Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Are the Parisians going out? Salon Coqs d'Or, Marie Claire Idees SalonCreations et Savoir-Faire

Everyone asks me are the Parisians going out?
YES, very much so. Of course there is an undercurrent of sadness and loss, but Parisians are carrying on with their lives best they can with their usual joie de vive.
PR Florence invited me to meetup at Salon Coqs d'Or on Saturday. I went 2 years ago. It's la creme de la creme of French regional purveyors. Here Florence and her maman are in a deep discussion with the pain d'epice guy. It was surprising to see throngs of people only one hour after opening time.
I could not resist Bellanger's extra long dark chocolate-enrobed orangettes. In fact there are 2 pieces of candied orange peel inside the long pencil sticks - his special secret. I'm sad to report though I planned on eating one stick a day the are all gone.
Florence was not familiar with Dijon chocolatier Fabrice Gillotte (no relative).
Jean-Luc Poujauran, famous bread maker to the top restaurants only shows up at the Coqs d'or Salon. Get it while you can.
Jam, confiteur and more jam. By the way you could taste at almost every table including Champagne and Bordeaux wines. To show proper appreciation when tasting, get a far-away, dreamy look in your eyes and shake one hand madly like it was wet. 
That's the French way.
I loved this subtle chart of apple juices. Who knew?
The chicken guys with superb produce. I assumed Florence and her mother were doing advance shopping for Noel. Not at all. 
"Too early to think about Christmas", Florence said.
You could buy a plate of Burgundian escargot (6,50€) Then have them heated up in the restaurant area of The Marriott and no extra charge! Wow
Parisians were ordering plates of fromage, charcuterie, plus Poujauran's bread and eating at stand up tables in the main salon. Fun non?
Yours truly could not pass up an ice cream cone from Paries. I returned to the salon on Sunday to stock up on Spanish anchovies. I remember reading somewhere Jackie Kennedy would stock up on 5-6 skirts of the same design. Well I've got 10 cans of anchovies in my kitchen cabinet with the possibility of ordering a full case if so inclined. Pure Heaven.
On Sunday I ran over to the annual 3-day Marie Claire Idees Salon.
500 stands and ateliers and DYI workshops. The joint was jumping.
I did not know you could take ugly old gourds
And make them into stunning light fixtures?
Or grow your own mushrooms? I thought the girl at the stand might be eating her own home-grown mushrooms for lunch but she was not ;(
What about make your own lampshade kits. Looks so easy. And wouldn't the Paris Maps make fun lamp shades?
Fab French ribbons I'd been looking for all week were at the Marie Claire salon.
Plus Marie Claire had a big stand with adorable DIY Xmas displays.
Of course I bought their cabas (shopping bag) with the latest issue inside. Then I saw another cuter cabas (top) and it was FREE! Why you don't need a $$$$ Chloe bag in Paris. Just shell out a fiver or get a free one and you're set.
Meanwhile Bear is taking breaks from Product fulfillment to hog the holiday Marie Claire issue (Thank you PBers for ordering the new gift 6-pack of Paris Maps!).
Did you know you can subscribe on Amazon and get MCI delivered to your door?
Bear is dreaming of sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie...
Me too.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thank you Chanterelle, A Etoile d'Or, Gift 6-pack of Paris Maps

