A well-deserved congratulations for Pastry Chef of the Year 2013 goes to Benoît Charvet, Pastry Chef at one of my favorite restaurants in France, Relais Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu (Burgundy). He happens to be my favorite pastry chef, ever. In my experience, he’s the best. His creations are stunning works of art, creative, playful and shockingly luscious. They are not to be missed in your lifetime so head over there right now! We went just a few weeks ago and his desserts still come up in conversation. Here are some photos of our desserts.
Vert-vert – pannacotta, pistachio cake, shortbread and cherry (griotte) sorbet, green pea with green anise jelly
Strawberry Carousel – an absolutely amazing dessert! Licorice cotton candy, mint parfait, strawberries and sechuan pepper/strawberry coulis (this photo was taken before they pour the coulis in the center. sorry!) Also, the chef made this gluten-free by request.
Apricot Oreillon – inspired by the apricot viennoiserie but has taken on epic twists, has tahitian vanilla ice cream & apricot coulis with an avocado glaze
Nothing to say except: perfect.
Le Relais Bernard Loiseau
21210 Saulieu – Bourgogne, (Côte d’Or, Burgundy) France
Tel. : + 33 (0)3 80 90 53 53
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
This is actually not very funny to me but hey, whatever. C’est la vie as they say in my quite possibly soon to be ex-host country. This is not an isolated case. Not only are American businesses in France going to suffer, French small businesses will feel the wrath as well (if they don’t already feel it). If you’re in France or you visited recently, I’m sure you’ve seen many places out-of-business. This is why a lot of people have moved to England. It’s not a new thing; the tax/social charge system in France for entrepreneurs/independent business owners is dysfunctional and always has been; it’s just going to get worse. The state of the economy doesn’t help, either, and we’re not prepared to take on continous and conscientious struggle. It was really fun and good while it lasted (10 years!), so thanks for the good times. If, by chance, something miraculous happens in our favor, we’ll stay. Otherwise, it’s going to be a reluctant au revoir très bientôt. By the way, this website may be up for sale soon so send me offers!
We’ve passed by a little village called Nolay dozens of times without stopping on our way from our house to Beaune. The place seemed unremarkable on the surface but we finally decided to visit it one day to check out the antiques stores on the main road.
As usual and luckily, we wandered around while we were there.
It turns out that Nolay is awesome.
Most people who’ve been here would cite the beautiful, arcaded central market place, which dates back to the 14th century.
The roof is made of limestone (weighing 800 kg/1800 lbs per square meter) and the frame holds everything together with chestnut wood beams.
But to me, the salon de thé right next to the central market place, La Thé dans la Vigne, is Nolay’s real gem.
With delicious home made desserts, light fare meals, fine wines,
an adorable, sweet and hospitable owner (Sylvie Blanchard),
eclectic quirky French decor,
antique books and newspapers in French and English. antique dishware and silverware and housed in a a building that dates back to 1810, you will only feel comfortable and happy in such a warm, cozy place.
Everything we ordered was tasty and since we couldn’t decide which dessert to have, our kind hostess prepared a plate with everything on it, including a bowl of her whisky infused fruit – the latter being delicious but crazy potent!
Le Thé dans la Vigne
8, place des Halles 21340 Nolay France
Télephone :+33 (0)3 80 26 87 31
Open 10:30am to 9:30pm during warm months Tuesday to Sunday. Closed November 30 to April 1. Reservations recommended.
We were on our way to Lyon when we almost ran over this guy and his two Siberian huskies pulling him on his bike. Instead of running into him, we rode next to him to hand him a donation.
He’s Randolph Westphal and he’s been biking all over the world with his dogs for more than 14 years (around the world 4 times!) on a mission to share his experience as a cancer survivor visiting hospitals, hospices and clinics. More than two decades ago, his doctor’s told him he had about a year left to live because of his cancer but he’s still here 20 years later!
He’s been hit by an 18-wheeler, which put him in a coma, broke his leg, got attacked by a bear and more…and YET he continues.
Jacques Chirac: Yo Bruno, what kind of animal is that over there?
Bruno Le Maire: Since when do you say, “yo,” Jacques?
Chirac: It’s always been a part of my vernacular. BTW, you can call me Monsieur Chirac, and don’t change the subject.
Le Maire: Just because I’m the Minister of Agriculture doesn’t mean I know anything about agriculture. I actually hate animals and nature. Didn’t you see me on Canal Plus yesterday? I don’t even know what a turkey sounds like. I just wanted to be Minister and agriculture was the only one available. I took it because I knew les grands surfaces (large supermarket chains) would give me huge bribes to not denounce them because they’re fleecing farmers and French consumers.
