Thursday, January 31


Our first night in Paris we had drinks at the famed L'Hôtel located on the rue des Beaux-Arts in the 6th arrondissement. It was at this Paris establishment, while lying on his deathbed, Oscar Wilde exclaimed: 'My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us must go.' When he realized it would be him, he concluded: 'I suppose I shall have to die above my means.' The rates are still quite superior but the atmosphere of L'Hôtel is enchanting.

The 20 guestrooms, each with its own unique character and designed by the fashionable interior designer Jacques Garcia, are centered around an impressive atrium that rises up through all six floors.

The hotel's bar is overflowing with plush velvet chairs, original Cocteau drawings and handwritten letters from Oscar Wilde. We sat in a dark, quite corner that was both intimate and discrete. But perhaps the most surprising feature of the hotel is the steam room and swimming pool in the cellar—an unheard of luxury in the 6th where space is at a premium. In keeping with the general air of privacy, only two people are allowed at one time and staff will surround the pool with candles on request. Very romantic!

Tuesday, January 29


I will start by saying that if you attend Maison&Objet do be sure to wear comfortable shoes! I on the other hand opted for cute and new. New being the operative word. Not a bright idea. Had I fully realized and appreciated the sheer size of Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center I would have worn my Ugg boots.

Overwhelming, awe-inspiring and exhilarating best describe my first visit to Maison&Objet. I quickly realized this event is much more than just a trade show, it is a magnetic pole for designers, artists, editors, media, buyers and design lovers. There is a profusion of materials, patterns and colors available at every turn and in very large quantities.

One of my very favorite vendors was Jacques Pergay. Their chandeliers are gorgeous, massive and lust-worthy! Founded over 30 years ago in Limoges, France Jacques Pergay beautifully mixes modern and traditional elements. I only wish I had a room large enough to accommodate one of these beauties.

Just one of the many, many, many beautiful and stunning showrooms.

This is the first year Michael Devine showcased his striking hand blocked fabrics at the prestigious Maison&Objet Editeurs. To the far left is one of my favorite fabrics (Garden Folly) and to the far right is the gorgeous fabric used in Aerin Lauder's Long Island master bedroom.
The fabrics were displayed as canvas, highlighting the fact that they truly are beautiful works of art. My husband and I have been thinking that hanging Micheal's "canvasses" in our entrance hall would make a fun, yet dramatic statement.

Fun and fanciful feather lamps, Mat & Jewski have been designing decorative home objects and lighting since 1999. Their style is both humorous and provocative.

a casa k. a Florence based company creates beautiful, colorful, contemporary and very affordable glassware. I would love to have a few of these in my collection.

Friday, January 25

Signing Off

We leave for Paris in the morning and return on Monday. I hope to have many wonderful photos and stories to post next week.

All the very best,

ps - just an observation as I stand here ironing - why is it that I can get more done in the 24 hours before I go away for 72 hours than I can in an entire month! In last day I have cleaned, shopped, paid bills, mailed letters and scheduled more appointments than I can count! Insane!

photo Elle Decor

Thursday, January 24

Registry Bliss

If I had the chance to do it all again, after twenty years together, I would still marry my best friend. The only thing I might do differently, given the chance, is the bridal registry. Perfect Bound recently put this enjoyable task to me and it was fun to daydream. If money were no object what five things would choose? Click here to see my choices.


After going through my wardrobe I've decided that there is nothing that I want to take to Paris with me this weekend, so I am off to shop...seems like as good an excuse as any!

Wednesday, January 23

Paris Itinerary

We leave for Paris on Saturday and I feel as though I am hardly prepared. Of course it is a very short trip, only three day and two nights, but I want to make the most of our time in the City of Lights. Maison&Objet will dominate the day on Sunday. However, Saturday is still open for suggestions. I’ve included few options below:

This legendary hangout in St-Germain-des-Prés is a tourist favorite in summer, but the neighborhood regulars reclaim it in the off-season. Les Deux Magots was once a gathering place of the intellectual elite, such as Sartre, de Beauvoir, Oscar Wilde, Picasso and Giraudoux. Inside two large statues of magots (Confucian wise men) give the cafe its name.

