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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

Pâtisseries délicieuses …

Posted: May 14, 2012
by: Mark Stine

Scoping through magazine articles awhile back, I am came across one with a pastry challenge…for anyone visiting Paris and I immediately thought of my friend Colleen, who authors this week’s blog.


Colleen Watson- Guest Blogger

She was headed off to Paris and I didn’t know if this Pastry challenge would be of interest, but she immediately was excited about the opportunity and the result….well read and find out…as Colleen accepts the Paris patisseries challenge. Take it away Colleen.....

Pâtisseries délicieuses …
Stepping off the plane to unseasonably cool weather for a June in Paris, I’m already craving those items I think of as being the best of French food. A freshly-baked baguette, wonderfully rich and creamy cheese accompanied by a glass of Bordeaux.

I could be happy sitting in a café all day watching the Paris world pass by with only my drink order changing from café crème to a vin rouge.

But this trip, my good friend and frequent traveling companion, Mark Stine (yes, the very same blogger who generally graces this space) sent me a list of several of the top pâtisseries in Paris. I decided I was up for the challenge.

So, on one of the warmer days toward the end of my trip, I set out with my traveling companions to begin the adventure. From where we were staying near the Tour Eiffel, we decide to go to the furthest away and work our way back. We took the metro, conveniently located a couple of doors down from our hotel to the Métro République. We followed our Paris map a couple of short blocks south of the Pl. de la République off of the busy Bd du Temple to Jacques Genin.

For years, Jacques Genin, self-taught pastry chef, sold his chocolates and caramels to high-end Paris restaurants and hotels, but finally opened his own space in the hip northern edge of the Marais at the end of 2008. And thus, his delicious goods were made available directly to the public.

His beautiful establishment is warm and welcoming, a combination chocolaterie, pâtisserie and tea salon, with its beautifully designed white walls, extraordinarily lovely orchids well placed by the entrance, and its pristine hard wood floors begging us to take the few steps down into the heart of the shop. Awaiting us were deliciously appealing pastries and glass cases filled with delicate freshly made chocolates.

Standing behind the glass cases, Arthur Dieupart motioned us over and gave us our first taste of the best chocolates in my memory. Smooth and creamy ganaches, we purchased several of the small lovely boxes, each holding nine squares of the most interesting flavors with herbs and spices (jasmine, ginger, mint, tea) and others equally interesting (grapefruit, rose). Even the more typical kind was not of a typical taste.


But, we did come for the pastries!

Jacques Genin has a delightfully inviting tea room on the other side of the circular stairs that lead to the loft kitchen where all the pastries, chocolates, jellys and caramels are made fresh each day … and throughout the day to replenish what has been sold. We decided on the Saint-Honoré, a surprise from the typical that featured a delectable, flaky pastry topped with vanilla whipped cream alongside three cream puffs of chocolate, caramel and vanilla. It was a perfect selection with the café crème (oh, and more chocolates).


jacque genin, fondeur en chocolat - paris
133, rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris
Tél +33(0)1 45 77 29 01

Pulling ourselves away from the inviting ambience, friendly staff and delicious smells, we left to walk to the next shop on our list, Pâtisserie Pain de Sucre.

Located on rue Rambuteau, also in the Marais, just three blocks northeast of the Centre Pompidou, this shop is owned by Nathalie Robert and Didier Mathray. These two met each other at Pierre Gagnaire's three-Michelin-starred restaurant in the pastry kitchen, of course. They opened Pain de Sucre together and continue to work as a team, creating wonderfully fabulous confections.

The bright, well-appointed space is just what you’d imagine when thinking pâtisserie. As we enter the shop, the first things we notice are the cases filled with inviting pastries and macaroons. We quickly notice the ornate and amazingly fairy-tale ceiling perfectly suited to the space. The shop is busy with customers unable to make decisions because everything is so well presented and looks so inviting, concoctions so well appointed they looked like artwork. Even the marshmallows are tempting!
We decide on their tarte au citron, which is apparently pretty famous. We leave the pâtisserie and stroll down to a café for an afternoon espresso. The tart is all we anticipated, delightfully creamy with a hint of lime. Definitely a winner!


