Thursday, December 11, 2014

Food (& Wine) Books by French Authors Make Good Gifts

by Paige Donner

Any season is a good season to give the gift of an exquisite, illustrated book about food and/or wine. Here you will find three selections, all of which are authored by French experts in their fields of food and wine, Gérard Bertrand (wine), Eric Kayser (pâtisserie) and Régis Marcon (mushrooms). The books are printed in French, for now, but with such exceptional picture illustrations, they very easily span the cultural divide.

Champignons by Régis Marcon

Selected here are Régis Marcon's book about Champignons, and I mean all kinds. This Loire-based three-star French chef came out with his book from Martinière publishing in 2013. In early December he won another accolade for it, this time from Champagne Collet who holds a culinary book competition every year, the Livre de Chef. The event's official name is Champagne Collet du Livre de Chef and you can read more about it here and more about the illustrious chef Régis Marcon's 416 page book about mushrooms, here.

Champagne Collet prix du livre 2014 Book by Régis Marcon, Champignons, photo by Paige Donner copyright
Champagne Collet prix du livre Chef Régis Marcon middle, Olivier Charriaud, ceo champagne collet, far left photo by Paige Donner copyright
Champagne Collet prix du livre book selection December 2014 photo by Paige Donner

Champagne Collet prix du livre chef Régis Marcon left, champagne collet ceo Olivier Charriaud, right photo by Paige Donner copyright 2014

 *Author's note: as a stunning example of the cultural communications chasm that still exists between France and the rest of the culinary world, imagine standing in a room of food and wine journalists at a chef's book award event in France and having everyone swear to you that they've never heard of Zagat's! No kidding. The main problem with this scenario is not ignorance, since not everyone can know about everything, even when it comes to such important food and restaurant Bibles as Zagat's (which does, officially, have a presence here in France, even since Google bought them out a few years ago). No the real problem with that scenario is the self-assured smugness of local, francophone culinary journalists and marketing/export teams who insist that if they haven't heard of something, there is no merit to it. I assure you, however, that even though my anglo restaurant and food critics friends got a thorough kick out of this anecdote, to stand in a room full of culinary journalists (mainly francophone but also New Zealand and Australian) and have them all glare at you when you insist that Zagat's is, most definitely, a foodie's Bible and is of great import in our world, is NOT a fun experience.
It is these cultural divides, no, strike that, communication chasms, that I will continue to tackle in my newly expanded radio program, Paris GOODfood+wine. You can listen to that on World Radio Paris.
By the way, the only thing that saved my neck from the threatened lynching at the above noted event was that, thank goodness, the CEO of Champagne Collet had spent a bit of time abroad and did know about Zagat's, knew it well, in fact. But imagine, the only one in a room full of culinary professionals, wine marketing and export pros, and food-wine journalists (for the French market) who did! YOWZA!

Next up:

L'Atelier Gourmand d'Eric Kayser

Boulanger Eric Kayser is the darling of the fresh bread world here in Paris. He also has five or maybe even six now, bakeries in NYC. All of which are flourishing.
This new book of his focuses on his pâtisserie offerings. It follows his previous book release in 2013 that was all about the bread. With 20,000 books sold, it has seen great success.
This new book, just released in time for the end of year festivities,  is all about his simple cakes achieved with great finesse. You will find 70 recipes and tons of mouth-watering photos in the book of things like: strawberry macarons, caramel cakes garnished with nougatine mousse along with the traditional French offerings of fraisier, éclairs, mini-financiers and other assorted cakes and fine pastries.
Find out more at Maison Kayser.

L'Atelier Gourmand d'Eric Kayser book photo by Paige Donner copyright
Eric Kayser l'Atelier Gourmand d'Eric Kayser book signing December 2014 Paris photo by Paige Donner copyright
Eric Kayser signing l'Atelier Gourmand new book December 2014 Paris photo by Paige Donner copyright

Gérard Bertrand, Le Vin à La Belle Étoile

Last, but not least, is the book for wine lovers, especially of France's southern wines. Former rugby star turned wine mogul, Gérard Bertrand, has just released his book, Le Vin À La Belle Étoile.  The success of the marketing of his wines in the U.S. in recent years has defied previous market trends, introducing the American consumer to affordable French wines. Bertrand is also a champion of bio-dynamic wines and a lover of jazz music.  My video interview HERE.

