Posts Tagged ‘France’

Chef Laurent Paccini – Le Saint-Paul de Vence

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

April 16th – Dinner

In 2005 I met Chef Laurent Paccini in Lago di Garda.   Although it would be almost seven years later before we saw each other again,  I knew the time spent with then sous Chef Laurent Paccini and Chef Ricardo Camanini at Villa Fiordaliso was something incredibly special and meaningful.  It was this encounter that landed me in the kitchen for four hours and that put all chefs in a different light.

Now, Le Saint-Paul Vence  and the feast that was about to unfold.  I needed more than yoga and an ab workout after this decadent display of Italian and French cuisine.  Laurent you truly set the bar high.  Looking forward to the next masterpiece.


The Arrival


Tony near the courtyard


2008 Domaine Olivier Leflaive “Les Deux Rives” Chablis


Amuse Bouche


Foie Gras Poêlé, Asperges et sorbet au vin chaud Pan fried Foie Gras with Asparagus and mulled wine sorbet


Les Escargots – - Tarte fine d’escargot persillés, crème d’ail et parmesan Thin pastry snail tart with parsley, cream of garlic and parmesan


Nicholas Potel – 2003 Clos Saint-Denis


Le Risotto – - Risotto aux noisettes du Piedmont, citrons confits et Bagoss Hazelnut risotto, lemon confit, and Bagoss cheese


L’Agneau – - Selle rôtie et confit d’agneau, céréales épicées Roast saddle of lamb & lamb confit, with spices


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Le Ris de veau

Ris de veau laqué au café, purée légère de legumes

Coffee glazed sweet breads, served with vegetable purée

Le Porcelet Porcelet rôti, manioc et mini carottes Roasted suckling pig with Manioc and mini carrots


Lions de Suduiraut – Sauternes 2009


Le Chocolate Dessert


Le Sablé – Sablé aux céréales et fruits exotiques Shortcrust pastry with grains and exotic fruit.




Tony & Chef Laurent Paccini


Chef Laurent Paccini, Walid (chef de rang) & Frédéric BERNARD (maitre d’hotel)


With Chef Laurent Paccini


This evening with Chef Laurent was truly one of the best meals I’ve had to this day.  Not only did I reconnect with a friend but, I also had the opportunity to experience a meal prepared by a friend whose culinary talents are absolutely extraordinary.

There are several key elements I strive to connect with when dinning and enjoying wine – - reverence, wisdom and vision.  Thanks to Chef Laurent, who embodies those elements and execute them without missing a step, this experience was above and beyond anything I could have planned.  You must make the trip to Le Saint-Paul to experience Chef Laurent’s expertise.  Whenever I’m in the Côte d’Azur, you can be sure to find me back at Le Saint-Paul.

Laurent – - Bravo!!!!!!

Le Tilleul – Lunch in Saint Paul de Vence

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

April 15th

Heeding the advice of our driver to visit Saint Paul de Vence, a medieval town on the French Riviera we landed in this lovely little restaurant  Le Tilleul, which turned out to be exceptionally delicious.  This weighty Meursault paired extremely well with the canard.  I love it when the unexpected turns into something wonderful.  The dessert was as delightful as it appears to be and yes this comes with a price – - a longer yoga session and more ab work.

Saint Paul de Vence – Le Tilleul


Saint Paul de Vence – Le Tilleul


Saint Paul de Vence – Le Tilleul


After enjoying a really great lunch at Le Tilleul a stroll through the streets of Saint Paul de Vence was quite the treat.  As artists displayed their work and drew the casual passerby into spaces unattended do to the mundane events of daily life, you could truly get a since of how special this medieval town is and has always been.

Saint Paul de Vence


Saint Paul de Vence


Saint Paul de Vence


Saint Paul de Vence


As this little excursion came to a close right before leaving the walled town, a map of Saint Paul de Vence dispalyed a Relais & Chateaux property – - how could I have missed a Relais & Chateaux property.  Off we went to find Le Saint-Paul.  As we made our way back through the town, we remembered a sous chef we’d met in Lago di Garda who moved to the Côte d’Azur and was working at a Relais & Chateaux property but, I could not remember the village where he landed.

Arriving just a few doors where we ended our strolling about the town, was the entrance to Le Saint-Paul.  The courtyard and outdoor dining was unbelievable – - very quaint and picturesque.  Full of excitement and hoping this would be where the sous chef from Lago di Garda had settled in, I immediately asked for the chef.  As the attendant enter one door, out walks Chef Laurent Paccini from another – - we all were speechless and shocked.  We all looked like three dear caught in headlights.  And then the laughter and welcomed embraces followed.  For a moment it felt as if we were all were back in Italy preparing to be wowed with amazing food and drink.  Laurent immediately offered lunch but, having  just stuffed ourselves we could only do dessert, again.  Mmmmmmm….yummy  cannoli.  This is how all cannoli should taste.  After catching up, Laurent insisted we dine at Le Saint-Paul as he wanted to prepare a special menu to welcome us, how could we say no.  So right then and there he laid out the menu.  How exciting, not only were we reconnecting but, a special menu was being prepared to celebrate this encounter.


Le Saint-Paul


Le Saint-Paul, 2 of the 3 dear


Le Saint-Paul, Cannoli


Chef Laurent Paccini – making our reservation


Chef Laurent Paccini – Creating a masterpiece, our menu


Stay tuned for – - Another “Once in a lifetime” experience, Le Menu.  But up next, Le Sloop of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat.


