Thursday, January 30, 2014

Staying close to home in January

With erratic January weather, sometime mild, sometime cold, we did not go on any trip but stayed close to home.  Last Tuesday morning we found out that our cat had pushed our telephone off the counter and it was broken.   We meant to go out and buy a new telephone until we saw a weather warning on television - snow was coming soon.  Indeed by 11:00 am on that Tuesday, January 28th, 2014, the first flakes were falling, so we stayed home.  Many people in and around Atlanta as well as all school children left early to go home and many did not make it there until Wednesday or even today, Thursday.

I had almost finished writing this post but stopped to take some pictures through our windows - as it was very cold and snowing.  Yesterday, Wednesday, we went walking in the afternoon to take photos of our rare snow - the last snow was three years ago, and it lasted three days only.  I'll show my new snow pictures in my next post, but below is a photo of our snowy road.

At the beginning of the month we drove to Johns Creek, GA, to a French bakery I had noticed on the Internet.  It is called "Sweet Tentations."  (Click on collage twice to enlarge.)

We had lunch there.  I selected the classic "Bouchee a la Reine" and salad, and my husband the stuffed avocado and salad.

My dish was very good but my husband said that his was a bit blend.  His taste bud is not as strong as it used to be so he likes food with a sharper taste.  I talked (in French) with the baker and his wife - they are from Toulon, France.  I also looked at several Paris Match magazines while eating my lunch.  We did buy a Galette des Rois to take home.  The galette was especially tasty, and my husband had the trinket (feve) in his piece of galette - this time it was a tiny fireman.

Apart from the Tour de France in July, I do not watch much television (too many books to read) but I like to watch Downton Abbey.  The series started again in January and watching Daisy with her new mixer reminded me that my daughter had given me a new mixer for Christmas.

My mixer, which had been a wedding present in 1967, was starting to show its age - it had given me great service for 46 years ... My old Hamilton Beach mixer is on the left and my new red Cuisinart mixer on the right.

Cranberries were still at the supermarket so I made a couple of cranberry-apple, and cranberry-cherry cakes.  I like to add spirits in my cooking, so I baked one with raisins soaked in Bourbon, and the other had dry cherries marinated in a Danish liquor called Cherry Heering.  Both were quite good.

I enjoy reading recipes like the lady below, but then I usually make my own versions - by adding a little bit of this, a little bit of that.  I try to write down my versions so that I won't forget them (in case they turn out to be delicious ...)

Nina Kupka by Frantisek Kupka, Czech 1871-1957

When the weather was quite cold I made a thick lentil soup with little French lentils, some lamb stew meat, kale, tomatoes, carrots and potatoes, and herbs - what I had on hand.  It turned out nicely served with a small salad on the side.

When it turns cold we also like to go to the movies.  We saw five films and part of a sixth one.  We saw Philomena, marvelously played by Judy Dench.  We also watched Inside Llewyn Davis, American Hustle, August: Osage County and Saving Mr. Banks - about Walt Disney and the author of the book Mary Poppins, P. L. Travers.  We started to watch The Wolf of Wall Street but left after about 1/2 hour.  It is a 3-hour long movie about a stockbroker's greed, drug use, trophy wives and too much obscene language for my comfort zone - it is a predictable story but a successful film though, but not for me - it did not inspire us.  My favorite film was Philomena.  I also enjoyed learning about the author of Mary Poppins, and did not know she was born in Australia.  I did read that the film left out many facts about P. L. Travers, but it is a film after all ... Since I had never read the book or seen the Disney movie Mary Poppins I ordered the DVD and just received it.

We ate out several times during the month.  A restaurant in Woodstock, GA, we visit often for breakfast, J. Christopher, had opened a branch in Kennesaw, near the mall where the movie theatre is located, so we had lunch there.  There are interesting art works displayed on the walls.

My husband had the Patty Melt sandwich (grilled burger topped with melted Swiss, caramelized onions, 1000 Isle dressing on rye bread with sauteed potatoes) and I had the soup and salad combo (Bleu cheese, tomato, avocado, red onion and chopped bacon on top a mound of fresh field greens with a grilled pepper and tomato soup with smoked Gouda cheese.)

