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Food

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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Book Crush: “Tasting Rome” (+ Giveaway!)

14 April 2016
Tasting Rome by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill

If I am blindly fond of Italy, it is not only because I have Italian blood (anecdote: my last name, Tramuta, was originally Tramutalo but shortened when our family’s ancestors arrived to Ellis Island) but because it was the first country I visited with my husband when we were a new, doe-eyed couple. We spent almost a week in Rome in 2007, which was long before I discovered the work of Katie Parla, a food writer, food historian, culinary guide and fellow American whose stories about Rome’s evolution I have followed closely for years (she was also the inspiration behind one of my most popular posts!). It was also before I discovered Kristina Gill, a talented photographer and American expat whose work you may have seen on Design*Sponge, a site for which she serves as the food and drinks editor. Not only do their experiences mirror my own in Paris, in my ways, but their new book “Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes From an Ancient City ” taught me everything I needed to know to return to the city and experience it the informed way — that is, led entirely by my belly and their guidance. What I found […]…

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In the Kitchen with: chef Romain Meder, Plaza Athénée

1 February 2016

In eleven days, eighteen chefs will gather under the exquisite glass canopy of the Grand Palais to share their cooking with food lovers young and old for the second annual Taste of Paris food festival. In anticipation of the big day, I went into the kitchens of the restaurant Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée (just awarded 3 Michelin stars for 2016) to chat with head chef Romain Meder about the event, his cooking and how haute cuisine in Palace hotels compete with the city’s top neo-bistros. La question obligatoire: what is it like working with Alain Ducasse?  There’s nothing like it. He gives us tremendous responsibility and allows us to be autonomous. We mature very quickly working by his side. In some cases, you’re working on the other side of the world — like I was, when he sent me to open Idam Doha, Qatar. You don’t see him all the time so you’re forced to convey his philosophy and his message to local teams and to diners. The opportunity he gave me in Doha was invaluable. It was challenging, of course: open a gastronomic restaurant, a café, several boutiques in museums. I had 51 cooks and a blank […]…

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