Local Food And Wine


Friday, October 24, 2014

Gastronomy + Paris Luxury Sightseeing Bus = Bustronome

by Paige Donner

Move over foodtrucks, because France has re-envisioned the gourmet food-on-wheels concept and it's called the Bustronome.

Only in Paris!  This surely qualifies as one of those Only in Paris experiences.  The French, as you know, seem never to be satisfied with exhilarating experiences unless -and until - a healthy dose of good food and wine has been added to the mix.


This is one of those exhilarating experiences.

And a great big healthy dose of food and wine has been added to the mix here on Bustronome, the gourmet bus tour of the sacred sites of Paris that is sure to delight even the most reticent of foie gras lovers.



Bustronome Founders Jean-Christophe Fournier and Bertrand Mathieu
Bustronome Dinner menu (summer)
Bustronome - chef and team, Wow! Bravo!

Bustronome - ingenious way of keeping the glasses from slipping!
Bustronome fan (yours truly)
Bustromone Founders Jean-Christophe Fournier and Bertrand Mathieu

Founder Jean-Christophe Fournier and Head Waiter



The bus excursion starts off at the Etoile, aka the Arc de Triomphe. You can't miss the elegant big black bus that is parked there awaiting its passengers. The bottom level of the double-decker bus is outfitted as a chef's kitchen. The panoramic glass roof-covered and cozy upstairs seats about 40 comfortably in 4-top and 2-top tables, with an aisle inbetween both right and left window seatings.

Certainly the heros of the evening are the chef and his team, laboring below in a very coolly-equipped kitchen as the bus tools its way through the Parisian evening traffic. And the waiter who not only jogs up and down the flight of stairs all night long but carries trays of hot and heavy platters of this four-course meal.

The tables are customized with stylish plexiglass holders that keep your water and wine glasses in place. The dishes are weighted by their design, with your entrée coming in a covered stone pot, which keeps it from careening around on the table.

The evening is planned for about 2 1/2  hours but you should allow for up to four. The bus stops at some of the highlight points, such as in front of  the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame and at Place de la Concorde, allowing for passengers to get off and enjoy some fresh air (and smokers to get their fix).

Other iconic landmarks on the Bustronome's route include Musée d'Orsay, Opéra Garnier, Grand Palais, Saint-Michel and the Louvre.

AND they even have a lunch option, too. Prices for lunch (drinks included)  start at €85 pp. For that you have an appetizer of shrimp in coconut milk, garnished with mint leaves; duck foie gras served with tomato chutney; sea bass filet cooked with thyme, spring vegetables and soucis flowers; another main course of roasted veal served with baby carrots and mashed potatoes; then for the cheese course a selection of Rocamadour goat cheese drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with rosemarky and garnished with dried apricots; Dessert is a chocolate cake with a melted chocolate center served with Sacher cookies and Arabica coffee with little flavored cocoa bits.

Champagne aperitif and wine pairings are included.

AND you have Paris at your feet, all evening long... More INFO here.

Local Food And Wine


♥Chérie Du Vin



Friday, October 3, 2014

Cité du Champagne

by Paige Donner

Every year in September France celebrates their Heritage Days, called the Journées du Patrimoine. This year, I dared to take a preview peek at one of the few new fabulous developments in Champagne.

Champagne Collet, also known as COGEVI, was the first Co-operative established in Champagne. It remains a Top Ten champagne producer, globally.
Champagne Collet, also known as COGEVI, was the first Co-operative established in Champagne. It remains a Top Ten champagne producer, globally.

The oldest co-operative in Champagne, known now as Champagne Collet, located in the little village of Aÿ , has just finished its thorough renovations and construction of elaborate exhibit facilities that depict both the history of champagne in the region and their development as a Top Ten champagne producer.

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♥Chérie Du Vin

Champagne Collet est 1921 Ay Champagne photo by Paige Donner copyright 2014 IMG_4496

This champagne house, Champagne Collet, was first established as a Co-operative in 1921. It is the oldest Co-operative in Champagne.

Champagne France autumn views photo by Paige Donner copyright 2014 IMG_4557

View of Champagne de Castellane Tower in Epernay as you cross the bridge into Epernay coming from Ay, Champagne, France. This photo was taken just during the end of harvest 2014, at the golden hour. 

