Archive for October, 2010

Kosher Dark Chocolates at Ardelys

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010
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Ardelys' Parve Chocolates
(c)Discover Paris!

Having discussed their delicious lamehadrine milk chocolates on last Wednesday’s posting, we now turn to Ardelys’ parve dark chocolates. We purchased four to sample.

The Jerusalem is a heart-shaped confection—a thick, dark-chocolate shell encasing a smooth, rich, dark-chocolate fondant. The word “fondant” refers to the soft filling of the chocolate. The sales clerk told us that it has the subtle flavor of strawberry. I could taste this, but my partner could not. I also found the chocolate slightly piquant. We both enjoyed this sweet.

The Diamantine is a gianduja (hazelnut and chocolate paste) sold in a tiny foil cup. I found it to have a slightly smokey flavor. My partner said that she did not find it as sweet as other giandujas that she has tasted. Neither of these observations, however, mean that we did not like this délice. Au contraire!

The Jakarta’s thin dark-chocolate shell enrobes a dark-chocolate filling whose pronounced aroma of pineapple we found delightful.

The sales clerk told us that the Sydney has the flavor of whisky. We did not taste this, but, nonetheless, found the dark chocolate fondant quite agreeable. The flavor lingered long after the chocolate had been consumed.

Fondant fillings are not common in traditional chocolates—most chocolates are sold as ganaches. But the Ardelys fondants that we sampled passed our rigorous taste test with flying colors!

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Monique Leads Paris Bloggers on an “Entrée to Black Paris” Tour

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010
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Bruce and Pamela Murray (on the left)
Monique Y. Wells (center)
(c) Discover Paris!

Bruce and Pamela Murray came to Paris to spend thirty days and to write about their daily experiences on Facebook. We first met them for dinner on Thursday, October 6, at which time we proposed that they join Monique, my wife and Discover Paris! business partner, for a guided walking tour that highlights the lives of notable African-American writers who lived in Paris after WWII.

The walking tour took place last Thursday under a beautiful autumn sky. Three other persons, including two Paris bloggers, joined the group.

The tour lasted two hours. Monique’s presentation incorporated not only anecdotes about writers Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Chester Himes, but also the stories of many other persons of color, including French writer Alexandre Dumas and Senegalese historian and anthropologist Cheikh Anta Diop.

Bruce and Pamela wrote a great review about Monique’s tour on their 30 Days in Paris Facebook page. Thank you, Bruce and Pamela!

Kosher Lamehadrine Chocolates at Ardelys

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010
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Ardelys Milk Chocolates
(c) Discover Paris!

Ardelys, a smart-looking boutique at 157, rue Manin in the 19th arrondissement of Paris, sells kosher chocolates. But these chocolates are more than kosher, they are lamehadrine, an extra-strict form that guarantees that the food product is above suspicion and beyond reproach.

We entered and purchased four milk-based chocolates made with lait chamour, or milk that has been under rabbinical surveillance from the moment that it is drawn from the animal. While we are not competent to enter into discussion or debate about the technicalities of kosher food production, we are capable of recognizing good chocolate when we taste it. And these chocolates are delectable!

The Roma has a thick, milk-chocolate shell encasing a soft filling redolent of orange. Although the sales clerk told us that this variety of chocolate contains a hint of rum, we did not detect any. We were not disappointed, though, as the aroma of orange is quite strong.

The Rosario has a thin, milk-chocolate shell covering a coffee-flavored praline. And what an assertive, espresso-like flavor it has! This was our favorite of the four.

The London has a caramel center enrobed in white chocolate. The chocolate shell is thick and firm, and the caramel tasted as though it had a soupçon of rum in it. Nice!

And finally, the Barcelona has a white-chocolate shell enveloping dark-chocolate praline. Examining closely, I could see that the praline center was slightly pasty. But when I bit into the confection, the white chocolate shell blended into the praline, giving a rich, smooth taste experience.

As well as milk chocolates, Ardelys sells dark chocolates. We will have something to say next Wednesday about these!

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Big Bloggers’ Meet-up Yesterday

Saturday, October 16th, 2010
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A lively bloggers’ meet-up was held yesterday evening at Living B’art, a restaurant in the 18th arrondissement.