My Little Silver Box – Champagne Wishes & Caviar Dreams

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Now that I’ve dated myself with the “Champagne Wishes & Caviar Dreams” title, I must thank Mr. Leach for introducing me to Monte Carlo and the finer things in life.   My quest to maintain and nurture that introduction has come full circle with my travels and career in the wine industry.

As the Director of Marketing and Special Events at MacArthur Beverages, my relationship and approach to wine is that of a living work of art.  This qualitative and character base assessment of wine dances quite well with my philosophy of life and tastes – - give your best and accept only the best.  This is where my encounter with Silversea, my little silver box began four years ago.

Silversea & Gonet-Medeville

Friday, May 13th finally arrived and I was all set to embark on another Silversea cruise in the Mediterranean with food, wine and opulence as the priority.  Before the appointed day of embarkation, I relied on my past travel experiences to lead the way by arriving several days ahead of the actual departure date, something you must consider to avoid any mishaps with luggage, flights and missing the ship.  I did and the choice of lodging was the incredible La Réserve de Beaulieu.

The following series of postings will began with day 1 in Beaulieu-sur-Mer and end with day 11 at the port of Civitavecchia.

Please sit back, relax and allow this unhurried voyage to unfold through my unhurried posts.


Les Halles – Chef Davy TISSOT – Lyon, France – Day 2

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Day breaks and the experience of a lifetime began:

 Les Halles de Lyon


Les Halles

Upon entering Les Halles de Lyon, I got the chance to return to my former “Rock Star” status when I recorded with the band Arrested Development, minus the fromage, escargot, cuisses de grenouille and Davy but, it was Davy who caused this photo /  autograph signing craziness.  The attention and sheer admiration for Davy as we walked through Les Halles was genuine and well deserved.  He took time to be photographed and sign autographs for every foodie willing to wait and wait they did.


The opportunity to experience one-on-one the method in which a chef of Davy’s stature selects product was absoultely priceless.  So, like any kid in a candy store when the adult says what do you what to try – - I said everything and everything is what I got.   Not only did I get to meet some of the most respected and sought after food purveyors in Lyon but, I also managed to taste my way through the entire market missing nothing, well almost nothing, the raw stuff.   I love cheese but, after this encounter I can officially say “Cheese for Life.”  If I even asked about a particular cheese, I had to taste it.  So my appreciation for cheese deepened after this “you ask about it, you taste it” session.

Cheese for all


Cheese Lesson, Foodies & Davy


This says it all!!!

Cheese Ambassador


Dried Fruit


Foie Gras


Macaron – Foie Gras de Canard






Grenouilles Sauvages




Atelier de Cuisine




Davy & Ms. Colette Sibilia


Just when I thought it could not get better, it did.  Davy suggested we dine at Pierre Orsi – - how could we say no.  As we left Les Halles, within minutes we found ourselves face-to-face with Monsieur Pierre Orsi .  Again Davy’s humility and sheer generosity came through as he did the formal introductions.  After Monsieur Orsi learned I was in the wine business he immediately sent us to the cellar for a tour.


Cellar of Pierre Orsi – 1891 Haut Batailley


Pierre Orsi Entrance


This outing to Les Halles and being introduced to Monsieur Orsi by Davy is a once in a lifetime experience.  I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had this encounter and to know I’ve a friend in Lyon whose attention and perfection in the kitchen are natural extensions of his character.  I’ve grown accustom to these visits and am looking forward to the return.  If you’re there when I am, let’s share a bottle or two and delight in Davy’s passion. The expereince is worth the trip.

By the way, please remember if you’re planning to dine out on Sundays, make sure you make reservations ahead of time.  I didn’t and this was my dinner and view.


Chante-Alouette 2005

Man can not live by bread alone but, add a bottle of Chapoutier’s Chante-Alouette and it’s doable.

My View

Chef Davy TISSOT & Villa Florentine – Lyon, France – Day 1

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Ahhh…the second experience.  In fact it was my second visit to Lyon which led me to Villa Florentine  and to Chef Davy TISSOT, Meilleur Ouvrier de France 2004 (M.O.F) and Michelin starred Les Terrasses de Lyon.

Chef Davy TISSOT

This was my third trip to Lyon but, my second stay at Villa Florentine, which turned out to be another great experience in personal care and generosity.  It was this experience that brings me back and one I believe every guest receives at this amazing property.  This particular visit in 2009 was rather interesting due to the fact that I squeezed it in several days before my work in Bordeaux began.  Thank you easyJet!!!

We arrived late Friday afternoon to find Davy, correction Chef TISSOT, but he’s dear friend so, Davy engaged in a very intense interview.  True to form, he suddenly stopped, greeted us and ordered Champagne and hors d’oeuvres to welcome us back – - quite exquisite, I must say but, it’s Davy!!!!

Hors d’oeuvres – Treats from Davy

After greetings were exchanged, we excused ourselves and allow the interview to continue.  Once we checked in and met up with Davy,  he invited us to visit Les Halles de Lyon with him the following morning.  Now that Saturday’s agenda was set, my focus shifted to dinner for the evening.   In keeping with the routine, during dinner I made my way to the kitchen, snapped a few shots and still managed to enjoy the incredible meal Davy and his team perfected.

Villa Florentine Restaurant













Foie Gras




Cheese Cart







Happy Ending – Sweet Treats


The Team


During dinner in the kitchen with Davy

After dining and wining until the wee hours of the morning, the realization of sleep deprivation was upon me.  With the anticipation of Les Halles in the morning, bed called and I answered.  Day 2 up next Les Halles