Best of

Best of March

March inspiration : Drawing Montmartre buildings!

• Spring has sprung, travel season has begun in earnest, and I am doing more of my private walking tours. A highlight this past month has been to host a newlywed couple with a unique and wonderful story: they were high-school sweethearts, then life took them separate ways, and some thirty years later they reunited and got married.

They were the loveliest of people, and the tour was made even more special by a friend of theirs, who got in touch with me to secretly arrange for me to buy them a gift of goodies (Champagne was involved) on her behalf during the tour. It was so fun and heartwarming to plot this for them, print out the friend’s note, surprise them with the gift, and take pictures.

• For my monthly museum challenge, I went to the Musée de la vie romantique, where entrance is free to see the permanent collection. My favorite thing to do is stand by the windows upstairs, look out at the courtyard and the trees, and pretend I live in this gorgeous hôtel particulier. (This museum is part of my which you can download for free!)

We also went with our kids to see Électromécanomaniaque at Halle Saint-Pierre, an exhibition of Gilbert Peyre’s work: this French artist builds mecanical and pneumatic installations from junkyard finds. It is a unique blend of poetic and batty, and children are positively mesmerized. The exhibition is on until April 23; go if you can !

• Also : I’m about to launch a podcast! It’s in French and it’s called Change ma vie : Outils pour l’esprit (“Change my life: Tools for the mind”). It will be about our inner lives, the power of thoughts, and how to feel really well. I have studied these subjects with increasing passion over the past years, and what I’ve learned has changed my life so much I wanted to share with others. The podcast will launch on April 27, and if you’re looking to add more French to your life, what better way? Sign up for the newsletter to be notified when it’s up; you’ll receive a little welcome bonus as well.

Continue reading »

Your Top 10 Recipes from 2016

I love that you, my dear readers, keep me on my toes. I share posts and recipes that I hope will interest you, but I can never predict how they’ll be received. Just like with love, a little mystery keeps the passion alive.

But after the fact, there’s Google Analytics, and I can look and see what resonated with you the most. I’m a little late in offering this — this new book thing! so exciting! so time-consuming! — but I did want to share with you the 10 most popular recipes I published on Chocolate & Zucchini in 2016.

Did you try any? Is there one you loved that isn’t listed here?

Fun to compare and contrast with:
• The Top 10 recipes for 2016 on the French version of C&Z (not the same! fascinating!),
• Your Top 10 Recipes in 2015,
• Your Top 10 favorites of all time.

Side note: My food photography improved quite a bit, no? I credit The Food Photography School and Food Blogger Pro (see my Food Blogger Pro review if you’re a food blogger wanting to up your game).

Continue reading »

Best of February

The Saint-Roch Church in Paris

February was a big and happy month for me. Most notably, we celebrated my youngest son Mika’s second birthday (where’d my baby go?) and I completed the manuscript for my new cookbook, Tasting Paris! I have a couple more sections to write, but the bulk of it–all 100 recipes and accompanying headnotes–is done, and I am proud and excited.

The photos will be shot later this spring by the amazing Nicole Franzen, and the finished book will come out in the US in early 2018. (We’ll be looking for publishers to publish it in other countries and other languages.) I will continue to share the process with you in the coming months.

Things That Made me Happy in February

Continue reading »

Best of January

Chouquettes at the park.

I am keeping my nose to the grindstone (not as painful as it sounds) finishing up the manuscript for my new cookbook Tasting Paris, which is an ode to all the good things one can eat in Paris, and there are very many. I am stoked to announce that the photography will be done by the amazing Nicole Franzen, and I cannot wait to see my recipes and my home city through her eyes.

I have to get back to writing headnotes and processing feedback from my fabulous recipe testers and tying up all sorts of fun loose ends (“check weight of average orange,” “why is rue des Écouffes called rue des Écouffes,” “look into the biography of Arlette Lenôtre,” “OK to recommend as hangover food?”) so I will leave you with these quick notes from January:

Continue reading »

Best of December

How are your holidays coming along? Any fun plans for New Year’s Eve? Be sure to check my post on French Holiday Meals, and my 12 Best Food Gifts!

We had such a lovely, quiet Christmas celebration this year. Now that my children are respectively 4 1/2 and almost 2, we are really getting into the magic of it.

In addition to the big-boy bike for Milan (training wheels? who needs them!) and the adorable crochet vegetables and mini dining set for Mika, Maxence and I had a blast hunting for vintage toys from our own childhoods, such as “real” Lego blocks (not the hyper-specialized, imagination-thwarting crap they put out now) and Smurf figurines (I mean Schtroumpfs) with an actual! mushroom! house!.

A Family of Shoes

Currently loving

  1. As part of my Monthly Museum Challenge, I went to the Grand Palais to see the Hergé exhibition all about the creator of Tintin, joining a private guided tour led by the amazing Catherine Rosane of Fred & Kate. I loved the exhibition and Catherine’s insightful take on it, and doodled along gleefully (see below). I am now engrossed in Benoît Peeters’ biography of Hergé, Hergé fils de Tintin.
  2. How to Throw a Dinner Party Like a Parisian, with some of my thoughts thrown in.
  3. In addition to my Monthly Museum Challenge, I’m enriching my life further with a Monthly Poem Challenge: I’ll be choosing a new poem to memorize each month. For years and years I’ve known just two (Mon Rêve familier and Le Dormeur du val), and I’ve just memorized this new one, which jumped up at me in a copy of Les Fleurs du Mal lying around at Aloha Café. I love the idea that by the end of 2017, if all goes well, I’ll know twelve more. Are you in?
  4. Meals at La Mascotte, a wonderful Belle Époque brasserie in Montmartre where the food is excellent and the waiters are genuinely nice.
  5. Our new hand-crafted clay mugs in moss green and yellow, which I found at Amami in Paris. I plan to spend all winter with my hands wrapped around their smooth, soft sides.
My sketch of Hergé's 2CV

My sketch of Hergé’s 2CV

Find my top Paris spots on this map of favorites, and follow me on Instagram to see many more food shots and Paris recommendations throughout the month!

Get the newsletter

Receive FREE email updates with all the latest recipes, plus exclusive inspiration and Paris tips. You can also choose to be notified when a new post is published.

View the latest edition of the newsletter.