Archive for January, 2011

Big Tweet-up Last Sunday at Café de Paris

Friday, January 28th, 2011
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There were lots of new tweeters, as well as familiar faces, who showed up at Café de Paris for a big tweet-up last Sunday. Big thanks go to Priscilla Pilon – Weekend in Paris – for organizing it!

Opal and Milla
(c) Discover Paris!

Melissa - Joshua - Sharon - Chris - Richard
(c) Discover Paris!

Bellanda - Monique - Jenny - Alexis
(c) Discover Paris!

Joshua - Priscilla - Richard - Kathryn - Bellanda - Jenny
(c) Discover Paris!

Here’s a list of the attendees’ blogs and Web sites—they all have a lot to say about their experiences in Paris!

Monique: Entrée to Black Paris

Milla: Not Just Another Milla

Opal: Opal Blossoms

Beth: Beth Arnold

Chris: iKangaroo

Melissa: Prête-moi Paris

Jennifer: Jennyphoria

Jenny: Jenny Beaumont

Alexis: The Third Draft

Bellanda: Bellanda Photo

Priscilla: Weekend in Paris

Joshua: c14ism

Lily: Context Travel

Karen: Bonjour Paris

Shannon: JNSQ Blog

Forest: 52 Martinis

Sion: paris(im)perfect

Kasia Dietz has lots more to say about the tweet-up on her blog: Love in the City of Lights. She’s posted some great photos as well!

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Tasting Single-estate Coffee at Verlet

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
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Panama "La Torcaza&#34
(c) Discover Paris!

In 1880, August Woehrlé opened his shop Verlet at 256, rue Saint-Honoré selling rice, spices, teas, and coffees. In 1965, his grandson, Pierre Verlet, began stocking and roasting single-estate coffees. Eric Duchossoy, who was born into a family of coffee roasters, took over the direction of the shop in 1995. He proposes a wide variety of fresh-roasted coffee beans from locations around the world, including Asia, the Americas, and Africa.

I stopped by and purchased 250 grams of whole-bean Panama “La Torzca,” which I took home and brewed in my French press. The coffee comes from the Boquete growing region in the Chiriqui province of Panama. Verlet describes the coffee as fine and fruity, and balanced with notes of roasted peanut, currant bud, and dark chocolate.

I find the flavor fruity and slightly sweet with no bitter aftertaste. However, it lacks the robustness and depth of the Mélange Parfait that I reported in my blog of January 12. Perhaps that coffee will be the standard by which I judge all other coffees, be they single-estate or blends!

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Pistols, Brass Knuckles, and Daggers

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011
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Poing Américain with Gun and Dagger
(c) Discover Paris!

While researching the apaches of Paris for our Paris Insights feature article, we visited the Police Museum where we photographed one of the weapons that the they used to commit their crimes. The museum has a display case showing a number of their weapons, including brass knuckles (called poings américains) and a combination brass knuckle, dagger, and single-shot pistol (pictured).

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Tasting Single-estate Chocolates

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011
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The family-owned company Michel Cluizel is one of the few chocolate makers in France that transforms raw cocoa beans into chocolate confections. They have direct collaboration with cocoa planters around the globe, which accounts for the fact that they can offer a small box containing squares of chocolate from plantations located in different parts of the world. The collection of chocolates is called “Les 1er Crus de Plantation,” which they translate as “Single Estate” chocolates on their U.S. Web site.

Box of Single-estate Chocolates
(c) Discover Paris!

I purchased a box containing sixteen dark-chocolate squares from five different plantations at the Michel Cluizel shop at 201, rue Saint-Honoré: Los Anconès in Santo Domingo, Concepcion in Venezuela, Vila Gracinda in Sâo Tomé, Mangaro in Madagascar, and Maralumi in Papau – New Guinea. Returning to our apartment, my partner and I proceeded to taste them, one by one. The chocolates contain 64% – 67% cocoa, making them slightly bitter. Each chocolate had distinctive flavors, and we appreciated all of them.

I found the Santo Domingo chocolate to be the mildest of the batch. My partner noted a burnt flavor that predominated at first, followed by a slightly fruity flavor. The Michel Cluizel brochure that came with the box affirms notes of licorice, red fruits, green olives, dried currants, and apricots.

My partner declared that the Venezuela chocolate had an initial flavor of earth followed by a nutty flavor. I found its texture to be silky smooth. Michel Cluizel proclaims hints of vanilla, gingerbread, caramel, and dried and black fruits.

I thought that the Sâo Tomé had an earthy flavor. My partner also identified earthy notes, followed by red fruits. Michel Cluizel claims toasted, spicy, herbaceous notes with flavors of ripe tropical fruits and licorice sticks.

For my taste, the Madagascar had notes of pomegranate. My partner tasted caramel, honey, raisins, and banana. Michel Cluizel declares exotic fruit with aromas of gingerbread and citrus fruit.

My partner detected raisins and green apple in the chocolate from Papua New Guinea, while I could not identify a dominant taste or aroma. Michel Cluizel asserts green banana and red currants.

Single-estate chocolates, like fine wines, are to be savored and enjoyed. If you are fortunate enough to have access to some, buy several varieties and conduct your own tasting!

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Special announcement!

We organized a taste test on chocolate-covered cherries this month, the results of which we will publish in our Paris Insights newsletter on February 1st.

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Entrée to Black Paris Tours™ – Special Offer!

