Category Archives: Writing

Springtime in #Paris – Succulent Paris Food Tours

Aurelie Mahoudeau and Marion Willard of Succulent Paris photo - Karen Anderson

Aurelie Mahoudeau and Marion Willard of Succulent Paris
photo – Karen Anderson

I’m continuing my Springtime in Paris theme by sharing some of the stories I’ve written about the world’s most visited city.

One of the best days I’ve ever spent was a day in Paris when my sister Sue and I shopped and cooked with two Parisians – in their neighbourhood market and in their kitchen. It was glorious for me. I had to keep pinching myself that entire day to make sure it was not a dream and I had to write about it.

The article I wrote was called Succulent Paris and it was published by Bonjour Paris and editor/founder Karen Fawcett. Succulent Paris is also the name of the food touring company that delivered this fantastic life experience. We’ve stayed friends and I hope you’ll check out their wonderful tours the next time you visit Paris.

Let the story that follows wet your appetite to do so…

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Springtime in #Paris – Rungis Market – the belly of Paris

Market fresh lemons photo - Karen Anderson

Market fresh lemons
photo – Karen Anderson

This post continues my current theme of visiting Paris via the articles I’ve written about it. This one is a favourites for a few reasons.

It is the first article I ever published – it came out in the travel issue of City Palate magazine in the spring of 2007. It is called, Mr. Hockey goes into the belly of Paris and it recounts a time when I convinced a friend to get up at 4:30 in the morning to visit the world’s largest food market in Paris with me. Some of the facts may have changed since the article was published but I still love this piece because it describes a side of Paris that few people ever get to see.

I love this piece most of all because it’s humorous. I am not a fiction writer. If you find it funny, it’s because it really was quite the entertaining day in my life.

I hope it give you a chuckle…

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Springtime in #Paris – Art Installation #6 -Giverny – Monet’s true masterpiece

Monet's Garden - viewed from his home photo - Karen Anderson

Monet’s Garden – viewed from his home
photo – Karen Anderson

Are you are gardener like me? Are your green thumb’s itching to scratch the earth each spring as winter thaws and the earth sends its hidden shoots skyward with the melt and thaw?

Well, it’s been an especially long winter where I live and so in this week where I’m sharing memories of my trips to Paris, I find special joy in sharing photos of an excursion I made to one of the most beautiful garden’s on earth: Claude Monet’s home and garden at Giverny.

Giverny is easily reached from Gare Nord in Paris. It’s only a little over an hour’s train ride into Normandie and I spent a magical day there on my own several years ago while my husband was busy attending a conference. The pictures that follow will show just how soft and gentle a land I wondered into when I got off that train. I hope this virtual home and garden tour helps you savour it all and dream of when your own garden comes to life this spring.

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Springtime in #Paris – Paris avec famille

Chestnut blossoms photo - Karen Anderson

Chestnut blossoms – photo credit – Karen Anderson

This week I’m remembering all the wonderful trips I’ve had to Paris.

I’m thinking about chestnut trees laden with miniature pink and white trees of blooms and a milder, more gentle climate. I’m thinking of the softness of the city of lights viewed from a Bateau Mouche chugging along the Seine versus the excitement of watching the spectacle of the nightly laser light show of the Eiffel Tower. I’m remembering long strolls along pretty avenues lined with buildings the colours of softly melting butter. I’m reaching out for the freedom of stopping to sip an early morning coffee or late afternoon wine in a cafe and for days when that was all I had to do. I’m remembering trips with friends, my husband, my older sister and my son. All were quite splendid.

I’m not going to make it to Paris this spring so I thought it would be fun to relive some of the adventures I’ve had there – here on these pages – with you.

Sharing my passion for Paris with you is almost as good as being there myself. So here’s another installation from some of the work I’ve published on this topic. This is an article about a wonderful family trip that was published in The Calgary Herald a few years ago. I wrote it with the hope that other families might find some of the tips fun and useful. Many people have been kind enough to say it was. That’s always a very good day in a writer’s life.

Here we go…

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Springtime in #Paris – are you going? here’s three ideas to enhance your trip

If I were going to Paris right now there would be three things I’d be checking into.

I’d call Lisa Burros-Hutchins at Your Paris Experience and get her current recommendations on fun things to do. I’d take advantage of her ability to make great connections and bookings for me. She’s a concierge extraordinaire and I’ll be eternally grateful to her for some of the ideas she shared with me when I was booking a dream vacation that involved taking my 12-year-old son to Paris for the first time. She took us from great to un-paralleled.

I’d also be booking into one of the new tours that Marion Willard and Aurelie Mahadou are offering at Succulent Paris. My sister and I spent one of the best days of my life with them on our special girl’s trip a few years ago.

And I’d be buying this new GO-Card from Girls Guide to Paris. The video above tells you all about it. It’s tres chic.

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Behind the scenes @CityPalate Iron Sommelier Challenge #yycfood #yycwine

The remains of the day...of wine tasting photo - Karen Anderson

The remains of the day…of wine tasting
photo – Karen Anderson

Fine wine delivers a small bouquet of joy.

Especially when that wine is paired with great food. Knowing which wine to pair with what food is the work of sommeliers.

Writing about a sommelier challenge that involved three incredibly talented sommeliers, three wine expert judges, two savoury dishes from one of my favourite chefs in town and 12 incredible wines can only be described as a plum assignment with spicy notes and an incredible finish.

I hope you’ll enjoy this very fun article about City Palate magazine’s annual Iron Sommelier Challenge. I sure enjoyed writing it. It was fun to capture the very playful scene it became and to learn from the experts. If you’d like a sneak peak into what went on in the background of this article please read on…

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@CityPalate #GetThis – great ingredients and cool things for spring

I was born to grocery shop

I was born to grocery shop

Some people are born to shop but I was born to grocery shop. I love it.

I am delighted that I get to write about the great ingredients and cool things I find in local grocery stores, markets and kitchen shops. I do this for my Get This (must have kitchen stuff) column in Calgary’s City Palate magazine.

I’ve been writing Get This since the fall of 2010 and I am inspired by the fun things I find for each and every issue. I respect that my publisher and editor never tell me what to write about. They trust that I will write about things City Palate readers will be interested in. That is what City Palate is about first, last and always…for over 20 years…what readers will find interesting.

Thinking about our readers motivates me every time. Along with the products I love to squeeze in a few recipes and news about local farms and businesses, and great chefs and designers.
In this issue I wrote about the following products which will qualify for this blog’s cool things category:
Cool thing #17 – Ruckles – groovy goat cheese from Salt Spring Island
Cool thing #18 – Spiegelau’s balloon decanter and tumbler set – a darling with great hand feel
Cool thing #19 – Tartufo nero – black truffle oil that I think is asparagus’s taste soul mate
Cool thing #20 – DaVinci orange syrup – agent orange as an asset
Cool thing #21 – Lemonaise – lemon lending flavour potential
Cool thing #22 – Village Brewery Growlers – the most chillin’ beer for summer.

You’ll find the full story in this May/June issue.

I have a fridge, freezer and pantry stuffed to the gills with great ingredients and cool things. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s truly a part of what helps me savour it all.


Filed under Cool things, Farms, Farming and Farmers, Recipes, Writing