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Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) Paperback – February 1, 2012
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"Follow Amy Thomas's quest in Paris to find the tastiest chocolates, towering gâteaux, and most sublime macarons while crisscrossing the Atlantic. Like a tasty Parisian bonbon, this book is filled with sweet surprises." - David Lebovitz, New York Times bestselling author of The Sweet Life in Paris
"A sweet and charming tale of Paris through the eyes of a cake-lover. Willie Wonka for grown ups -- and a guide to some of the sweetest destinations in the City of Light." - Karen Wheeler, author of Tout Sweet
"Such a charming, heartfelt book. Paris, My Sweet is as dainty and decadent as a box of pastel macarons, a bewitching tale of a young woman's love affair with two iconic cities and the confections found in each one." - Ann Mah, author of Kitchen Chinese
"Amy Thomas's descriptions of the delicious delights in Paris and New York had me almost licking the pages." - Rachel Khoo, author of Little Paris Kitchen
"Dessert lovers will devour this one... Amy Thomas draws the reader into the comfort of sweets seemingly found on every street corner in Paris, creating a delectable fantasy world. As a self-professed sugarholic, this memoir/travelogue/dessert guide to New York and Paris is a rare, nostalgic treat - equal parts charm, style, and wit." - Pichet Ong, chef and author of The Sweet Spot
"Amy's adventures in Paris, My Sweet are of fairy tale magnitude. Her story is infectious and contagious in every way and has reminded me of so many of my own memories walking down those very streets and nibbling on those one of a kind Parisian treats. This book made me smile." - Johnny Iuzzini, James Beard Award Winner, Author of Dessert FourPlay, Head Judge Top Chef Just Desserts
"More than just a tasty treat, Paris, My Sweet is a lot like fine chocolate--deep, rich and complex." - Jamie Cat Callan, author of French Women Don't Sleep Alone and Bonjour, Happiness!
"From the New York cupcake wars to the perfect Parisian macaron, Thomas's passion is palpable, her sweet tooth, unstoppable." - Elizabeth Bard, bestselling author of Lunch in Paris
"Do not read this book on an empty stomach...After a couple of chapters, I was ready to throw the book aside and hop a jet to either city just to get my hands on some of the food she described." - Working Title
In her book, she paints a colorful picture of both macaron-mad New Yorkers and cupcake-crazed Parisians.
About the Author
Amy Thomas is a New Yorkbased writer who, for two lucky years, got to call Paris home. In addition to working as a copywriter in advertising, she writes about food, travel, design, and fashion for various publications such as the New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, Town & Country, and Every Day with Rachael Ray. She is slightly obsessed with sweets.
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I also didn't believe that her choice at the end of the book brought her genuine happiness. I can get on board with books where someone stays in the exotic locale, or books where that person comes home, but I need to believe the person to feel like I'm rooting for the outcome. At the end of the book, I just felt bad for the author. The ending seemed pat, forced.
But, hey, I'm sure this book is the right fit for someone. It's a great read if you are looking for a descriptive guide to sweets with a little background about the artisans. My problem is that it looked like a travel memoir, and in memoirs I expect some real self-reflection and insight into the messiness of someone's life. For example, I wanted to hear more about the author's problems with cultural differences at work, but after a chapter setting up some interesting stuff, the resolution was skipped and glossed away with a short, generalized paragraph saying that things got better and she suddenly enjoyed her job. I like chocolate and sweets, but I wanted them to be more like 5% of the book, the icing so to speak, rather than sharing equal space with the travel story.
All that said, the author's prose flows well and she's clearly a talented writer. I hope that her life is going well now and that she's happy. And I hope that her next project is more thoughtfully structured and decides to be one thing (guidebook of sweets) or the other (honest, insightful memoir).
What's left to say that she has not, other than the innumerable varieties of flavor combinations that bakers are coming up with. While I stuck with some pretty classic flavors, these little confections are coming in bold and crazy flavors like green tea, lemongrass, passion fruit, and green apple. The sky is the limit, and whether you can head to Lauderee in Paris or Kee's Chocolates in NYC, macarons are the much deserved, sweet-treat craze of the moment.
For me, reading Paris My Sweet was a journey with someone living the life I would love to live. Because of that, I loved her candor in the book. You get a real sense that in the midst of her love affair with the cuisine and culture of Paris, she saw its flaws and how it compared to the life she had left behind in New York City. For every travel story, there really does seem to be "grass is always greener" version that we're not being told. In this case, the author is very candid about the difficult time she had making friends, meeting men, and missing family. I really appreciated her candor and felt that her story was less of a fairytale and more about opportunity and vision; she looked for moments to be thankful. With the bitter though, came the sweet, and that was an even bigger part of her story--the food. She recognized the invaluable opportunity she had before her, of living in Paris, and she wasn't going to waste it thinking about her New York home for too long.
Mainly told as a personal exploration of sweet delights, we are introduced to the styles of cooking in Paris and New York. We see the difference in macarons, cookies, carrot cake, cupcakes, and Madeleines & muffins. What a sweet journey it is! The chapter on cookies seemed to be the strongest dissimilarity of any of the treats, as Paris prefers a lighter, crunchier cookie to our American mix of buttery-crunch with the chewy. She also talked about how much she missed French Toast (ironic, right?), which is an American standard and treat for breakfast. In Paris, however, they enjoyed la pain perdue, an eggy, caramely, bread-soaked dessert served after dinner. Both were similar in some ways, but very, very different in others.
I could go on and on about the confections and treats that author, Amy Thomas, shares in her book Paris My Sweet. If you are at all a foodie or love to travel and soak in the culture through its food, you have to read this book. My only sorrow is that I didn't have this book last year before we went to France! Now, I have to make a trip to New York and Paris before these shops and goodies disappear.
Most recent customer reviews
Review 1.5 Stars. I rarely give books this low of a rating, but I wasn't a fan.Read more