The French Cookbook Club Friday, Mar 10 2017 

France and food – what a match! The joys of the French table are legendary and for good reason. France is endowed with a magnificent array of culinary specialties, products and traditions which make sitting down to a French meal one of the finer experiences on earth. Happily, you don’t necessarily have to live in France to enjoy these culinary riches. Cooking and eating French style can be shared anytime, anywhere. And for the seventh year in a row, French Affaires is hosting our unique “The French Cookbook Club” as a special way of cooking, savoring and sharing French cuisine with like-minded gourmet friends on location in both in the U.S. and now also in France.

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Each year, French Affaires’ founder and France expert Elizabeth New Seitz chooses a distinctive focus for our French Cookbook Club season. Our past themes have included Americans cooking in France – think Julia Child and Ina Garten, French chefs, a spotlight on La Varenne’s Anne Willan, French cooking in America, and more.

Via specially selected cookbooks, our French Cookbook Club explores the best of French culinary traditions. Typically each quarter, we read and cook our way through a superlative French cookbook. We gather for a seated multi-course dinner to taste our recipes and enjoy an evening of great French cuisine, wines and conversation. It is a unique chance to really get to know French cookbooks already in your culinary library or add to your cookbook collection as the French Cookbook Club continues. We also have added an annual French Cookbook Club trip to France to experience French cuisine in its authentic home environment and to actually cook and dine in France together. And of course, our French Cookbook Club dinners and trips are festive occasions to make friends with others interested in French cuisine and l’art de vivre!

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This year, with Elizabeth on the ground in at her home in the French countryside, our French Cookbook Club 2017-18 theme will highlight this wonderful French connection: “From Elizabeth’s French Kitchen ~ Cooking & Dining French-Style”

Along with the dinners and annual France culinary journey, our French Cookbook Club is expanding to include a quarterly French culinary experience sent directly to you from France. Elizabeth has specially chosen topics for French spring, summer, fall and winter – for each of the four seasons, you’ll receive a gift of goodies directly from her French kitchen in the village of Courances. Your culinary goodie box will feature a beautiful compilation of French recipes, food stories about cooks and food producers in France, cooking quotes, dining table ideas, food market happenings, cookbook suggestions, online French cooking resources, France culinary travel ideas, Paris restaurant and food shop updates, French terms in the kitchen, and more  – the very latest from Elizabeth’s kitchen and from being out and about in France. In addition, the culinary box will include several gifts you can use and put in your own ‘French kitchen’! It will be like receiving a delicious ‘taste of France’ in your mailbox every season. Our French Cookbook Club 2017-18 quarterly goodie box topics will feature “French Kitchen Gardens” for spring, “A French Cook’s Tools” for summer, “Cooking with the Seasons in France” for fall, and lastly for winter, “French Holiday Dishes from Throughout the Year.”  

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Our French Affaires’ French Cookbook Club 2017-18 Schedule

Part One) French Culinary Goodie Boxes from France 

SPRING 2017 – “French Kitchen Gardens”

I n France, kitchen gardens and herb gardens are a way of life. This quarter’s culinary treat box from Elizabeth’s kitchen will showcase everything about the French potager and how the French incorporate fresh, simple, colorful and flavorful garden bounty into their French cooking. Elizabeth will include recipes using what’s fresh from her garden and from local market produce as well as from her neighbor the nearby Château de Courances huge potager. We’ll take a tour of the 7-acre Courances kitchen gardens and see what their indefatigable gardeners are up to. We’ll also see how French restaurants change their menus according to garden and food market offerings. We’ll get ideas on how to grow something – whether or not you have a green thumb. Even if you don’t have a kitchen garden, the goodies and recipe features of our spring French culinary goodie box will make you want to celebrate vegetables and herbs French-style in your kitchen and cooking.

SUMMER 2017 – “A French Cook’s Tools”

This season’s culinary goodies will focus on cooking tools and techniques essential to a French kitchen. What are the top 10 tools for a French home kitchen? For a French chef? How do some specific French utensils transform your cooking experience? Which French antique and vintage culinary cookware, tools and accessories make your kitchen as fun to look at as to cook in? What’s the story behind Dehillerin in Paris, Julia Child’s go-to shop for everything cooking tool related? We’ll also highlight French recipes and dishes that use mainstream and specialized utensils. Not to be missed will be the resources for new and antique culinary pieces both online and in France. Of course, Elizabeth will send you her all-time favorite French cooking tool so you’ll have one in your own kitchen. And cooking tool stories and easy tips from French friends and cooks will make this a special culinary goodie experience!