Pain du Sucre
14 rue Rambuteau, 75003 Paris
Tél +33(0)1 45 74 68 92

We move on toward our final stop of the day, La Pâtisserie des Rêves located in the posh 7th arrondisement and created by chefs Angelo Musa—a winner of the Pastry World Cup and a Meilleur Ouvrier de France—and Philippe Conticini, partnering with hotelier Thierry Teyssier. (They have another shop in the 16th arrondissement, 10-minutes from the Palais de Chaillot, which includes a salon de thé and an atelier des choux.)

We step into a small space crowded with late afternoon shoppers clearly picking up pastries for after dinner pleasures. Everything in the shop is artfully designed, from the color-coordinated walls, fixtures and packaging, to the interesting glass domes under which contain deliciously appealing delicacies.

If you are looking for only one treat, the word in this "Pastry Shop of Dreams" is to try the Paris-Brest, for which it has won raves, and rightly so. The original Paris-Brest was created in 1891 to commemorate the Paris-Brest-Paris bicycle race and was popular with riders because of its energy-rich calorie content and its circular shape, which was easy to eat on the ride.

True to their creativity, Phillipe Conticini’s Paris-Brest is different than most, with six small puffs of pastry (choux) nestled together in a circle, each containing rich chocolate-praline. The addition of the chocolate adds a wonderful flavor to the smooth crème and goes way beyond the typical. Definitely one to try!


La Pâtisserie des Rêves par Philippe Conticini
93, rue du Bac, 75007 Paris
telephone: +33 (0)1 42 84 00 82

And so, with a sugar over load and a desire for some substantive food, we walked back to our “neighborhood” and stopped at a corner bistro that offered us our customary glass of Bordeaux and the special of the evening, a fresh fish in … wait for it … puff pastry!

We woke up the next morning, our last day in Paris, and decided we couldn’t go home without at least a dozen more boxes of chocolates from Jacque Genin. We made our way over to the shop, which, on this day, was teaming with customers. By the end of it, we (and all the others) had nearly wiped them out. We met Jacques, a most sincere, warm and charming host, and had another pastry and café crème. This time, the lime … divine!!

......And so the Paris patisseries challenge was met by Colleen and her bonvivant friends…I however was a lucky recipient of one of the boxes of chocolates from Jacque Genin…two words...tres’ magnifique! I am not ashamed to say…I ate all of the chocolates in one afternoon...I did however recycle the cute chocolate tin and filled it with a necklace that I gave to my daughter. If you can’t make it to Paris anytime soon..may I recommend the internet..make a list of all of the pastry shops in your area..and spend an afternoon in Pastry pursuit! Bon appetit!

14 French Movies Every French Major Must See

Posted: September 24, 2011
by: T.Alexander

Whether you're a French student or not, you're probably like me...constantly seeking new and high quality film. The French know their way around a kitchen, they make great wines, and they're also excellent at movie making.

Best Colleges Online have compiled a list of 14 movies every French student should watch - and that includes you. I won't spoil the surprise of the list by saying anything except a few words about #14 - bottoms up.

La grande illusion (1937)

We would be remiss not to include one of the greatest French films ever made. La grand illusion is not only a cinematic masterpiece, but an engaging look into France’s history and society in the WWI years. Focusing on a group of officers taken prisoner during the war, the movie reveals their class relationships and struggles as they plot an escape.

Grand Illusion 

Click here to see the rest of the list! Enjoy.

50 Best Books for French Majors & Francophiles

Posted: July 17, 2011
by: T.Alexander

Wikipedia: Francophile - A Francophile (or Gallophile) is a person who has a strong positive predisposition or interest toward the government, culture, history, or people of France. This could include France itself and its history, the French language, French cuisine, literature, etc. The opposite of a Francophile is a Francophobe (or Gallophobe) – someone who dislikes all that is French.

Sound familiar? Are you a Francophile or do you know someone who is? Now there is a collection of 50 great books for those in love with France. Book categories include food, culture, history, fiction and travel. Top book for food: 
French Food: On the Table, On the Page, and in French Culture by Lawrence Schehr and Allen Weiss: Serious foodies will love digging into this book to learn about the rich history of the French culinary scene.

This rich resource is brought to you compliments of Accredited Online Colleges - AccreditedOnlineColleges.com


Keep it Simple: French Home Cooking

Posted: September 6, 2008
by: Chris Card Fuller

Visitors to France often associate French cuisine with the rich sauces and ornate plate presentations  - the sort you're bound to encounter if you dine in Paris's Michelin-star restaurants, but equally satisfying, is a home-cooked meal in Brittany.


