One of the Sweetest Provencal Towns

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L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is without a doubt one of the sweetest towns I have ever visited.  It’s an idyllic small community that is surrounded by the Sorgue River.

water wheels in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

The Sorgue has 14 remaining water wheels making use of the power of running water.  These wheels were originally used to power mills; first corn then wool and silk mills.  The moss-covered paddles pushing the babbling water, add real charm to the riverside.

market day in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.

Sunday is market day in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.

Fresh foods at the L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue market.

Shoppers can find vegetables and other food items.

Paella in the L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue market

Prepared foods abound, like this enormous copper pan filled to the brim with paella.

This market usually has a nice assortment of brocante for shoppers seeking treasures. Arrive early, by 8:00 as vendors start to pack up by noon.

baskets and pails in the L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue market.

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is an antique town and shops are open on Sundays.  A little known fact; walk down the alleys past the antique stores and you will find many of the back-doors of the establishments open creating a maze of tiny booths and tables of goodies.  If you are an antique lover, this comes highly recommended.

I found several sets of linens here that are absolute treasures.

Open window in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

I am still wondering what is behind this charming open window covered with ivy in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue…

Want to visit L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and many other Provencal villages in 2021?  REGISTRATION IS OPEN!

PROVENCE
September 11th-18th, 2021

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. Our magnificent base for this food and wine centric trip of a lifetime is Saint-Rémy-READ MORE  

Pretty Cakes

All white cupcakes.

You may have heard that my daughter, Brooke is engaged!

A few weeks back we hosted a little get-together for her finance’s family and their wedding party.

Close up of pretty cakes.

I made the cutest little cupcakes for the event and I wanted to share them with YOU!

Brookes favorite cake is Chocolate with White Butter Cream, recipe below, so I made a batch.

Frosted chocolate cupcakes.

I iced the cupcakes by putting the frosting in a zip-top bag, I snipped the tip and pipped the frosting in swirl pattern.

Supplies for decorating pretty cakes.

I bought the cutest edible paper flowers, gold star sprinkles and large drugeries to decorate the tops.

Cupcakes from brookes party 4

It was so much fun!

I got out my food stylist tweezers to help me place the drugeries, large edible pearls, exactly where I wanted them.  You could definitely use a standard pair of tweezers for this task!

Tiered stand with cupcakes and goodies.

I arranged the cupcakes and a very large tiered stand that sits on my center island.

To complete the assortment of goodies, there were vanilla and pistachio macarons and a biscuit barrel full of decadent dark chocolate bon-bons.

With a few flowers it looked amazing!

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Next time you need a yummy sweet treat, my Chocolate Cupcakes with Butter Cream Frosting are hard to beat!

Brooke and I.

Chocolate Cupcakes

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1/3 cup extra dark coco

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup butter

1 cup water

2 eggs

½ cup buttermilk

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 24-place cupcake pan with paper liners.  In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt and set aside.  In a small sauce pan set to medium, heat water, coco and butter until the butter melts.  Add warmed liquid to flour mixture and stir till combined.    Add first buttermilk then eggs and stir well.  Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 19-21 minutes.  Let cool completely before frosting.

Butter Cream Frosting

1½ sticks butter at room temperature

6 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon almond extract

Milk or heavy cream

Using an electric mixer, combine butter, sugar, extracts and several teaspoons of milk on low speed and beat, add milk as needed to get the proper consistency for spreading.  Mix on high speed for 5-7 minutes to create a fluffy frosting.  Do not leave the mixer unattended.

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Cheers to “Cooking Season” and Irresistible Greek Layered Dip

cooking class toasting

I can’t think of a better way to spend a few hours than making great food with YOU GUYS!

There are so many fabulous cooking classes this fall, how will you choose?

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Classes are filling fast so take a look and make your plans for “cooking season” and tons of great friends and good times, with me!

Group of students at Gifts from the kitchen class

Some classes are already sold out so register TODAY HERE or by email to lorie@atasteofparis.net

Friday, August 30th 10:30-2:00 Pasta Pop-UP!-1 seat just opened for this SOLD OUT class Let’s make homemade pasta!  After working with Italian chefs in the Lake Como region, Lorie is ready to share all the secrets and fresh dishes she learned with YOU! We will make a snack of Sundried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese dip for fresh Crudité and we’ll toast the generous spirit of the Italians with Prosecco READ MORE

October 10-11th French 2-Day Flavors and Inspiration from Burgundy France 10:30-2:30- 2 SEATS OPEN Join me for a truly unique culinary event as we travel to Burgundy for some of the most delectable food on earth.  Slow cooked dishes eking all of the flavor from food, Dijon mustard and delectable cheese abound in the Burgundy READ MORE

