Monthly Archive for October, 2007

More Pretty Stuff to Buy

File this one under Must…Have…NOW: Sarah Dennis at the gorgeous Toast and Tables made my day yesterday with her post about Monique Lhuillier’s new tableware line: Monique Lhuillier for Royal Doulton is an exclusive collection of formal fine china, tableware, crystal and glass stemware, as well as ceramic, crystal and glass giftware. The collection made its much anticipated debut at this month’s New York Tabletop Market. Although high-quality bone china is often only associated with formal fine dining, the Monique Lhuillier for Royal Doulton collection is extremely durable, intended for everyday use, yet is also highly sophisticated for special entertaining. The collection, which is as chic and stylish as her bridal and evening gowns, will be carried exclusively at Bloomingdales in the U.S.

 

Monique Lhuillier for Royal DoultonMonique Lhuillier Gown

 

Did you Remember to Taste the Bread?

French Wedding traditions breadAttention Bridezilla’s! I’ve just found a new wedding stresser for you. Listen to this: you and your planner have confirmed and re-confirmed that the bridal party has the directions to the venue, the church is decorated, the bus is ready to transport the guests, the flowers are vibrant and in bloom, the cake is perfectly creamy, the champagne is cool, crisp and sparkly, the meal has been dutifully pre-tasted and modified to your liking, but…what about the bread? My GAWD, what about the bread????? In American weddings, not much is made of the bread served along with dinner- it’s pretty much the same basket of rolls that you get in finer restaurants from coast to coast. But in France, apparently it’s a big deal. Big enough to warrant pretty detailed guidelines before you choose your reception menu, as outlined in this article that I found on MarieClaire.fr. Here’s my (fairly feeble) attempt at a translation, but you get the gist. Who knew?:

Wedding Bread

French Wedding BreadThe bread served during a wedding dinner is often practical, but is unfortunately not always of good quality. For a successful dinner, take care that the bread that you offer compliments the meal. To make sure that everything goes smoothly during your wedding dinner, pay attention to even the smallest of details, which are, despite everything, very important- including… The Bread (emphasis is mine).

Indeed, each dish has its bread of reference, and the dish will taste differently whether you serve it with pain de campagne, rye bread or leavened bread…

The choice of the bread

It’s normally up to the caterer to decide which bread will be served with a meal. Usually, they will propose a more obvious choice, like baguettes or bastards (huh? I swear it says that! What does that mean???) Ask your caterer if you can taste all of the breads that he is proposing: keeping in mind that just because a bread is called “pain de campagne” doesn’t mean that it will have the taste and quality of a pain de campagne….If you’re not happy with your caterers choice of bread, you can always order a different one yourself elsewhere.

If you want a specialty bread, like a fougasse aux gratons, originating in the Languedoc region, or Bretzels, from the Alsatian area, know that certain bakers will make them especially for you, if you order a large enough quantity of it. Don’t hesitate to flip through caterer or bakery brochures to get an idea of what types of breads they provide.

(And then the article goes on to describe the different breads: Pain de Mie: Easy to slice, used for aperitifs, toasts and canapés. Pain de Seigle: pain poilane parisGoes well with marinated fish, seafood, soft cheeses…Oh! Le Baguette or Batard (which does mean bastard, right?): Accompanies cold-cuts, red meats and raw veggies. Best seller in France, baguettes (or flutes, depending on what region you’re in) is indispensable in any meal…)

I found this article so funny and so charming. There really is a cultural difference between American and French weddings, but because my clients are mostly Americans or British, I tend to forget that sometimes. I’m imagining a French bride in New Jersey asking her American caterer to do a “bread tasting”…she’d probably be met with the same reaction as the American bride in Paris gets when she presents her French photographer with her “Wedding Photography Shot List”! Too funny…

A New England Autumn in Paris

An American View Barbara Ernst PreyThis fall, parisian events was asked to organize a lunch at the Mona Bismarck Foundation in honor of the American painter, Barbara Ernst Prey. The request was to build a lunch around the theme of the featured image of the show: Family Portrait- a cluster of bright red Adirondack chairs scattered in a field of tall grasses and wildflowers.

Using these and other elements from her paintings, we created an Autumn in New England-themed lunch reception. We used the deep reds for the menus and floral focal points, and paired it withFamily Protrait Barbara Ernst Prey tall green grasses and crab apples. We decorated the tent with apple tree branches and piles of pumpkins and gourds in the corners of the buffet tables. The menu featured New England staples like hot apple cider (spiked with rum and cinnamon), crab cakes, lobster salad and… an amazing upside-down cheesecake drizzled with maple syrup. If you live in the States, you have no idea how rare it is to find a good cheesecake in France- It was enough to make the group of American expats weep with homesickness! The Mona Bismarck Foundation is presenting Ms. Prey’s show, An American View from now until January 12th.

An American View Estelle PrestonAn American View Barbara Ernst Prey

An American View Barbara Ernst PreyAn American View Barbara Ernst Prey

An American View Barbara Ernst PreyAn American View Barbara Ernst Prey