 All photos by Paige Donner copyright 2014 

The significance of its location in Ay, France, which sits just between Reims and Epernay, both dominant champagne producing towns in the region, is that it is the historic setting for the champagne growers' revolt that took place early in the 20th c. here.

Part of the fabulous exhibit that their facility now houses shows historical photographs and even an old (restored) film that gives accounts of this event. The event served to shape the history of the region and even the wine itself, which has so famously become known around the globe as champagne.

The cellars are also not to be missed. Their vintage cuvées are displayed with elegant accompaniment of local celebrated photographer's, Michel Jolyot's, photos. 

Since it is not yet officially open to the public, I am posting only a few photos here for now. When it does open its doors for public entry, it is definitely not to be missed. And the little town of Aÿ is one of the most beautiful little villages in Champagne. It is also home to Bollinger and Deutz among several other top-class champagnes.

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Umami, The 5th Taste, by Alexandre Bourdas

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SaQuaNa - Alexandre Bourdas
Alexandre Bourdas

Umami, the 5th taste seen by Alexandre Bourdas

SaQuaNa's chef was invited by chef Yoshiro Murata to share his knowledge on the umami in the book « Umami, the fifth taste ». A treatise on the subject, introduced by the major American chef Thomas Keller and the famous culinary history, technical and chemistry specialist Harold McGee. The book will be available in the United States and in Europe in September.

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SaQuaNa - Honfleur
SaQuaNa - Honfleur


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Kale vs. Watercress

Just when we were all getting comfortable with kale… along comes watercress to mix everything up.

Watercress vs. Kale Which one wins the Heavyweight Nutritional Championship? And why?!

So what is all this fuss about watercress packing more of a nutritional punch than kale?

Based on a study carried out by researchers at the William Patterson University in New Jersey, watercress ranked at the top of the list for nutritional benefits out of a whole list of leafy greens (47 of them to be exact) when analyzed for their Nutritional Density Score. The score was determined by how much of these 17 vital nutrients—potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K—the vegetables contained

Nutrition Density Scores

Here's the ranking:

  • Watercress: 100.00
  • Chinese cabbage: 91.99
  • Chard: 89.27
  • Beet green: 87.08
  • Spinach: 86.43
  • Leaf lettuce: 70.73
  • Romaine lettuce: 63.48
  • Collard green: 62.49
  • Turnip green: 62.12
  • Mustard green: 61.39
  • Endive: 60.44
  • Kale: 49.07
  • Dandelion green: 46.34
  • Arugula: 37.65
  • Iceberg lettuce: 18.28

However, when broken down, what this analysis reveals is nutrition based on a serving size of per 100 calories. Since kale packs 33 calories per cup and watercress only 4, that's where we see these two power greens diverge.

According to nutrition experts, any amount of leafy greens you eat is going to be good for you. And the more the better!

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♥Chérie Du Vin

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Résistance Naturelle

Ten years after releasing the acclaimed film, Mondovino, Jonathan Nossiter is back in theaters with his newest film, Résistance Naturelle.

It examines vineyards in Italy that are cultivating their grapes bqoth organically and with chemicals and pesticides. He then compares the soil quality and harvest yields of the different cultivation methods. It's not strictly a documentary as he blends some narrative filmmaking in with the documentary.

Released in theaters since June 2014.




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♥Chérie Du Vin


Thursday, July 3, 2014

White Strawberries - The Originals

by Paige Donner

La Freizh, La Freizh!!

A young, impassioned wild strawberry producer - gariguette in French - named Julien Héliès has launched a limited production of White Strawberries.

local food and wine white strawberries fraise-ananas

Did you know strawberries were originally WHITE?!

You might not have known that 300 years ago, when strawberries were first imported to Europe from Chile, they were white berries.  But they were. 

La Freizh Local Food And Wine 300

That was back in 1714 when, after two years of travels around South America, the explorer, Amédée Frezier, arrived back in Marseilles with 5 plants from Chile he brought with him of these white strawberries. One of these was planted in the botanical gardens of Brest. 