Friday, October 25th 7:00-9:00 POP-UP Dinner Fall Party  Join me for the first time ever for a Fall Dinner Party.  We will have a cooking lesson while enjoying appetizers and a Grapefruit Rosemary Sparkler Cocktail.  Relish a gorgeous tablescape set for fall.   Feast on a 4-course meal inspired by my trip to Lake Como this spring, READ MORE

Friday, November 1st 10:00-2:30 A Day in France- Bistronomy Join me for a fabulous class- a day in France.  French bistros have changed over the years, many combining the classics along with gastronomic dishes all at affordable prices.  Bringing an haute cuisine experience to the masses, this movement, now decades in the making is called Bistromomy and will be the inspiration for our class. We will enjoy crafting READ MORE

Friday, November 8th 11:00-1:30 The Thanksgiving Table-Looking for inspiration for the most talked about meal of the year?  Join me for a class that will inspire you to explore traditional flavors in fresh new recipes.  While we get our feast together, we will sip Peartinis, my most requested cocktail, and snack on a wonderful TG app, Rosemary Raspberry Pistachio Brie. Of course, the turkey is always the star of READ MORE

Thursday, November 14th 6:30-8:30 Ultimate Appetizers-Holiday Entertaining Come to a cooking class that’s like throwing a party without the work!  Join me in the kitchen to concoct crave able appetizers that look more complicated than they are.  Enjoy my fabulous fall Apple Pear Rosemary Martini while we prepare an appetizer feast.  Join in the action or just sit back and watch the show!  We will get the party started with unbeatable Salmon Tacos with Crispy Slaw and spicy Aoli Sauce.  Next up, READ MORE

FRIDAY, November 22nd 6:30-9:30 A Taste of Paris presents- France comes to McKinney, Burgundy Wine Tasting Experience. Chateau Pommard, one of the most prestigious wine houses in Burgundy will be coming to McKinney Texas for a very special evening of wine tasting with A Taste of Paris guests.  As a participant you will taste 6 luxurious Burgundy wines and relish premium composed appetizers READ MORE

Thursday, December 5th 6:30-9:00 AND Friday, December 6th 11:00-1:30 15th Annual Gifts from the Kitchen-FILLING FAST! Back by popular demand this fun and festive class will take you through an array of goodies perfect for gift giving from your own kitchen, fabulous ideas to gift neighbor’s, coworkers or hostess.  Each recipe will be made and tasted and all while sipping delightful Citrus Crush Cocktails.  Creative packaging techniques will be taught for each recipe so your gifts will dazzle…so fun! Most of the work will be done so you can sit back and soak up the spirit READ MORE

Friday December 13th 11:00-2:00 Holiday Luncheon Join me for the first time ever for a Holiday Luncheon.  We will have a cooking lesson while enjoying appetizers and a Pomegranate Martini.  Next, we will sit for Lunch, at a lovely table scapped with the spirit of the season. Relish a 4- course meal prepared and served by ME! READ MORE

Register now by clicking HERE or by email to lorie@atasteofparis.net

Lorie with a dish of Greek layered dip

7 Layer Greek Dip

1 recipe Basil Hummus

2 recipes Pita Chips

4 ounces feta cheese crumbled

1 large cucumber peeled and diced

1 clove garlic

1 5-ounce container plain Greek yogurt

¼ teaspoon dried dill

1 teaspoon chopped parsley

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

½ cup diced red onion

1 jar roasted red peppers diced

1 cup assorted sliced olives

In an 8-inch glass dish spread hummus as the first layer of the dip.  In a small bowl mix cucumbers with yogurt, garlic, dill and parsley and mix well, gently spread this as the second layer.  Sprinkle on tomatoes, then peppers, onions then olives.  Sprinkle the last layer of feta cheese and serve with pita chips.

Basil Hummus

1 15-ounce can chickpeas drained and washed

1/3 cup fresh basil packed

2 cloves garlic

¾ teaspoon salt

¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

¼ cup tahini paste

2 tablespoons olive oil

Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until creamy.  Serve with pita chips.

Pita Chips

1 package of pita bread cut into wedges

¼ cup olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush bread with a small amount of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and arrange on baking sheet in single layer.  Bake until chips are crispy.  Flip over and bake until other side is crispy.

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Dior SWAG for A Day of Dior Guests!

Dior Swag bag

Last Friday was the first A Taste of Paris- A Day of Dior event, and today will be the second.

Rainbow windows at Dior exhibit at the DMA.

What a feast for the sense!

