Oh, wow! Check out this gorgeous lavender-honey-lemon cake that Elizabeth at Cooking Up Romance invented in honor of THE CHOCOLATE KISS. You have to see the photos on her site, it looks so beautiful and yummy.
CARAMEL WINNERS: Yay for Meghan K., Eva W., and Sharon B. who won the “Dom Richard” (really Jacques Genin) caramels! Emails have been sent, so check your inbox if those are your names.
And I’m very sorry there aren’t enough to go around to everyone. THANK YOU for sharing the special moments in the books. That was actually really nice to see the different moments people had enjoyed.
These caramels are nearly worth their weight in gold, but trust me, if I could, I would share them with all of you! I really wish I could. They taste a LOT better than gold. (To be honest, I’ve never really understood gold. But caramels and chocolate, now–that’s a luxury that makes sense.)
Thanks so much as always! And Meghan, Eva, and Sharon, let us know what you think!
All right, you know what time it is, right? CHOCOLATE CLUB TIME. Although, as discussed prior to leaving for Paris, THIS is a SPECIAL EDITION SUMMER CHOCOLATE CLUB that does not, in fact, feature chocolate.
NO, it features those very same one and only, best in the world caramels from top chocolatier Jacques Genin, the caramels that inspired the caramels Dom Richard offered Jaime Corey in THE CHOCOLATE TOUCH. I know they don’t look like much here with my terrible photography and a little squashed from travel, but trust me, squashing does not affect flavor or texture, and they are fantastic.
As promised, I brought 3 small bags this year instead of one large box, so that I could spread several small prizes around, since last year’s was so popular. (Tragically, I could swear I bought 4 bags, but I can’t find the 4th!! And I did NOT eat it. Really. If I find it, I’ll add it to the prizes.) To enter this chocolate club, you can sign up for my newsletter (if signed up already, you’re automatically entered) AND/OR have an extra entry by commenting below or on Facebook. The comment could be, hmm…how about your favorite food moment in any of these books?
I’ll draw 3 winners Friday morning! Note: US only. I’m very, very sorry to international readers, but trying to internationally ship something that has to stay so fresh is just a disaster. I can swap for a book prize, if you’re outside the US.
March Chocolate Club! This month, I’m trying out fellow writer Taylor Reynolds‘s recommendation of Fleurir Hand Grown Chocolates. (Want to make your own recommendation? Have at it! I love recs. There’s a permanent page on my website of US Artisan chocolate recs, if you want to share your love of a chocolatier with all the world.) We are all just a little tired of winter, and I’m thinking it’s time to give some broad hints about spring. Thus the perfect occasion of these lovely, flower-decorated chocolates. (Aren’t they beautiful?) Thanks to Taylor for the recommendation!
As before, those signed up for my newsletter (aka my email for new releases) are automatically entered. For an extra entry, like or comment here or on Facebook! I’ll pick someone Saturday morning, so be sure to be signed up and/or have commented here or on Facebook by then. (Newsletter sign-up link here. Bonus scene with Dom of THE CHOCOLATE TOUCH and the aunts from THE CHOCOLATE KISS comes with sign-up!)
And if you win, do please come share your thoughts! That’s what the chocolate club is all about, exploring new chocolatiers and spreading the artisan chocolate love.
Check out the newly created Macaron Hall of Fame on the website! Readers have just been going Deliciously Crazy for the Macaron lately, and I am all for it! Now if only some of those readers lived closer, so I could sink my teeth into these macarons and not just gaze longingly at them.
They’re giving Philippe a run for his money! Here’s just a sample. Click on the link above to go check out the full gallery. And if you’re making your own–I would love to see them!
First of all, Ellie Reads Fiction is hosting a GIVEAWAY of THE CHOCOLATE HEART, for those of you looking for Summer and Luc’s story. (THE CHOCOLATE HEART and THE CHOCOLATE TEMPTATION overlap.) Hop on over to her blog to enter.
And a few photos from yesterday’s talk and signing at Southwest Library in Durham NC.
Lovely heart-shaped, chocolate-ganache filled macarons from Bonnie Lau of Miel Bon Bons, in honor of THE CHOCOLATE HEART and general Amour et Chocolat theme. (Durham residents, I believe she’ll have more of these in her shop close to Valentine’s Day. A perfect Valentine treat!)
Jennifer Lohmann (both a librarian and a critically acclaimed contemporary romance author in her own right) passing out macarons after the talk. I snatched the photo in the middle of signing, and alas, my photography skills leave something to be desired.
And LOOK. Seriously, Bonnie at Miel Bon Bons is the most incredibly generous chocolatier. She made all those macarons, which she provided at a very steep discount (very steep–essentially her cost), and then she gave me this gorgeous box of chocolates as a present, in honor of the book releases. And then she kept throwing in extra macarons, to make sure there were enough, since it’s always so hard to calculate.
I’m very lucky! It was lovely to see such a great turnout. Thank you for laughing at my jokes and for playing along with the culinary quiz games! And a big thanks to Jennifer Lohmann for organizing the event and making sure it ran smoothly, as well as to Nicki who volunteered with the event, and everyone else at Southwest.
And, of course, a huge thank you to Bonnie of Miel Bon Bons and to all of you who came!