Our friend, Huguette lives in the little town of Chartres-de-Bretagne located several miles from Rennes, capital city of the Brittany region.  Rennes is the sister-city of Rochester, New York.   Located in the northwestern region of France (practically due west from Paris), the Brittany region is well-reknowned for its picturesque coastline, fishing villages, Maine-like beaches, and great seafood.  The rugged peninsular coastline cedes to a tangled boulder-laden forest - which inspired stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. 

We are always eager to visit Huguette.  In addition to being an adept conversationalist,  a resolute gardener (when she's not traveling), and a welcoming host, she's also a good cook.  With what always appears to be a minimal amount of time in the kitchen, she puts a satisfying meal on the table. 

So what is her secret?  Simplicity.  You've probably read it a dozen times.  The key to good cooking is great ingredients and nowhere is this more true than in France.  But more important - and it's a fault (for which I've often been guilty),  some of us beginners complicate excellent basic ingredients with too much fuss.   


Any good meal begins with a trip to the local market and bakery.  Chartres-de-Bretagne has its weekly market within walking distance from Huguette's home.  During our weekend, we had a chance to visit not only the local bakery, market and butcher shop, but the local school children's garden display surrounding city hall.  The theme was the meaning of gardens.  Gardens not only create beautiful surroundings but produce some of the food that will end up on Huguettes's table.  (including the cherry jam we slather over our morning baguette).  "I had SO many cherries this year,  I was giving them away to everyone who stopped by."


Here's just one menu sample of Huguette's well-planned meals:

L'Heure de L'Apero  (Cocktail Hour)
Rather than piling high the coffee table with shrimp, cheeses, dips, etc,  Huguette treats us to one excellent sort of 'Rillettes de canard' (a duck paté) which she serves on slices of baguette with a green olive garnish.

Often French hosts and hostesses will suggest a sweet or semi-sweet drink at cocktail hour.  These can range from a glass of Porto or Muscat to a Martini (sweet Vermouth) or a Pastis served with water.  Bourbon or Scotch is also popular (served with not more than two ice cubes).  For special occasions, champagne is always welcome (and a nice gift to bring your host or hostess).   

First course
Shelled shrimp and marinated trout arranged artfully with cherry tomato garnishes.

Main Course
Filet Mignon de Porc en Croute
Pork Filet wrapped in Puffed Pastry.
Fresh Green Beans.

(Huguette buys her pre-rolled puffed pastry, seasons the lightly basted pork and slips the pastry-wrapped roast into the oven at 350 degrees)  Meat courses are often served in their own reduced 'jus' rather than a heavy butter and flour-based gravy.

Cheese and Salad.
This course is essential for a truly French lunch.  Camembert cheese or other soft cheeses such as Brie are favorites in this region of France.

Just like the main course, Huguette's tarts (or pies) use a minimum of ingredients - examples a Norman apple tart or an almond - paste tart will start with a butter and flour crust (in France, Crisco or lard is rarely used for homemade pastry) - a layer of apple compote, or the almond-paste followed by layer of fresh apples, pears or whatever fruit may be in season.  Likewise, Breton cakes are butter-based.

Everything is better with butter.  Huguette admits that she is not a great consumer of sweets, but having been brought up on Norman butter (she's originally from Normandy),  she will not pass up this essential ingredient.

What is the added benefit of such tasty and simply prepared meals?  Not so many dishes, pots and pans, and more time to spend chatting over a cup of expresso in the garden.  Although I haven't gotten anywhere near mastering the art of simple cuisine,  at least I've found a good role model. 

Next time we visit, Huguette has promised to make us 'boudin noir' - blood pudding sausage with onions, potatoes and slices of apples. In the meantime, she's given us a hint of things to come with a satisfying plate another sort of sausage accompanied with mashed potatoes (butter included!)  Simple delicious!

Chris Card Fuller


Seaside Treats From France

Posted: June 16, 2008
by: Chris Card Fuller

Tasting the local seafood can be one of the greatest pleasures of a
seaside vacation in France.  When Parisians rent efficiency apartments
for August, they normally prepare most meals at their apartments.  However,
one restaurant splurge usually finds its way into the vacation budget,
and more than likely that will include a plate of mussels and fries, known
here as ‘moules-frites.’