Chirac: You sort of suck, Bruno. Of course, bribes are kind of nice.
Fashion designer, Issey Miyake, has created the fourth annual limited edition designer bottle for Evian. The bright, simple flower aims to be the embodiment of Evian’s message and tagline: “Live young.” There have been other editions by designers Christian Lacroix and Jean Paul Gaultier but I especially liked last year’s design from Paul Smith. The Issey Miyake Limited Edition Evian bottle is now available for pre-sale at the Evian store.
Video for this year’s designer Evian bottle is above.
Chef Bernard Loiseau, known for his world class fine cuisine, is no longer with us but his Three Michelin starred restaurant, La Côte d’Or and hotel, Le Relais Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu continue his legacy largely due to his family’s dedication and current chef Patrick Bertron. His attention to detail, focus on exceptional dining and overall perfectionism is felt everywhere here, and if anything, Bernard Loiseau should be remembered for what he was able to achieve during his lifetime and the hallmark he leaves behind. Nothing else.
We loved staying at Le Relais and eating La Côte d’Or. If you come to France and don’t make it to one of Bernard Loiseau’s establishments, you’ll be missing out on what would be one of the most memorable trips and meals you’ve ever had.
Some photos from our trip!
Le Relais Bernard Loiseau
21210 Saulieu – Bourgogne, (Côte d’Or, Burgundy) France
Tel. : + 33 (0)3 80 90 53 53
E-mail : email@example.com
CLOSED Tuesday-Wednesday from November 2 to December 22, 2010
Other Bernard Loiseau locations:
Restaurant Loiseau des vignes
31, rue Maufoux – 21200 Beaune, Bourgogne, France
Tel. : + 33 (0)3 80 24 12 06
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
CLOSED every Sunday and Monday
Restaurant Tante Louise
41, rue Boissy d’Anglas – 75008 Paris, France
Tel. : + 33 (0)1 42 65 06 85
E-mail : email@example.com
CLOSED every Saturday and Sunday
Restaurant Tante Marguerite
5, rue de Bourgogne – 75007 Paris, France
Tel. : + 33 (0)1 45 51 79 42
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
CLOSED every Saturday and Sunday
I couldn’t resist posting this hilarious video. (Click on the image to watch the video.)
Carla Bruni Asks for a Finger Up Her Butt, in Seven Different Languages
France’s first lady is tres embarrassed that an old, raunchy episode of a talk show called Eurotrash has surfaced online. Now the French government is scrambling to get it yanked from YouTube. Here’s what they don’t want you to see.
Apparently the French government fought to remove a longer version of this video—in which Carla showcases a pair of “hot international sex guides” that teach international tramps how to say phrases like “Do you like my titties?” and “Put your finger in my bottom” in seven European languages—from YouTube. Eurotrash hosts Antoine de Caunes and designer Jean-Paul Gaultier (in the hot pink sailor suit, obviously) ooh and aah at the multilingual promiscuity of “Italy’s most elegant export.”
The yanked version apparently showed Carla discussing celebrity affairs with Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton. The Daily Mail reports Carla is “shocked and dismayed” at the video’s “sudden reappearance.”
Vitré (Brittany, Ille-et-Vilaine) is the most well-preserved medieval village I’ve seen in France with its narrow streets of cobblestone,
surrounding ramparts and half-timbered houses.
The 11th century Château de Vitré showcases fairy tale towers and has historically proven to be one of the most powerful castles in history having not been occupied during the Hundred Years War. The English attempted to take it over many times, without success, even though they’d occupied the village.
The best part of our short trip, however, happened while we were meandering around the old village, taking photos, chatting, then suddenly, a local villager speeds by and grumpily yells, “You’re right to take photos. It’s beautiful here!” then he smiled ear to ear. My sweetie then says, “Oh, but we actually want to take a picture of you.” And this adorable man enthusiastically agreed.
Then we asked, “Will you stand like THIS?”* And he did! People of Vitre, you rock.
* My nephew has been posing for photos like this and we thought we’d find some competition for him. Actually, many travelers in France who we didn’t know agreed to do this.
We barely watched any of the Winter Olympics this year but did catch a few minutes of the biathlon (target shooting, cross country skiing) one night. The French athlete, 23 year-old Vincent Jay had apparently been in the lead for a long time and remained in first place as the race continued. Then, my sweetie says, “He’s going to crack and lose.” Me: “Wha? Don’t you want him to win?” “Yeah, but he’s going to lose. I know it and everyone in France watching right now are saying the same thing.” Me: “They said he just won the gold medal yesterday.” Him: “He got lucky. The French ALWAYS lose.” Me: “No they don’t.” Him: “Yes they do.” Me: “Where is your Olympic spirit!? I want him to win! You know, this collective Franco-negativity consciousness is going to MAKE him lose.” Him: “Wish all you want, It ain’t gonna happen.”