Brasserie Lipp is a Left Bank institution. On the day of Paris's liberation in 1944, the late owner Roger Cazes welcomed Hemingway as the first man to drop in for a drink. Then, as now, famous people often drop by for beer, wine, and conversation. Since its acquisition a few years ago by members of the Bertrand Group obtaining a table in this cultural monument is said to be much easier, and a lot less arbitrary than when Cazes granted or denied a table based on what he considered to be your worth.

Tuesday, January 22

Profile: Peter Callahan

If you’ve read Town & Country, InStyle, Quest or House Beautiful—just to name a few—chances are you’ve heard of caterer Peter Callahan. Callahan Catering has been on my radar screen for many years but it was the December 2007 ELLE article, Taste in Spades (US edition) that once again brought him back to my attention. The article appealed to my senses on many levels, but what really struck a cord was the simplicity of the menu devised by Peter and Kate Spade.

Of course, for a caterer to attract such prominent media attention and to achieve this kind of celebrity status the food and service must be first-rate. However, a combination of great food, pitch perfect presentation and a witty sense of humor is not easy to achieve. It is Peter's unique blending of these qualities that places Callahan Catering head and shoulders above the competition.

Meatballs with Spaghetti

In 1985, after a brief stint on Wall Street, he decided to trade in his financial career in exchange for one with a greater degree of creativity. For Peter, who is self-taught, it seemed like a natural move. "At a young age I was growing cultures for sour dough bread. Maybe it was because I felt sorry for my mom who is a fabulous cook and my two sisters can't boil an egg,” Peter jokes. By the time Peter went to college his love of all things culinary was full blown. “I had an equally enthusiastic roommate. We had butchered lamb and beef in the freezer and cases of Pouilly-Fuissé splits in the fridge,” he recalls.

These days his company’s clientele list reads like a who’s who—Hermes, JP Morgan, Lehman Brother, Ralph Lauren and Tiffany are just a few of Callahan Catering’s notable clients. An impressive list not withstanding, Peter is amazingly gracious, down to earth and most passionate when it comes to good food and great wine.

Cheeseburgers and Fries

How did you go from Wall Street to catering?
I went from the rock and roll side of Wall Street (the commodity trading floor) to catering, as I was wild and carefree.

What is your favorite food memory?
Watching my wife eat foie gras at Le Cirque 2000 when it first opened.

What it the one thing in life you can't live without?
My personal macrobiotic chef and guru.

What is your favorite city for dining?

Who would you most like to meet and how would you send the day
I would most like to meet Marie Antoinette and party with her if any of those movies are historically correct.

What is your idea of the perfect dinner party?
A perfect dinner party must be all overnight guests so the evening evolves into the yonder with something decadent, unexpected and lustful such as bootleg absinthe in a Goth fountain.

What is your favorite indulgence?
Warm fondue mountainside after skiing.

What food trends have outlived their shelf life?
All food trends have outlived their lives, but my least favorite is that of copying others' innovative ideas.

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
I am macrobiotic (when I can be).

What books are currently on your bedside table?
On my bedside table are no books, I’m a caterer, remember!

Profile by Ronda Carman
Photos Ross Whitaker

Monday, January 21

Art on eBay

My most recent purchase is an Alberto Giacometti graphite drawing.

Close up details
The one that got away. Once it reached $800 USD I was out of the game.

Over the years I have made some wonderful purchases on eBay. I love the thrill of the hunt and there is nothing better than snagging a great bargain, except for winning of course. We have several eBay paintings in our home and I have been very pleased with each transaction. With such a wealth of original art on eBay it can be both exciting and overwhelming. So how does one choose?

Here are a few of my general guidelines:
First and foremost I buy what I like and I try to use common sense. I am always skeptical of purchasing art described as an "authentic" work by a "famous" artist. This is certainly the case when the price seems too good to be true. I almost always search out lesser known artists or look for paintings that have come from an estate sell. I tend to be ruthless when it comes to reading a seller’s feedback and I always ask a ton of questions. So far this formula seems to work for me. Do you buy art on eBay? If so, what have been your experiences?

Friday, January 18

Roger Vivier

Shoe designer Roger Vivier

Known as the “Fabergé of footwear,” Roger Vivier created some of the most important shoes of the mid-20th century, first as designer for Christian Dior when Dior opened a shoe department in 1953. During the 1950s Vivier invented the stiletto heel, imitating the small, taper-bladed dagger for which it is named. The seductive spiky stiletto was made possible by an internal strengthening rod of steel. Vivier created other highly original heels mimicking such forms as the comma, a ball, a pyramid and escargot.