Stay tuned for the full recap of the event coming next Tuesday with plenty of photos and a how-to create YOUR own day of Dior!

A huge part of the joy in putting this event together was crafting an amazing SWAG bag for each guest and I’d like to share it with you now!

Dior goodies

All kinds of goodies from Dior  Beauty were included in the gift bags along with a gorgeous Dior fall look book.

Lombardi gift cards and pop champagne.

Gift cards for Lombardi Group, one of my all-time favorite restaurant brands were given as well as POP Pink champagne splits, perfect for a girly touch.

The little dictionary of fashion by Christian Dior

This pretty Little Fashion Dictionary by Christian Dior was a true throw-back and a must for any Dior event.

6-pack of mini cupcakes from Bird bakery.

Nothing cures a sweet craving quite like a 6-pack of mini cupcakes from Bird Bakery and when they are inspired by Dior, well, they are extra tasty!

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Kiehl’s, the luxury skin care line, got in on the action too, and shared these lovely gifts with participants.

Dior red dress cookies

And for just a touch of whimsy, Dior red dress cookies by @sugarcomacookies.

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Don’t you just love getting goodies?

Have you heard?  The A Taste of Paris fall event is live and tickets are selling quickly!

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Chateau Pommard, one of the most prestigious wine houses in Burgundy will be making a trip to McKinney, TX this fall; for an exclusive VIP event for A Taste of Paris guests only.  For more information on this exquisite event and for tickets CLICK HERE

Hope to see you there or at a class this Fall!

au revoir for now lorie (002)

 

Bastille Day Menu for your own Frenchie Celebration

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The French celebrate their independence on Bastille Day, July 14th each year.  This is the day the French Revolutionists stormed the Bastille releasing its prisoners.  It’s considered the turning point of that conflict which ultimately overturned monarch rule in France.

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There is always a parade down the Champs Elysees with the beautiful Arc de Triomphe as the centerpiece and plenty of fireworks once dark falls on the city.

Glass of rose wine.

It’s a great excuse to pop open a bottle of rosé and invite a few friends for a simple dinner.

Hot July temperatures call for lighter dishes Like Ham and Avocado Tartine, a pretty salad and a sweet treat like my Chocolate Madeleines.  Enjoy!

Prosciutto and avocado tartine

Ham and Avocado Tartine

4 slices rustic bread toasted

1 clove garlic

1 avocado

4 slices deli ham or prosciutto

1 cucumber sliced

Pinch crushed red pepper

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rub each slice of bread with garlic clove and discard.  Place bread on baking sheet and toast on both sides for about 3 minutes. Mash ¼ of the avocado on each slice of bread, season with salt and pepper.  Add cucumber. Place ham on top and sprinkle with crushed red pepper and plenty of salt and pepper and serve.

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Purple Flower Salad

2 mini purple lettuce heads

1 cup carrot matchsticks

1/2 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted

1/4 dried cranberries

Balsamic Vinaigrette

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1 garlic clove, pressed

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Pinch of both salt and pepper

½ cup olive oil

Hold each lettuce head firmly in your hand and cut the bottom root off.  Hold the head firmly as you run cold water through the bundle to clean the lettuce.  Place bundle in the center of a serving platter and release it so the leaves form a circle.  Repeat with second bundle on top of the first one creating the flower petals. Place the carrots in the center of the lettuce flower and spread them out a bit.  Mound the yellow peppers in the center of the carrots.  Next, place the walnuts then cranberries on top of the vegetables; you will create rings of color. To prepare the dressing, add vinegar, garlic, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk well to combine.  Add olive oil in a steady stream whisking vigorously until it is all mixed and you have a silky dressing.  Serve the salad with the dressing on the side.

Plate of chocolate Madeleine's.

Chocolate Madeleines

¾ cup butter

1 ½ cups sugar

¾ cup flour

¾ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder

3 eggs

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Extra butter and flour for preparing pans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter and flour madeleine pans well, and set aside.    Melt ¾ cup butter in a microwave safe bowl.  Add cocoa powder to butter and mix well.  Stir in sugar and then eggs.  Add flour, salt and vanilla and mix until combined. Spoon a walnut sized portion into each madeleine shell.  Place madeleine pans on a baking sheet and into the oven for 14-18 minutes until edges are set and tops are puffed.

 

There is still space in Herbs Fresh from the Garden at the Arboretum, hope to see you there!

au revoir for now lorie (002)

 

 

Caprese Panini and HERBS at the Arboretum

MInt growing in Lorie's garden.