It turned out in the end Jay dropped to third right before the finish, but at least won the bronze medal. Him: “See, I told you. The French choke in the end.” Me: “!!!” Him: “You should’ve known.” Me: “Living here this long, I’ll eat pizza with a fork and knife, and I’ll drink morning coffee from a bowl, but expect failure without exception? NO.” Him: “What can I say? C’est plus fort que moi.”
This was another one of many clashes of cultures we experience: American Optimism (realistic or not) vs. The Undying French Pessimism (among other things). I call it “Ces impossibles Français,” which happens to be the name of a book recently released. I had to get it once I heard about it, although I haven’t gotten too much into it yet. Written by a French Canadian (Louis-Bernard Robitaille) who has been living in France for over 30 years now, it promises to be a light-hearted, warm and funny read, I think particularly for expats living with an impossible Français, or any expat living in France. Note: The book’s in French.
Now the stereotype has been confirmed – by a French poll that completed the character assassination by labelling the capital’s inhabitants “snobbish” and “self-regarding”.
“We find them to be hard working and cultivated,” the political magazine Marianne said of Parisians in an editorial published alongside the survey.
“But we consider them to be above all way too arrogant, aggressive, flirtatious, stressed, chauvinistic, snobbish, and self-regarding than other French people.
More than 70 per cent of those questioned thought Parisians were more snobbish than other French people, while more than 65 per cent thought them more aggressive and arrogant. However, many of the French questioned did not think any of these characteristics were particularly negative, with 68…
The grace and beauty of window design in France never ceases to amaze me all year long. But with Christmas being one of my favorite times of year, I MUST get out to see the festive displays. This is when true artistry emerges. The beautiful window display below is from Fabrice Gillotte, who happens to be a MOF of chocolate. Not only is he a master of his craft, his stuff is cute! And different. I LOVE his Santa.
Fabrice Gillotte, Chocolatier
21, rue du Bourg
Telephone +33(0)3 80 30 38 88
The film, “La France change, ma région doit changer” (France is changing, my region should change) shows an eco-friendly house with solar panels on the roof, smiling schoolchildren and a mother hugging a little girl in a sunny garden.
A voice-over boasts about Mr Sarkozy’s achievements since 2007, and the benefits of living in France.
But the French TV channel Canal+ has discovered most of the footage was bought from Getty Images, and shot thousands of miles away in the US.
The family house used in the video is in Escondido, California – and UMP party bosses even failed to spot that a car parked outside it has US number plates. The class of happy schoolchildren from a mix of ethnic backgrounds live in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. And the mother with her child in the garden is really in..
A marvelous painting of a gourmand at his table hangs in the Musée Carnavalet in Paris — a portly, pink-faced figure happily gorging on a regal casserole, with a bottle of wine at one elbow and a luscious-looking soufflé at the other. It is traditionally believed to be a portrait of Alexandre-Balthazar-Laurent Grimod de la Reynière, an aristocrat notorious in Napoleonic France for gratifying his palate with the same abandon as his contemporary the Marquis de Sade showed in indulging carnal desires. Whether or not the painting is actually Grimod’s likeness, it captures the eccentric, omnivorous spirit that made him not only a gustatory symbol in the Paris of his day, but the grand-père of all modern food writers as well.
Starting in 1803, Grimod, whose family fortune had largely been lost during the Revolution, financed his voracious appetite by writing a series of best-selling guidebooks to the culinary wonders of Paris — its famous delicatessens, pâtissiers and chocolatiers — including the first reviews of an alluring new institution called le restaurant. His Almanachs des Gourmands were something new, the Michelins and Zagats of his era, and their offbeat style reflects the author’s larger-than-life character. Grimod was born in 1758 with deformed hands, one a birdlike talon and the other a webbed pincer. But he was not one to be held back, so he had learned to write — and dine — with metal prostheses. A social butterfly, he became a successful theater critic in Paris before the Revolution, survived the Terror and amused himself later by hosting literary salons in the cafes. And, of course, eating.