In 1963 Vivier’s opend his own Paris salon and in 1967 he created the iconic chrome-buckle, square-toe Pilgrim flat worn by Catherine Deneuve in Luis Buñuel’s 1967 film Belle du Jour. Catherine turned the shoe into an overnight must-have that remains a classic to this day.

The classic Catherine Deneuve in Belle du Jour

Vivier died in 1998 at the age of 90 but his spirit lives on in a brand that is now stronger than ever, thanks to creative director Bruno Frisoni. In 2001, Frisoni was asked to inject modernity into the rich heritage of the brand.

“Our ambition,” says Frisoni, “is to create a brand, not to set up another shoe shop.” An art critic recently argued that Vivier shoes are high art, on a par with a Picasso or a Canaletto.

For Frisoni, who cites Cate Blanchett and Isabelle Huppert among his muses, “They are like jewels for the feet. They are a subtle and powerful luxury. Sexy, but never garish. The shoe is an accessory of seduction. Seduction is the watchword of my designs at Roger Vivier.”

Examples of Vivier’s designs are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Musée de la Mode et du Textile in the Palais du Louvre, Paris. I think Roger Vivier would be pleased.

Thursday, January 17

Profile: Carolina Zapf

Clothing designer Carolina Zapf

Photo Hampton Style Magazine

The lovely, German-born Carolina Zapf is the founder of CZ and Baby CZ clothing companies. A clothing line that focuses on heirloom quality children's wear in rich, cozy materials such as cashmere, linen and cotton.

Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Carolina was raised in a distinctly modern and bohemian home. Her father is renowned furniture designer Otto Zapf and her mother Rosalie is a avid collector of '60s and '70s haute couture. “Design meant everything in our Bauhaus-influenced house,” she proudly proclaims.

Carolina came to the U.S. to study fashion & millinery at F.I.T. (The Fashion Institute of Technology) and designed women's wear for 12 years. In 2002 she decided to focus on luscious two-ply cashmere as the foundation for a new children's line that catered to chic new parents. Since founding Baby CZ Carolina’s designs have been recognized and touted by some of the very best including, Gotham, Town & Country, Vanity Fair and InStyle. Very chic indeed.

What influence did your parents have on you as a clothing designer
I grew up in my father’s workshop looking at his design and discussing them for hours. My father is a minimalist and believes that less is more. Creating simple, functional design that pleases and comforts requires patience and commitment. The Bauhaus aesthetic has always been a strong influence on his work.

Even while being minimalist in their home, my parents always embraced fashion – sometimes being quite flamboyant in their style. They embraced the designs of Daniel Hechter, Cacharel, Courreges, Jil Sander and Armani—very modern for their time.

Both of my parents believe in beauty and not to shock the eye, it is all about enhancing your life and the way you look, not taking away from it.

What inspires your designs and creativity?
I have three children that constantly astound me with the way they change and see the world. I love to travel and take a lot of inspiration from places I have been, such as Vietnam and Africa. Even though we are a very classic modern line, there always has to be a fresh look to what we do.

What is your secret for designing clothes that are not only beautiful but functional as well?
Children are the toughest critics. If they are not comfortable, they will not wear it. Adults will put up with a lot in order to look good, but for children it is all about functionality and feeling good. I try to design clothes that will keep children looking like children. I like designs that are modern, but will stand up to trends.

Who is your style icon?
My mother

What it the one thing in life you can’t live without?
My family

What do you consider to be a true luxury in life

Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day
Sissi, the Empress of Austria. I would love to spend a day seeing all the details and beauty in her very lonely and complicated life.

What books are on your bedside table
Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell: Adventurer, Adviser to Kings, Ally of Lawrence of Arabia

Editor's note: A special thanks to Patricia van Essche for introducing me to Carolina.

Wednesday, January 16

Untitled, 2008

Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate, 1967

When it came to choosing a college major indecision was my middle name. Every semester I would meet with an academic advisor to discuss the merits of fashion merchandising, art history, elementary education and meteorology. I would smile and nod in appreciation for the sage council then happily sign the forms declaring a new major.

When my parents threatened to suspend college funding I tried explaining to them that I was a Renaissance woman, with many and varied interests, how could they possibly expect me to make a life commitment without sampling all the various options available. My arguments feel on deaf ears.

