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La Rue de la Sucrerie on Valentine’s Day

  (Photos of the Merchants by Patty Sadauskas)

Chez ManonChez Manon

Grand Café Tortoni

Jean-Paul HévinJean-Paul Hévin

Pierre Hermé


Rachels Cakes

Scoop Me A CookieScoop Me A Cookie

Roni Beth TowerRoni Beth Tower

Après Midi Presentation by Roni Beth Tower

On the way over to yesterday’s Après Midi, only a few blocks down rue de Bretagne from my apartment, I noticed yet another new merchant on the street…one more sugar-selling establishment that doesn’t benefit anyone living in the neighborhood except for those who are addicted to sugar and are determined to kill themselves with that brand of “kindness.” I became incensed.

In the last few years, the merchants such as the hardware store or hair salon that really serviced the residents have bit the dust while the frivolous that cater to tourists have flourished, and surprisingly, most of them are focused on selling sugar. Just how many pastry, cookie, cake, cupcake, macaron, chocolate, ice cream vendors etc., etc., etc., do we need in place of the butchers, the bakers and the candlestick makers?

The answer is NONE. That doesn’t seem to stop them from proliferating and I really don’t get why. Yesterday we started to take a count of the ones within 300 meters of my apartment and came up with more than a few…here they are in alphabetical order:

Amorino Gelato: An Italian gelato company based in Orly, established in 2002 by a Cristiano Sereni and Paolo Benassi, now in Europe, Asia, and the United States.

Chez Manon: French tradition produced by real bakers who know the secrets of “good bread” and know how to satisfy you with this essential food of everyday life.

Grand Café Tortoni: Touhami and Victoire de Taillac revived the legend of the Grand Café Tortoni — Italian ice cream parlors.

Jacque Genin: Self-taught, considered a genius of flavors, Jacques Garrett explored without instruction all the trades of the kitchen before working his favorite ingredient and become a chocolatier.

Jean-Paul Hévin Chocolatier: Four stores in Paris, 11 in Japan and one in Hong Kong, headquartered in Paris.

Pierre Hermé: Awarded the title of World’s Best Pastry Chef in 2016 by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and as the 4th most influential French person in the World by Vanity Fair in 2016.

Popelini: Thirty grams of happiness and voluptuousness…Not too sweet, not too buttered, cabbage?
Rachel’s: We invite you to a culinary journey through the American regional cuisine and the world where we want you to discover new flavors and textures.

Scoop Me a Cookie: The newest one on the block…promoting a unique and secret recipe that required two years of testing, measuring and baking to finally get that perfect balance between crispy edges and gooey center.

When I started a diet to be healthier and lose weight over a year ago, the first thing to be eliminated was sugar. I can attribute the loss of about 20 pounds to the reduction of the intake of refined sugar. The average person consumes about 53 pounds of sugar every year contributing to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and tooth decay. Natural sugars in fruits and vegetables, grains, and dairy is okay. The problems occur when you eat too much added sugar — sugar that is added to make something sweet or last longer on the shelf. This means that everything these new purveyors of sugar sells is basically bad for you.

So, why are we doing this to ourselves? Why are we perpetuating our addiction for sugar and replacing the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker with what will make us fat or kill us? And why are we letting this happen to our neighborhoods?

Of course, it is Valentine’s Day and this is THE DAY to indulge on sugar, just to make life a little sweeter. Roni Beth Tower’s talk at Après Midi yesterday was all about “Miracle at Midlife: A Transatlantic Romance.” Her memoir “chronicling the two-year courtship between a divorced American attorney living on a converted barge in the center of Paris and an empty-nested clinical and research psychologist who works from her home in Connecticut” was the story of how they conquered the “challenges of internal demons (mostly hers) and external threats (mostly kids, careers and culture) as they shared adventures in their respective worlds and are both transformed as they create a life together.”

It was a bittersweet story…but without added sugar.

(Read more about it and see the photos by visiting our Après Midi page.)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds - Happ Valentine's Day

Adrian Leeds


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Joe Start - French License

P.S. Be sure to read “Getting a French Driver’s License: Interview with Californian Expat Author Joe Start” by Janet Hulstrand. Joe Start will be speaking at the next Après Midi March 13th! Be there!!


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