I was going to call this post "Food in January" since I had taken pictures of meals at restaurants and at home, but after Tuesday snow fall, I changed the title so I could include some snowy pictures taken from my windows.  Today, Thursday, there is still snow on the ground but it will warm up to the 40s F (5 C) this afternoon and the 60s F (15 C) by Saturday.  But getting back to food, we stopped by the French bakery and cafe "La Madeleine" on a cold afternoon for a cup of tea and an almond croissant.  I enjoyed talking French with three African members of the staff, one from Senegal, one from Guinea Conakry and the other from Togo.

Back at home I made up another dish - chicken breast with an assortment of ingredients I had.  I did write the recipe down and called it "Impromptu Chicken" - covered the pieces in flour mixed with herbs, browned them in butter and olive oil and removed them from pan.  Fried green pepper, garlic and shallot on the side, then added some dried tomatoes, white wine, 1/2 and 1/2 cream, mushrooms and herbs.  It was quite good.

On another very cold day we went to Roswell, GA, and had lunch at The Swallow at the Hollow, a BBQ place.  At first we could not find it as it is a barn with a small sign.  Once indoor it looked very rustic but I had heard good reviews about the food.  My husband had a barbecue sandwich and baked beans and I had the Brunswick stew and fried green tomatoes (which were excellent.)  I really enjoyed the meal.  I did notice that most of the clientele was masculine and counted 22 men around us and one woman ... I think they have music at night (DJ and records maybe by the look at the 33 LP collections.)  Their sister restaurant, Greenwood's on Green Street, provide them with their famous pies - we shared a large piece of apple pie.

Last Tuesday as it was so very cold again I thought using the oven would warm up the kitchen nicely.  I decided to bake some brownies but again I had to use what was on hand since I could not drive to the grocery store on the icy roads.  I used semi-sweet chocolate pieces and cocoa powder, butter, 3 eggs, pecans, flour, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamon, with some cream cheese and Greek yogurt.  I also added a good tablespoon of Orange Liqueur I bought in Martinique, but Grand Marnier would work just as well, or orange juice.  I called that "Snow Day Brownies" and if anyone would like the recipe, just send me an email (as shown in my blog profile.)

We went to a couple more restaurants and I created some new dishes but by now I think everyone is stuffed and I'll get to my snowy pictures.  These were taken from behind my windows that have screens attached outside.  It was snowing as you can tell from the top picture.  My cat Cody was watching a little yellow bird with interest.

A woodpecker often flies to the center bird feeder but another bird, brown and black, decided to take shelter under it.  He stayed there, all puffed up, for quite a while.  I am not sure what type of bird he is.

I do not recognize birds well but cardinals are easy to spot with their beautiful bright red color.  I followed the cardinal below and his lady cardinal with my camera.

 There were a multitude of sparrows on the ground (at one time I counted 56!) and at the six bird feeders.  It even looked like they were fighting for the seeds, as you can see in the center picture below.  My husband braved the snow and cold and refilled all the bird feeders and spread more seeds on the ground and on the window sill.

But this brought out a squirrel and he jumped on the roof of the bird feeder and helped himself.

Yesterday our road was covered with snow and ice - no salt truck comes so far out until all the main roads are clear.  I just heard on the News that, as of today, Thursday afternoon January 30th, there are still over 2000 abandoned cars on the roads in our area.  Today though the snow is lovely under the bright afternoon sun - I took this picture from my front porch.

Note:  My next post will be about the snow storm in Metro Atlanta.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The weather, Paris, tourism ... and Chopin

Here is another long and eclectic post as I'll be addressing a couple of subjects and I'll give you ample time to read it.  First, the weather, of course.  The beginning of this week was extremely cold in Georgia.  It was colder here last Monday than in Anchorage, Alaska.  The cold affected almost 190 million people in the country - too cold for the polar bear in Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago as it had to be kept inside.  I even read that some places were colder than Mars which was -32.8F on January 2, 2014 and Babbitt, Minnesota was -37F (-38.3C.)  I saw beautiful pictures on the web showing snowy scenes, like Thomas Zakowski's photos below of Lake Michigan.

Some people scoff at global warming.  Global warming is creating extreme temperatures in the earth's climate: extreme cold, extreme heat, floods, storms, droughts, etc.  Some parts of Australia have seen record heat with kangaroos collapsing and bats dropping from trees.  The Pilbara region in the northwest coast of Australia had a heat wave approaching 112 F (50C.)  The heat balance between the North Pole and the equator is being altered by arctic warming.  Many people who do not understand the scientists' reports deny that there is global warming or climate change, and that is depressing.  Unfortunately this has become a political issue which slows the programs working for solutions to this menace to our planet - very depressing, indeed.

