Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fireworks Fashion For Paris + Chocolate For Home~

Thirty-Five Miles Outside Paris on Saturday nights through October 4th the
Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte is lit with 2,000 candles from 5PM-12M
 a fairytale with fireworks!

I had a dress like this for dinner and dancing that
 would be perfect for dining at the Paris Peninsula Hotel's
Lili Cantonese restaurant..... 

And for here in the daytime Le Train Bleu... 
the historic brasserie at the Gare de Lyon...something a
bit more casual when it reopens on September 12...

The 17th century Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte architectural masterpiece about 35-miles outside of Paris will be especially magical with the castle and gardens illuminated by over 2000 candles and with a spectacular fireworks display beginning at 10:50 PM--Saturday nights through October 4th from 5PM-after midnight. This historic location is a popular wedding venue including with celebrities. It offers all who visit the experience of the over-the-top beauty that made the King of France jealous...

The Lili Cantonese Restaurant At The Peninsula Hotel...dates back to 1908 and recently under went a multi-year $500-million renovation. The finest authentic Cantonese cuisine includes refined dim sum and sophisticated seasonal dishes prepared by award-winning Hong Kong chefs. Over 20 types of Chinese tea is served. Sit at the private Chefs’ Table for viewing the show-stopping performance in the kitchen.

Le Train Bleu, the historic brasserie at the Gare de Lyon, will reopen on September 12 after its renovation project. The ornately decorated restaurant has served drinks and meals to travelers and guests since 1901. And has appeared in several films. A peek: (HERE).

And for a treat that's as light and delicious as sitting on the clouds with the Angels of Heaven....

Mousse Au Chocolat Recipe~
6 servings

Just four ingredients are required to create something truly divine. Use quality chocolate....

9 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips or broken pieces from a bar
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into tiny bits
4 eggs, separated
1/4 cup sugar

First separate your eggs, as you will cook the yolks into the chocolate, and a few minutes later beat the egg whites into stiff peaks...see: (HERE) Ensure the bowl you drop the egg whites is pristine with no oil residue, or they won't whip up. Then... 

1). In a double boiler or a bowl set over a pot of simmering water melt the chocolate until smooth. Add the butter, a little at a time, whisking it in after each addition until smooth. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and add in each yolk, one at a time, whisking after each addition. Let cool, while you prepare the egg whites.

2). In that perfectly clean grease-free bowl, whip the egg whites and sugar together to form stiff peaks. Using a rubber spatula, add the egg white mixture slowly, a little at a time, to the chocolate, folding in the egg whites incorporate as much air as you can into the mixture to make it fluffy and light...easy hand here... 

Refrigerator for 2 hours. Then serve in small cups with a few raspberries and your favorite topping...

Andrea Bocelli sings "Les Feuilles Mortes' (Autumn Leaves) with his then fiancee, now wife. Thank you so much for stopping by...

Monday, September 1, 2014

Cocktails With Hemingway~

Today is a Labor Day holiday in the U.S...
Few worked harder than Ernest Hemingway, or with more impact.
As the story goes...at the end of the war Hemingway liberated the occupied Paris Ritz Hotel. Ever since, that legend has attracted fans from around the globe to the Ritz Hotel's Hemingway Bar who've flocked in to pay homage by quaffing his favorite drink:

Hem's Daiquiri Recipe~

2 jiggers of white rum in a shaker, squeeze 1 lime, grate the zest of half a grapefruit, add 1 ounce of elderflower liqueur, fill with ice and shake till frothy.  Pour into a Collins glass. Top with grapefruit zest.

Over the weekend I read "Mrs. Hemingway" by Naomi Wood who based her novel on Hem's four wives. Extrapolating on "Paris Wife" that was centered on his first marriage to, Hadley--the Bryn Mawr grad, accomplished pianist, and mother of his oldest son, Jack. They came to Paris soon after their marriage in 1921 and lived in a grimy minuscule walk-up.

The result of Hemingway's near death from WWI injuries--was that he was driven in his work, in making a name for himself, and in collecting friends like Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Sylvia Beach, James Joyce, Max Eastman, Miro and Picasso. In rapid succession he published Big Two-Hearted River, Men Without Women, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms. 

"Everyone Was So Young" was another favorite book related to his set in France--especially the very wealthy Gerald and Sara Murphy who along with F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald became Hemingway friends, and sometimes exasperated, patrons. 

In 1927, Hem broke Hadley's heart to marry her 'friend'...Pauline "Fife" Pfeiffer. They departed France for Key West where he became enthralled with the sea. He would marry two more times including to the famous war correspondent, Martha Gellhorn...

I can't wait for the Ritz to reopen...to revisit the Hemingway Bar again.

Excellent Hemingway documentary: (HERE). Thanks so much for stopping by....

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Female PhD Winemaker Behind Château d’Yquem~

Chateau d'Yquem is one of the world's most expensive, prestigious, and sought after wines--that many consider the ultimate wine. The storybook vineyard sits back on a little traveled country road, and at 100 hectares is the largest in the Sauternes area of Bordeaux. 

