Tastes of Paris: A Cookbook Curated Experience

Mussels in White Wine

Cookbooks are great for cooking, obviously.  And my ever-growing library is a testament to the joy, inspiration and knowledge I continue to discover within their pages.  Some of my greatest discoveries, however, have gone beyond the recipes into the often overlooked “back of the book” where jewels crouched as resource guides are found.  And it was one such jewel that served up the better part of my foodie indulgences during my last trip to Paris.

Eiffel Tower

On my first visit years before, food, while important, had not been a primary motivator.  Then it had been more about the collective experience of fashion, art, history, architecture and, oh yeah, food.  But by the time planning for my follow-up visit rolled around, my foodie passion and sensibilities had increased immensely–actually sparking the desire for my return (along with more of the Parisian hallmarks of fashion, art, history, and architecture, to be sure.)

Having cooked and baked my way through several of the delicious recipes in my Barefoot in Paris cookbook (Lemon Chicken with Croutons, Salad with Warm Goat Cheese, Mussels in White Wine, Palmiers, and Blue Cheese Soufflé, just to name a few), I was primed to experience more of the authentic French cuisine that I had come to love.  Through the pages of my cookbook, I discovered a Paris that was previously unknown to me.  And armed with a healthy appetite, excitement, and the back of the book credits, index and author’s recommendations, I curated an unforgettably delicious and satisfying experience.

Mussels in White Wine

Mussels in White Wine

To be sure that I could relish all of the highlights I had planned for myself, I dedicated an entire day to nothing else but seeking out the stores, shops, eats and experiences on my itinerary.  And to make the most of my time and avoid getting lost, I hired a driver to keep me on track and in a relaxed state of mind.

Off and running, I took in delicious spaces like La Grande Epicerie de Paris, a magnificent specialty food store.  They have everything a food lover could ever want, and I was like a kid in a candy store!  I filled my coffers with some of the best vinegars, oils, spices and salts.  In fact, I still have a stash of my Fleur de Sel (a delicate sea salt) from that trip, a treasure that I love to use as a special touch in both cooking and baking.

Grande Epicerie de Paris

La Grande Epicerie de Paris

Another delicious–and not to be missed–stop was the Poilãne Bakery.  Touted as having the best bread in Paris, I stopped in for some pastries and to let my eyes feast on the bounty of the beautiful baked goods.

poilane

Poilane Bakery

From there I was off to indulge in French porcelain and cookware.  I snapped up beautiful, porcelain gratin dishes in one spot and then headed over to E. Dehillerin, THE cookware store, for professional baking pans, utensils, cookware and pinch-me euphoria.

Window View at E. Dehillerin

Window View at E. Dehillerin

I rounded out my excursion with a final stop at Muriel Grateau, an exquisite tableware shop on the Left Bank, where I was intent on buying the most beautiful water glasses I had seen in the cookbook.  With no international shipping, they were only available in Paris, so I couldn’t leave without bringing them home with me.  Beyond the amazing glassware, the shop boasted exquisite linens and dishes.  And I even met Madame Grateau, herself, and shared with her how I had come to learn of her shop through my cookbook!

Muriel Grateau

Muriel Grateau

Beyond my “food-focused” day, I also fulfilled another mission of attending cooking school for a day.  I dedicated the morning to a class in Cuisine (cooking) and the afternoon to a class in Patisserie (baking) at Lenotre Paris.  Many hours later, with an abundance of learning, tasting, sharing and laughs under my belt, I got to pack up the fruits of my labor and take them back to my hotel to enjoy for dinner.

At Lenotre Paris

At Lenotre Paris

Intermixed with it all were scrumptious intakes of the best in French fare, which included favorites such as macarons, Croque Monsieur and Pommes Frites at a sidewalk cafe, and THE most exquisite dinner I’ve had to date at the Four Seasons Hotel George V.

Prior to this trip, Paris was already indelibly imprinted as one of my favorite places and following, it became more deliciously so than words could ever say–thanks, in no small part, to my cookbook.

 

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