Monday, April 14, 2014

Almost Dinner in Paris

Maybe it was the flowers 

Or the linens and china

It may have been the handmade menus  

Or the candlelight

Maybe it was the champagne

Or the blinis and smoked salmon

It might have been the dark chocolate 

Or the little ramekins ready to go into the oven

Maybe it was the zucchini vichyssoise 

Or the artichoke tart and salad

It may have been the cheese course

Or the little chocolate cakes

Or possibly the party favors

But all together, it was a night to remember

About six months ago a friend and I donated a French Dinner Party to be auctioned off at a fundraiser. A lovely couple bought it and once we put our calendars together, it was scheduled for last weekend. The pressure was on! Our goal was to make this experience as special as possible for our generous guests. We wanted the evening to feel a bit like -- cue the music -- "April in Paris." We cooked for days and on Saturday night set the table and lit the candles. The flowers were from Hollyflora and the table linens from Heather Taylor Home. Blue and white china felt like the perfect choice for spring. The party favors were filled with French Macarons from a local patisserie.

Our guests arrived and after champagne and appetizers in the garden we sat down for dinner. It was a culinary adventure and a little trip to France. We made new friends, had some great conversation, and  got the chance to make some exciting French food. Our main course was filet of beef with red wine sauce, a french potato gratin and spring asparagus. I loved cooking with a kindred spirit who enjoys nothing better than poring over cookbooks and figuring out a menu as much as I do. Our two-hour planning lunch amidst piles of cookbooks and notes was a highlight of the experience. I got an education in French cuisine. It was a magical spring night filled with joie de vivre. Hopefully our guests felt that for a few hours at least they were transported to "the city of lights." As Audrey Hepburn once said, "Paris is always a good idea." That night we all became Francophiles!

Go here for the recipe for Zucchini Vichyssoise
And here for the recipe for Bittersweet Molten Chocolate Cakes

If you are a Francophile and love to cook (those two often go together), check out this new cookbook by David Lebovitz, My Paris Kitchen. I just picked up a copy from my neighborhood bookstore and from my quick perusal it looks as if it is both a cookbook and a love letter to Paris.

Passez une bonne semaine!


  1. Everything looks so beautiful and perfectly delicious!! The table settings are gorgeous. Simply stunning. All of it!!

  2. Sunday, I can definitely see & feel all the love you guys poured into this event. Good for you donating this dinner to be auctioned. What fun everyone must have had. Truly glorious, my friend. xx's

  3. I loved everything about this....this is perfection Sunday and you created it! It is 10:30 in the morning and I am now hungry.

  4. Everything looks so well thought out all the details, the menu, the venue....I am sure the guests enjoyed every second.
    I have David's new book on reserve at our public library. If I love it I will buy my own copy. I read his blog and love the depth that he goes into when covering a topic.
    My mouth is watering and I wonder if I have any chocolate in the house!

  5. Everything looks so beautiful, really perfection. I want that artichoke tart right now. I actually have our table set for Passover (we're having our Seder tomorrow night due to work conflicts) with my grandmother's Spode porcelain and Heather Taylor linens. Got the idea from your blog. I'll take a photo once I have the flowers arranged and send it to you.

  6. The menu sounds delicious and I love the blue and white table setting. Looks like a marvellous party!

  7. So beautiful and what fun! I'm certain that the couple who won the bid at the auction were delighted with your wonderful donation. Perfection!

  8. Such incredible attention to every detail. Definitely a five Micheline star! Will you do this again? Perhaps on-blog bidding for your next fundraiser! You created a wonderful evening for a cause you believe in. What is better than that?

    1. Hi Gail, you are so funny. Yes, I would do it again. I loved doing the research for the menu and having a theme. Styling a table is one of my favorite things to do. Thanks for your kind words.

  9. This is so beautiful. I also followed the link re the zucchini soup. I need to do that.

  10. This all looks so beautiful! You have the gift of creating a magical event where everyone feels special! What a wonderful memory. Could you share the recipe for the artichoke tart...I would love to make that for my younger daughter LOVES artichokes. Thank you so much for sharing your life. xoxo

  11. Love blue and white china and those beautiful roses. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Beautiful from the table to the food and flowers!

  13. Sunday, the evening sounds amazing...the table, the food, the friendships, new and old. There is nothing more enjoyable than creating a delicious feast with a friend. Bonnie