Feb 7, 2021

French Bakery in my Kitchen: Saint André


We have been sheltering in place for nearly a year now: San Francisco has been particularly conservative about regulations, and our kids haven't attended one single day of school in person since the beginning of March 2020! So, during this past year we have -- like all of you -- spent an inordinate amount of time inside our own house (and missed our summer in France). Perhaps inevitably, we have turned to a lot of home-made solutions for fulfilling our French cravings, some with more success than others. I tell you unashamedly that the amount of butter, sugar, and flour we have gone through these past twelve months is astonishing, verging on revolting. It's not great for the cholesterol, but it does help lift the spirits when the whole house smells like a patisserie or boulangerie. If you, too, want a patisserie or boulangerie in your own home, here are some of our tips, discoveries, warnings, and favorite recipes.

Dec 8, 2020

Superlative Pizza: Picolin


Somebody has broken a cheese record -- and it's not me. It's Benoit Bruel, of Déliss’ Pizza in Lyon, who will soon enter the Guinness Book of World Records for having baked a cheese pizza. Cheese pizza?! That's an understatement. His creation sets the record for being the pizza with the greatest number of cheeses on it -- 254 certified varieties (and 3 more uncertified), probably one of which was mozzarella. This shatters the previous record, held by an Australian for his paltry 154 cheese pizza. Much like "Australian pizza", "French pizza" are not two words you hear together all that often, and probably because this is the sort of thing we ate that was called pizza in France.

Oct 19, 2020

It's a Date: Lossaba au Lait Cru


Honestly, it's been a long time (too long) since I posted. I have lots of half-formed ideas and loads of cheeses in my files, but between the pandemic, wildfires, crazy politics, social protests, and the height of high school and college application season (both for clients I advise and for Gigi heading off to university!), making myself sit down and concentrate to write a post has been rough. When I have been writing, I've been working on a book proposal (yes, cheese!) and an article for a publication (yes, cheese!) that shall remain nameless because the date keeps getting pushed back due to insane, more-pressing news that keeps emerging. You'd think with all this extra time stuck at home, it would be easier for me to work on A Year in Fromage, but I bet that all of you living through 2020 can sympathize. 2020 brain is real, and it's fuzzy.

Aug 6, 2020

Tissot's Treasures: Montrésor


Another first for A Year in Fromage: A post written jointly by me and Ginger (my daughter) in English and then translated by Ginger into French. Will there be some errors? Certainly! Loose translations? You betcha! Do we care? Not really (though we certainly welcome all edifying corrections!)... 

Over a decade ago when Melissa Buron was preparing for her interview to work at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF, which encompasses both the De Young Museum and the Legion of Honor), a stranger at the library asked if she knew that the Legion was one of the few museums in the world to have a self-portrait of James Tissot (1836-1902). She didn’t, but in the name of due diligence, she researched both the painting and the artist. Not only did those preparations lead to her landing the job and eventually becoming a lead curator and the Director of the Art Division at the FAMSF, that chance moment in the library led to her becoming one of the world’s foremost experts on Tissot (currently the subject of her doctoral thesis for the University of London) and spearheading a nearly 7-year campaign to mount an unprecedented exhibit worthy of the artist.

Jul 28, 2020

Heart of a Lion: Coeur de Coupigny


Richard I, King of England from 1189 till he died ten years later at the age of 41, was also at various points the Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Poitiers, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes, Baron of Beynac, and Overlord of Brittany (among other things). His best title, however, is Richard the Lionheart. I have to say that  Overlord of Brittany Richard the Lionheart sounds like the dopest superhero name imaginable, but his "lionheart" moniker is a reference to his reputation as a great warrior.

Jul 13, 2020

The Frenchest Thing I Saw on this Day: Sarrieton


On this, the Frenchest of days (Happy Bastille Day!), I thought I'd show you some of the Frenchest things I saw one recent summer day strolling through Paris (you know, pre-pandemic when Americans were still allowed to enter and stroll around France). It makes me happy that even a San Franciscan can find Paris quirky and weird.

Allez les Bleus! It's an éclair and it's a pro-soccer edible treat!

Jun 30, 2020

Rouen the Crown Jewel: Couronne de Fontenay


2000 year ago, approximately, during the 1st century, the Gauls founded and named it Ratumacos. The Romans came a century or two later and called it Rotomagus. In the 5th century, it became Rouen, under the Roman Catholic Archdiocese. The Normans conquered it in the 9th century, after which point it became the capital of the Duchy of Normandy where one of its most famous sons, William the Conqueror, rose to power (though he then moved his political base to Caen). From that point on and until today, Rouen has birthed more impressive sons and daughters, crowned dukes and kings, and has remained the crown jewel of Normandy.

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