Before I au paired in France, the only mussels I had tasted were the
huge New Zealand variety.  French mussels are much smaller (especially the
farmed mussels) – and almost sweet.  Because they are smaller they also
tend to be much less chewy.  So, what I’m saying is, if you didn’t like
mussels back in the US, try these out – at least once.

Even though ‘moules-frites’ is often offered as a starter, don’t be
fooled.  The servings are huge.  You get a huge bowl and normally a
to discard the shells.  Some restaurants like the one we chose in
Courseulles, Normandie offered ‘all you can eat’ mussels.


As with all popular dishes, people develop their own strategies for
enjoying this dish.  The purists will order ‘moules marinieres’.  In
this case, mussels are boiled with a dash of white wine and shallots.  Or you
can try the ‘moules a la crème’ which is a standard choice at most
Norman seaside resorts.  Our restaurant had several other options including
curry flavored mussels and Roquefort mussels. The method remains the same.
You receive a steaming bowl of mussels with plenty of  marinade.  You
can either go straight to the attack, devouring one mussel after another
or – fastidiously extract all your mussels from their shells and make
yourself a soup of sorts.  If you do this, you might want to go for the ‘moules a
la crème’.

As for all those etiquette lessons about not dunking your bread in the
sauce – well you can leave this chapter of the book in your suitcase.  I
learned that the best way to eat mussels is by emptying one of the
shells. Turn the empty shell into your utensil and squeeze it like a pair of
tweezers to extract the rest of the mussels in record time.


I think one of the reasons French people love this dish is partly
because it’s tactile.  This is a dish you can climb into with both hands.
Normally a towelette is served alongside.  On the Atlantic coast,
another great dish is ‘mouclade’.  This is a gratin of mussels.  The mussels are
shelled and served piping hot in a gratinee.  You can use your fork for
this, but it won’t be as much fun as ‘moules-frites’.
Apart from being delicious and filling,  ‘moules-frites’ is often one of
the most reasonably priced resort meals you’ll find in France.

Chris Card Fuller


France Today – The Magazine of French Culture & Travel

Posted: October 1, 2007
by: T.Alexander

GourmetStation can bring you French dinners delivered to remind you of Paris and a lovely dinner at a sidewalk café on Champs-Elysées. It will get you close, but if you need to get a little closer, try this web site - France Today – The Magazine of French Culture & Travel.

If you’re planning a trip, check out their calendar page where you can preview music shows, art exhibitions and more. I enjoyed best addresses; especially the hotel section where I learned about Hôtel Lutetia, a palace hotel at less than palace prices. This link will take you to their gourmet section where you can purchase mostly baked goods from companies located all across the US. If you’re the studious type, try this page where you can download a French Travel Study Guide.


A sister company France-Amérique is America’s only French-language news, culture and community publication for Francophones and Francophiles alike. Published bi-monthly, France-Amérique brings its readers news, French trends, cultural insights and insider travel. Had enough? Let’s go!

Food Adventures in France

Posted: September 15, 2007
by: Chris Card Fuller

There are moments in life that one never forgets - especially when it
comes to trying French gourmet treats for the very first time.

I will always remember tasting my first French croissant.  It was in
1966, arriving in the early morning hours at Paris's Orly airport.
We had a quick half hour before we'd be catching our connecting
flight to Nice. Four huge, flakey croissants were set down on our
table.   I had never before seen a croissant which we called
'crescents' because they resembled a crescent-shaped moon.  The first
bite didn't disappoint as my mouth was treated to that delightful
combination of flakey texture, crunch and rich butteriness that makes
a good croissant stand apart from all other breakfast treats.


