Fifty years after the transformative May ’68 student-led protests in France, universities and cultural institutions across the country are presenting diverse programs and events that revisit the spirit of the ’60s in all of its facets, from revolution to social activism and more. Check back here periodically for an updated listing of events.
When someone offers you a Parisian dessert, you will always say, “Yes.”
The French capital is home to the masters of the pastry universe, dating back to Marie-Antoine Carême, who in the early 1800s popularized such elaborate confections as the millefeuille, the croquembouche (a caramel-enrobed tower of cream puffs), and strawberries Romanov, a parfait-like concoction of marinated berries and whipped cream. It’s one reason he became the world’s first celebrity chef.
The city’s pastry scene is more dynamic and expansive than ever, ranging from modern trompe l’oeil treasures that Carême would covet to exquisite classics and even some outrageous cookies. Dessert appreciation runs so high that one of Paris’s top patissiers has just opened a shop in the valuable real estate of le Meurice hotel. His is one of a baker’s dozen of the best pastries to try, as recommended by expert chefs who know a thing or two about making magic out of flour, butter, sugar, and cream. [. . . ]
Read Full Story: The Best Pastries in Paris, According to Top Chefs
ONE DECEMBER NIGHT IN 2014, a group of wine aficionados congregated in front of Thomas Keller’s famed French Laundry restaurant. They hadn’t called ahead to see if the Yountville, California, institution, which has an infamous, months-long waitlist, could accommodate them. Since it was Christmas night, the restaurant wasn’t even open.
Regardless, the crew got what they came for. They broke in and walked out with over $500,000 worth of wine, including some of the most coveted bottles in the world.
Nearly four years later, investigators have recovered all but a handful of the 110 missing bottles. Earlier this year, the Department of Justice released a statement confirming that two of the thieves—Alfred Georgis and Davis Kiryakoz—also conspired with others to steal and transport fine wines from Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino, California (that theft clocked in at $32,000). Additionally, Kiryakoz admitted that he’d been part of a group that swiped $290,000 worth of wine in 2013, from San Francisco’s Fine Wines International, according to SF Gate. Both men have since been sentenced to time in prison.
That this band of thieves pulled off several large heists is remarkable. The bandits planned sophisticated, well-surveilled thefts—they robbed the French Laundry, for instance, the day after it closed for a months-long renovation. No one was on the premises, so they easily pried open the door, then stepped into the wine cellar. The French Laundry’s state-of-the-art alarm system—which had been deactivated, for once—didn’t stop them either. And not just any thief could have absconded with such valuable booty. Continue reading “How a Gang of Thirsty Thieves Stole Over $500,000 Worth of Wine”
[ VARIETY FEBRUARY 19, 2018 ]
One year before her tragic death at the age of 43, Romy Schneider posed for photographs and gave an extensive interview to a German journalist while staying at a Breton spa hotel in Quiberon. Her magnetic personality and evanescent moods were memorably captured in the monochromatic images, and the interview turned into an unvarnished, emotional self-appraisal at a time when she was roiled in insecurities. That’s the setting of Emily Atef’s respectful, by-the-numbers semi-recreation “3 Days in Quiberon,” a fictionalized treatment inspired by those sessions. Marie Bäumer’s uncanny resemblance and fine central performance anchor what is ultimately a predictable treatment of a tortured actress, nicely lensed in black and white, that will find resonance in countries where Schneider remains a much-beloved star.
Schneider’s tremendous European popularity never made it across the ocean, largely because the “Sissi” films that made her a major celebrity at the age of 17 never achieved the cult status in the States that they did in Austria, Germany, and beyond. The film series was a highly romanticized concoction about Empress Elisabeth of Austria, and for many, Romy became the embodiment of that fiction. The teenage purity and sweetness worked against her as a woman, and her frustration at not being able to break free from the Sissi image led to her moving to France, where she chose ever more challenging roles designed to counter the studio’s anodyne construction. She also engaged in a series of well-publicized affairs, marriages, and divorces, making her major fodder for the tabloids. Continue reading “Film Review: 3 Days In Quiberon”
As rich and full-bodied as a fine French wine, Cédric Klapisch’s Burgundy-set family drama draws character from the soil on which it’s set.
[VARIETY] When I was 13 years old, my great-aunt arranged for me to visit a vineyard in France’s Loire valley, where I was allowed to spend an afternoon planting grape vines with the family who had worked those fields for centuries. Together, we visited the facilities where the harvest was crushed and fermented, and tasted the wine these artisans had produced from previous years. An experience like that forever changes one’s perspective on wine, from something that comes from a bottle to a living, breathing thing, originating from the earth, planted and harvested by hand, shaped by the attitudes and sensibility of those who cultivate it.
Cédric Klapisch’s “Back to Burgundy” is the closest any film has come to expressing that special symbiotic relationship between real people, the soil they tend, and the ineffably personal concoction that results from that connection.
Though not a documentary, this gorgeous French family saga benefits enormously from Klapisch’s natural curiosity, informed by research (he participated in a harvest in order to observe its nuances) and elevated by his insistence that they film over the course of a full year, so as to capture the impact of the seasons on both viticulture and its human stewards. Continue reading “Film Review: ‘Back to Burgundy’”
Ten people died and another 80 fell ill in France after eating contaminated Morbier and Mont d’Or cheese in a salmonella outbreak that health authorities knew about, a new report has revealed.
An investigation by France Inter radio said the two cheeses made in the Franche-Comté region in the east of the country from unpasteurised milk were at the root of the outbreak in late 2015 and early 2016.
The investigation produced a document which showed that in January 2016 national health authorities had discovered an unusually high number of salmonella contaminations in France that was centred on Franche-Comté.
Five cheese making companies in the region, between them making 60 different brands, were later identified as being at the source of the contaminations that began in November 2015 and continued until April the following year.
Those who died in the outbreak were old people who were physically weak or who suffered from another illness.
Jean-Yves Mano, the president of the CLCV consumer association, said he was surprised that a product recall had not been ordered of products that might have been infected with salmonella, which can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain in those affected.
“We do not understand why a general alert was not issued by state officials, or at least information given on what precautions to take,” he told France Inter.
The state food agency, the Direction générale de l’alimentation (DGAL), said there were two reasons why a recall was not ordered.
The first was that it would have allegedly been very difficult to identify which exact brand of the cheeses were contaminated because there were a total of 60 that were produced in the cheese-making firms where the outbreak originated.
The second was that by the time the authorities found out where the outbreak had come from, the contaminated cheeses had already been consumed and the new batches in the cheesemakers’ premises were not infected.
“It is perhaps due to these two factors that this contamination was not in the media, even though all the data was public nothing was hidden,” said Fany Molin of the DGAL food agency.
On this chilly Easter Friday, I pack myself in double jackets and uggs, download the map and shove my faithful pocket umbrella in the bag. The biting cold has made me lose my appetite a bit, so I grab an apple and at 9 am sharp, I stand on the streets of the Grands Boulevard, waiting for the GPS to set straight. With a day to explore the French capital, I’ve set my priorities straight. When in Paris, you walk. You walk to school, you walk to work, you walk to the station, you walk into a relationship… you just walk. From my hotel, I walk towards the Place de la Republique. Named that way to celebrate the French Republic, the square is symbolic of demonstrations that start or end there. Marianne’s statue stands tall, with a few youngsters buzzing under it. As the morning sun beams across, I proceed towards the Louvre Museum [ . . ]