6645671549 fa5338e2e2 o

May 2020 Newsletter

David lebovitz chocolate mousse cake french-3 copy

It's been nearly two months since we've been on lockdown in Paris. For a while, it was touch-and-go and a challenge, psychologically, to stay indoors and not go out. I missed my trips to the outdoor markets to scan what was fresh and in season, looking forward to bringing home baskets of strawberries and bundles of rhubarb, anticipating when apricots, fresh cherries, and other stone fruits would start to appear.

Well, that didn't happen and my food gathering began as trips to the grocery store and natural food store, which eventually morphed into using an online delivery service as it became quite stressful (and a little disturbing) to go into stores where people weren't adept at social distancing nor were employees practicing sensible hygiene. I wanted to tell one produce clerk that the mask hanging around his neck wasn't the place it was supposed to be worn.

Like many of you, I dug deep into my kitchen cabinets and cobbled together ingredients to cook and bake. I've discovered things I didn't know I had, finding tins I wish I had found sooner! A can of rillettes that I bought who-knows-where-or-when was a delicious appetizer one night before dinner. Bits of the ends of bags of various flours; teff, whole-wheat, and corn, were snuck into a myriad of cookie doughs.

And those 150+ bottles of liqueurs, spirits, and French apéritifs I amassed when writing and researching Drinking French? Those proved to be the best investment I've made in a long, long time.

I still haven't figured out what to make with the spicy garlic peanut butter I found in the back of one cabinet (cold noodles with peanut sauce?) And I thought I had bought too much olive oil last fall when I stocked up on 4 cases of it, that I order from Sicily. However I've been going through almost a liter a week, so it's proved a good, bottled (or tinned) investment. I did have to send an S.O.S. to my local bakery, who kindly came to my rescue, giving me a few kilos of baking chocolate. Whew! That was close...

With it, I dug into the archives of my blog to make Romain's mother's French Chocolate Mousse Cake. A round of Cosmopolitans from my archives also appeared at my in-house, daily Happy Hour on Instagram Live. And I kissed the double package of basil pesto that I found lurking in the back of my freezer.

[I also accidentally ordered two packages of laitue de mer, sea lettuce, which I thought would be good to snack on for iodine. But it tastes like one of those stretchy elastic bands people use for exercise, but heavily salted, and I'm not sure what one could possibly do with those. The package suggested chopping them up and adding them along with salted butter, to mashed potatoes. Of course, I didn't read the instructions that said to de-salt them first, and stuck a wad in my mouth and got my monthly - or yearly - salt requirement. On the upside, I don't think I'm any danger of growing a goiter.]


Things are planning to open up in France on May 11th starting with elementary schools, where students will be required to wear masks. (Since a number of adults in France have been eschewing wearing masks, not sure how they will get young children to.) Outdoor markets are supposed to reopen, as well as retailers, on the provision that shoppers and vendors practice proper hygiene. No word on how that will be monitored, but people will also be free to go out and mingle with friends again. Major museums, restaurants, and bars will remain closed until further notice.

Neighbors have already started celebrating their upcoming liberté on the streets during the evenings where I live, as well as in the 18th arrondissement, which hosted a spirited dance party on the sidewalk. I remain hopeful that people in Paris will respect the new measures, which will include blocked off seats on the métro and a suggestion everyone wear masks to protect others.

I've been asked if Paris will be open in June, or July, or August, for visitors. The answer to that is that I don't know. It would be nice if someone had an answer as to when this situation will be over but I think many of us just have to play it by ear and wait to see how things evolve. My personal advice is don't make any non-refundable plans to go anywhere - yet.

xx - david

NOT USEDnewsletter photos-5

Some Drinking French News

Thanks to the many of you who show up daily for my Instagram Apéro Hour. Many 'episodes' have been archived on my IGTV channel on Instagram and I've shared some on my Facebook page as well. A number of people have asked if I will continue them after the lockdown is over. The answer is: I don't know. I know I will be continuing them to the end of the lockdown, so tune in while you can!