In the old days, croissants achieved that buttery richness with the
help of goose fat, but nowadays,  you can order your croissants at
the bakery either 'nature' or 'au beurre'.  Of course the butter
dowsed croissants are the more expensive - and the more caloric.
'Nature' or natural croissants can be equally tasty - minus the guilt
factor.  Still, a croissant should be reserved for special occasions
like Sunday breakfast.  Start making a habit of daily croissants
while visiting France and watch your trousers start to cling too

Some other French specialties I tried before I ever left the
U.S.A.    I can never forget the first time I tried either of these
dishes:  snails, or 'escargot' and frog's legs.
A little restaurant in Telluride, Colorado, called Chez Pierre (back
in the 1970s) is where I first tried a plate of escargots in their
shells.  And although the idea of eating creatures that slide across
the ground, using their antenna for GPS seemed slightly unappetizing,
the first bite of garlic-butter drenched escargot convinced me that
the pleasure of eating snails was   the delight of a myriad of
textures hitting the tastebuds, the tongue and the teeth all in one
fell swoop.

Frog legs appeared on my plate in the USA also.  And they do taste
surprisingly like chicken.  However, when frog legs are perfectly
sauteed they have a firmness  which contrasts perfectly to the
crisply fried exterior.

Veal sweetbreads I also tried for the first time in the United States
- although nowadays you will no longer find this delicacy made from
pancreas or thyroid glands on U.S. menus (the pancreas organs have
all been snapped up by pharmaceutical companies).

Vichysoisse, a cold potato soup served in a chilled bowl, usually
decorated with chopped parsley or chives is another dish one rarely
sees on restaurant menus, but it used to be a standby for elegant New
York restaurants in the sixties and seventies (it's also a soup you
won't find in many French restaurants these days!).

All this early introduction to French cuisine should have prepared me
for even more outlandish specialties I had yet to encounter once I
had became firmly ensconced on French soil, but nothing could quite
get me in the mood for some of the more adventurous choices such as
Tete de Veau (or Calf's Head).   This was a specialty of Normandy.
Add to that Tripe a la mode de Caen or Tripe,  Pig's Jowl, Calf's
Foot, Ox Tongue, Pig's Feet, and sausages composed of everything but
the kitchen sink - and I seriously considered on some occasions
becoming a strict vegetarian.

Some of these dishes I have tried - and others I'll leave to the true
enthusiasts.  In the meantime,  croissants still remain one of my
favorite treats - and when I'm feeling particularly naughty - I'll go
all out and order my croissants  'au beurre'.

Chris Card Fuller



The Interminable French Feast

Posted: June 25, 2007
by: Chris Card Fuller

"You must have spent all day preparing dinner",said our neighbor Anne
Marie.  It's approximately nine pm (which by Parisian standards would be
early) but given the fact that we're dining outside (and in Normandy),
eight or nine pm is fine for outdoor dining to maximize the hours of
daylight  (Sun sets at 9:45 in this first week of June).


And the truth is, yes, I did spend all day preparing dinner.  So, in case
you're wondering, how does an American visitor in France prepare a meal
for French guests (one of them being a French chef)?

The answer is "With much reflection!"
One of the things I've learned over the years is the famous KISS formula
(i.e. Keep it Simple Stupid). And I might add to that KIF (i.e. Keep it


The first couple of years in France, I tried to be a good ambassador and
serve plates that might quell the myth of the hamburger as being the
be-all and end-all of American cooking.  But in my enthusiasm to disprove
the myth, I ended up making far too much food, and too many different
recipes.  Still, friends continue to tease me about my tendency to bring
on a deluge of appetizers & hoping this first barrage might distract
guests from the fact that I am back in the kitchen juggling plates,
totally clueless.

In recent years, some new additions have made life in the "galley"
much more organized.  Here are some of the lifesavers & if you can
afford them (and more importantly, in France, if you have the space for
them):  a dishwashing machine, a second refrigerator, a crock pot (called
a mitigeuse), and Saran wrap.  If you want to buy crystal stemware, you
can buy inexpensive crystal stemware at some of the larger supermarkets
like LeClerc or Monoprix.  This stemware can actually be washed in the
dishwasher -something I would never try with more expensive crystal.

Keep it fresh:  People might excuse a chewy cut of beef, but they will
never excuse day-old bread.  The bakery is open every day in France, so
you should make sure to have a loaf of fresh bread on hand.  The baguettes
tend to dry out so quickly.  You're better off picking up a loaf
which will stay fresh till dinnertime.  Keep it in a breadbox or
wrapped in a towel.  Don't slice the bread until the last possible

RE: Meat.  Steaks in France tend to be chewy but the flavor
compensates for chewiness.  You have to really spend some time getting to
know the right butcher.  Try different cuts.  Entrecote is normally
considered to be one of the better cuts of steak.  Steak is more often
panfried here than broiled, simply because many people eat their steaks
rare.  I've recently been introduced to "la plancha", an oven-top
griddle which some of our friends use with great success. If you have any
concerns about the tenderness of steaks, opt for a roast
of pork, veal or a leg of lamb.