There is nothing like herbs fresh from the garden to bump up the flavor quotient of your summer foods. I will be celebrating all-things HERBS at the Arboretum on Saturday, July 20th from 11:00-1:00, register TODAY!

basket of herbs at the french market

Do you have a favorite herb?  Mine is basil. I thought I would share one of my most-loved herb recipes; Basil Pesto and my favorite way to eat it, Caprese Panini!

basil pesto

Pesto is typically made with pine nuts but my version uses walnuts.  I always have walnuts on hand and I think it makes the pesto really creamy.  My basil rich pesto only calls for 1 tablespoon of olive oil, you can definitely use more but I personally don’t like an oily mouthfeel so it’s perfect for us.

Lorie clipping basil

There is something so gratifying about going to the garden to pick basil for a bright green batch of goodness.  It’s not too late to plant basil and reap the rewards right up until the first frost!

caprese panini

 

Caprese Panini

1 loaf French bread sliced in about ¾ inch slices

6 slices provolone cheese or fresh mozzarella

½ cup sun dried tomatoes drained and chopped

2 large tomatoes sliced thin and drained

1/3 cup fresh basil pesto

Olive oil

Brush grill pan with olive oil and turn burner to medium heat.   Make sandwiches by spreading a generous amount of pesto on every other slice of bread. Sprinkle pesto with sun-dried tomatoes.  Add cheese and fresh tomato slices and top with additional bread slice to create a sandwich.  Place sandwiches on grill with a panini press on top; grill each side for about 2 minutes until golden brown.

Basil Pesto

1 ½ cups fresh basil compacted

2 garlic cloves

½ cup walnuts

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese grated

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

Place basil, garlic, walnuts, salt in food processor, pulse until smooth, add Parmesan, olive oil and process until mixed well.

herbs

Arboretum- Herbs Fresh From the Garden or market. Do you cultivate a garden full of fresh herbs and want to cook more with them or maybe you love picking up fresh herbs at the local farmers markets; either way this class will delight with flavors from the earth.   The tasty dishes will begin with a vibrant appetizer of freshly made Chimichurri Hummus as pretty as it is tasty.  Next up, crispy Herbed Greek Salad that will have you diving in bite after bite.  For the main course we will prepare succulent Herb and Pistachio Crusted Chicken served with fresh from-the-garden Tomato Gratin. For a decadent treat, we will make Herb and Garlic Parmesan Knots.  For a sweet finish delectable Basil Infused Berries and Cream will not disappoint!

Hope you will tell me your favorite herb!  See you at the Arboretum!

au revoir for now lorie (002)

 

 

Red or White?

Wine Burgundy

Do you prefer red or white wine? I know when its hot outside many people drink lighter wines.

rose champagne 2

I simply prefer reds, the darker, thicker and richer they are the better!  The truth is, I have not always been a wine drinker.  In fact, I never drank wine other than sparkling’s, until about 16 years ago.

4 champagne glasses

I was invited to a big birthday party for a friend, I won’t tell you what number we were celebrating because I reserve the right to keep mine and my friends ages a secret!

French wine and cheese 2

The menu for the birthday dinner was set.  The choices were beef or salmon.  I never order salmon, since I am lucky enough to have a freezer full at all times due to my husband’s annual Alaskan fishing trip.  And the drink choices were red or white wine; naturally I selected the beef filet and my first ever, glass of red wine.

  Wine glasses

The label was Dynamite Cabernet and there was definitely a flavor explosion happening in my mouth. I never looked back and have been an avid red wine lover ever since.

Burgundy french wine corks

I discovered rosé wine in a similar way.  About 4 years ago when I was researching for my first ATOP group trip to Provence.  I was sitting at a seaside cafe eating mussels and frites with my sweet friend Donna who happens to live in Australia.  She suggested that we order wine with lunch…OK why not!  After that first glass of French rosé I totally understood the phrase Rosé all Day!

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I have not had that same light-bulb experience with white wines but I am hopeful!

Wine on boat

Tell me, are you a red or white wine drinker and if white is your jam, what label?  Maybe I will give it a try and be converted before summers end.

au revoir for now lorie (002)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annick Goutal- Intoxicating, Fresh and Feminine

Store front of Annick Goutal Paris

On my most recent trip to Paris, I had a surprise for my A Taste of Paris Goes PINK group. Every French adventure reminds me to embrace and share the things I love.

Lorie and Celine at Annick Goutal in Paris

We spent a little more than an hour at one of my beloved Parisian addresses, Annick Goutal, the original location on rue Bellechasse.

A Taste of Paris perfume workshop in Paris

Celine guided us in our discovery of this iconic French brand. Fine French fragrance can’t be rushed, in some cases taking up to a decade to create.

