Hmmmm... It's already way into July and I haven't posted anything yet for Paris in July. I suspect that this is because I know that as soon as I open my photo folder and see the pics I took last July when I was in Paris, then I'll get itchy feet for travel, and who knows what could happen...
But, maybe if I eat some French cheese... that'd help? Have a cheese:
We are blessed with a wonderful market here in Adelaide, and some truly divine cheese shops. I can't resist a cheese that comes in its own little ramekin like this Saint Marcellin. It's a cow's milk cheese, very soft and gooey -- as David Lebovitz notes, St Marcellin has a tendency to try to escape. It can be eaten as is, but I think that one night, very very soon, this little pot is going into the oven and there will be some crusty bread and at least a couple of very nostalgic thoughts about France over a glass or two of vin rouge...
BTW, if you like cheese, you might like this very informative 'wheel' (appropriate!) for identifying cheese. It's not comprehensive, but it really helped me sort the sheep from the goats (and cows):
(you can magnify it at the pop chart lab site)
Drooling is not really helping me think about my Paris in July reading, but I am reminded that I have not yet written about David Lebovitz's book, The Sweet Life in Paris (2009). I really enjoy his blog - he has a lovely sly wit, he adores food, and he lives in Paris. What more could one ask?
Lebovitz, a dessert specialist who worked at Chez Panisse (link plays annoying music!), moved to France to make a fresh start after his partner died, and his blog wonderfully details the day-to-day discoveries (and disasters) that he made settling down to a new life in Paris. The book is a deeper exploration of these days, and is a great light read for Francophiles. It is interspersed with some recipes and a lot of good practical advice on what Lebovitz calls "the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City."
This is a city where one dresses up to take out the garbage, always says 'Good Morning' on entering shops, and never cuts up salad leaves. Everyone wears a scarf "arranged with a complex series of knots so elaborate, I think some of them use a sailing primer for guidance." Lebovitz is great on the little, quirky details - the dynamics of the non-queue (carry a basket of vicious proportions!), the etiquette of hot chocolate, a (vain) attempt to overcome his fear of squid by working for a fishmonger, life in a socialized health system (less startling for Australians, who also have near-free access to healthcare), the fascination of foreign supermarkets and kitchenware shops, and the terrors of all those new French words to learn: "And a jug of wine can be a carafe, pichet, pot, décanter, cruche, or fillette, which is also a young girl. So be careful where you are when you order one."
I was a little surprised by the recipes - this seemed like the place for some classics, but Lebovitz has included an eclectic range of recipes drawn from far further afield than France alone: peanut slaw and chicken mole sit happily among mousse and clafoutis and dulce de leche brownies (the clafoutis - plum and raspberry - is definitely on my list of things to make). I rather liked the mix, though, as I say, it was surprising. One minor detail - macaron is rendered (in a translation context) as macaroon. Eeek! Oh là là!
In sum: a funny, anecdotal book - a delightful, quick read that will remind you of all the things that make visiting Paris so very, very sweet.
P.S. -- on a somewhat macabre and definitely non-food note -- last year I visited THE BEST PLACE IN PARIS I HAVE EVER BEEN, namely the Pet Cemetery (Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques) at Asnières-sur-Seine. If you love animals, and you love a wander in a delightful green shady place, and you don't mind these two things being in a cemetery, then I urge you to visit when next in Paris: my post from last year is here.