France Notes: Paris in May Wednesday, May 30 2012 

I arrived this week to a brilliantly sunny Paris. After a very chilly and wet spring, la Capitale is warm again and ready for summer. The chestnut and sycamore trees lining the grands boulevards are a full, leafy green. And of course, les terrasses of cafés everywhere are packed with les Français sporting des lunettes de soleil (sunglasses) and drinking in the welcome sun.

P5301347

France is my home for the summer season so French Affaires’ upcoming posts will be en direct from Paris and Provence. We’ll include a short travel or culture theme easy to “pack” and take with you on your next trip to France.

Je suis ravie (I am delighted) to be here, and I too have been making the rounds of several cafés. The Café de Flore is its normal, bustling self. This famous literary café sits on the Boulevard St. Germain in the heart of Paris’s Left Bank. The food and drink are fine – but the real attraction is the people watching of passersby and at the café itself. Yesterday, the outfit du jour was Scottish kilt and black leather vest worn by a tall, stout, tattooed Frenchman of about 40. Seated next to our table, he looked a bit like aging rocker about to hit the concert stage. While I couldn’t figure out his true vocation or avocation, his friends at the same table seemed to take his curious ‘costume’ in stride.

P5291302

Another favorite Left Bank spot is the Café Bonaparte located around the corner from the Café de Flore. Though just a stone’s throw from the Boulevard St. Germain, it feels a world away in every sense. The food is good, the wines reasonable and the waiters genuinely personable. I like the more relaxed atmosphere and also being surrounded by French people – this is France after all! Plus, the rustic spire of the St. Germain des Prés church provides a lovely backdrop to the street view from the café. All in all, it’s a good stopping place in a great location – check it out on your next trip to Paris…

P5301348

P5301350

The Art of French Cooking Wednesday, May 23 2012 

It’s been a glorious two weeks of French food fun in Texas. I had the plaisir (pleasure) of teaching some cuisine and culture classes at Central Market’s Cooking School as the gourmet market chain celebrated France’s culinary riches. We had a “Lunch in Paris” celebration as well as a memorable “Lunch in Provence.” One of my favorite dishes demonstrated by the outstanding chef team was the “Tomatoes Stuffed with Goat Cheese” adapted from Anne Willan’s From My Château Kitchen cookbook.

P5171298

P5171299

And the “Shop the French Market” culinary evening was a blast as we loaded our grocery shopping cart the French way – and then donned our aprons for a hands-on cooking class using the best of seasonal ingredients. Merci to all the home cooks and friends who participated!

P5151295

At French Affaires, we’re going to celebrate French food again this November with a special cooking class in Dallas featuring guest chef and cookbook author Susan Herrmann Loomis. Susan has lived and cooked her way through France for more than 20 years and has been a regular part of recent French Affaires’ trips to Paris. She has written numerous cookbooks and is the founder of On Rue Tatin cooking school where she offers cooking classes in Paris and Normandy.

 Susan Loomis

We are excited to host Susan for this three-day hands-on culinary workshop The Art of French Cooking designed to explore various ingredients, dishes and techniques that express the best of France’s extraordinary food culture. Our cooking class includes three days of classes, three multi-course lunches with French wines, a field trip to a local artisan food producer, and multiple tastings of French and local products. Our menus will feature the finest of seasonal ingredients especially chosen by Susan for our class. Of course, we’ll prepare and enjoy an authentic French Tarte tatin, the upside-down caramelized apple tart – one of Susan’s specialties.

As we cook, Susan will share her wealth of culinary knowledge and experience and provide answers to all our cooking and entertaining questions. Then we’ll sit down and enjoy a leisurely French meal with good food, wine and conversation. If you’ve never taken one of Susan’s classes or if you want a short ‘trip’ to France without the jet lag, you won’t want to miss these three days of French foods, wines and cooking lessons. Susan’s deep experience cooking and living in France as well as her fun personality make this an experience of a lifetime!

Our class will be held November 14 to 16, 2012 in a beautiful private kitchen in Dallas. The cost is $1200 per person and includes three days of hands-on cooking classes with Susan, all recipes, various tastings, three multi-course lunches with wine, a field trip to a local food producer, and Susan’s stories of food in France. Our class size is limited and advance registration is required. To sign up, please email us at info.french@frenchaffaires.com.

susan_avec_legumes