FALL 2017 – “Cooking with the Seasons in France”

Fall is a great time to think about the seasonal food calendar in France. French cooks look forward to each season with delight and allow the time of year to influence their culinary efforts. And seasonal doesn’t just mean fruits and vegetables in France – cheeses, meats, wines, and more all have their moment in the French culinary calendar. In our French goodie package this quarter, Elizabeth will share a host of season-oriented culinary ideas including vintage and modern points of view on French seasonal cooking, a top easy-to-make French recipe for every month of the year so you can try your hand at a French foodie calendar, and more. We’ll also cover the great French foodie festivals that take place in France all year long to showcase France’s specialty food items. In addition, Elizabeth will share her list of favorite French seasonal products and producers so you can order in the U.S. or pick up some in France whenever you’re here. With this culinary goodie connection, you’ll get a great feel for the rhythms of the French cooking year and how it makes eating and dining very meaningful in France.

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WINTER 2017 – “French Holiday Dishes from Throughout the Year”

We’ll round out the year of our French cooking goodie boxes with a focus on holidays in France. Of course, Christmas and New Year’s are when the French pull out all the stops for their holiday meals. So we’ll have a treasure trove of recipes, dishes and desserts from this celebratory time of year. But there are a host of other fêtes and celebrations with their signature dishes and traditions as well, including the yummy galette des rois for Epiphany, crêpes for Chandeleur, Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, Easter, Bastille Day cookouts, and more. We’ll even touch on regional variations for some of these holidays including Les Treize Desserts (Thirteen Desserts) from Provence – a wonderful Christmas custom going back centuries. As always, Elizabeth will handpick the gift goodies plus the compilation of recipes, stories, travel recommendations, and resources all inspired from her cooking and dining adventures in France!

 Part Two) French Cookbook Club Dinner(s) in Dallas – To Be Announced  

Part Three) FRENCH COOKBOOK CLUB Cooking Trip in France

~ Spring/Summer 2018 (Specific dates to be announced)

We’ll be scheduling our cookbook club dinners and France trip as our travel calendar permits – stay tuned!

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Here’s how the French Affaires’ French Cookbook Club works:

Part One) French Culinary Goodie Boxes from France – Spring, Summer, Fall & Winter 2017

-       Sign up for the 4 French Cookbook Club goodie boxes. The cost for the full year – spring, summer, fall and winter – including packaging, shipping and postage to your home is $195. To subscribe, send us an email at French.culture (at) frenchaffaires.com, and be sure to provide your current U.S. mailing address. Payment may be made by check (made out to ‘French Affaires’ and sent to PO Box 25536, Dallas, TX 75225) or online at http://www.frenchaffaires.com/registration_information.htm .

-       As each goodie box is hand created and assembled by Elizabeth, we have a limited number of subscriptions available. You’ll want to sign up early to reserve your spot!

Part Two) French Cookbook Club Dinners in Dallas (Dates TBA)

-       Sign up for the French Cookbook Club dinner online (will be posted when dates announced). Make sure to get our cookbook selection.

-       Read through our cookbook selection and choose a recipe that you would like to make. Each cookbook club guest is asked to choose one recipe from the following categories: appetizer, starter / salad, soup, main dish, vegetable, dessert.

-       Prepare your recipe and bring it to our French Cookbook Club evening along with your comments on the recipe-making process—was it easy? was it challenging? what aspect of French cooking did you appreciate in this recipe? would you make this recipe again?

-       Attend the French Cookbook Club evening and enjoy a brief overview of the French cookbook and its author by French Affaires host Elizabeth New Seitz. Our cookbook introduction will be followed by a four-course seated dinner of the various dishes prepared by fellow French Cookbook Club guests. Our French meal will be accompanied by specially selected French wines.

Part Three) French Cookbook Club Culinary Journey to France ~ Spring / Summer 2018 (Dates TBA)

-       Our unique France cooking adventure dates and itinerary will be finalized as soon as possible. Preference for trip spaces will be given to those who have participated in our French cookbook club dinners, trips and/or French culinary box subscriptions. The 2018 trip registration form and deposit will confirm your space in this extra-special France travel experience.