Other places where you can find me online...

-I spoke with Taste about Baking and Drinking the French Way.

-Celia Sack of Omnivore cookbook store in San Francisco lists her favorite shelter-at-home cookbooks, including Drinking French.

-Had a lovely talk with Heidi Ellison of Paris Update about what I'm eating, drinking, and craving during the shut-in, in Paris.

-Drinking French in...Atlanta! (AJC)

-Recreating a day in Paris, even if you're in lockdown elsewhere. (Afar)

-Chatted in-depth with Jennifer Eremeeva about Drinking French (and a number of other topics) on her informative New Books Network podcast.

-The Robb Report asked me what I'm doing, and what I think about a number of things, including the state of the hospitality business in the face of the lockdown.

-Mardi did a terrific write up of Drinking French at EatLiveTravelWrite

-I took HIP Paris to my favorite neighborhood in Paris, and my favorite food and wine hotspots there, too (of course!)

-Wine & Spirits magazine gave Drinking French a big thumbs up.

If you make something from the book, or just want to show off your copy of it, use the hashtag #drinkingfrench so I can see it. And should you feel so inclined, leaving a review on Amazon is always appreciated, too : )

To get your copy, Drinking French can now be purchased at these, and other, independent and online booksellers:

Bookshop / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kitchen Arts & Letters / Indiebound / Book Depository (free int'l shipping) / Book Larder / Powell's / RJ Julia / Omnivore / Books are Magic / White Whale / Now Serving / and your local bookseller.


Erratum - Drinking French

Cormeal madeleines Drinking French

I am happy that all my recipes, in my books and on my blog, are offered in imperial and metric measurements. However due to an editing error, there's a misprint in the metric conversion weight for in the Cornmeal Madeleines with Bacon and Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Drinking French.

The correct metric conversions (shown in bold) should be:

1/2 cup (70g) all-purpose flour or corn flour

1/2 cup (95g) stone-ground cornmeal

Those have been corrected in subsequent printings of the book.

Late-Breaking: Cantata II which I've listed as a place to try absinthe in Paris (page 218) has permanently closed.

Cranzac cookie anzac biscuit recipe-3

Recent Recipes and Posts on My Blog

No time to make cassoulet? Well, "time" isn't really an excuse at the moment. But if you don't have the gumption, or all the ingredients, you can make these easy Cassoulet Toasts in a fraction of the time, with a lot less effort.

The Pegu Club cocktail is a refreshing taste of the past.

And the Bijou cocktail uses one of the oldest spirits in France: Chartreuse. It's a new favorite chez nous.

Yellow Chartreuse is also the supporting spirit in this Martini-like Alaska cocktail.

Not sure what liquors and spirits to buy? Here are my basics for setting up a French Bar.

Craving a taste of the tropics? (Minus the mouthful of seaweed.) This simple Daiquiri recipe comes from a rum producing friend and may help turn the tide.

Cranzac Cookies use flavors from the classic cookie, or biscuit, in a new-fangled (and low-butter) biscuit...or cookie.

Had a Cosmo lately? They're back...and better than ever! Especially with Rosemary Cocktail Nuts.

Not everyone jumps for genepy (an herb found in the French alps), but if you do, the Jumpin' Genepy cocktail is for you.

The great cocktail with a funny name, the bitter-forward Eeyore's Requiem is a super sipper.

My assistant Emily weighs in with what it's like to be in Lockdown in Paris (with kids), with some kid-friendly recipes to keep little hands occupied.

An online visit with a friend in Burgundy yielded a recipe for a Marc Negroni, a French twist on the Italian classic.

Don't toss those leaves! Make this Radish Leaf Soup with the leafy bounty.

I brought back a favorite libation: The Hanky Panky.

Apples find their way into this not-necessarily-seasonal Montparnasse cocktail with a splash of elderflower liqueur.

A little effort, and a little time, yields a large pot of Pasta Bolognese. A great way to sauce some of that pasta you've been hoarding...


Powered by Mad Mimi®A GoDaddy® company