First, so everyone knows, the PRINT version of THE CHOCOLATE TEMPTATION is available, too. (On Amazon, and will probably take a little longer to show up on other vendors.)
And for North Carolinians, don’t forget, I’ll be at Southwest Library in Durham NC Sunday, Jan 19, 3 pm. I’ll be sharing a behind-the-scenes look at top Paris pastry kitchen, such as the one in which Luc Leroi (THE CHOCOLATE HEART) and Patrick Chevalier and Sarah Lin (THE CHOCOLATE TEMPTATION) work.
I’ll be signing copies of THE CHOCOLATE HEART. (Note, THE CHOCOLATE TEMPTATION will not be available at this signing. The print copies weren’t expected to be ready in time.)
AND…best news of all…Bonnie Lau of Miel Bon Bons is making some special chocolate heart macarons in honor of the book! If you live in Durham and haven’t been by Miel Bon Bons yet…why not?? But if not, this is your chance to try a special treat.
I hope to see you there!
Busy tasting my box from Madame Chocolat for the “Chocolate Club”. Okay, I am mildly aggrieved that my box does not actually contain any chocolate hearts. (There was a collection that showed some hearts and some others, and I thought I would try that one, but — no chocolate hearts were included!) However, I am recovering from this, eying your chocolate hearts jealously and tasting my own flavors. You will have to tell me how the caramel hearts taste! (And no, seriously, don’t worry about me. I love tasting all kinds of different things. I am joking about the whining about the luxury chocolates. )
I love, love, the Madame Oscar type pin on the front of these boxes. It’s actually something you could wear later.
It’s official that I and my iPhone are terrible photographers. Yes. I know. My husband could get out his fancy camera and his studio (yes, he has a portable studio thing), but then he might try to steal your chocolates.
You know I’m the only person you can trust with them.
You trust me, right? At least for the rest of the day?
Because don’t forget that today is the last day to enter for a chance at the box of caramel hearts! And you have to tell us what you thought of them, so we can all live vicariously.
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My own contribution introduces the Rosier family of the Vie en Roses series. I had fun with a Little Red Riding Hood in Provence theme with this one! Raoul Rosier is a bit of a wolf at the door. I hope you enjoy this glimpse of the Rosier world and family!
And to celebrate these two back-to-back releases, I’m getting myself a box of chocolate hearts (to go with the theme!) and one for one of you, too. You know the idea I’ve mentioned to have a “chocolate club” where we explore a new recommended chocolatier each month? I’m not sure it’s going to work when the weather warms up, but December is a perfect time for shipping chocolate.
These chocolate hearts come from Madame Chocolat, a Beverly Hills based chocolatier recommended by Elaine of the blog Elaine Travels. (You can find other recommendations from readers that need to be explored on my US Artisan Chocolate recommendations page, where you can also recommend some of your own that you think we need to try next!) It’s very, very difficult to decide, but the Chocolate Heart theme won the day this month, for obvious reasons.
Double entries into the contest for Facebook fans and newsletter subscribers, because I really want this to be a way to say thank you to all of you die-hard “Chocolate” fans and have fun together! Contest open through Sunday Dec 8 midnight. The chocolate can only be shipped to US winners. For international entrants, we can substitute a Chocolate book of your choice if Book Depository ships to your country.
A lovely afternoon with Zeina Abirached, Paris-based Lebanese graphic artist/author of Le Jeu des Hirondelles (A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return (Single Titles), just translated) and Catharsis, among others. Truly amazing work. Have you seen Persepolis? In some ways, her black on white style makes me think of that, but at the same time it’s all her own.
Here she is on the left, with one of my colleagues on the right. When we bring in international speakers, we try to show them around a bit, and so during the exploration the three of us also made two new discoveries of places that have popped up over the summer that neither of us locals realized.
One was a little farmer cart-size shop with herbs growing fresh up all the walls (inside and out) and kale etc growing on the actual roof. (And he would climb up the actual wall, no ladder but just a pipe to hold onto, to pick the produce.) I’m sorry, I didn’t have the presence of mind to take photos of this delight, but I will next time. It made me very happy.
And the other was a “meat and sweet shop”. No, NOT “meet your sweet” shop, although that sounds like a nice place. No, half of this shop is a butcher’s and half a sweet-maker’s, a husband and wife team.
It’s ridiculously quixotic and charming and the caramels are made with lard, I kid you not, in order to efficiently use the husband’s leftover butcher products. I miss the butter, personally, but they’re pretty darn good still. Fennel caramels, ginger caramels, and coffee caramels.
Hmm…perhaps a future giveaway in the offing.
Then we settled down in what was once an old abandoned mechanic’s garage that has been renovated into a local chocolate-coffee hangout to drink iced chocolate (me, but you guessed that) and coffee (these two ladies) and talk about art and writing and Paris and Durham and Beirut and great-grandparents.
And that all counted as working. Like, really. Officially. I was On the Job. Sometimes life is good.So are you curious about those caramels?
People have been emailing me trying to find the behind-the-scenes chocolate research on my site, since it’s not easy to keep track of, if you weren’t here when an original blog post was made. So I’ve organized things into one main page with links to either Pinterest or blog posts.
So if you want to see the research that went into all the Amour et Chocolat books (including even some glimpses of The Chocolate Heart and The Chocolate Temptation), start here.
And have fun!