-       French Affaires’ can help you with travel arrangements before or after our culinary journey dates for a seamless trip to la belle France!

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French Affaires Update ~ French Kings and Queens Wednesday, Jun 1 2016 

Bonjour France friends! It’s been a very full spring at French Affaires which has meant a slight pause in sending out our French Affaires Weekly newsletters. We thank you for your patience and look forward to sharing a great line-up of new French cultural and travel features in the weeks to come. In today’s post, we thought we’d highlight the latest news including photos from recent group trips to France, our newly designed website which will debut very soon and also the big news that my husband and I are now living in France. Yes, we’ve got a real French house complete with a real French wine cellar and a real French puppy. More on all that below!

French Affaires kicked off the 2016 France travel season with our annual “Paris Antiques Trip” in March. Our great group of intrepid antiques lovers scored lots of fabulous finds all week. And our special decorative arts culture excursion featured a private guided visit to the exquisite Musée Nissim de Camondo, a gorgeous 19th century Parisian mansion filled with extraordinary furniture, art, sculpture, porcelain and more.

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Next up was our custom ”Springtime in Paris” trip for the darling ladies of the Dallas Garden Club. Our special week in and around Paris was filled with luscious gardens, flowers and châteaux. In particular, the ladies received a royal welcome at the gardens and château of Chantilly from Frederic Nancel, Director of Special Events, as well as a unique opportunity to tour with Chantilly’s head gardener.  The trip even included a private perfume workshop where we learned all about various floral elements and created our personal scent to take home. Talk about the ultimate Paris springtime treat!

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Then we kicked off our two-week “Provence Language and Culture Immersion” in historic and lively Aix-en-Provence. Our fun and enthusiastic group savored French lessons, art and culture excursions, culinary delights and daily living in France. Below is a charming view of Arles from our ‘In the Steps of Van Gogh’ visit one afternoon. The inhabitants of this Arles house should win an award for always having the best flower boxes in town! On another day, our group enjoyed art and afternoon tea at the stunning new Aix museum known as the Hôtel Caumont. A former aristocratic mansion then music conservatory, the Hôtel Caumont now hosts wonderful temporary exhibitions – the current show is on Turner – and features restored period rooms and beautiful gardens.

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This spring, we’ve also been hard at work on French Affaires’ new website which will be launching very soon. For those of you who are Instagram fans, we’ve been posting great travel and culture tidbits on the photo sharing app. Here’s a recent posting from May Day in France where everyone gives muguet – lilies of the valley – to their loved ones. For photos that will transport you to France at a glance, come follow us on Instagram at ‘french_affaires’ .

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Last but not least, the move to France! As many of you know, I’ve been spending a good amount of time here each year hosting Americans on special France travels, all the while teaching, speaking and sharing the best of France back in the U.S. This spring, my husband and I moved to a small village near Fontainebleau, about an hour south of Paris. It is a beautiful corner of the world out in the French countryside – see our 17th century house below in spring – but with Paris right on our doorstep.  I will continue to create one-of-a-kind stays in France and also will be in the States regularly to speak and teach (come join me for a special seminar on “French Kings & Queens” on June 15th at SMU in Dallas). The best of both worlds!

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With the launch of the new French Affaires website, I’ll have many stories and cultural happenings to share from life over here in la belle France. There will be some great features on our small village of Courances – population about 350! – and on our new neighbor, the stunning Château de Courances. In the meantime, we have just found out that our village is going to be on French TV on June 7th. It’s one of 13 French towns up for the “Le Village Préféré des Français 2016″ award on channel ‘France 2.’ Hosted by Stéphane Bern, the show began five years ago and each year, the charming candidates are presented via spectacular footage. Before the show airs, the French vote on their favorite and the winner is announced at the end of the show. Click here to see a short preview of the Courances segment (you might be able to see the entire show later on the French channel TV5 Monde if you subscribe to it in the U.S.). And YOU can vote too – please click here to vote for our village of Courances by June 3rd. Merci beaucoup!

