Marche des Producteurs de Pays

This week France rather quietly announced that visitors from the U.S. and Canada were allowed to come to the country without any restrictions. Things are still moving in the direction of getting back to normal, and while last year is still sort of a haze to me, I believe the markets in Paris remained open the entire time, operating under different conditions. Outdoor markets are…

This week France rather quietly announced that visitors from the U.S. and Canada were allowed to come to the country without any restrictions. Things are still moving in the direction of getting back to normal, and while last year is still sort of a haze to me, I believe the markets in Paris remained open the entire time, operating under different conditions. Outdoor markets are extremely important in France and, of course, pre-dated les supermarchés which are now everywhere and have more agreeable hours – some are now even open on Sundays, which was controversial when it happened. But the outdoor markets take place six days a week in Paris, and in a country where holidays and vacations, and Sundays, are sacred, they remain open no matter what, even on Christmas, Easter, and New Year’s Day.

The outdoor markets are an integral part of French life and while in Paris there are over 100 marchés alimentaires (food markets), many of the stands are run by négotiants, or middle-men and women, who get their fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, and fish from Rungis, the wholesale market outside of the city. There are many small farms in France but many stay, and sell, only in their regions due to their size. So I’m always happy when I see signs posted about an upcoming Marché des Producteurs de Pays, where you can buy things directly from the growers and producers, who bring their foods to the city.

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France Reopens to Americans (and Others) June 9th

After over a year, France is opening its borders to most travelers, to a group that includes North Americans. I wrote about some of the developments in my June newsletter but some points have been clarified in the last few days. France announced a “color system” in which your requirements for entry will depend on what country you are from. There are three color groups;…

After over a year, France is opening its borders to most travelers, to a group that includes North Americans. I wrote about some of the developments in my June newsletter but some points have been clarified in the last few days. France announced a “color system” in which your requirements for entry will depend on what country you are from. There are three color groups; Red, Orange, and Green (more here and here) but for the Orange group, which includes North Americans, if you are fully vaccinated, you can come to France. If you aren’t fully vaccinated, you must have a compelling reason to come, and the requirements are stricter, plus you’ll need to quarantine for 7 days and have a PCR test after arrival.

The type of proof of vaccination has yet to be confirmed but you should print out what you have or bring your vaccination card, along with any other documents you have that relate to being vaccinated. Later this month, France will offer a “health pass” of some sort, which has yet to be determined. (More on that below.)

According to the US Embassy in France, here are the current requirements for Americans and others in Orange zones:

“Proof of vaccination (currently only the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are accepted). Travelers must also be fully vaccinated, which occurs two weeks after the second dose of Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca, and four weeks after the single dose of Johnson & Johnson; AND Either a negative COVID PCR test conducted within the 72 hours prior to departure or a negative COVID antigen test performed within the 48 hours prior to departure.”

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Top 10 Cheese Shops in Paris

It’s been a while, but Paris is opening up to visitors again on June 9th! I wrote about some of the details in my recent newsletter (and some tips you might want to know if you plan to come) but although some food shops in Paris have been doing brisk business with the locals, many are happy to have visitors back. And not just for…

It’s been a while, but Paris is opening up to visitors again on June 9th! I wrote about some of the details in my recent newsletter (and some tips you might want to know if you plan to come) but although some food shops in Paris have been doing brisk business with the locals, many are happy to have visitors back. And not just for economic reasons; many shopkeepers like the mix of people who come into their shops and many foreigners are genuinely curious and want to learn more about the foods of France, and owners of small shops are usually happy to engage with them as they are proud of what they carry, especially in the better cheese shops, or fromageries.

Jennifer Greco is a life-long Francophile and French food and wine enthusiast with an especially strong passion for French cheese. After moving from the U.S. to the south of France almost two decades ago, she has steadily been tasting her way through each and every cheese produced in France, a project that started one day on a whim and has developed into a full-fledged infatuation. To date, she says she has tasted just under 400 of the approximately 1500 fromages made in France. (Charles de Gaulle underestimated his cheese-making compatriots when he said “How can you govern a country which has 246 types of cheese?”) 

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The Hemingway Daiquiri

I became engrossed with author Ernest Hemingway watching the documentary, Hemingway by filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Hemingway is one of those legends whose name we all know, but most of us don’t know all that much about him. The documentary takes an unflinching look at him, and his legacy, thanks to contemporary writers, literary scholars, and historians, who filled in much of the…

I became engrossed with author Ernest Hemingway watching the documentary, Hemingway by filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Hemingway is one of those legends whose name we all know, but most of us don’t know all that much about him. The documentary takes an unflinching look at him, and his legacy, thanks to contemporary writers, literary scholars, and historians, who filled in much of the biographical information that accompanied his history, which wasn’t always rosy.