Today it is warmer here - 63 F (17C) but dark with rain, severe thunderstorms and we are under a tornado watch - still depressing.  When I am depressed I read a French book or think about my hometown to feel better.  To give you an idea, just image that you left your country, your family and friends and went to tour Japan, then married a Japanese.  Imagine you speak fluent Japanese, even write a blog in Japanese and have been living there for years.  However, you do not know anyone who speaks English, have no English speaking friends and never hear it spoken.  You may be happy in Japan, but when you feel kind of low, wouldn't you read something in English, or think of your hometown, whether it is Washington, New York, Toronto or Sydney, Australia?  and also to get back a little to your own culture?  This is the way I feel - my language is French and my hometown happens to be Paris, France - a long way away.  Vintage postcards below - Kyo-maiko girl and Kinkakuji Temple next to Kyo-maiko girl and Sanjo-oashi bridge by Masaki Nakamura (1907-1993.)

 Which Paris do I think about?  The Paris I grew up in or the Paris of today?  In some aspect it has not changed, and in others it has changed tremendously.  I have seen it change because when my mother was still alive I used to fly to Paris twice to 3 times a year.  I counted that, until 2002 when she passed away, I went back to Paris 59 times (for 2 or 3 weeks or more,) and since then I have been back at least 5 times to Paris (plus one time to St Pierre et Miquelon, France in North America -  across Newfoundland, Canada, one time to Nice on the Riviera, and one time to Martinique, France in the Caribbean.)  So it is not such a shock to see the changes in Paris and France but there are many.  The predominant one is the number of tourists.  I like to travel so I know that tourism is good, although I think that I am more "traveling" than being a tourist as I go independently and sometime avoid the better known attractions in a city.  The last time I went to France, in October 2012, I did not even go into Paris, but went to Nice instead.  Below are some tomatoes we bought from the Nice vegetable market.

 I love Paris of course but it is not easy to have it as your hometown when so many other people love it too.  For example when my father passed away during a month of August I could not get a flight out of Atlanta for several days to attend his funeral as the tourists and travel groups had booked all the flights - his funeral had to wait.  Also, when my mother passed away in late December 2002, I could not fly back home to Atlanta on December 20 in time for the holidays as all the flights were booked from Paris to Atlanta until January 5th in my airline in coach.  I was lucky to get a ticket on the Eurostar train to the St Pancreas Station in London on the 20th to catch a flight to Atlanta (via Birmingham, England and another stop in New Jersey) on December 23rd.  Would I have had such a hard time if it had been another town than Paris?  Well, I think so since it was already easier, somewhat, from London.  Below is the clock tower from the St Pancreas Station in London (courtesy of Wikipedia.) 

I remember when I would tell my co-workers I was going to Paris to see my mother they would exclaim "Oh how lucky you are to go to Paris."  I would tell them my mother had Parkinson's disease and was paralyzed and that is the reason I had to go so often to help her since she had no close family to take care of her and could not come here because of the non-existent health care (or that I could afford for her.)  I did not go as a tourist, I just went home.  I rarely went to the tourist areas in Paris and that is why I have so few photos of them.  Does anyone take tourist photos when they go home to take care of an ailing parent?  But I have postcards...

When I was growing up I lived in Paris, in the Cite Condorcet.  That was in the 9th arrondissement or quarter - which is on the Right bank and goes from around the Opera to the avenue at the base of the Sacre-Coeur of Montmartre.  On the bottom map below of the 9th quarter I circled where our apartment was located.  (Please click twice to see better.)

Going up and down the stairs of the Sacre-Coeur Basilica, I rarely saw tourists around.  The last time I went to the Sacre-Coeur, in May 2011, I barely could get up the stairs because of the crowd.  Of course that was in May during the high tourist season.  I have read many articles on Paris these last few days and picked up some statistics.  In 2012 the population of mainland France was 63.7 million and 83 million tourists visited the country, or about 30% more than the whole population.  In 2012 the population of the USA was 315 million and 67 million tourists visited the US.  It if had been the same proportional number like France there should have been 409.5 million tourists coming to the USA and only to the most touristy cities and sights, just think of that.  My point is that it is wonderful that France is the most popular tourist destination in the world (and the top one for US tourists) and that 29 million people visited Paris last year, but it is also hard for the 2,300,000 Parisians (intra-muros, i.e. inside the perimeter) who live there (or are trying to go there ...)  So please understand when they seem cold or too reserved.  Below is a postcard of the Sacre-Coeur in the 1950s and a current photo.