It was then that my father decided I should pursue marketing if I wanted to continue my college education. I may be stubborn but I am not stupid and I quickly realized the intrinsic worth of declaring marketing as my chief area of study. Early on I felt like Ben Braddock, a recent college graduate with no well-defined aim in life.

For the vast majority of my adult life I have worked as a professional fundraiser. Of course, being true to character, there have been detours along the way, but I have always come back to the non-profit world. However, no matter how much I have enjoyed the work, there is still one overriding desire I have yet to pursue—writing. Once I started All the Best it became my one consuming passion.

As many regular readers know, I resigned my fulltime career this past October in order to chase this dream. I have always believed that if you do what you love the money will follow and somehow I have managed to convince my husband of this truth. Now I need to take action, which is a very good thing, I work best under pressure and accountability.

My first plan of attack is to learn more about the world of freelance writing. Something I need to do in very short order. I have many wonderful trips planned for this year and I would love to write about them for a national publication (newspaper or magazine). These including a trip next week to Paris for the Maison&Objet Interior Design Exhibition; a trip to Brussels; a tour of boutique California wineries, a second trip to Paris this summer; and various trips around Scotland.

If you have other thoughts, ideas, advice or an interest in one or more of these stories (especially Maison&Objet), do feel free to contact me. As always, I am grateful to everyone who reads this blog each day.

All the best,

Tuesday, January 15


A reader of the blog Style Court is trying to learn more about this graphic fabric used by Billy Baldwin for the Kellogg residence (circa 1969 - hard to believe). So far there have been no definitive answers and now I am obsessed with finding out who designed this great fabric. I would love to recover two of our chairs! If you have any thoughts or idea please let me know.

Image Billy Baldwin Decorates, 1972


My post on the House of Creed got me to thinking about another iconic fragrance with aristocratic British ties. Since its launch in 1870, Penhaligon’s has established a reputation for luxury fragrances of the highest caliber. Synonymous with style and quality, the company was founded by the witty, eccentric and wildly creative William Penhaligon.

Born in Penzance, he moved to London in the late 1860s and set up a barbershop next door to the decadent Hammam Turkish baths in Piccadilly. In 1872 he fused his first fragrance, a crazy conception inspired, rather strangely, by the steam and sulphur of the Hammam and thus Hammam Bouquet was created.

He further secured his reputation by creating scents for the nobility of his day. Blenheim Bouquet, created for the Duke of Marlborough in 1902, was to become a particular favorite of another distinguished icon of that family, Winston Churchill. Gentlemen's scents up to this time were usually rich and floral; Blenheim Bouquet was one of the first citrus scents created. With a bright and zesty lemon scent, it remains to date one of the company’s best selling men’s fragrances.

By the end of Queen Victoria's reign, William Penhaligon had been appointed Barber and Perfumer to the Royal Court. Since that time, Penhaligon's has been awarded Royal Warrants by Her Majesty Queen Alexandra in 1903, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh in 1956 and, most recently, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales in 1988.

By the early 1970's, Penhaligon's catered largely to the great and good whose families had used the Company's products for generations. A new era began with the opening of the flagship store in Covent Garden in 1975 and other shops have since been established in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Windsor, Chester, Madison Avenue in New York and Rue St Honore in Paris.

Monday, January 14

Edward Quinn

Edward Quinn's Rivera Cocktail

A beautiful and serene Grace Kelly

Brigitte Bardot in mambo scene from ‘And God Created Woman’, 1956

Edward Quinn's long time friend Picasso

Irish photographer Edward Quinn (1920-1997) photographed some of the most iconic figures of the 20th Century. Quinn was a fixture on the French Riviera during the 1950s, when the area’s great hotels and casinos returned to top form after the ravages of WWII. Quinn was witness to the Riviera’s social life and at the epicentre of its glitz and glamour.

Before the era of private photographers and press agents Quinn gained access to the darlings of the day through a very simple, yet powerful means—his charm.

For some stars, Quinn even helped broker future success—his pictures of a then-unknown Audrey Hepburn won Hollywood's attention and it was Quinn who orchestrated the first meeting between Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III. In 1951 he introduced himself to Picasso, spawning a life-long friendship that allowed him to capture a seldom-seen private side of that very public genius.