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UPCOMING FRENCH EVENT IN DALLAS, TEXAS:

If you need a French fix soon, I’ll be in Dallas for various events and talks including the rich seminar “French Kings & Queens: A History of the Monarchy of France” that I am teaching on Wednesday, June 15th, for the SMU Continuing Studies program. See the lecture details below:

“French Kings & Queens”: Come join us for this exciting overview of French royalty throughout the centuries! Discover the essence of French history with this special course focused on the monarchy of France. Through illustrated lecture, Dr. Elizabeth Seitz will trace the French royal dynasties through the centuries such as the Valois and the Bourbons. We’ll learn about the lives of known and lesser known French kings and queens as well as the castles and monuments they built. Remarkable stories and intrigues of the French court will add color to the rich content of this class. You’ll also receive travel tips on how to experience French royal history in France as well as a reading and film list for further exploration. Advance registration is required through SMU. Please click here for more details.

 

Bonne annee ~ The Year in Pictures at French Affaires Thursday, Jan 7 2016 

Bonne année à toutes et à tous! Happy New Year to all!

As 2016 begins, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a ‘très belle année 2016’ and thank you warmly for your support, readership and participation in French Affaires’ classes, cultural events and trips to France this past year. It has been a fantastic time of sharing the best of French language, culture, travel and l’art de vivre – and it has been our most wonderful year ever, thanks to you. Still, as France is endlessly rich in culture, history, travel and more, I can promise that there will be some terrific new surprises coming shortly in 2016 as well as a continuation of great language, culture and travel offerings. But before we get to some of the 2016 French goodies, I’d like to share a few highlights of French Affaires 2015 in photos. Join us for this virtual year in pictures below - and maybe get inspired to come away with us to France this coming year!

Highlights of French Affaires’ annual “Paris Antiques Trip this past March were the big Paris flea market at St. Ouen/ Clignancourt and the bi-annual foire à la brocante at Chatou just west of Paris. St. Ouen is the world’s largest marché aux puces, or flea market, with everything from bric-a-brac to museum quality pieces. We could have spent several days there alone as there are many different sub-markets spread out over the sprawling, easy-to-get-lost-in complex. On the other hand, Chatou is one of my favorite Paris markets perhaps because it doesn’t happen all the time. Running for about ten days each spring and fall, the fair showcases several hundred antiques vendors from all over France. It is a collector’s dream - café au lait bowls, confiture jars, regular silver, hotel silver, pottery, china, pewter, paintings, portraits, chairs, tables, chests…it is all there. And bargaining is a definite must at this market. Our antiquing group this past year found loads of fabulous finds at these markets and more during our treasure-hunting week in Paris. For info about our 2016 Paris Antiques Trip, please email us at French.culture@frenchaffaires.com.

While hosting the Paris antiques trip, I tasted several versions of one of my favorite French comfort foods – les oeufs mayonnaise. Afterwards, I posted an article on “Eggs in France” which hit home with many French Affaires’ readers. You can click here to read (or reread!) some of the great ways eggs are done in France.

Spring was a riot of flowers and gardens on our French Affaires’ trip designed especially for the Dallas Garden Club this past year. The Dallas ladies came to France in May for the “Great Gardens of Paris & the Loire Valley – a nine day joyous extravaganza of everything gardens and châteaux. Our lovely French hosts gave us a warm welcome everywhere, and nature cooperated by gracing all our destinations with exquisite flowers, plants and landscapes. Quel bonheur!

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In late May and in September 2015, we spent lovely light and color filled weeks in the south of France for the “Provence Painting & Culture Workshops” co-hosted with wonderful artist Jill Steenhuis. From color mixing tutorials to composition discussions to painting en plein air to following in the steps of artists Van Gogh and Cezanne to enjoying the gorgeous scenery to sharing wonderful French meals with wine, our painting groups’ creativity and enthusiasm knew no bounds.

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Since we’re on the topic of Provence, as readers of our French Affaires’ newsletter know, we can’t get enough of this region of France. So this coming May we’ll be doing our “Provence Language & Culture Immersion” trip again from May 6 to 21, 2016. It is a fabulous and laid-back opportunity to “live” in France and really experience the people, the landscapes and the culture – including the art. It’s also a great chance to take tons of incredible photos since everywhere you look is just Provence picture perfect! For full trip details, please email us at French.culture@frenchaffaires.com.