Tourism brings much revenue to Paris, that is true, but mostly to the restaurants, hotels, shops, etc.  In addition many tourists come just for the day or on tour buses and do not stay there.  The Parisians and French have to pay taxes to upkeep all the monuments (all churches are classed as monuments and maintained by the government = taxes,) security forces, cleaning, etc.  I was reading that 300,000 people walk up and down the Champs-Elysees per day, on average.  The city has to pay an extra 720,000 Euros ($984,125) a year to keep the boulevard clean - just that one boulevard.  I read that Berlin, in Germany, is thinking about asking the tourists to pay a tax to help upkeep all the sights they visit.  I believe Venice is considering the same thing as its citizens are moving away from the center of town as rents are rising and regular shops have closed to leave room for tourist shops, hotels and restaurants.   My friend Peter in Paris told me that, in 2012, 13,650,000 people visited the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris (built in 1160-1345.)  This is good but hard on the old building and much litter is left around it.

The other numbers Peter mentioned were 10,500,000 visitors at the Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre, 9,667,000 at the Museum of the Louvre, and 6,270,000 at the Eiffel Tower, in 2012, and it keeps going up.  All these visitors have to use either public transportation or tour buses or cars.  They of course visit mostly the tourist areas in the center of town, so this becomes difficult for French people who work there (not counting all the extra carbon dioxide.)  I read in a travel magazine a Parisian saying "The center of Paris is a museum.  It's for tourists.." and "most Parisians don't feel comfortable there anymore"  and certainly outnumbered more than 10 to one.  With 29 million tourists in Paris (and only 2,300,000 inhabitants many of whom are foreign residents or immigrants) it is clear that apart from the monuments, tourists can only photograph shopkeepers or other tourists - either from the rest of France, Europe or other countries.  This is OK, but too many people bring extra pollution.

When I took my husband to the Louvre in 1968, we saw the Mona Lisa painting with hardly anyone around, in the morning on a week-day.  Now, I read that it takes at least 2 hours to get into the museum, and with 30,000 people a day coming in, this brings quite a lot of human heat and perspiration to the priceless masterpieces there.  Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) painted the Mona Lisa between 1503 and 1506, so it is extremely fragile.  You can see above how many people gather around it.  (You may see it better below...)

Unfortunately with such a large number of visitors congregating in limited areas this attracts pickpockets.  Paris is not number one for the number of pickpockets in Europe - I believe it is either Rome or Barcelona, but it is in the top ten.  I read and look at, with pleasure, American, Australian and other foreign blogs on Paris, showing beautiful pictures of the sights in the tourists areas and people they see there.  They rarely show the other side of Paris, the crowds, the poor and seedy areas, and that is understandable.  So I am afraid that some people who have never been there and are under the spell of all these lovely photographs think that Paris has mystical qualities and forget that there are many types of people living in the city, and some are unsavory.  There are many beggars, homeless people, and immigrants from many continents who are not fashion-conscious.  Paris is a living city not just a bunch of tourist sights, just like Chicago or Hong Kong where there are gangs.   I am trying to show another look of Paris, just not lovely artistic photos.  Tourists may have a deeply romantic view of Paris (the Paris usually represented on TV, travel brochures and blogs) and may not take the regular precautions that they would take in another city.  They may become an easy prey.  I believe that my hometown, Paris, is the most beautiful city in the world and still low in crime rate.  It would pain me if tourists, because of pickpockets, or a rude waiter, taxi driver or passerby, would no longer think that Paris is a magical city.

I read that some new groups of pickpockets dress like tourists (maps in hand, cameras dangling from their necks) to look innocent and to blend in, but are very quick and slip away without getting caught.  The usual gangs to watch for are little children unfortunately.  Most come from Eastern Europe and are run by criminal gangs.  Since they are usually under age they cannot be arrested.  They work in groups and are very good at getting wallets and at snatching purses.  Little girls come and surround you and their opening ploy is to ask "do you speak English?"  you better never answer them.

