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Caen-De-quelle-planete-es-tu-12Every November, Louis and I go to celebrate birthdays with the family that I lived with when I was 16, where I caught onto French and fell in love with French culture. This marvelous family that I adore has since moved to Caen, and I was so excited to discover their new city and the sea on our little weekend getaway. On the sunny winter afternoon we drove up to the historical seaside, popping by the fish market to prepare for the lunch that followed.

On our way back to Paris, we spun through Pont Audemer, the town where I lived for a year with them, for a little dinner date before heading back to the city life.

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The-Countryside-Montargis_De-quelle-planète-es-tu-1Going to the countryside to visit the in-laws is one of my favorite things in the world.

When the weather is nice, like in these pictures from a trip in late August, we eat outside and enjoy the nature, feasting on goodies from the perfection of a garden that is out back. Although we just got back from a cozy autumn weekend here- and the berries, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, etc. are no longer in season- I was daydreaming of the heated summer days and rays at this beautiful home before accepting the change of the seasons. Sidenote, this is also the garden where my father-in-law is growing yummy kale thanks to the seeds that I ordered from The Kale Project.

This particular weekend at the countryside we had some visitors, so it was the perfect opportunity to introduce them to the wonders of kale with a delicious kale salad garnished with mint, lemon and spices. King of salads, as a set designer by trade and passion, Louis’s father’s salads are also a work of art with the most delicious mixture of flavors and colors.

When I say salad, I’d like to point out that I mean any kind of salad. Not even a joke. There truly is a perfected method to the mixtures that this family makes. My favorite have an impeccable homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing with a smidgen of mustard, heaps of spices and new flavors that I discover with every salad. The core ingredients often vary, from what’s in the house or in the garden (like possibly every shade of tomato from yellow to black). The add-ons can be just about anything from nuts to cheese to berries, even a few edible flowers- like nasturtiums- for a peppered flavor.

The art of the salads in the family was passed on to my partner, who wooed me and warned me from the very beginning that I’d fall in love with him when I tried one of his salads that he learned to make from his father. It wasn’t the only reason for which I fell, but boy are they delectable.

An ode to a summer meal of salads. Cheers, folks.

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Andrea + Christophe's Wedding - De quelle planete es tu ::1Once upon a time in a land not so far from Pars, in a small town in Bretagne, two lovers said their vows.

I just love weddings.

Andrea and Christophe’s franco-american wedding was in a small town in Brittany this summer. It was a precious weekend full of sunshine and a good old fashioned fun time. The civil wedding was in the little Mairie of Jugon-les-Lacs. As the bride stepped out of the car, everyone peeked out the window of the first floor, where the wedding was taking place, to get a glimpse. From above the detail of her vintage lace dress was not yet visible, but we could all see her red lipstick, and could see the anticipation in Christophe’s eyes. It was magic.

The reception was held in the most beautiful stone home about a 5 minute drive from the town center. The signs marked the distances to Paris and to Indiana, ’twas precious. The flowers all around were colorful and in bloom. The lights were not yet lit, but the tent covered the most precious decorations and triangle banners draped from side to site. The cocktails were ready, and the feasting began.

We danced the night away. Congratulations, Andrea and Christophe.

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Le Foodist :: Daring Pairing - De quelle planète es-tu? 1

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to go to one of Le Foodist‘s Daring Pairing events. Le Foodist provides a variety of different events where people from or visiting Paris can experience culture through food. Whether it be for a dinner, a wine and cheese pairing, or a tea time history of sweets, you’ll be able to take a big bite into French culture.

This particular evening, on a cozy péniche right under the Notre Dame on Quai Montebello, we participated in Daring Pairings. It was chilly and snow was falling, and it was the perfect setting for a mysterious undertaking of pairing with two of France’s most prided things: wine and cheese. The creator of Le Foodist, Fred, immediately greeted us as we entered Bateau Daphné with our chilled rosy red cheeks. As soon as we walked into the boat, the covered bottles and empty wine glasses awaited us: this was going to be good.

A lovely sommelier, Stéphane Bonnerot, so full of energy and passion, introduced 4 wines to us, explaining to us how to properly taste them and notice each of their particularities: we shook the glasses to see the marks that would fall from the glass, we sniffed them to see what aromas we could guess, we observed the color of reds in front of a white piece of paper. All that good stuff.

Once we made all of the visual observations, we tasted the wine in a few different ways, seeing if we could decipher the dryness and sweetness. All of these traits made for a fun guessing game of where the wine came from in France. Stéphane tied in the history behind the wines and the differences that various regions and grapes provide. This helped us to guess the perfect cheese to pair with each of the four wines tasted.

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By the end of the evening I had a wealth of new knowledge and I was anxious to impress my Frenchman of a boyfriend with my knew cheese and wine pairing skills. Not kidding. I now can bluntly state that I never would I ever serve a comté with a white wine! Bien sûr!

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It was a night filled with laughter, mystery and passion. People of all ages and all nationalities came together around one fusion of a love: French wine and cheese. The whole night I kept thinking about how fun my mom would have at an event like this, while visiting Paris. What a wonderful and unique way to meet people.

And after a toast of bubbly in the winter chills under the lit up Notre Dame and the reflections of lights on the Seine (yes, Stéphane did indeed teach some people how to open a bottle of champagne with a sabor), we wandered back home in the snowy snowy Parisian night.

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For more information on what Le Foodist has to offer as well as their calendar and prices for these diverse and magical events, you can check out their website and their Facebook page. The events happen several times per month but still fill up, so it’s advised it to reserve in advanced for your visit to Paris.

If you’re interested in their Once Upon A Table dinner experience, be sure to check out this lovely post on the HiP Paris Blog.

A special thanks to Fred and Stéphane for their vigor and energy.