For hundreds of years Château d’Yquem was owned by the Lur-Saluces family, until 1999 when it was sold to French luxury conglomerate Moët Hennessey Louis Vuitton (LVMH). I recognize that "luxury conglomerate" would strike one as ironic if this weren't the 21st century where paradox is king...
Yquem's PhD Winemaker~

From her youth, Château d’Yquem's winemaker, Sandrine Garbay, was fascinated with biology, agriculture, and in working for a laboratory. At 18, she studied oenology, and at age 20 apprenticed at the magnificent vineyard Château Latour. After receiving her oenologist’s license, she worked in a lab for 5 years, winning her PhD.

In 1994, Garbay began working in the new lab at Château d’Yquem, the sole premier cru classé supérieur in Sauternes, and eventually became the chief winemaker.

Tours of the winery are given in the afternoon by the assistant cellar master in French and English, almost exclusively to members of the trade. However, there are tour companies that specialize in high-end winery itineraries like Yquem, Cheval Blanc, and Petrus. 

Classic Combinations~ 

Personally, I would most like to pair Château d’Yquem with a two week stay at the Four Seasons in Geneva (above)... Others find that lobster, shellfish, or blue cheeses like English Stilton and French Roquefort Comté make a marvelous combo. Three chefs, three lunches developed for Yquem: (HERE).

Excellent short video at Château d'Yquem with Wine Master, James Cluer: (HERE) and his overview of Sauternes: (HERE). Interesting conversations with Château d'Yquem winemaker, Madame Garbay: (HERE) and (HERE). Beautiful tasting menu developed by 3-star chef for the wine: (HERE). 

Thank you so much for stopping by~Cheers to your lovely weekend!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Ultimate Highs During Cannes Sept 9-14 Yachting Festival~

Enjoy this Bucket-List Dinner Spot During
The Cannes Yachting Festival September 9-14

The 37th Annual Cannes Yachting Festival is staged at a time of spectacular Côte d'Azur weather and in the classic venues of Vieux Port, Port Pierre Canto, and the Palais des Festivals. Event video overview: (HERE). 

During the September 9-14 festival enjoy a meal on the hilltop terrace of the 5-star boutique Chateau Eza high above the Mediterranean and the ultimate dinner setting in "The Bucket List" film ...

Yacht Racing's Mountaintop Is Also From France~

The Vendée Globe single-handed, non-stop, round the world yacht race was founded by Frenchman Philippe Jeantot in 1989...and takes place every four years. 
This is the only non-stop round-the-world race, and thus regarded as the ultimate in ocean endurance racing. Other races take place in stages. 

The race circumnavigates a clipper route that begins and ends in Les Sables d’Olonne, France. Videos linked on the race website attest to the grueling nature of this ultimate challenge that runs from November to February when severe conditions hit a course pragmatically removed from rescue. 

Something special this way comes tomorrow. Thank you for stopping by. Rod Stewart's "Sailing" (HERE).

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat Days Of Wine And Roses~

The Days of Wine and Roses
A St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat rental with a CZ Guest air...(HERE)
La Maison du Vin Kurkoff with a popular wine bar~ 
La Table du Royal in the harbor...

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is a petite French Riviera peninsula of posh. Posh villas. Posh nature. Posh history. A posh yacht harbor ringed with posh restaurants that serve everything from posh French cuisine to posh pizzas. And it's chock-a-block with posh billionaires... 

Eateries to check-out: Harbor-side La Table du Royal and La Maison Du Vin Kurkoff. The later is also a wine bar with possible sketchy Russian Mob connections. Or as Hollywood Screenwriters call it: Atmosphere. Plus a world class collection of rare and fine wines available by the glass...

Tomato and Tapenade Tartlets to serve 6~
by Dorie Greenspan

This is easy to make and delicious. Ensure the tomatoes are meaty and the tapenade thick, not runny, otherwise you’ll risk a soggy crust...

1 17.3-ounce package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
1/2 cup green- or black-olive tapenade 
5 to 6 ripe medium tomatoes, preferably assorted colors, cut into 1/4-inch slices
12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
Fleur de sel or coarse kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
18 small fresh basil leaves
6 green or black olives, pitted, sliced

Position racks in top third and bottom third of oven. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 pastry sheet at a time, roll out on floured surface to 13-inch square. Using 6-inch-diameter plate, cut out 4 rounds from 1 sheet and 2 rounds from second sheet (reserve remaining pastry for another use). Transfer 3 rounds to each baking sheet. Pierce each round with fork. Top rounds with another sheet of parchment. Place another baking sheet atop parchment on each sheet.

Place 1 baking sheet stack on each rack in oven and bake 10 minutes. Rotate baking sheets and bake until rounds are golden, about 10 minutes longer. Using oven mitts, carefully remove top baking sheets and top sheets of parchment. Continue baking pastries until deep golden, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer sheets to rack to cool. 

Increase oven temperature to 450°F. Spread generous tablespoon tapenade over each pastry round, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges. Alternate 4 tomato slices with 4 mozzarella slices atop each pastry in pinwheel pattern. Bake just until cheese begins to melt, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper, then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Arrange a few basil leaves and olive slices atop each tartlet and serve immediately.

Gorgeous St-Jean Sunrise: (HERE). Thank you so much for stopping by~