Chocolate Tales & La Maison du Chocolat book giveaway!

18 July 2017
La Maison du Chocolat 40th anniversary book

When I moved to Paris at age 21, I arrived with an imperfect and shamefully limited palate and pedestrian tastes. I was acutely aware of how much I would have to learn about food to feel connected to my new home. To my husband, it was as if I had been living out only a portion of life. How could I not intrinsically appreciate the diversity in cheese, produce, meat and fish? How could I have subsisted on two-to-three-max ingredient dishes for so long? I didn’t have very good answers at the time, except to say that I was finicky to a fault (and damnit, my parents didn’t push me hard enough!), but I was eager to let my adopted city, with its culinary legacy and population of erudite eaters, impart its many lessons on me. If there is a taste I developed and honed quickly, it was, unsurprisingly, for chocolate. Reared on Hershey’s, Reese’s (which still hold a nostalgic place in my heart) and all manner of artificial chocolate bar, it was a veritable sensory awakening when I was given my first piece of artisanal chocolate. I experienced earthy, red fruit and peppery notes that I didn’t think were […]…

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Pastry Favorite: Kouign Amann

25 June 2017

“I feel like I need something crunchy” was a refrain I heard frequently from my father growing up. For him, a meal was complete when there was some degree of crunch or crackle. When it didn’t, he’d seek it out, rummaging through the cabinet for a handful of nuts or pretzels, some crispy granola or a hard cookie studded with any manner of delicious filling that I’d invariably snatch away from him. Having evidently inherited this penchant, the almost ineffable need for crunch is something I understand intimately. It’s as much about the sensation the sound produces as the taste of the food itself. When I moved to Paris ten years ago and followed my belly around the city to assess the breadth of the bread and pastry offering (sweets first, savory second), the crunch-friendly options were legion but not created equal. As far as breakfast pastries went, I was team-croissant until I had my first, awe-inspiring experience with a still little-known Breton pastry called the Kouign Amann. The two are similar insofar as they both are prepared from laminated dough and a liberal layering of butter, but the KA is denser and, most importantly, crispier throughout thanks to the […]…

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“The New Paris” Book: Video Teaser

18 April 2017
The New Paris book teaser

Here we go! My little baby is making its way into the world today and I’m over the moon! I can’t wait to know what you think. One of the thrilling outcomes of having a book released all over the world at the same time is learning where it is being sold. So far, I’ve received messages and photos from booksellers and boutiques in Australia that have been displaying the book and I’ve spotted it in Paris at Colette, Shakespeare & Co, Artazart, WHSmith, and Sézane. It’s wild to think of my work reaching people from around the world and hopefully leading to a deeper appreciation for or better understanding of the French capital today. So what is “The New Paris”, you ask? It’s a bit of the video below (if reading in your email inbox, click HERE to watch the video!). Order your copy of “The New Paris” now! Click here for a list of online distributors or visit a bookseller nearest you. Once you’ve read it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon or GoodReads!  Video by Haleigh Walsworth…

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Creativity in Chocolate with La Maison du Chocolat

29 November 2016
La Maison du Chocolat Petrossian Collaboration

One of the chapters of my book that I found the most fascinating to research and write was the one dedicated to sweets, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise for those of you that have followed me over the years. Beyond the beauty of these creations, I was on a mission to understand more about the industry and its evolutions overall. Locals and visitors might have a passing knowledge of the ways in which pastry and chocolate have changed in recent years — perhaps they recognize new flavors or new forms or even more creative packaging — but what I learned is that the shifts run much deeper. One of the references in my research was Nicolas Cloiseau, a Meilleur Ouvrier de France in chocolate and the creative director of La Maison du Chocolat, his home for the last twenty years. What intrigues me about Cloiseau’s work is not only his perpetual task of reinvention and keeping classics “fresh” but how he tries to innovate without steering regular chocolate clients too far off course. He’s adventurous but just so. He’s also smart: he knows that it’s a gradual process to get chocolate lovers to take a break from their reliable favorites and […]…

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Paris Pastry Concept Store: Fou de Pâtisserie

9 May 2016

Short of wine and cheese, little is as tied to France as pastry and in Paris, the options are legion. In between  simple, everyday neighborhood bakeries all across town are the haute outposts for some of the country’s most beloved talents – many with multiple shops to their name. So with such cultural value bestowed on sweets and the savoir faire required to make them, you would think (or at least, I always thought) there would be a one-stop shop in the city to access a variety of them. I adore Jonathan Blot’s cakes at his bakery-tea salon called Acide but it’s in Batignolles (17th arrondissement) and not a quick trip from my home. Pillowy Madeleines by Gilles Marchal are truly divine but I’ll only indulge if I find myself in Montmartre where is sole shop is located. And as much as I love the tartes, chocolates and financiers of Hugues Pouget at his boutique Hugo & Victor, it’s clear across town. Creating a central location for some of the best treats the city has to offer was the abiding mission of Julie Mathieu and Muriel Tallandier, editors of the pastry bi-monthly magazine Fou de Pâtisserie (for which I am a […]…

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