A bit larger than a wild strawberries found in the woods and hinting of a taste of pineapple amidst their delicious sweetness, this limited and very confidential production can be found by contacting the strawberry grower/agriculture cooperative directly at where you can also read more about the history of the strawberry in France and around the world. 

Personally I am waiting with bated breath until I see some of the Parisian chefs, or any international chefs, serve these up, fired simply by their fruitful - ; ) - imaginations. 

Local Food And Wine

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♥Chérie Du Vin

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Paris Patisseries In Pictures

by Paige Donner

Just a few tantalizing photos... All details and descriptions to these outstanding Paris Patisseries can be found HERE at 10BEST Paris.

All photos are copyright the illustrated pâtisseries.


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Sydney Sunshine And Hunter Valley Wineries

Australian Wine Regions

by Susie Edwardson

(guest contributing writer)

Is there anything better than guaranteed sunshine and countless rows of vineyards laid out before you, all just waiting for their unique, lovingly produced wines to be tasted? With its next door neighbour New Zealand often more commonly being regarded as the champion of wine produce Australia has only in recent years become more renowned for wine making. Sydney's culture of having a focus on the celebration of food and wine, and with Hunter Valley region being a short drive away this region has certainly provided stiff competition for New Zealand.

Hunter Valley Australia

Hunter Valley Wine Region

Hunter Valley has played a pivotal role in the success of wine production for Australia, and according to this region is accountable for the multi-billion dollar a year industry. It's no surprise really when you take into account the idyllic setting of these wineries where a relaxing day walking through the vineyards is a holiday in itself. According to Drayton Wineries, they were one of the first to set up in this area, changing from farming grain to vineyards in the late 1850s. This region is most certainly well known for its full-bodied, fresh white wines, and medium-weight reds. The fact of the matter, though, is that with any tour around this fabulous area you are guaranteed to find the perfect wine for you. Even if you are not the biggest lover of wine in the world, with the variety on offer here, you will be hard pushed to go home without a new favourite tipple. What better place to enjoy this than under the Australian sun, with some of the most laid-back locals in the world?

Sydney's Love of Food and Wine

Perhaps one of the main reasons for the continued success of Hunter Valley wines is because of Sydney's attitude towards dining out, food and wine. As is the case with many metropolitan cities, Sydney opens new and quirky restaurants week on week, with the majority serving wine from the local region to complement decadent dishes. TimeOut Sydney states that wine bars have been popping up all over Sydney of late, which is no doubt as a result to its close proximity with Hunter Valley and the world-renowned wines and ports of which are produced here. The Sydney Morning Herald fortifies the notion that Sydney is a great lover of food, stating that 40,000 festival-goers just last month took to Sydney Cellar Door, a food and wine festival set up in Sydney's Hyde Park. This is a city that loves all that is focused around food and wine, making it the perfect tourist destination for anyone with a similar passion.

Travelling Australia

The availability here of unique wines is no doubt a great tourist attraction, and it's not only the Hunter Valley region in Australia which provides such a great experience for wine lovers. It's definitely also worth checking out Swan Valley near Perth, which also has beautiful chocolate manufacturers in the same area, as well as lavender farms. Any wine tour of Australia must also surely include The Adelaide Hills, considering Adelaide often claims to be the wine capital of Australia due to the sheer volume of wine regions surrounding the Southern city. To really get the most of the wine and food available, travel must be on the cards—JetStar state that as a result of their value focused flights people are able to travel around the whole of Australia more easily and frequently. With such a diverse country it most certainly is worth making the trip to visit a variety of cities here, as they are most definitely all have their own wonderful quirks. According to Greyhound Australia five million people travel over thirty-eight million kilometres a year with them. A great way to see it all and really soak up the different taste of Australia, though, is to go on a specific food and wine cruise—Iglu Cruise state that this is the ideal way to really get on board with local food traditions and dining etiquette whist also allowing you to experience all the variety and diversity of international wines and cuisines.

Australia has so much to offer as a country with a real love for laid-back vacations, exquisite food and delicious varieties of wine, creating a driving force behind the need to travel around it. Coming back to Sydney and Hunter Valley, though, here is where you'll find the perfect celebration of wine and food, making this the top destination on any trip to Australia

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Moet & Chandon's Summer Pop-Up Restaurant With Chef Yannick Alleno

by Paige Donner

On a recent round-up of Paris interviews, I succeeded in doing the near-impossible - catching up with the man-in-motion, the chef who never stops, Mr. Yannick Alléno, 3* Michelin chef and champion of local-sourced ingredients for his outstanding cuisine.