Living B'art
(c) Discover Paris!

The event was organized by Andi Fisher of Misadventures with Andi and Erica Berman of Haven in Paris and HiP Paris, and attracted an interesting group of Anglophones who blog for the most part about their observations about and experiences in the City of Light. The two generous cheese platters that were served, compliments of Andi and Erica, permitted us to order wine by the glass. (The restaurant does not have a license that allows it to serve wine without food.)

A Lively Meet-up!
Erica in foreground in gray dress
(c) Discover Paris!

One the bloggers, Andi, lives with her French husband Jany in Berkeley, California. Jany speculated that women are better at communicating then men, which might account for the fact that only one male blogger (me) could be counted among the fifteen or so female bloggers present.

Jany, Andi, Lily, and Monique
(c) Discover Paris!

By 7:30 p.m. the restaurant was filled with people happily chatting away.

I was able to get the names and Web addresses of a number of attendees before Monique and I had to leave for a dinner engagement. Here is the list:

Andi (mentioned above)
Erica (mentioned above)
Amy of C’est la me
Cynthia of Adventure Eating
Karin of An Alien Parisienne
Shannon of Je ne sais quoi
Maggie of Haven in Paris, HiP Paris, and Eat Boutique
Lily of Context Travel Paris
Kasia of Love in the City of Lights
Monique of Entrée to Black Paris
and Melissa of Prête-Moi Paris

Here are two more pictures…

Lily and Maggie
(c) Discover Paris!

Karin, Shannon, and Kasia
(c) Discover Paris!

A good time was had by all!

An Afternoon of Wine Tasting in the Goutte d’Or

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010
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Goutte d'Or Wine Label
Designed by Philippe Ferin

After the parade in celebration of the Montmartre wine harvest, I went over to the Goutte d’Or quarter to participate in a wine tasting that was being held in shops that were hosting the works of local artists.

Naturally, I thought that the wine tasting, which was held in conjunction with the Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre, would feature a white wine from that harvest. However, at my first stop, La Cave de Don Doudine located at 38, rue Myrha, I learned that the wine bearing the Goutte d’Or label was from Burgundy. It had been named in honor of the white wine that used to be cultivated in the Goutte d’Or vineyards in days of yore.

I also learned that only certain shops were hosting artists, while others were not. So I decided to stop only at those that were exhibiting works of art. A shrewd decision on my part! It was at these latter shops where the wine was being poured freely, while at the others, one had to pay for a glass.

The first shop exhibiting art work was the wine shop mentioned above. Artist Olivier Frampas was exhibiting his woodcuts there. You can see his works by clicking here.

Olivier Frampas and Admirer
(c) Discover Paris!

The next stop was at Echo Musée, located at 21, rue Cavé, to see the exposition La Goutte d’Or Vue par Ses Artistes (Goutte d’Or As Seen by Its Artists). This gallery specializes in exhibiting works of local artists. Its Web site can be accesses by clicking here.

Echo Musée and Proprietor
(c) Discover Paris!

The final stop was at Xérographes, just next door at 19, rue Cavé. Its Web site can be accessed by clicking here.

The manager of this art gallery poured me a generous glass of the Cuvée Goutte d’Or. The wine is a Chardonnay produced in the south of Burgundy in a region that bears the standard AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée). The standard is a guarantee that the wine comes from a fixed geographical region—in this case the area known as Viré-Clessé. When I tasted the balanced, well-rounded wine I noted aromas of peach and apricot, with a touch of honey.

(c) Discover Paris!

After leaving the gallery, I strolled around the quarter and came upon a number of street musicians who were providing musical entertainment for the wine-tasting crowd.

Organ Grinder
(c) Discover Paris!

Street Musicians
(c) Discover Paris!

I plan to return to the Echo Musée to view more carefully some of the fascinating works that I saw during this visit.

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Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010
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The Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre is over, but the event has left good memories.

I attended the parade on Saturday. Here are some pictures!

Drummers led the parade…

Drummers Leading the Parade
(c) Discover Paris!