Friday, January 14th, 2011
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Are you traveling to Paris in 2011?  Take advantage of Discover Paris’ Entrée to Black Paris™ SPECIAL OFFER for a discounted tour!  Read more below…

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Discover Paris’ Entrée to Black Paris™ (ETBP) tours and activities reveal the story of Paris through the black experience. We are developing them to help increase awareness of Paris’ rich black heritage among all people – particularly those who already know and love Paris, and are seeking new avenues of exploration to enrich their cultural appreciation of the city. We have received many positive reviews for our tours (given by our guides Monique and Tom) , and invite you to read about them here:

About.com

An Alien Parisienne

30 Days in Paris

Monique Giving Her "Black Paris after WWII" Walk

Tom Giving His "Black History in and around the Luxembourg Garden" Walk

As an introduction to our Entrée to Black Paris™ tours and activities, we are offering:

• a 10% discount on the tour or activity of your choice
• a free downloadable DP! walk (a $25-$30 value)
• a special online viewing of a video entitled “Images of Contemporary Black Paris”

to those who engage us to provide a self-guided ETBP itinerary or private ETBP walking tour, museum tour, or presentation in 2011.

"Black Paris after WWII" with the American Club of Paris

Celebrating Josephine Baker on "The Black Pearl Walk"

To take advantage of this special offer, send us an e-mail prior to January 31, 2011 at

info[at]discoverparis[dot]net

indicating that you would like to reserve this “ETBP Special Offer” for your trip. Then, contact us six weeks prior to your trip so that we may prepare and ship your self-guided itinerary or assure the availability of a private guide for your desired tour.

We look forward to hearing from you very soon!

Entrée to Black Paris Tours™ – Special Offer!

Mélange Parfait Expresso at Terres de Café

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011
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Terres de Café at 32, rue des Blancs Manteaux
Photo by www.DiscoverParis.net

While we were looking for a bakery from which to buy a galette des Rois last week, we came upon a smart-looking shop selling fresh-roasted coffee beans called Terres de Café. The store sells only café de terroirs—coffees coming from specific regions of specific countries, such as Ethiopia Anfiloo or Guatemala Attila SHB Huehuetenango.

The shop is rather small, but the owners have found room to install a counter from which they serve espresso coffee. When we entered, a few customers were enjoying their cup of java there.

In response to his question about what kind of coffee I was looking for, I told the clerk that I was looking for a coffee that was not too strong…but not too weak. He replied that I was trying to do a grand écart, implying that it would be impossible to bring the opposites together in one brew! Then he took a giant step and stood legs wide apart (a grand écart), showing how awkward this was. I suspect that some customers might have felt put off by this response, but having lived in France for eighteen years, I am used to the French expressing their ideas in ironic, sometimes oddly humoristic ways.

He proposed a house blend called Mélange Parfait Expresso consisting of four cafés de terroirs: India, Sumatra, Brazil, and Ethiopia.

Selection of Coffees
Photo by www.DiscoverParis.net

I purchased a 250-gram bag of whole bean for 6.50€ and took it home to try it out, using my French press to brew the coffee. I found the aroma slightly sweet, and the taste to be full-bodied, smooth, and slightly sweet with no bitter aftertaste. Neither too strong nor too weak, it is a perfect grand écart!

The clerk told me that I should try the bakery Pain de Sucre for the perfect galette des Rois. I blogged about the bakery and its galettes last Wednesday. He also mentioned that Terres de Café has a larger shop next door to the bakery, where there is more room to enjoy an espresso at the counter.

Terres de Café
32, rue des Blancs Manteaux
75004 Paris
Tel: 01.42.72.33. 29

14, rue Rambuteau
75003 Paris
Tel: 01.42.78.49.79

Mélange Parfait Expresso
Photo by www.DiscoverParis.net

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Paris Apaches

Friday, January 7th, 2011
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A little more than one hundred years ago, Paris was seized by a fear of the night. Gangs of young hoodlums were prowling the streets in the darkness, looking for persons to attack and rob, or, in some cases, to kill just for the pleasure of the act.

In this month’s Paris Insights we explore the world of the apaches—gangs of young thugs that seemed to roam the city and attack with impunity.

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Bonne lecture!

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Galette des Rois

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011
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The twelfth day of Christmas, Epiphany, is celebrated with Kings’ cake, or galette des Rois, as they are called in France.

Galette des Rois from Pain de Sucre
(c) Discover Paris!

The cakes, made of flaky puff-pastry layers with a dense center of frangipane, are sold in bakeries during the month of January. We wanted to purchase our galette from a specific bakery in the Marais, but when we arrived at the address we found that it was no longer in business. We stopped at a coffee house in the neighborhood to purchase some fresh-roasted coffee beans and were told that one of the finest bakeries in Paris was the nearby Pain de Sucre. So we hastened over there and purchased a small galette (for two to four persons). This 6 ¾” diameter by 1” tall cake weighing 290 grams cost 20€. A pretty penny to pay for such a small cake!

We found the galette to be quite buttery and flaky; its 3/8” almond-paste filling was light and airy, rather than heavy and pasty as one so often finds in these pastries. Each contains a porcelain bean (fève, in French). The person whose slice contains the fève is King or Queen for the day! He or she gets to wear a paper crown, which is provided with the galette.

Pain de Sucre
14 Rue Rambuteau
75003 Paris
Tel: 01.45.74.68. 92

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Lilane – A Fine-dining Neighborhood Restaurant

Saturday, January 1st, 2011
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Chef Stéphane Guilçou of Lilane
(c) Discover Paris!

Located near place Monge, on the corner of rues Gracieuse and Pestalozzi, Lilane is a wonderfully atypical neighborhood restaurant. It offers excellent cuisine in sophisticated yet modest surroundings, and provides service with a smile.

In this month’s Le Bon Goût, a feature of our newsletter Paris Insights, we review this restaurant and present its chef, Stéphane Guilçou.

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Bonne lecture!

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