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This past fall, a wonderful group of French Affaires’ trip-goers immersed themselves in the riches of Southwest France. We spent many glorious days in the cool, crisp weather of the Dordogne, the Lot and Bordeaux. The distinctive history, architecture, landscapes, culture, food, wines and people made this a once-in-a-lifetime journey. Our pictures of this harder-to-get-to French region tell it all…

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And of course, faithful to my French professor roots, I was able to share all manner of lovely things about France in illustrated culture courses through SMU’s Continuing Studies program and in French Affaires’ language offerings. We covered the incredible chateaux near Paris in January – perfect for planning day excursions from the French capital. In late spring, I designed a course on “French Kings & Queens: A History of the Monarchy in France” which was an amazing journey through French time and royalty. “Gourmet Paris: A Culinary Tour of the French Capital” was also on our culture course list – and our annual “French for Travelers” reached a sell-out crowd for the eighth year in a row. If you’re planning some travel to France soon or just want to get acquainted with French attitudes, etiquette and basic conversation, you might want to join us for this year’s edition of “French for Travelers” which runs from February 16 to 18, 2016, in Dallas, Texas. Please click here for more details and registration information with SMU’s Continuing Studies program. And more French language and culture classes will be coming in 2016 so stay tuned to this space.

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We do want to pause to remember the terrible events in Paris in November and January of last year. For a short article on our thoughts and support for the French, please click here. The French are strong – and Paris will always be Paris!

Last but not least, our special “French Cookbook Club” and “French Cuisine & Culture Workshops” immersed us in French culinary delights all year long. The hands-on “Spotlight on French Vinaigrettes” was a festival of French tastes and flavors – with nary a bottled salad dressing in sight. And the “French Cookbook Club” – now in its fifth amazing year! – has been an extraordinary coming together of great French Affaires’ friends, great cookbooks and great cooking. We are looking forward to this year’s final celebration dinner and weekend in France – and I’ll be on the hunt for next year’s special new theme.

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So, again, je vous remercie de votre fidelité et je vous souhaite une extraordinaire année 2016. I look forward to sharing more of wonderful France with you this year. Come have some fun French style…A très bientôt!

French Events & Classes This Fall! Thursday, Nov 5 2015 

Put a little France in your fall with some of French Affaires’ upcoming events and classes. From “Gourmet Paris” this Monday evening to Beginning French and Intro to French Conversation to the French Vinaigrette Workshop to the French Cookbook Club, there’s something for every Francophile!

“Gourmet Paris: A Culinary Tour of the French Capital” on Monday, November 9, 2015

Experience the best of Paris restaurants, food shops, open-air markets, cooking schools and culinary highlights in this class focused on all things gourmet in the French capital. In this visually illustrated session, we’ll tour Paris’s best venues for food, cheeses, chocolates, breads, pastries, wines, teas, cookware and more. We’ll also cover fabulous restaurants, bistrots & cafés for every budget. And we’ll include a virtual tour of several Paris cooking schools for those who want to take their culinary skills to new heights. Essential to our gourmet Paris experience will be learning key French food words and phrases so you can enjoy your culinary travels to the fullest. Come join us for a visual French feast–and walk away with a gourmet guide to Paris perfect for your next trip!

Date: Monday, November 9, 2015
Time: 7 to 9pm
Cost: $39 early registration; $49 regular registration
Location: Hosted by SMU Continuing Studies – click here to register with SMU.
Date: Monday, November 9, 2015
Time: 7 to 9pm
Cost: $39 early registration; $49 regular registration
Location: Hosted by SMU Continuing Studies – click here to register with SMU.

“Beginning French Part 1″ starting Tuesday, November 10, 2015    2 spaces remaining

Learn the basics of French in this beginning French course taught by French Affaires’ founder Dr. Elizabeth New Seitz. We will have fun covering key French words and phrases, essential pronunciation, and beginning language structures while mastering real cultural situations. Our class size is small to ensure an optimum language learning experience. Come prepared to absorb, participate and learn the essential elements of the French language in a supportive environment. Please note that this course is designed for those who have had little to no French instruction prior to joining our group. Cost: The class fee is $95 per person and includes all language instruction, cultural lessons, special handouts, and personalized language coaching. Advance registration is required.

Date: 4 Tuesdays – Nov 10, 17, Dec 1, 8, 2015

Time: 6 to 7:15pm

Cost: $95 per person – please click here to register.