Some books of his were big hits while others fell flat. Some consider The Old Man and the Sea a great novel while others described it in unflattering terms. He had a penchant for falling in love madly in love with women, which usually took a turn for the worse…which is being kind. (Although discussed and implied, the relationships sounded harrowing.) He swore at his mother in writings and later, he got an earful in turn from his son, who sent him a letter calling The Old Man and the Sea “sentimental slop.” He married multiple times, suffered debilitating war injuries, drank too much, had affairs, survived two plane crashes, and lived in Cuba, Paris, Key West, before finally settling at the end of his life in Ketchum, Idaho.

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Where to Get Fresh Tortillas in Paris

Who knew that one of my most FAQs would be “Where can I find fresh tortillas in Paris?” Yes, there’s no shortage of bread in Paris, with over 1200 bakeries in the city baking it fresh daily, but with a burgeoning interest in Mexican food, and a number of residents from the Americans (and elsewhere) who enjoy and crave tortillas, there are several places where…

Who knew that one of my most FAQs would be “Where can I find fresh tortillas in Paris?”

Yes, there’s no shortage of bread in Paris, with over 1200 bakeries in the city baking it fresh daily, but with a burgeoning interest in Mexican food, and a number of residents from the Americans (and elsewhere) who enjoy and crave tortillas, there are several places where you can find them fresh.

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Romance in Paris

Hello – Emily here!  Whether single or in a relationship, I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. My favorite color is pink, it reminds me my birthday is around the corner and if nothing else, chocolates and champagne will soon be on sale.  I was single on Valentine’s Day every year until I turned 29, however I never felt alone and I never failed to celebrate in my…

Hello – Emily here! 

Whether single or in a relationship, I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. My favorite color is pink, it reminds me my birthday is around the corner and if nothing else, chocolates and champagne will soon be on sale.  I was single on Valentine’s Day every year until I turned 29, however I never felt alone and I never failed to celebrate in my own small way, usually with pink champagne and heart-shaped Neufchatel cheese

The first year I was in a relationship on February 14th, instead of a romantic dinner-a-deux I decided to spread the love and organized (and cooked) a pop-up dinner for 47 guests. It was a huge success, measured by the flurry of new relationships which started that night, in a utilitarian warehouse in East London. My boyfriend on the other hand was no help, though; he got drunk and threw little potatoes at the guests as they left. 

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A socially distanced Christmas in France

Hello, Emily here – ready to celebrate the holidays! We were supposed to be spending this Christmas on the beach in Australia (where I am originally from) but with travel not possible, we’ll be spending it at home in Paris. Holiday traditions in France are so different from Australia (the weather for a start – it was 39ºC/102ºF in Brisbane the last time we spent the holidays…

Hello, Emily here – ready to celebrate the holidays! We were supposed to be spending this Christmas on the beach in Australia (where I am originally from) but with travel not possible, we’ll be spending it at home in Paris. Holiday traditions in France are so different from Australia (the weather for a start – it was 39ºC/102ºF in Brisbane the last time we spent the holidays there) and I’ve had a wonderful time discovering French holiday customs over the past few years. The food, the wine, the decorations, the language. Oh, and did I mention the food?!

This year we’re in semi-lockdown and with most of the activities on my Things to do in Paris at Christmas list off-limits it’s the perfect time to finally try all those creative projects that I never get around to. The Christmas carols are on repeat, we are staying home en famille (with our family), counting our blessings, and beginning to get festive.

Last weekend I simmered some spiced vin-chaud (mulled wine) while we decorated our Sapin de Noël (Christmas tree). The smell of cardamom, cloves and oranges wafted through the apartment as we unpacked our decorations, each one holding sentimental memories. I added some new ones to represent our 2020; a paintbrush and wrench, to remind us that we did a full renovation, during a pandemic, while I was heavily pregnant, and a personalized ornament for our baby girl who we welcomed in July (mid-renovation – it was a lot!). My daughter and I picked the biggest tree we could find and now it sits, quietly dropping its needles on the floor, by our window so the neighbors can enjoy it as well. We are taking bets on who will attack it first – the toddler or Noisette, our dog.

We’ve cracked open the chocolate advent calendars and light an advent candle in the evenings. Each year I also print out a selection of photos of especially funny and memorable moments from the year, my daughter decorates some envelopes they go into and at breakfast my husband opens them day-by-day. They hang along a strand of tinsel until at least the end of January and then we bundle them all up and they go into a memory box, along with the ones from previous years. 

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Paris Booksigning This Friday

I’ll be doing a book signing for Drinking French at Café Méricourt in Paris this Friday, December 11, from 3 to 4 pm (map). Many have asked me about getting personalized copies and this is your chance to get one signed for yourself or for gift-giving! Copies of Drinking French will be available to purchase from the café. (If you’d like a copy of L’Appart…

Drinking French

I’ll be doing a book signing for Drinking French at Café Méricourt in Paris this Friday, December 11, from 3 to 4 pm (map). Many have asked me about getting personalized copies and this is your chance to get one signed for yourself or for gift-giving!

