food. family. life.

what i was reading… 3.september.2013

Happy September! I hope you enjoyed a lazy and relaxing Labor Day weekend with your family and friends. As I sit quietly enjoying this new day, I hope you take a moment to see what I was reading and observing on this last weekend of August:

1. FOOD.  New discoveries are always exciting in the world of food. Macarons. This jewel of French pastries was something of an unknown for me and my famiglia so I decided it was time to learn about this sweet confection.

I discovered a new spot at Mercato in Naples called “Le Macaron Naples“, owned and operated by Carmen and George Bratu, a lovely husband and wife team who have their original shop in Sarasota and who specialize in this unique French treat.

le macaron naples

le macaron naples

The girls and I visited Carmen and George’s shop and decided to try some of their sweet creations. What did we learn about the French macaron?

It is a French dessert, with a shell made of egg whites and almond flour and then filled with a variety of naturally flavored jams, ganaches and creams. Le Macaron Naples‘ current display includes a total of 15 various flavors, each with its own personal aroma and taste.

Their macarons are made by a French pastry chef who studied at the world-famous cooking institute, Le Nôtre, in Paris, France. I was impressed, as chef Didier creates the macarons from scratch using a recipe he has perfected. He uses three types of almonds at different stages of growth which produces the perfect desired consistency in the macarons they offer at their shop.

Le Macaroon_2

Le Macaron, Naples (Mercato)

There are NO artificial flavors or preservatives and all the base and flavor ingredients are 100% natural. Each individually hand-crafted macaron is 80 calories, gluten-free and they create a beautiful array of colors in the display case.

They are light as air, crispy and sweet; you will find some flavors cater to a deeper flavor, less sweet while others are more subtle and sweet.

Do take a moment to stop in and visit Carmen and George at Le Macaron Naples at 9100 Strada Place, unit 2115, Naples, Florida at Mercato and tell them I sent you.

Here is a list of their current delicious flavors to try and remember to bring some home to family and friends:

Belgian chocolate, basil white chocolate, black currant, rose, walnut, Colombian coffee, gingerbread, coconut, passion fruit dark chocolate, Sicilian pistachio, caramel fleur de sel, lemon cream, raspberry, Madagascar black vanilla, strawberry lime.

2. MUSICA. In keeping with the French theme, I decided to spend some time re-listening to an old French favorite of mine, the famous singer, Edith Piaf, who was referred to as “the little sparrow“. She was famous in the 1940’s and worked with many famous and talented composers on her song collections and albums.

I was introduced to this French songstress in my college years by my beloved drawing professor from Italy who adored her songs and played them during our life drawing sessions. I learned to love her songs in a short period; she has been in my music collection for many years.

Take a moment to read about Ms. Piaf and listen to her songs; you will soon find yourself lost in her lyrics as I often do when I need a French music escape. My personal song favorites? La Vie en Rose, C’est l’Amour and Mon Dieu are on the top of my list.

3. ART. My art connection this week are the works of Edgar Degas, a French artist, who worked in various mediums including paint and scultures. Some of his most famous collections focus on the subject of dancers, another form of art I adore. I especially love his sketches and drawings which capture the beauty and movement of the dancers who were his subjects at the time.

Note: Daniel is having an art opening and live sketch session this Friday, September 6th at the Sidney Berne Davis Art Center. I cordially invite you to attend as he is showing a new paintings as well as collaborating again with Dance Bochette and their talented dancers for a live sketch session prior to their performance. Visit Daniel’s art page ( for more details on this upcoming art event!

two dancers resting (edgar degas) courtesy of

4. FASHION. Have you ever wanted to know the insider secrets of French fashion and how French women dress? I found this wonderful fashion blog, created and written by Preston called “Keep It Chic“, where she features great tips and photos of French street fashion that is simple to duplicate at home.

This blog features luxury designer apparel on the shop tab for those with a large budget. I love to scan this link for fashion inspiration, then search and find items at affordable prices at my local fashion haunts. Check out the fabrics, colors and textures discussed for every season and be sure to add some incredible French fashion flair to your fashion closet this year.

 Ciao per addesso!

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