August 29, 2011

September in Paris

September is the rentrée in Paris. Everyone is returning, recharged and rejuvenated. While there was no shortage of things to do in August (e.g., lie around in a Paris Plage beach chair), September is full of opportunity.

Visit the treasures of Paris during Journées du Patrimoine (September 17–18). Find out more from the city of Paris at

Don’t forget la Fête des Jardins, where the beautiful (and secret) gardens of Paris are open to the public. September 24–25. For more information, visit

A new exhibit of Cezanne opens at the Musée du Luxembourg on October 12. Details at

August 22, 2011

The Poetry of Idioms

When Anglophones land in France, we inherit the beauty and poetry of the French language... and the strange and creative world of French idioms.

Today’s featured idiom is:

 Être au pied du mur  =  to be cornered.

The expression comes from the 16th century when someone was backed up against an unscalable wall. It means to be stuck... to be unable to overcome a difficulty.

Join the WICE French/English Conversation Group to introduce more idioms into your daily French conversations.

August 15, 2011

The Possible Dream

The quest is noble and eternal. We are always searching for a great-value wine. We know there are elegant wines for 25 euros and more, but most of us can’t afford that price tag every day.

To solve this dilemma with gusto, WICE organized The Great Everyday Wine-Off. Our fearless leader, Tom Boothe, asked four knowledgeable cavistes to recommend their favorite wine under 12 euros—white and red. What would they personally take home as a delicious affordable wine?

The results are in. The WICE wine tasters voted the Domaine Rollin Haute-Côtes de Beaune Blanc as the best white (a rich chardonnay from Burgundy) and the Etna Rosso, Firriato as the best red (a Sicilian wine with red fruit, flowers, spice, and a hint of Mount Etna). All the wines we sampled were interesting and an excellent value. Taste for yourself!

The Whites:
  1. Winner: 2008 Haute-Côtes de Beaune Blanc, Domaine Rollin père et fils. 12 euros at Les Caprices de l’Instant.
  2. Muskadig Breizh, Domaine de Haut-Planty. 7 euros at La Cave du Pantheon (a great deal!).
  3. 2008 Bourgogne Aligoté, Domaine Remi Jobard. 9 euros at Galeries Lafayette.
  4. 2009 Vermentino di Gallura Superiore “Monteoro,” Sella et Mosca. 11 euros at Enoteca Midi.
The Reds:
  1. Winner: 2008 Etna Rosso, Firriato. 13 euros at Enoteca Midi (get a 10% discount when you mention WICE, which squeaks this interesting wine under the 12-euro mark).
  2. 2009 Vins de Pays des collines Rhodaniennes, Domaine Monier. 11,30 euros at La Cave du Pantheon.
  3. 2004 Coteaux de Languedoc “Mont Marie,” Thierry Forestier. 11,50 euros at Les Caprices de l’Instant.
  4. 2007 Minervois “Loriza,” Khalhal-Pamiès. 10,60 at Galeries Lafayette
Join us also for one of this season’s wine tastings. We travel the world, glass in hand, from our comfortable spot in the heart of Paris.

The Wine Shops:
  • La Cave du Pantheon, 174 rue St Jacques, 75005. Metro: Cluny
  • Les Caprices de l’Instant, 12 rue Jacques Coeur, 75004. Metro: Bastille
  • Enoteca Midi, 77 rue Cherche Midi, 75006. Metro: Saint Placide (10% discount for WICE members).
  • Galeries Lafayette, 40 blvd Haussmann, 75009. Metro: Chaussée d’Antin

August 5, 2011

Strawberry Tiramisu

This recipe is from WICE's Cooking Class instructor, Françoise Meunier, who taught a class full of eager-to-learn (and hungry) students on how to make this delicious and beautiful dessert.

  • 500 grams of strawberries
  • 120 grams of white crystal sugar
  • 30 grams of powdered (icing) sugar
  • Juice from one-half of a lemon
  • 12 "bicuits Roses de Reims" (pink/rose ladyfingers)
  • 250 grams mascarpone cheese
  • 4 eggs
Set aside 4 beautiful strawberries to use as decoration.

Roughly cut the 500 grams of strawberries.

Coarsely break the pink ladyfingers into the bottom of a serving dish that measures about 8 x 8 inches.

In a bowl, combine 200 grams of the cut strawberries with the 30 grams of powdered (icing) sugar. Add enough lemon juice to make a thick sauce. Pour this mixture over the ladyfingers. Place the remaining 300 grams of cut strawberries on top. Sprinkle lightly with a little white crystal sugar.

Separate the 4 eggs.

Add the 120 grams of white crystal sugar to the 4 egg yolks and mix until frothy. Add the marscapone cheese and mix well. In a separate bowl, beat the 4 egg whites until stiff. Gently fold the stiffened egg whites into the mascarpone cheese mixture, then pour on top of the strawberries in the serving dish.

Garnish using the 4 reserved strawberries, thinly sliced in a fan shape and some crumbled ladyfingers. Refrigerate at least 2 to 3 hours. Serve cold.

Tips: You can substitute cookies or biscuits of your choice instead of ladyfingers. You can use peaches or apricots instead of strawberries. This dessert can also be served in individual ramekins.

Note: This dish uses raw eggs and must be served cold and eaten within 24 hours.