Copies of Drinking French will be available to purchase from the café. (If you’d like a copy of L’Appart or The Perfect Scoop, click here to pre-purchase a copy for pick-up at the event.) If you would like to bring a book that you already have for signing, you are welcome to.

As a special treat, the café will be offering in-house gift bags of holiday confections, including chocolate mendiants and bittersweet chocolate truffles, as well as tahini granola, chocolate-praline spread, and gift certificates, too.

[Note that health guidelines will be strictly respected. The book signing will be held at the take-out window, not indoors, with masks. You’re welcome to bring your own bag for your book purchase.]

If you live elsewhere and you’d like a signed copy of Drinking French, Book Larder in Seattle has a limited number of copies available. Please indicate when you order online or by telephone if you’d like a bookplate signed copy. In addition, the Drinking French Bar Box at Slope Cellars also now includes a bookplate signed book, along with a special selection of spirits to make some of my favorite drinks in the book, just in time for the holidays for gift-giving or yourself.

December Events: Live and Online

Even though travel is interrupted, for the time being, I’ve planned several online events this month, and one in-person event in Paris: December 11: I’ll be signing copies of Drinking French at Café Méricourt in Paris from 3 to 4 pm. Copies of Drinking French will be available to purchase from the café for signing. (If you’d like a copy of L’Appart or The Perfect…

Even though travel is interrupted, for the time being, I’ve planned several online events this month, and one in-person event in Paris:

December 11: I’ll be signing copies of Drinking French at Café Méricourt in Paris from 3 to 4 pm. Copies of Drinking French will be available to purchase from the café for signing. (If you’d like a copy of L’Appart or The Perfect Scoop, click here to pre-purchase a copy for pick-up at the event.)

December 12: Join me for an interview and chat with pastry chef Melissa Weller, author of A Good Bake with Now Serving in Los Angeles. I’ll post the exact time and sign-up info on this page and on my Schedule page when they get it up on their site. Hang tight!

December 13: I’ll be offering a seminar on French Apéritifs: History, Cocktails, and Culture as a live online presentation with Context Conversations. I’ll cover the history and culture of the iconic apéritifs of France and demonstrate various drinks you can make with them, along with the recipes. Register here. (Note: Through Dec 6th you can use the promo code THANKFUL15 for a 15% discount on all Context seminars, including mine.)

December 20: ‘Tis the season for drinks and desserts! Join me baker Edd Kimber for this special holiday get-together live online with La Cuisine Paris. We’ll be doing some baking, making holiday drinks, and answering your questions. More info and register here.

Also, I’ve got several terrific guests this month scheduled on my Instagram Live Apéro Hour videos, including Michelle Polzine, Joanne Weir, Brad Thomas Parsons, Lesley Chesterman, Jean-Louis Charbonnier from Comté cheese, and Aurélie Panhelleux. Follow me on Instagram to get notifications when they’ll be happening!

Holiday Gift Guide: Bringing France to You and Others

Hello, Emily here, from day 29 of the 2nd confinement (lockdown) in France. I never thought you could miss the city you live in, but I miss Paris. Physically she remains present and although stores are allowed to reopen tomorrow, restaurants will remain closed, the streets are quiet and the soul of the city is sleeping. The old Latin motto of Paris is ‘Fluctuat nec mergitur’…

Hello, Emily here, from day 29 of the 2nd confinement (lockdown) in France.

I never thought you could miss the city you live in, but I miss Paris. Physically she remains present and although stores are allowed to reopen tomorrow, restaurants will remain closed, the streets are quiet and the soul of the city is sleeping. The old Latin motto of Paris is ‘Fluctuat nec mergitur’ which roughly translates to ‘tossed by the waves but never sunk’ and wow, has 2020 done some tossing. 

During the second lockdown we have been restricted to a 1km (about half a mile) radius from our homes with a permission slip needed (that you fill out yourself) to go out for essentials (food, medical appointments, etc.) or to exercise. While my little radius included some of my favorite places, most of the city has been decidedly off-limits. 

Over the past 4 weeks we made the most of our allocated hour of ‘exercise’ each day in the nearby Jardin Du Luxembourg, letting the dog do her daily investigating, and letting our kids play in the fresh air. When possible, I also enjoyed a solo walk along the banks of the Seine, whose calm current reminded me that the history of France is filled with challenges that have been overcome. 

I never realized how much of the city I took for granted – perhaps a fitting metaphor for 2020? A quick stop at my local terrace for a coffee or chilled glass of wine, and a quiet exchange with the impeccably dressed waiter. The cultural institutions, who remain shuttered, their beauty and history waiting patiently to be frequented once again (although you can visit many online like the Louvre, Versailles, Centre Pompidou or the Musée d’Orsay). And the small boutiques and independent bookstores that I visit as much for the conversation with the owners as the books. But most of all, I am excited to return to the specialty food shops spread all over town, which were beyond my 1km ‘border.’  Continue Reading Holiday Gift Guide: Bringing France to You and Others...