Thank you Chanterelle, for suggesting Tuesday, in the comments, I visit newly re-opened l'Etoile d'or.
Since 11/13 I've been mostly house-bound. Or venturing only a few blocks off Isle Saint Louis. Heading up to Montmartre was a big step out into the world, but well worth it.
And Thank you everyone for your kind and caring messages this week!
L'Etoile d'Or is maybe the best, dreamy place to visit when your heart needs lifting.
Chocolate heaven.
And Bernachon, (top Lyonnaise chocolatier) headquarters. Everything in the shop is top drawer. La crème de la crème of confisiers.
So many of the best French regional bonbons
Naturally Bear wanted a picture with owner, Denise Acabo.
Cases and cases of deliciousness.
And Denise herself reminds you of Alice in Wonderland, full of joy and delight.
If you're an Alice fan, and who isn't tune in to BBC 4 Extra - a 3-hour special of readings and all sorts of Lewis Carroll diversions available for 29 days.
Amazing Denise was darting around the shop opening boxes, pulling out hidden treasures, force-feeding me Noisettines du Medoc.
No complaints were heard.
I finally decided on
pistachio-filled milk chocolate bar and 2 exquisite mushrooms.
Today at Salons des Coqs d'Ors I visited the stand of chocolate mushroom maker, Fabrice Gillotte from Dijon. No, unfortunately, we are Not related. The mushroom tops are filled with liquid caramel au beurre sale, the stems,  almonds-hazelnut praline. Miam!
At l'Etoile d'Or my eyes seized on the ribbon counter. Maim miam!
                                  Photo from
I know I've been MIA (missing in action) this week while I tossed and turned dreaming up a holiday gift tag/certificate (among other things). You definitely need French ribbon for a gift card. Have you been to UltraMode Mercerie? A treasure haven of  buttons, thread and ribbons on 3-4 rue de Choiseul 75002
I ended up with raffia, twine and Japanese braid. The gift card idea took longer..
At last this morning an Eiffel tower emerged (4" x 6") and I printed it on my watercolor paper. It looks like the real thing.
It goes with a brand new gift pack of 6 Paris map letters shipped FLAT in a cardboard-backed envelope. 
You can find it in my Etsy shop right now. The card work as a gift certificate too.
Turn right as you leave l'Etoile d'Or on rue Fontaine and walk towards Metro Blanche and the Moulin Rouge. Glorious. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

About Bear and the November Sketch Letter

First of all THANK YOU for all your caring, concerned messages PBers! It means a lot.
But Louise wrote she was outraged I showed a stuffed bear when Paris was up in flames! I had to stop and think a bit...and look up 'Alter Ego'
A person's secondary or alternative personality
An intimate and trusted friend.
Bear is all of those. You may not know Bear. He was gifted to me in March, 2010 by Lola of Sonia Rykiel. We haven't been apart since.
Six years of traveling to and fro to France, and always the best companion.
We have a lot in common. We both would rather browse menus than eat inside.
Browsing cookie aisles is another shared pastime.
Bear doesn't eat pie/tarte crust either.
And we both love the Paddington movie
Bear is a working partner by the way. He earns his keep on Etsy.
In charge of product fulfillment and he makes sure every envelope has a stamp.
Last week Bear and I researched the November Sketch letter.
I wanted to draw classic Parisian café waiters. That entailed eating a lot of classic petit dejeuners last week. I can tell you the best deal is at Cafe Le Select. 9,80 for 'Sur le pouce'. Excellent hot chocolate + freshly pressed OJ + the crispiest croissant.
If you love Paris cafes you'll be very happy reading Le Select Crowd.
Filled with Rick Tulka's daily drawings and text by Noel Riley Fitch,  Perfection.
Le Select is at 99 Boulevard Montparnasse 75006
For the best apricot jam on the planet, Le Deux Magots is tops.
Their signature goodies downstairs are wonderful by the way.
If you want to sketch classic Parisian waiters
Go to Cafe Flore, even though their croissants are kind of mushy the waiters are top drawer.
The November sketch letters were mailed out early last week. Otherwise I don't know how I would have managed to do a thing...
Living on Isle Saint Louis, you are removed from the rest of Paris. And my TV doesn't work. I've been dependent on the NYTimes and other news sources. But there is no getting away from the constant sounds of sirens. In New York during 9/11 there was no escaping the disaster. The air was full of smoke and I saw the WTT go down from my rooftop. Sometimes being in the midst of a tragedy it's harder to fathom than those watching it from afar.
I do know I don't want to leave Paris. And I'm lucky to have Bear around.
A very cheering influence.
Elaine Sciolino is in New York right now. Thanks Andy and Diane for sending her talk on fresh Air on What it means to be French.
Another diversion - the BBC's excellent daily 1 hour dramatization of Proust's In Search Of Lost Time
Bear is listening even though its in English.