La Petite Mendiante (the little beggar) by William Bouguereau, French 1825-1905

I saw some of these Eastern young ones doing just that while my husband and I were on the Pont des Arts which is well known for all the "love locks" tied there.  The children and even older teenage girls (mostly Romanian, Bulgarian, etc.) indicated that they could not speak, that they were mute and made hand signs asking people to sign their names on clipboards on their phony "charitable" petitions and give money to "starving orphans back home."  A couple of these "mute" girls would encircle the tourists and pick their pockets and bags.  When the police appeared they suddenly got their voices again to warn their accomplices and they all scattered.  I was so surprised I did not even take a picture.  An earlier year while in Paris, I saw some kids snatching a purse from an older German lady in the Metro, going up the escalator.  I am not trying to stop you from taking a trip to Paris, au contraire, I think everyone should go there at least once in their lifetime, but stay on your guards as you would in any other large city.

When I am depressed, I do not think about these disgraceful developments in Paris.  I feel that just as some beautiful women, Paris is victim of its beauty.  It is the price to pay for success.  Instead I try to remember our apartment in Paris.  I can visualize the sitting room where I slept on the sofa.  As you came in you could see the large marble chimney with the piano on the left and the French doors on the wall going into the dining room.  A large painting from a Dutch master was hung over the chimney.  On the right was a curio cabinet.  I do not have a photo of this room but the vintage picture below gives a good example of it.

My father would often come into the room to play the piano, usually Chopin.  Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) was born in Poland and at 20 years of age immigrated to France.  He never saw Poland again.  My father immigrated to France also when he was in his twenties and never saw his native Turkey again (he was Armenian, which is why he could not go back.)  Below is a photo of my father, dated January 1935, when he was in his twenties.  In the back he wrote "A mes Parents, respectueusement" (to my parents, respectfully.)

Maybe my dad felt a connection with Chopin.  He often played the piece below called "Tristesse" which means sadness - it is Chopin etude 10, op 3.  In the video below it is played by Freddy Kempf, a British pianist born in Croydon to a German father and a Japanese mother.  He now lives in Berlin.  I listen to the music and I can see myself in our Paris flat once again, and I am happy.

Chopin reminiscing on Poland by Jan Styka, Polish, 1858-1925

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Starting the New Year with chocolates

Holiday decorations are being put away until next December.  Christmas 2013 is now a memory, and we can wave goodbye to Santa Claus.

Painted by Dean Morrissey, American, contemporary

Christmas memories are especially fun and sweet if there are little children around to celebrate.  Our grandchildren received a special gift from their aunt - a dwarf "Lionhead" rabbit.  These little rabbits originated from Belgium and are now recognized by the American Rabbit Breeder's Association.  They are intelligent, friendly, affectionate and clean.  They will not grow up much and have a "mane-like" layer of fur around the neck.  Everyone wanted to hold the rabbit.  Below it is held by my son-in-law and then hiding in my daughter's neck.  (Click on collages twice to enlarge.)

The rabbit moved quickly so my pictures are a bit fuzzy.

I also received some nice gifts including a hand crocheted kitchen towel from my French blogging friend Claude.  Now I have to study the stitches so I can make some similar pretty towels.  Merci beaucoup Claude.

I have been collecting postcards for decades and still like to receive them.  This year I was pleased to receive eight Christmas and Holiday cards.  Merci and thank you to all.

As I showed in my last post, I received some music CDs.  Books are always welcome - old books

and new books - fiction and non-fiction.

The cookbook above "The Pot and the Palette Cookbook" has wonderful recipes, beautiful illustrations and benefits worthy causes.  

 As you can see from the photo in the heading, I received some chocolate.

I would rather say that books and chocolate help make life totally enjoyable.  In France boxes of chocolates are given as presents very often.  In supermarkets at Christmas time there is a great variety of boxes of chocolate to chose from.  Some boxes are very pretty - they may have well known paintings, like Monet or Van Gogh, on the box covers, or are covered with pretty fabric so the boxes can be kept as keepsake.