RE: Sauce aka gravy.  Sauces tend to be much lighter in France.  You've
probably heard about the rich butter sauces, but day-to-day cooking is
based on using the natural juices from meat which are cooked down and
served with the meat. The exception to this rule would be some regions
like Normandy where fraiche is used in abundance for every kind of
meat dish.

Tomato sauces (which are used in many American dishes) are not as
predominant in French cuisine for the simple reason that it's hard to
find a wine that goes well with tomato sauce.  In Provence where the
tomato is a basic ingredient, the local Provence makes a good

RE: Fish. The simplicity rule is truer than ever with fish.  If you're
lucky enough to find fresh sole, don't wreck it (as I did once) by
trying to create a "dish".  Fresh sole needs very little help. The
best thing you can do with fresh sole is to lightly flour it and panfry it
in butter.  Throw in a few toasted almond slivers if you must, but not
even that is necessary. Finding fresh fish at the beginning of the week
is not always easy.  Some markets (like our local Champion branch) only
carry fresh fish on Thursday
through Sunday.

If you're vegetarian, you'll be happy to know that people are often
willing to try a new dish if it is presented in an appetizing manner.
"Crudit" or shredded raw vegetables are often seen as a starter on
restaurant menus.  At home, you can prepare a similar starter.  Or you can
slice strips of melon and serve it with a glass of Porto (especially in
the summer months).

Cous-cous or semolina (a North-African dish) is one example of a good base
for a vegetarian main course. You can include garbanzo beans and the spicy
sauce used to flavor a colorful vegetable medley.   Vegetables can also be
prepared in the earthenware tajine (which slow cooks them in the oven).

Cheeses:   Cheese shops in town tend to be overpriced (in my opinion).
The supermarket cheese departments cannot compare with the outdoor
markets.  Find a cheese stand at your closest outdoor market and develop a
good rapport with the vendor.  For your cheese platter, try to choose one
or two soft cheeses and a hard "mountain" cheese.  If you have
leftover cheese (you always do, either you can use it in the next few days
-  goat cheese can be slightly heated in the oven and served on toasts
along with salad.  Or you can put cheeses in a zip-lock bag and freeze
them for another day.

Camembert and other soft cheeses must be left out for a few hours before
serving to maximize their flavor (an authentic AOC Camembert must be lait
cru which means it's unpasteurized) And yes, there is always a
slight risk with unpasteurized cheese, in the same way that eating
chocolate mousse (made with raw egg) can be a risk.  But then, we've
been eating unpasteurized cheeses and mousse au chocolat for a number of
years with no problems.  You decide.  Always keep cheeses covered with a
net or a cheese plate cover (to keep out flies) and if the weather is
particularly hot, do not keep cheeses out to the point where they become
too runny or "trop fait".

When choosing desserts, opt for light and fluffy over two-crust pies or
buttery cakes.  Apple pie may be one of your favorites, but after
appetizers, a starter, a main course, salad and cheese, with plenty of
good wine to accompany each course, your guests will thank you for making
the dessert course light and easy-to-digest

Here are some ways to spend more time with your guests:  Try to have the
starter course prepared as much as possible before their arrival.  Arrange
the plates, saran wrap each individual plate and stack in your fridge.
You can partially cook veggies, esp potatoes and heat thoroughly just
before serving.

Have coffee measured and the coffee pot ready to turn on at the flip of a
switch.  Set coffee cups, saucers, sugar and spoons on a tray within easy
access for the end of the meal.  (This is a good time to serve any little
candies, after dinner mints  or liqueurs/brandy, etc).


Have a flower vase and a pair of scissors set beside the sink in case a
guest brings you a bouquet of flowers.  (This saves you scrambling around
cupboards looking for that flower vase that you remember seeing several
months earlier at the back of the cupboard under the kitchen sink).