Chef Yannick Alleno, Terroir Parisien Brongniart
Chef Yannick Alleno, Terroir Parisien Brongniart

You can catch my interview with him on World Radio Paris by clicking on the World of Wine play button Here.  He talks about his upcoming book that re-envisions French sauces and also his winemaking endeavors with M. Chapoutier in the Rhône Valley.  Episode will air shortly...

Yannick Alleno Kitchens Terroir Parisien photo by Paige Donner copyright 2014 IMG_1173Yannick Alleno photo by Paige Donner copyright 2014 IMG_1172Yannick Alleno in Terroir Parisien wine cellar photo by Paige Donner copyright 2014 IMG_1175Yannick Alleno in Terroir Parisien cellar photo by Paige Donner copyright 2014 IMG_1177Yannick Alleno Terroir Parisien photo by Paige Donner copyright 2014 IMG_1168


Until then, here's what's new:

Moët & Chandon, Épernay team up with Chef Yannick Alléno for Summer Pop-Up Restaurant in Champagne 

Starting in a few short weeks, mid-April to be exact, you will be able to make reservations for a very special dining experience:


Where - Moët & Chandon's l'Orangerie in Épernay

This is the private l'Orangerie on the Trianon Garden grounds just across from the main cellars on Avenue de Champagne in Épernay.  The grounds are only open to invited guests, except for once a year when they give tours of the gardens, including the l'Orangerie, on France's national Garden Day.

A dining experience in this magical setting is sure to be a memorable one.


Who - Yannick Alléno, 3* Michelin Chef and Benoit Gouez,

Moët & Chandon's Chef de Cave.

Chef Yannick Alléno, already a legend not just for his 3* Michelins but also for his extraordinary re-visioning of French cuisine and his dedication to local foods and ingredients which he uses exclusively when creating his menus and dishes.

When - June 9 2014 to July 9 2014.

What -  A sublime dining experience.


Photos were taken at his newest Terroir Parisien, at Palais Brongniart in Paris, otherwise known as La Bourse.  Photos copyright Paige Donner 2014.


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♥Chérie Du Vin

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Luxury Travel For Pets

for the most demanding clients ´pets : private jets, limos , hairdressers, five star hotels , dog psychology ... Everything is possible for animal lovers...

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Local Food And Wine Next Stop Spain Réplica del esmoquin de Armani lucido por Leonardo DiCap...

Local Food And Wine Next Stop Spain Agencia de Lujo

Next Stop Spain is the benchmark for the VIP clients in arranging their trips to Spain since previously there was no company with the experienceto put the entire country at the disposal of those who wanted to discover the majesty of our country. Due to this continuous pursuit of excellence they have created a new way to travel and take care of your pets stay for unique customization.

The prestigious luxury travel agency Next Stop Spain is the first one to offer specialized travel for the most demanding clients ´pets : private jets, limos , hairdressers, five star hotels ...

"We are receiving a very high demand for luxury stays for pets of our clients. Currently, a program designed to measure a known entrepreneur includes limousine transfer for his pet to his private plane where everything is arranged during the flight so he can enjoy his favorite dishes made ​​by an expert in canine nutrition chef . After his arrival and transfer by helicopter each day includes different activities: from costume tests from brands like Little Lily, which make ​​replicas of the dresses worn at the Oscars by celebrities, to education courses and canine psychology taught by the most famous dog trainer in the world, known for his television programs "explain the founders of Next Stop Spain.

It is well known that millionaires who love their pets spare no expense when it comes to make them happy and Spain already have numerous five-star hotels for canine customers. Dogs suffer when they have to leave their homes and separated from their owners for a few days , but the sadness and anxiety is not so much when they can enjoy the exquisite attentions of this canine luxury residences, which include massage services, beach walks, dog grooming salon, gym, private pool, supervising caregivers 24 hours, music, television, and even canine hydrotherapy beds scented with lavender. Besides, how could it be otherwise, the owners are informed of the status of their dogs continuously by sending photos and videos or directly from the webcam.


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