9630 

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Christmas cookies

The BEST Christmas Cookies

Christmas cookie platter

Is there anything happier than a platter of Christmas cookies? These are an assortment of my families favorites and so many happy memories!

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies are my son’s favorite and if I do say so, they are the BEST!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 cups ground oatmeal (grind old fashioned oatmeal in a food processor or blender)

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips preferably Ghirardelli’s

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs one at a time.  Mix flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder in a separate bowl.  Add gradually to sugar mixture.  Add ground oatmeal slowly until fully incorporated.  Mix in chocolate chips, drop by spoonfuls and bake on greased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes.

 

Christmas Tree Cookies

Christmas Tree Cookies are a tradition and Brooke and I usually make them together.

 

Magic bars

Magic Cookie Bars are my Mom’s favorite and we make them every year!

 

snowball cookies

And last but not least, Snowball Cookies are irresistible!

Happy baking!!

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Top 5 Goodies from Paris

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I have always dreamed of spending Christmas in Paris.  Snow gently falling on the bustling streets and shop windows packed full of interesting goodies.

Alas, for now it is merely a dream.  For anyone lucky enough to be traveling to my favorite city this holiday season, or any time of year for that matter, I have assembled a goodie guide for you.

Top 5 goodies to bring back from Paris

1-CHOCOLATE

chocolate from Paris.

Simple bars or carefully curated chocolate morsels, packed in a precious box, travel well and make marvelous gifts.

2- TEA

Mariage Freees tea from Paris

Mariage Freres tea is a lovely gift to bring back from the city.  The blends are crafted much like fine French perfume and are meant to excite and entice the palette.  You can buy loose tea or tea bags; tiny muslin sachets, that make me smile every time I reach for one. My favorite blend is called Wedding Imperial.

3- COOKIES

boxes of French cookies

Marquise de Sable is a wonderful brand of biscuit, or cookie as we call them, to bring back for friends.

French cookies

There is a wide assortment of flavors and the boxes are nice and flat making packing a breeze.

4- Mustard 

Maille French mustard

Maille is a fantastic French mustard and lovely for gifts carried home.

mustard assortment in Paris

It is astonishing the number of mustard flavors available; there is something for everyone on your list.

5- Olives 

wall of French olives

Olives make a nice gift or tidbit to enjoy once you are home.

jar of French olives

French olives have their pit making them much more flavorful.  My personal favorite are the picholine.

Paris in the snow

Is Paris your favorite city too or have you been dreaming of going there?

Join the group and come along with me, A Taste of Paris!

 A Taste of Paris- April 12-18th, 2021

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Christmas decoration with houses and cloches

Inspiration for Your Home

Foyer decoration for Christmas

Do you decorate your home for Christmas?

Christmas decoration with houses and cloches

I enjoy having the halls decked for the season so much, but I’ll be honest, there is a sense of dread associated with getting out all of the boxes and tubs and the mess it makes to decorate.  Once the last ornament is hung, the celebration begins with Christmas cookies and hot chocolate or a glass of bubbly!

Christmas decorations

I think the hardest part is getting motivated.

I want to share a few photos from my sweet friend, Vonda Cloutier’s home.  I am always so inspired when I visit her and I thought you might be too.

Christmas wreath

Wreaths are a major element in Vonda’s holiday decorations.

Christmas decorations

She uses wreaths as the foundation for so many of her decorations and they ground the design. Notice how she creates interest by mixing the style of wreaths.

Christmas decorations

Layered wreaths add fullness to this urn and rose bowl arrangement.

Christmas decoration in mason jars

These darling jars are filled with snow and reindeer!

Reindeer in a Mason jar.

Surprises are everywhere!

Lanterns with Christmas decorations

I love how Vonda uses lanterns on the tabletops and fills them with a mixture of ornaments, trees and houses.

Metal lantern with Christmas decorations

This metal lantern is particularity fetching with sparkly lights; it hangs on the wall near the front door.

Living room with Christmas decorations.

When I look at this picture, I notice that the holiday decor is like jewelry and so elegantly done.

I can’t help but associate Vonda with gorgeous sterling silver jewelry.  She had a thriving Silpada jewelry business hosting in home parties for many years. When Silpada changed their structure several years back, Vonda was one of only a few, invited to be a Silpada Brand Ambassador with an online shop, so if you have been searching for this iconic brand, just click this bit.ly/SilpadaInsiderVonda 

Santa and other Christmas decorations

You can also catch up with Vonda in her latest endeavor; she has an adorable shop called Lovely Jane at the Antique Company Mall in historic downtown McKinney!

Silverplate chalk board with the word Joy

It brings me so much JOY to introduce you all to my talented friends!!

Happy decorating!

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French Market Class and Gâteau Basque au Fraise

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The French Market class in Paris is always the favorite day of A Taste of Paris travelers.

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It’s so fun to visit the market, learn how the French shop and eat and then to go back to the cooking school with all of the ingredients and craft a gourmet meal.  The classes curated for ATOP always include French sauces, composed desserts a cheese course and plenty of wine of course!

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The Gâteau Basque au Fraise is one of my best loved dessert recipes from a French Market class I attended many years ago.  The Gâteau is rich, gorgeous and really scrumptious made with fresh strawberry jam if you are so inclined!

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Sadly I can’t bring my favorite teaching chefs to McKinney, TX from Paris for a cooking class so I’ll be recreating this spectacular event right here!!

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If you are an adventurous foodie and love to spend time in the kitchen, join me!  There are still 2 spaces left for this amazing day of fresh from the earth food!

Friday June 29th French Market Class 10:00-3:00- Join me for this super fun French cooking class.  I’ll gather fresh local ingredients like bread, cheese, wine and more downtown before you arrive. We will craft a 5 course meal just like in the cooking schools in Paris!  You won’t know what’s on the menu because we will be creating from fresh, in season, locally grown ingredients!   Come ready to cook and have a fantastic day of food and fun. Cooking class will include 5 courses; a composed dessert, cheese course and wine! You will leave with an ingredient map so you can shop for local products. $92.50      Register HERE

I’ll leave you with a few more of my favorite French market photos and Click HERE for more information on French travel 2019!

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Gâteau Basque au Fraise

Dough

9 ounces butter

6.5 ounces sugar

Zest of 1 lemon

Pinch salt

4 ounces almond meal

1 egg plus 1 yolk

11.5 ounces flour

2/3 cup Strawberry Jam

1 egg yolk

Prepare the dough in a mixer by first creaming the butter, sugar, zest and salt until pale and fluffy.  Add eggs and mix until well incorporated.  Add almond meal until and mix well.  Stop the machine and add flour by hand until just incorporated do not over mix.  Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour a tart pan.  Roll 1/3 of the dough to fit the bottom of the pan and lay it in carefully.  Take a second third of the dough and roll it into a rope to form a border around the edge of the pan.  Spread the cool jam inside the bordered area.  Roll the remaining dough to form the top of the gateau.  Using a sharp knife score the top of the crust in a criss cross pattern. Brush the top with a beaten egg.  Bake for 35 minutes or until top is golden brown.

eggplant 2 market

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vegetables market (2)