A Taste of Paris travelers smelling fragrances

A Nose, is the name given to the highest caliber perfumer.  An artist, working with many raw scents to develop something original, that evokes emotion, much like a symphony. Celine explained the process of developing a perfume and offered us the chance to smell many raw ingredients that go into their fragrance assortment.

An assortment of Annick Goutal fragrances

My favorite Annick Goutal fragrance is Un Matin D’ Orage; a stormy morning.  Annick, the founder of the brand, was out for a morning walk after a rain storm, she discovered a magnolia blossom on the ground and pinned it to her blouse.  The scent of the flower, softened by the rain, was wafting about and from this experience she imagined the fragrance and set about creating it.  The smell of Un Matin D’Orage is intoxicating, fresh and feminine.

This is a snip of Celine explaining the NOTES of a perfume.  The first note, or head note is what you smell when the perfume is applied.  The head notes are the most volatile molecules so they fade quickly.  As the perfume dries down, you begin to have a hint of the middle note or the heart note.  These notes will linger longer and are considered the heart of the fragrance.  With a bit more time on the skin, the base notes come through and as they mingle with the heart notes, you will experience the full body of the fragrance.

Several A Taste of Paris travels that attended the perfume workshop

Body chemistry plays a role in how the notes of the fragrance mix.  That’s why a very fine fragrance never smells the same on someone else, it becomes your OWN.

Celine at Annick Goutal in Paris

Every time I spray Un Matin D’Orage, I am transported to the precious boutique on rue Bellechasse.

Sharing my love of Annick Goutal and fragrance with my A Taste of Paris travelers and YOU is a real joy!

Check out the details of A Taste of Paris 2020 Would YOU or someone you know like to fill one of the last seats?  If so, click the link and tag your friend in the comments.

au revoir for now lorie (002)

Rainbow windows at Dior exhibit at the DMA.

Christian Dior, a Fashion Legend

Join me for A Day of Dior

Friday, July 19th 2019- 8 tickets still available!

Dior office and store at 30, Montaigne Avenue Paris

In 1946 Christian Dior established his fashion house at 30, Avenue Montaigne and it still remains there today.

Dior window Spring 2019
Dior Window, Spring 2019, 30, Avenue Montaigne Paris

I take great delight in retracing Christian Dior’s footsteps as I head out with my Paris groups, we pass this address on our way to the morning train.

Dior 1947-1957

Dior was convinced that people were ready for something new after many years of war and in 1947, he debuted the New Look; a silhouette that would define the 1950’s.

Dior day suit with black skirt and white jacket and hat

This New Look with its narrow shoulders, accentuated bust, nipped waist with a wide flared “flower” skirt exudes femininity and despite the lack of practicality, people loved it.

White Dior gown with red velvet ribbon and ivy

Dior employed the very finest tailors and used the most sumptuous fabrics money could buy.

Diors fabric swatches and drawings

He understood the importance of catering to starlets and the press that would ultimately follow; after all he was making more than dresses, he was building a brand.

An assortment of white and cream Dior gowns.

Dior was the first to licences his name for other products like make-up and perfume.  The name Dior was and still is synonymous with luxury.

Join me for A Day of Dior

OR for A Taste of Paris 2020 and see Dior at Avenue Montaigne for yourself. 

au revoir for now lorie (002)

 

Salmon with Fresh Strawberry Salsa

Salmon with Strawberry Salsa

Today I want to share a true go-to from my kitchen.

A standout topping that can be used on practically any grilled meat.  My Fresh Strawberry Salsa over salmon is a true taste sensation. The sweet and savory blend of fruits and vegetables with just a hint of lime keeps you diving in for more with every single bite.

Try this idea with fruits and veg you have on hand and create your own flavor combinations; the key is to combine flavors you love.

Fresh salsas; a great way to brighten up any plate!

Do you have a delicious go-to you would like to share from your kitchen?  Please tell us in the comment section!!

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 Salmon with Fresh Strawberry Salsa

1-2 pounds wild caught salmon

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

½ cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 tablespoon red onion, finely chopped

½ orange bell pepper, chopped

½ poblano pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh jalapeno, finely minced

½ cup fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped

1 lime, zested and juiced

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare salmon by brushing with Worcestershire sauce on both sides of the fish.  Salt and pepper the fish generously and place it in a glass baking dish.  Cook the salmon for 12-15 minutes until fat is bubbling to the surface.  Meanwhile, prepare the salsa by combining all remaining ingredients and toss well. Season with salt and serve a generous amount of salsa on each portion of salmon.

au revoir for now lorie (002)