Right now, I’m sitting in front of my computer listening to French Christmas songs. Ahhh, the holiday spirit has landed! I think it wafted through my open windows on the balmy Miami breeze.
Despite having spent a dozen winters in South Florida, I’ll never get used to the idea of tropical temperatures when it’s time to deck the halls. Don’t get me wrong – I’d rather be on this side of a snowstorm, thanks very much. But I find myself waxing nostalgic over holidays past; when we lingered by the fireplace, snifter of brandy in hand, to warm our hearts as well as our bones.
No surprise then, that my thoughts turn to Paris, where my husband and I spent our fifth anniversary – as well as Christmas and his birthday. The weather was appropriately chilly, the city’s welcome surprisingly warm, and our experience in the City of Light, delightfully magical.
As it happens, I’m not alone in dreaming of a French-style season: the #Winophiles gang has chosen it as our theme for December. Lynn from Savor the Harvest, our host this month, set the stage with her invitation post, conjuring up visions of holiday markets, culinary treats, and local traditions. Give it a read and transport yourself directly to France.
And, as we do every third Saturday, the #Winophiles will meet for a Twitter chat at 11 am ET on December 15th to share our favorite stories and celebrations. We’d love for you to join us! Just follow the hashtag (#Winophiles) and make sure to add it to your tweets.
Take a look at what we’ll be talking about during the chat:
Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla whips up “A French #Winophiles Fête: Foie Gras, Pain d’Épices & Champagne Drappier.”
Jill from L’OCCASION shares “How To Bring French Holiday Traditions Home.”
Gwen at WinePredator has “Season’s Greetings French-Style.”
Wendy at A Day In The Life On The Farm gives us “A Holiday Gathering with French Foods and Wines.”
Martin at ENOFYLZ Wine Blog shares “A Taste of French-Inspired Holiday Food and Wine.”
Deanna from Asian Test Kitchen writes about “Ants Climb a Tree with French Wine.”
Michelle of Rockin’ Red Blog writes about “A French-Inspired Holiday Alsatian Style.”
Kat from Bacchus Travel and Tours writes about “Noel en Provence.“
Jeff from foodwineclick discusses “What is French-Style Season?”
Payal at Keep The Peas shares “Bonnes Fêtes à la #winophiles.”
Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles entices us with “Un repas de Noël pour les fêtes de fin d’année (A Christmas Dinner for the end of the year celebrations)…with wine #Winophiles.”
David from CookingChat shares “Festive Pairings for Pouilly-Fumé and Other Special French Wine #winophiles.“
Lyn at L.M. Archer tells us about “The Hedonistic Taster: French-Style Season Edition.”
Jane cooks things up at Always Ravenous and shares “A French-Inspired Winter Dinner.”
Nicole from Somms Table shares “Crocus l’Atelier Malbec de Cahors with Château Mercuès Saffron Chicken Soup.“
Liz from What’s In That Bottle tells us how to “Frenchify Your Festivities with Fun Wines.“
Rupal from Journeys of a Syrah Queen shares “French-Inspired Holiday Wines.”
Lynn from Savor the Harvest shares how to “Give a Little Touche Française to Your Holiday #Winophiles.”
Parisian Holiday: A Few of My Favorite Things (#Winophiles)
This year we will spend Christmas with Gabe’s family in New York City – a big, fat Italian-American celebration! There will be a lot of food, a lot of kids and, in case I didn’t mention it, a lot of food. Tons. But I’m looking forward to it – I think. 😊
December is always a month of celebration for us: our anniversary is the 22nd, then Christmas Eve/Day; then Gabe’s birthday on the 29th, followed by New Year’s Eve. Whew, that’s a lot of whooping it up! When we have a quiet moment along the way, we will try to relive a few of our Parisian holiday experiences: our favorite things.
Tasty Treats at Every Turn
Without a doubt, Gabe’s favorite thing about Paris was the food – especially the pastries- and there was something good to eat at literally every corner. Our Airbnb rental was near Nôtre Dame Cathedral, just a few minutes’ walk from the Île-Saint-Louis, which looks like a storybook town.
We made the acquaintance of the local grocer, baker, butcher, and cheesemonger, shopping every day for what we would eat that night. While the food was indeed delicious, what stuck with me was the warmth and friendly nature of the local merchants. It made us feel like we were part of the neighborhood fabric, if only for a few days.
Take a look at the variety of temptations in our path:
Recreating a Paris Christmas at Home
We will draw upon these memories as we celebrate our trio of special days this year, rambling around our neighborhood in New York, much as we did in Paris. What’s on the agenda?
- A visit to Ladurée for tea and macarons;
- A trip to the Grand Central Oyster Bar for – you guessed it –oysters in mignonette;
- A stop at Murray’s to stock up on smelly, cheesy goodness;
- A walk to Lobel’s for a perfectly marbled steak to share at home;
- And maybe even a few romantic hours at the Central Park Boathouse, where we had our wedding lunch.
But the pièce-de-résistance will be a quiet dinner chez nous (probably on Gabe’s birthday) beginning with a bottle of Laurent-Perrier Brut Rosé Champagne – exactly as we toasted our wedding seven years ago. And then a 2012 Château Pavie-Decesse Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé (a recent score from Last Bottle) – paired with a special, once-a-year, big-ass ribeye steak from Lobel’s on Madison Avenue. We will try to recreate the magic of our Paris trip in the heart of New York City, giving thanks for the blessings of the past seven years. It’s not quite the same as being there, but we are looking forward to it almost as much.
But, first we must survive the Cianchetto Family Christmas! So, after the Italian holiday extravaganza has come to a close, we’ll go back to our place, change into our sweats and put on the Netflix Yule Log. And then we’ll relish the peace and quiet with a snifter of Armagnac –the perfect French accent on our hectic holiday season.
Meilleurs Voeux pour 2019!
As I look back on 2018, I’m particularly grateful for you, my friends and followers. I have appreciated your company over the past few years, as I posted about my favorite wine, food, and travel experiences. Thanks for sticking with me and sharing your thoughts along the way.
In true French holiday fashion, I send each of you my meilleurs voeux or best wishes, for a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.