The cocoa bean is native to Central America and Amazonia.  It was imported in Europe by Hernan Cortes (1485-1537) and then introduced to the court of King Charles V of Spain (1500-1558.)  Chocolate came to Bayonne, a French town in the Pyrenees (near Spain) around 1609.  It was served as a beverage in 1615 at the wedding of French King Louis XIII and became a very popular drink at the court of Versailles.  In 2009 the French postal service issued special stamps to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of chocolate in Bayonne.  They printed a booklet of 10 stamps, shaped like chocolate bars, and incorporated microcapsules of chocolate fragrance in the stamps - lasting up to two years.

My love of chocolate goes way back too.  When I was a child in Paris, my mother gave me a "bol" (bowl) of hot chocolate every morning for breakfast with some slices of buttered bread (baguette.)  I do not have pictures from that time, but the painting below, from the Cubism period, illustrates my breakfast.

La Tasse de Chocolat, Maria Blanchard, Spanish 1881-1932

If I had been doing well in school my mother would take me to a confiserie or candy shop. One close to our home was called A La Mere de Famille (mother of the family.)  It had so many wonderful treats!  The shop was founded in 1761 by Pierre Jean Bernard at 35 rue du faubourg de Montmartre in Paris.  It is still a family business, at the same address.  Below is a photograph of it I took a couple of years ago.

Chocolate has been widely favored in France for a very long time.  My grandfather who collected postcards also collected what were called chromo-vignettes publicitaires - here they are called old paper or trade cards.  Guerin-Boutron, a chocolate factory that had started business in Paris in 1775, included free little cards in their chocolate by the mid-1850s.  People collected them and still do.  My granddad had several cards and so do I.  There were different themes, history, flowers, trees, music, etc. - maybe up to 8,000 different cards.  Below are some views from the trees series.

and from another international series. (Don't forget to click twice to see better.)

I don't know much about this Guerin-Boutron chocolate factory other than they won some gold medal in several international exhibitions, such as in 1862 and 1889.  But I never ate their chocolate as they may have closed their business by then.  The brands I remember are Menier, Lanvin, Poulain, Suchard and Kohler.  I believe that by now they have merged with large corporations like Nestle and Cadbury.

In the mid 1950s the Menier chocolate gave fairy-tale cards in their chocolate.  One could obtain an album to gather the cards.  I still have mine.  It was called "Il etait une fois" (once upon a time) fairy tales by Charles Perrault.  My book is very old by now and I never obtained all the cards.

The Charles Perrault's fairy tales were told in the album, such as Cendrillon (Cinderella,) Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (Little Red Riding Hood,) La Barbe Bleue (Bluebeard,) La Belle au Bois Dormant (Sleeping Beauty,) Le Chat Botte (Puss in Boots) and others.  Charles Perrault (1628-1703) was a French author who laid a new literary genre at the time - the fairy tale, which he derived from some old folk tales.  He was the first author to publish these fairy tales in France in 1697.

Charles Perrault in 1672 painted by Philippe Lallemand, French 1636-1717

These fairy tales traveled to Germany via Huguenot refugees, and two German brothers, the Brothers Grimm (1785-1863 and 1786-1859) re-wrote Perrault's fairy-tales.  They added some of their own folklore stories like Snow White and Rapunzel, but Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and others were originally French (I am not sure if this is well known.)  A famous French illustrator, Gustave Dore (1832-1883) published his illustrations of Perrault's fairy tales in 1862.  Here are some of them below.

Here I go again on a tangent on fairy tale history.  Let's get back to chocolate.

Have a piece from the boxes below, virtually ... I only like dark chocolate though.  You may chose from the custom See's Candy box or from the Paul's Chocolate Gallery box.  Paul is a master chocolatier in Nashville, Tennessee, and I am very happy that my son-in-law gave me a sample box of these delicious chocolates.

When we came back from Nashville, we stopped at the French bakery here, Douceur de France, and bought two small cakes - a slice of Buche de Noel with Grand Marnier, and a Chocolate Royal with a small Eiffel Tower on top of it.

Actually I need to go back to the bakery tomorrow to buy a "Galette des Rois" a sort of King's Cake.  I wrote the history of the Galette des Rois in my post last year - click here to read it .  We'll get a traditional galette such as the one below.

To end this post on chocolate, take a look at some unique Galette des Rois offered by Paris' great pastry chefs - some include creamy chocolate.  Here are four of them:

In addition, here is a shelf from Paul's Chocolate Gallery shop in Nashville.

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