Edward Quinn’s Riviera, chronicled in Rivera Cocktail, remains an enduring and timeless place to retreat.

All photos from the Edward Quinn Archive. All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 13

Soup on Sunday

Over the Christmas holidays we had the most delicious (and spicy) curry laksa. Curry laksa (in many places referred to simply as “laksa”) is a coconut-based curry soup. The main ingredients for most versions of curry laksa include either tofu, fish, shrimp or chicken. Laksa is commonly served with a spoonful of chilli paste and is traditionally garnished with Vietnamese coriander.

I am depserate to recreate this wonderful soup at home. Here are the ingredients for my fist attempt. If you know of any great recipes please do share!

All the best,

2 tbsp groundnut oil or other flavourless oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
150ml canned coconut milk
120ml fish stock
4 kaffir lime leaves
2 tbsp roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
200g fine rice noodles, cooked and drained
24 tiger prawns, cooked
chopped mint and green onion for garnish

For the red curry paste
2 red chillies
2 lemon grass stalks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small piece root ginger, coarsely chopped
4 shallots, chopped
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp dried shrimp paste

First make the red curry paste. Put the chillies, lemon grass, ginger, garlic, shallots, turmeric and shrimp paste and into a blender and blend until smooth.
Heat the groundnut oil in a heavy-based saucepan and fry the curry paste and shallots and garlic all until soft and fragrant - about 5 minutes.
Pour in the coconut milk and stock. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add the kaffir lime leaves. Stir in the peanuts.

To serve, place the pre-prepared rice noodles in a large bowl, layering prawns on top, then pour the soup over and garnish with coriander, green onion and chopped mint. Serve at once.

I love this soup with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. My personal favorite is St. Supéry. Of course it would be equally good with Gewurztraminer. Enjoy!

Serves 2

flickr photo

Saturday, January 12

Shopping on Saturday

The gracious Michael Devine and my morning cup of coffee are the inspiration for Shopping on Saturday. For Christmas Michael sent me a tin of MarieBelle Honduran coffee. This is the first time I’ve had a cup since retuning from the States and it’s delicious!

Since 2000, MarieBelle New York has been pleasing fans with their delightful collection of delicate, luxurious chocolates, confections, hot chocolate, coffees and teas. MarieBelle's signature line of chocolates combines the finest chocolate with skilled artisan techniques to create edible works of art, simply delightful!

Friday, January 11

House of Creed

seventh generation Parfumeur Erwin Creed

These days, when the perfume industry is increasingly dominated by heavily advertised brands, it’s refreshing to know there still exists a discreet family-owned perfume house dedicated to the creation of highly original fragrances of extravagant quality.

The House of Creed was founded in 1760 when James Henry Creed opened his first shop in London. It rapidly became a favorite of the aristocracy and soon Queen Victoria appointed Creed as an official supplier to the Royal household. In 1854, under the patronage of Empress Eugénie, the House of Creed moved to Paris where it still operates. Today Olivier Creed, direct descendant of James Henry Creed, continues the tradition as Createur Parfumeur and President of the House of Creed.

When I was home visiting family in Houston this past November I had the opportunity to meet seventh generation Parfumeur and designated future head of the company Erwin Creed. Creed has long been one of my favorite fragrances, so it was quite fascinating to meet M. Creed over a glass of champagne at Neiman Marcus.

Over the years the Creed family has produced over two hundred perfumes, all original and hand-made, often creating fragrances for the exclusive use of their wealthiest customers. My personal favorites include Silver Mountain Water, Spring Flower and Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare.

House of Creed commissioned fragrances:
Royal English Leather, commissioned by King George III in 1781
Fleurs de Bulgarie, commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1845
Jasmin Imperatrice Eugénie, for the Empress Eugénie
Angélique Encens, for Marlene Dietrich
Jasmal, for Natalie Wood
Fleurissimo, commissioned for Grace Kelly's marriage to Prince Rainier
Millésime Impérial, for King Faisal of Saudi Arabi
Sélection Verte, for Cary Grant
Fleurs de Thé Rose Bulgare, for Ava Gardner
Cuir de Russie, for Errol Flynn

- Follow up post -
Yesterday I posted only House of Creed commissioned fragrances, but a comment by Things That Inspire inspired me to list other popular Creed fragrances and Creed admirers.
Vetiver, worn by John F. Kennedy
Tabarome, worn by Winston Churchill
Green Irish Tweed, worn by Prince Charles and George Clooney
Silver Mountain Water, worn by David Bowie
Spring Flower, worn by Audrey Hepburn
Fleurissimo, worn by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Thursday, January 10

Isle of Jura

Jura, a small Hebridean island and producer of Jura single malt is home to 3,000 deer and 180 people. Many have described the island as isolated and otherworldly. Little wonder George Orwell came here to write 1984 more than 50 years ago. Orwell described the island as "an extremely un-get-at-able place". That much hasn't changed. Even for those of us who live in Scotland.