It was on the trail of Grimod one day last summer that I passed through the vaulted arches of the Palais Royal, opposite the north wing of the Louvre, and into a vast, empty courtyard. In Grimod’s day, the Palais Royal was the heart and soul of Paris, a rowdy entertainment center filled with brothels and sideshows that, despite its louche ambience, also boasted some of his favorite … continue reading
Yesterday wasn’t the best time to go to Dijon, let alone any city in France because of the farmer protests. We usually know about these things in advance, but silly us, we didn’t watch the news on Thursday (or lately for that matter), like we usually do! Needless to say, when we arrived in Dijon, the traffic was très pertubé, and that wasn’t the only thing perturbed. The farmers were all over the city setting fires in the roads, throwing around trash, hay and animal poo (It smelled!), lighting huge bomb firecrackers, and making a huge mess causing hours of traffic delays. Once we got parked, which took forever, I took these photos. I’m lucky I had my old little camera in my purse.
And we noticed that the police were hiding far away from the rowdy agriculteurs.
Following Sarkozy’s horribly embarrassing nepotistic naming of his 23 year-old son to the powerful political post inside EPAD, the reactions are numerous. Many college students are requesting to be adopted by Nicolas Sarkozy so they’ll have a better chance at “finding” a good job; people are outraged, defenders are insisting little Sarkozy got elected! Whatever. WHY do you think he was elected? A few words: HIS DAD’S URGING. Duh,people.
Anyway, this one’s my fave. It’s a hilarious spot advertising a fake iPhone app called, “L’application Jean Sarkozy pour L’iPhone.” You don’t need to speak French to understand what that’s all about.
Evian releases a limited edition bottle annually, and this year’s contribution is from British designer Paul Smith. I like the colorful and light-hearted edition with five different color bottle caps, and I definitely appreciate that it’s not plastic.
The bottles are not available to purchase at the moment but will be during the holidays.
Twenty short people were ordered to stand behind French President Nicolas Sarkozy to make him look taller while delivering a televised speech.
They were bused in after being “vetted” by aides of the French President who made sure none were more than his own height of 5ft 5ins.
The extraordinary scene unfolded at the Faurecia motor technology plant in Caligny, south of Caen, in Normandy, last Thursday.
Despite Mr Sarkozy’s lack of inches, he looked far more statuesque than usual as he posed in front of the group of white-coated technicians on a specially erected stage.
In a broadcast on French television on Monday, a woman researcher admitted on camera that she had been chosen because of her small size.
Asked by the TV journalist Jean-Philippe Schaller if it was necessary for her to be no taller than the President’s 5ft 5ins – a height which rises to around 5ft 7ins thanks to his stacked heels – she replied: “There you have it.”
Pictures were then shown of the 20 workers on board a coach which brought them in from other parts of the three-mile-square Faurecia site.
All admitted that they were among the smallest members of the 1,400-strong Faurecia workforce, and had been selected to replace the usual workers in the unit where Mr Sarkozy made his speech about the car industry.
If you happen to be wondering who are the famous French Twitterers or Tweeters or Twits…you get what I mean – just take a look at this subjective metro-ish map by Henri Michel. Click on the map to enlarge it.
In Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s most recent TED Talk, he discusses his three most recent projects on humanity and our habitat. You’ll be glued to the aerial photographs in his series “Earth from Above,” personal interviews from around the globe featured in his web project “6 billion Others,” and his soon-to-be-released free movie, “Home (produced by Luc Besson),” which documents human impact on the environment through breathtaking video. Home’s global premiere is tomorrow, June 5, which is World Environment Day.
Chinese tourists are avoiding France because of President Nicolas Sarkozy and his country’s attitude toward Tibet, a senior Chinese tourism official told AFP on the weekend.
“Chinese tourism to France has reduced a lot because they (Chinese tourists) don’t like what Sarkozy did before the Olympics and afterwards,” Ji Xiao Dong, the vice president of China’s Chamber of Tourism, said on the sidelines of a global tourism conference in Brazil.
Ji said he was referring to pro-Tibet protests in France in the lead-up to the Olympic Games held in China last year, and to talks last December in Poland between Sarkozy and Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
When asked to quantify the fall in Chinese visitors to France, the world’s number one tourist destination, Ji said “it’s not clear yet what the number is, but there are many fewer.”
He explained that France was still the preferred European destination for Chinese tourists, but said many were miffed by Paris’s approach to Tibet, which is under Chinese rule.
“Ordinary Chinese people don’t like politicians or politics,” Ji said, adding that “how the Chinese think about France” has changed in recent months.
France and China have ostensibly mended relations since Sarkozy’s meeting with the Dalai Lama.
But Beijing warned Paris early this month against more “errors” after a spokesman for the Dalai Lama said the Tibetan spiritual leader may be made an honorary citizen of French capital during a June 6-8 visit.
China opposes any government figure meeting the Dalai Lama, whom it accuses of being intent on achieving independence for Tibet after 58 years of Chinese rule.
The Dalai Lama however says he only wants autonomy for the Himalayan region.