It all started with a dress. Yes, a dress that I bought my daughter Kimmy Erin when my husband and I were in Paris. She was just 4 years old then and after being stopped and complimented when she was wearing the dress while we were out and about in LA, always being asked, “Where did you get that?” an idea came to me that changed our lives. Knowing these clothes were special and that there was a market for them in the US, by the time Kimmy was 5, I founded a company that focused on the import, distribution, sales, and marketing for several well-known French children’s fashion brands. After many years of flying back and forth between Los Angeles and Paris, my dream of owning an apartment in Paris came true. Being residents of both cities enabled me to experience the privilege of discovering and becoming the woman I am bringing an incredible harmony and joy to my life.
The business afforded me many opportunities to meet people from all over the world enabling me to develop deep and lasting friendships with many of the men and women I worked with. Besides sharing a love of fashion and design everyone was passionate about French food! Food is always a way to connect with people and get to know their personalities. What fun to share meals with friends whether at their homes or eating out in incredibly fantastic Parisian cafes, bistros and brasseries. It’s always about the pleasure of food and the experience whether it’s in the preparation, eating at home, or dining out in restaurants.
From my perspective, the best recipes come from family and friends…favorites that are passed down from generation to generation. Motivated to learn how to prepare many of these incredible dishes I spent many wonderful hours discovering the secrets with my dear friend Annick and her daughter and “my Parisian daughter”, Anne, cooking and baking our favorite foods. It was important to be able to prepare these “easily “in both my Paris and LA kitchens! The key is to keep the recipe simple and be able to use it over and over again. It’s always important to use the best ingredients of pure and good quality. Fortunately, this is easy to do in both Paris and Los Angeles. A bit more difficult but still fun is adapting the recipes and the ingredients, using the right proportions, measurements, temperatures and cooking/baking times. Conversion from Metric to English measurement is challenging. Close attention needs to be paid to these variables to assure the best possible outcome! That being said, I have learned to cook and bake in a way that’s easy to do in both cities.
Desserts are a “happily ever after”. “ A party without a cake is just a meeting.” according to Julia Child and if “the best things in life are made of chocolate” then it follows that the recipe I selected is a chocolate cake. There are as many recipes for chocolate fondant as there are Parisians. But, my first taste of “Anne’s Chocolate Cake” that she prepared from scratch for dessert at her home absolutely “wowed” me and I had to learn how to prepare it and serve it to my family and friends in LA. Chocophiles everywhere will fall in love with this cake.
Chocolate Fondant – Fondant au Chocolat
Recipe is for 8 people
Preparation: 10 minutes
Baking 15 minutes
1 package 8 oz dark baking chocolate
1 tablette de chocolat noir (200 gr.)
2 oz or ¼ cup flour
50 gr. de farine
31/2oz or ½ cup sugar
100 gr. de sucre
1-Preheat oven to 400F
Prechauffez votre four à 200°C
2-Break the chocolat and butter in pieces and melt the butter and chocolat in a bowl and place in a saucepan of boiling water to melt them together. Ok to use a microwave After, stir well.
Dans un saladier, casser le chocolat puis le faire fondre avec le beurre au bain-marie – ou au micro-onde. Bien mélanger.
3- In a separate bowl , use an electric mixture or spoon to beat the eggs with the sugar and then add the flour.
Dans un autre saladier, mélanger au batteur éléctrique les oeufs avec le sucre et la farine.
4 – Fold in the chocolat butter mixture. Mix together well.
Ajouter la préparation chocolat/beurre au mélange oeufs/sucre/farine.
5- Pour the mixture into a buttered round medium size baking pan.
Déposer le mélange dans un plat rond beurré.
6- Bake 10 to 15 minutes…. check to see if it’s ready by sliding in a knife and if the knife comes out clean, the cake is ready. Leave to cool.
Faites cuire au four 10 à12 minutes. Vérifier la cuisson à l’aide d’un couteau, si le couteau est sans trace, le gâteau est cuit. Laisser le refroidir.
Attention Orange County, Los Angeles, and the Inland Empire fans:
Why LA? Pourquoi Paris? author Diane Ratican is to be featured in an interview this Sunday, February, 18, at 6:30pm PST on SundayNight Live with Bruce Cook!
Sunday Night Live with Bruce Cook
February 18th, 2018
Talk to you then!
Catch Diane Ratican on America’s Dining and Travel Show on Biz Talk Radio this Sunday, February 4th at 12pm Pacific Standard Time. Diane will be talking to host Pierre Wolfe about her book, Why LA? Pourquoi Paris?, along with winter in Paris, which museums have the best restaurants, and more awesome travel info.
Sunday, February 4
Click here to listen!
— Katherine, The Nerdy Girl Express
“This book is not a one and done read. Much like the cities Ratican describes, this is a book to be enjoyed in amuse-bouche bites. Spend time pouring over images and quotes. Delight in the detailed descriptions of the impressive cities. At times the prose is a little dry, with comparisons reading like a simple list of details. Those details, however, will ring true with those who love these cities. The reader will also recognize these details from movies, television, and musical references.”
–Tonya, Detail Oriented Traveler
“What’s really special, in my opinion, is that the text is in both French and English, and descriptions are followed by pages and pages of beautiful artwork. The illustrations were done by Eric Giriat and Nick Lu. It’s easy to stare at the pages for a while to see all the detailed work. Over the long weekend, I read the book in one sitting. The text is informative and well-written. I learned a lot about LA, and learned a few new things about Paris, too.”
–Jordana, White Cabana