You can fly to neighboring Islay (pronounced eye-la) from Glasgow but most people drive. It’s a three-hour journey from Glasgow to Kennacraig, followed by a two-hour ferry to Islay and a five-minute hop across to Jura.

Jura is an island rich in history, myths and superstitions. Excavations show it welcomed some of the oldest settlements in Scotland over 8,000 years ago. It also became a Viking stronghold, while its ancient graveyard at Kilearnadil boasts a number of Knights Templar gravestones and is reputedly the resting place of a saint.

Those who make the trek to Jura have always come of their own accord. Mostly it has been for the seclusion, Jura’s famous single malts and jagged landscapes. While all are perfectly good enticements, my exacting motivator is the Jura Lodge.

Opened in late 2006 and designed by French designer Bambi Sloan,
the delightfully over decorated lodge boasts high-thread-count linens, a vast kitchen, stags heads, Bakelite phones and plenty of whisky. "No plastic!" was Bambi Sloan's edict when she began conceptualizing and collating furniture and decorative pieces for the lodge.

To capture the spirit of the island, where the rugged meets twee, she combed the flea markets of France and Belgium, as well as Spanish emporia for delicate vintage linens, lace, glass, leather and metalwork to complement the rugged tooth-and-claw elements.

Its two massive floors can accommodate up to eight people and comes complete with a live-out housekeeper. Perfect for endless conversations around a wee dram, peat burning fires and views of the amazing Jura sky.

Wednesday, January 9


In the last few days the number of visitors to my blog have more than doubled. I know that over time exponential growth is normal, but I would love to know how you found All the Best (google search, newspaper, magazine, another blog). As always I welcome your thoughts and comments.

All the best,

Tuesday, January 8


In a few days I will profile the fabulous caterer Peter Callahan. A recent email exchange with Peter reminded me of my aperitif of choice over the Thanksgiving holiday. It was in New Mexico, sitting by a roaring fire, that I discovered the lovely concoction of Pernod and ice cold water. Admired by generations of artists, from Van Gogh and Manet to Wilde and Poe, for its unique color and refined taste, Pernod has been a popular drink in France for many years.

Pernod is generally considered a pastis, an anise-flavored liqueur, typically containing 40–45% alcohol by volume, hence the reason to mix it with water. The traditional mixture is four parts cold water to one part pastis. As a side note I have been told to never drink it with ice. When absinthe was banned in France in 1915, the major absinthe producers (then Pernod Fils and Ricard, who have since merged as Pernod Ricard) reformulated their drink without the banned wormwood component.

A premium liqueur, it boasts a natural anise flavor derived from a distilled blend of aromatic herbs. Its relative in Greece is Ouzo, in Italy Sambuca and in Turkey Raki. The exotic bouquet, when tasted neat, is potent and bittersweet, but with the addition of water, it turns milky-opaque and has a long, liquorice-like finish.

Chefs worldwide have an appreciation for Pernod's ability to flavor the meal without overpowering its natural taste. I’ve just discovered this wonderful mussel recipe that I plan to making over the weekend. As a general rule Pernod should be added at the end of the cooking process to yield the best flavor. Enjoy!

Mussels with Pernod And Cream
1 1/3 cups sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)
1 1/4 cups dry white wine
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed, debearded
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons Pernod
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Combine sliced leeks and dry white wine in large pot. Add mussels. Bring to boil over high heat. Cover pot and cook until mussels open, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, transfer mussels to medium bowl (discard any mussels that do not open). Add whipping cream and Pernod to pot; boil until liquid is slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Mix in chopped parsley. Return mussels and any accumulated juices to pot. Simmer until mussels are warmed through, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper.

Serve mussels with broth and good bread for dipping!
Serves 2

photos flickr