There were big-headed marchers…

Big-Headed Marchers
Discover Paris!

…and there were kids with painted faces…

Child with Painted Face
(c) Discover Paris!

…and there were little kids watching the big-headed marchers.

Little Kids Watching Big-Headed Marchers
(c) Discover Paris!

There were accordionists…

Accordion Players
(c) Discover Paris!

…and there was a cornemuse player.

Bagpipe Player
(c) Discover Paris!

And there were marchers from different regions of France.

Marchers from Brittany
(c) Discover Paris!

There was a woman making a documentary without the assistance of a film crew…

Woman Making a Film
(c) Discover Paris!

…and there were lots of colorful costumes and balloons.

Colorful Crowd
(c) Discover Paris!

A good time was had by all on that beautiful fall day!

Spectators at the Base of
Butte Montmartre
(c) Discover Paris!

Until next year!

A Fantastic Performance by Willie Colón

Sunday, October 10th, 2010
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Willie Colón
Photograph courtesy of Festival Ile-de-France

The 2010 Festival d’Ile de France music series ended on a hot note today with a packed audience roaring its approval for the performance given by Willie Colón and his salsa band.

The concert was scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m. at La Cigale, an auditorium located in the Pigalle district. I arrived at 4:45 p.m. and could see the entry line stretching way down boulevard de Rochechouart. My heart sank at the prospect of not getting a good seat, as they were not assigned. First come, first seated!

When I entered the concert hall, it was worse than I had imagined! All of the seats were taken and the ground floor was packed with a standing-room only crowd. I made my way to the top balcony and stood in the aisle behind a row of occupied seats. By hoisting myself up on a ledge and clinging precariously to the back of a seat I could see over the heads of the spectators and get a fairly clear view of the stage. This awkward position did not seem to bother a great number of young spectators who were perched in the same way, but the acrobatic posture fatigued me and I had to let myself down to the floor for solid footing for most of the concert.

Nonetheless, it was a fantastic concert of Latin songs, sassy brass, incredible keyboard technique, and effervescent drums. Although Mr. Colón addressed the audience only in Spanish (he is American-born of parents of Puerto Rican descent), the majority seemed to understand him. When he welcomed the presence of spectators from Colombia, great shouts of acclamation erupted!

Thank you Festival d’Ile de France for your fabulous series of concerts this year. I attended three of them: Baaba Maal, Kahled, and this one, all of which I blogged about. Until next year’s festival!

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Chef Yves Camdeborde

Saturday, October 9th, 2010
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Yves Camdeborde
Owner and Chef of Le Comptoir du Relais
(c) Discover Paris!

Brasserie during the day, fine-dining restaurant at night, Le Comptoir du Relais is owned and operated by Chef Yves Camdeborde.

So popular is his restaurant that one must reserve months in advance to get a table for evening dining! We had the opportunity to talk with him and learn about his philosophy of eating well.

Read our review in this month’s Le Bon Goût.

Access to the article is available to paid subscribers of our newsletter Paris Insights. To enter a subscription, click here.

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Cuisses de Grenouille

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010
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Cuisses de Grenouille
Served at Mères et Filles
(c) Discover Paris!

Last night we met up with Bruce Murray, travel writer and photographer, and his wife Pamela at Mères et Filles restaurant. They are spending a whole month in Paris and are blogging about their experiences on their Facebook page entitled 30 Days In Paris.

I wrote a review about Mères et Filles back in March and blogged about it just recently.

I ordered a plate of frog legs, a dish that I rarely see on menus in Parisian restaurants. Sautéed in oil with garlic and parsley, the little legs are eaten with the fingers. A finger bowl was provided for the occasion. The meat is delicate with a flavor resembling chicken. Delicious!

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A Masterpiece of Modern Architecture

Friday, October 1st, 2010
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Villa Savoye
(c) Discover Paris!

In this month’s Paris Insights newsletter we take a look at the Villa Savoye, a country house built by Le Corbusier, perhaps the most influential architect of the 20th century. Read why many architectural writers consider Villa Savoye to be the most significant building in the history of modern architecture.

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Bonne lecture!

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