Location: Central Dallas location. Classroom & parking information provided upon registration.

“Intro to French Conversation” starting Tuesday, November 10, 2015    2 spaces remaining

We’ll take your French language skills to the next level in this class devoted to French conversation. With other France lovers, you will learn to converse in French in a structured and positive environment – with plenty of French language support and input provided. Dr. Elizabeth New Seitz will lead discussions on interesting French cultural topics so you’ll get some French culture along with your conversation. Practice more extended communication in French while adding to your French vocabulary and strengthening your French grammar. Our class size is small to ensure an optimum language learning experience. Come prepared to absorb, participate, converse and learn the essential elements of the French language in a supportive environment. Please note that this class is for those who have some French background already. Cost: The class fee is $95 per person and includes all language instruction, cultural lessons, special handouts, and personalized language coaching. Advance registration is required.

Date: 4 Tuesdays – Nov 10, 17, Dec 1, 8, 2015

Time: 7:30 to 8:45pm

Cost: $95 per person – please click here to register.

Location: Central Dallas location. Classroom & parking information provided upon registration.

French Cuisine & Culture Workshop:

“Spotlight on French Vinaigrettes” on Saturday, December 5, 2015

For the French, making excellent vinaigrettes is as easy as breathing. In this hands-on cuisine and culture workshop led by Elizabeth New Seitz, we will discuss key ingredients for a variety of French vinaigrette dressings and then make several different salads using classic vinaigrette recipes. Our workshop also includes a French mustard tasting and vinegar tasting as well as a salt tasting–essential elements of many vinaigrettes. We’ll enjoy the fruits of our culinary workshop labors with a sit-down lunch of our salads, accompanied by hearty French quiche and followed by dessert. After our French vinaigrette class, you will never want to buy bottled salad dressing again!

The cost is $95 per person and includes the hands-on vinaigrette making class, cultural lessons, tastings, recipes, lunch, and French vinaigrette to take home.

Date: Saturday, December 5, 2015

Time: 10:30am to 1pm

Cost: $95 per person. Advance sign-up required – please click here to register.

Location: Central Dallas Location

French Cookbook Club 2015-2016: “The Food of France: A French Culinary Tour”

For the fourth season in a row, French Affaires is offering a great twist on the classic book club idea with our ‘French Cookbook Club.’ Every quarter, we read and cook our way through a specially chosen French-themed cookbook. We gather for a seated multi-course dinner to taste our recipes and enjoy an evening of great French cuisine, wines and conversation. It is a unique chance to really get to know French cookbooks already in your culinary library or to add to your cookbook collection as the French Cookbook Club continues. And of course, it’s a festive occasion to make friends with other gourmets interested in French cuisine and l’art de vivre!

Our 2015-16 French Cookbook Club theme is “The Food of France: A French Culinary Tour.” Via our quarterly cookbook selections, we’ll be transported to the many rich culinary regions of France. What are the key ingredients in Normandy cuisine? What are the great wines of Burgundy? What gives Provençal cuisine its wonderful character? How would you know that cassoulet and foie gras are from Southwest France?

Through our recipes and special visual presentation by our host Elizabeth New Seitz (a new part of the French Cookbook Club this year!), we’ll get an overview of the culinary map of France as well as visit Burgundy, Normandy, Provence and Southwest France in particular. And, as extra amazing treat, our final cookbook club session will be an amazing culinary long weekend in France designed especially for French Cookbook Club participants. Come join us as we explore the best of French culinary traditions and get a real feel for what makes French regional cooking so special!

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Monday, December 7, 2015 – A Tour of the French Regions: “The Taste of France” (1983) by Robert Freson

This is one of my favorite French cookbooks ever! “The Taste of France” is a gorgeous illustrated tour of all the French culinary regions and serves as a great introduction to our French Cookbook Club year. We’ll see how geography and climate as well as cultural dimensions have contributed to regional differences in French cooking. After this evening, you’ll have a good grasp of France’s various regions and their gourmet highlights. Please note: As this book is no longer in print, you’ll want to collect your copy second-hand through Amazon.com or from your local used bookstore.

Dates: Monday, December 7, 2015

Time: 6:30 to 9pm

Location: Central Dallas location

Cost: $45 per person and your choice of recipe from that session’s cookbook selection

Registration: For more information & to register, please click here.