Find a partner in crime "do not be afraid to delegate" but make sure
it's someone who really knows you well enough not to be horrified at the
cyclone in the kitchen.  Take advantage of your significant other's
desire to be helpful.  He or she can be your lifebuoy.  People you let
into your kitchen have already gained the key to your heart next time
you're invited to dinner at a French friend's house.  Pay attention to
who is allowed to help in the kitchen and you may have already guessed it's
more often than not, the most trusted friend of the host or hostess.


For a video on a lunch in Normandy from Fat Bell Travelers, click here.



Welcome Guest Writer - Chris Card Fuller

Posted: June 4, 2007
by: T.Alexander

We have received wonderful comments and feedback from Delicious Destinations guest writers. Our goal is to have guest writers from every corner of the globe. I have been searching specifically for a guest writer from France for about two years. The search is over! Welcome, Chris Card Fuller; we welcome your French experience into our food & culture blog. By way of introduction enjoy this bio about Chris and how she came to work in and love the world of food & travel.

When I was nineteen, a palm reader at a cocktail party in Palos Verdes

Estates read my palm. She told me that even though I was helping the

hostess serve hors d'oeuvres, the kitchen wasn't really my bailiwick.

She didn't mention anything about travel and she didn't see France in

my future.

By many strange twists and turns in the path of life, I ended up spending

more and more time in France, particularly in Paris & Normandy. The palm

reader was right in guessing that I might find producing a four-course

dinner for French guests to be a daunting task, but well worth the

privilege of gaining an intimate view of day-to-day living in Paris and

the Norman countryside.

Parislogue.com came about thanks to Bootsnall.com founders Sean Keener and

Chris Heidrich who launched the site and invited me to contribute my

comments about French living.  The Bootsnall.com site for independent

travelers caught my eye back in the late late nineties as the ideal site

for sharing my travel stories with like-minded travelers.

Aside from travel stories about French life, I've also published a

number of travel articles for U.S. newspapers including the L.A. Times and

the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. My collection of travel essays titled

"The Fearful Traveler's Companion" was published in December 2005 by

iUniverse.com   A number of hair-raising encounters interspersed with

unusual food thrills included in this first collection are just a sampling

of future stories to be told. My travels have taken me from Appalachicola,

Florida to Yap in the Caroline Islands, from Timbuktu, in Mali, to Phaplu

in Nepal.

Bootsnall members are often requested to send in a photo or the name of

their first pair of hiking boots.  My first pair of hiking boots I

borrowed from my dad for a trip to Aspen, Colorado. I was sixteen years

old.  Aspen is where I first drank a "smoothie" and ate tempura

veggies.  My first introduction to snails was in a French restaurant in

Telluride, Colorado.  In other words, you don't necessarily have to be

in France to enjoy great French cuisine (but it's well worth the trip,

at least once in your lifetime).

Travel and food, for me, have always been an inseparable part of the same

great adventure.


Paris Logue - An Insider's View

Posted: May 17, 2007
by: T.Alexander

GourmetStation tries to take you to France with our Parisian menu line. Food travel, so to speak. But let’s face it – there is no substitute for being there…for finally completing the journey as your cruise over de Gaulle Airport and take in the city from a bird’s eye view…for gently rolling into the culture and becoming French, if only for a few days.

Well, I’ve got a resource for you as you make your travel plans to Paris. And even if you don’t have a trip on the books, go anyway. Just go. I recommend you read Paris Logue religiously before departing. Chris Cardfuller will give you a comprehensive look at the city from an American’s perspective. Now there are many blogs and books on travel to France out there. But Chris has a unique perspective. She doesn’t skim the top with fluff touristy topics. She drills down to the heart of the city, it’s people, politics and much more.

I especially enjoyed the post by Chris about the 1st 100 days of  Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency which started on May 16th and the practical effect on tourism with potential labor strikes. There’s also Tips & Tidbits – a fast way to get “in the know” with topics like “how many train stations are in Paris.” The answer is seven, but don’t take my word for it, read the post! (The answer is: Montparnasse, St. Lazare, Gare du Nord, Gare de l’Est, Gare d’Austerlitz, Gare de Lyon, and Gare de Bercy)

Travel & accommodations are also favorite subjects. I won’t spill the beans, but Chris wrote a post on places to eat in Paris. What I like about her list is that she has tried them all and they are neighborhood restaurants – the best in my opinion. Thanks Chris – for giving us a peak at Paris through your eyes and you pen. Keep up the good work!