My Parisian Restaurant Map

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Paris Cookbook Fair, aka Paradise

As I mentioned earlier, this Valentine's Day I had the good fortune to be invited to the Paris Cookbook Fair. And let me tell you, if you're a foodie, then this fair is your heaven.

When you enter the building, you're flanked by cooking demonstrations taking place on your left and right. In the corner, an all day long wine demonstration, or degustation, is taking place. In front of you, a large ramp leads you up towards the mecca of cookbooks, where fittingly bright white lights transform the grey hall into a light flooded paradise, where plates of macarons and glasses of armagnac go floating by, where the white-aproned chefs that mingle through the crowd could easily be mistaken for angles. You can almost hear that 'ahhhhhh' sound that you hear in movies when people walk through the gates of heaven.

One of the really amazing things for me (apart from all the free alcohol tastings) was the chance to see Michael Kalanty, teacher at Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco, demonstrate how to bake petits pains from his award-winning book, How To Bake Bread: The Five Families of Bread. Needless to say, the little bread rolls that we were served at the end of the demo were tiny slices of heaven. I have never, ever tasted bread that good. And to top it off, Kalanty's style of teaching is not only incredibly clear and concise, but also hilariously funny and interactive. If you have the chance to buy his book, I've heard it reads just like he teaches, which means you're in for a laugh and a damn good loaf of bread.