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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An assortment of white and cream Dior gowns.

An Exclusive Day of Dior- with ATOP

An assortment of red Dior dresses.

Dior- From Paris to the World

I spent a few hours at the Louvre several years ago exploring the incredible world of Dior at the world acclaimed exhibit that broke all attendance records.  When I returned to the Dallas area, I visited the Dior store at Highland Park Village, they were all a buzz with the news that the Dior exhibit would, eventfully make its way to Dallas! After waiting more than 2 years the magnificent exhibit has finally arrived.

An assortment of white and cream Dior gowns.
I am thrilled to bring you an exclusive Day of Dior, curated just for ATOP followers.

This experience promises to be filled with amazing fashion, fabulous food and wine and of course FUN.  I sincerely hope you will join ATOP for…

A Day of Dior

Friday, July 19th

11:00 am Dallas Museum of Art
Welcome and a preview of the exhibit with an expert-
Dior from Paris to the World
Enjoy the Exhibit

12:45 Lunch at Bistro 31, Highland Park Village
Private lunch in the Champagne Room
with Wine

Christian Dior Highland Park Village- Sweets and Champagne
A look at modern day Dior and a peek at 2019 fall fashion- Jake Walton

3:00 Farewell- Gift bag for all participants

Tickets are limited Get them HERE

Cream colored Dior gown with red velvet ribbon and ivy.

The exhibit was so incredible, it literally brought me to tears.

An assortment of 4 Dior gowns.

Pictures hardly do the gowns justice; the fabrics are so ornate.

Up close of fabric from Dior gown.

This is a close-up of the fabric from a strapless gown.  The flowers are all hand-made of silk.  I wanted to scoop this up and take it with me, it was my favorite!

I hope YOU will join me!

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ATOP Video and the Making!

Did you ever have one of those work days so stellar that you will never forget it as long as you live?

Welcome to one of mine!

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I invited a few of my travelers, most of whom have been with me on multiple trips, to share in the experience of making a film.

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In fact, to share some of their experiences while traveling with A Taste of Paris, to France.

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We sipped some of my favorite French sparkling wines…

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…and nibbled on French goodies like Chocolate Madeleines, Raspberry and Mint Chocolate Macarons.

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In a flash, the party was over and the real work begins.

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Hours spent combing through video from my most recent trip, searching for the very best shots.

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4:00 am calls from my colleague in Paris to insure we were capturing the best of the city in video content she was taking and sending via the amazing internet.

Listening to music for just the right French sound and by the way after a bit it all sound alike!

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And testing the patience of filmmaker, Shane Reitzammer owner of CinemaStory Productions for many weeks to create something really special; a tool for people considering travel with A Taste of Paris and me!

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Thank you to these special ladies and to all my travelers for helping to bring my dream to life!

Click here to watch!

Click here for information on A Taste of Paris travel.

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)