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Recipes & Entertaining Ideas

Filtering by Tag: Parisian

Eric Goujou's Paris Essentials

Marc J. Sievers


When I was in Paris earlier this year putting the final touches on my new book, I couldn’t wait to visit my dear friend Eric Goujou at his gorgeous shop, La Tuile à Loup! Filled with beautiful, handcrafted French ceramics, La Tuile à Loup is a regular stop for many of the world’s most well-known tastemakers. I own several of his pieces and I love how much personality they bring to a room or a table! Eric himself has impeccable taste, so I wanted to learn a bit more about his everyday life in Paris and his favorite Parisian spots. Take notes for your next Paris adventure!

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What is your house meal?

Orange-Braised Carrots and Parsnips. Most of my friends in Paris are vegetarian and I have a few intolerances. 

There is a stew from one of Ina Garten's books called The Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, which I love and I do my own version. Because I do not know how to follow a recipe, I always do an interpretation.   Alternatively, I will cook fish. In France it is a very easy go-to meal. 

A fresh fish (Sea Bass, Turbot, John Dory, Dorado) with olive oil, salt and pepper in the oven for about 20-30 minutes. Served with roasted veggies. I cook this at least twice a week. 

 How would you describe your entertaining style?

My entertaining style might look formal at first because being a perfectionist, I like to do things just the way I envisioned it in my mind. Nevertheless, it is essential that people feel at ease when they sit around the table. I love to set a table. 

Eric’s Paris Faves:

For Everyday Essentials

  • Le Bon Marche Rive Gauche - 24 Rue de Sèvres 75007 PARIS

The Best Cocktails

  • Bar Hemingway at The Ritz - Place Vendome 75001 Paris

Favorite Florists

  • Traditional: Georges Francois - 38 Rue Delambre 75014 Paris

  • Modern: Lily Valley - 101 Rue Monge 75005 Paris 

Favorite Spots for Dinner with Visiting Friends

  • David Toutain - 29 Rue Surcouf 75007 Paris

  • Shouk - 59 Rue de Lancry 75010 Paris

For a quiet cup of coffee

  • Telescope - 5 Rue Villedo 75001 Paris

#bts at La Tuile à Loup

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Eclectic Parisian Table Setting

Marc J. Sievers


Regardless of where I am entertaining, whether at my home in Chicago, or while I am traveling, a beautiful table is always where I begin. When I was in Paris working on my new book, I invited some friends over and decided to set a table that was a little different than what I would normally do at home: something more eclectic and colorful that would be the perfect backdrop to a lively and fun evening! I began to build this table setting with some gorgeous pink hydrangeas (my favorite flower!) that I found at the market. Hydrangeas do not have a scent and I paired them with white unscented candles, so as to not have anything competing with the smell of the delicious food on the table!

When it comes to layering the table, now is the time to bring out some of those amazing and interesting pieces you have collected over the years but haven’t had a chance to use yet. The more colorful, the better! Instead of worrying about everything matching, think about a single color that you want to showcase, like I have done here with pink- the color is highlighted not only in the flowers, but on the placemats and on the small plates I have used in the setting. The only rule here is to have fun with the process and show off your favorite pieces!

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Assembled Parisian Dessert

Marc J. Sievers


Fabulous desserts do not always have to involve a long list of ingredients or an even longer list of steps to create. My Assembled Parisian Dessert comes together quickly, without sacrificing an ounce of what we love when we just want something delicious and sweet! It’s also a great way to show off any beautiful platters that you wish you used more often! The star of this recipe is fromage blanc, a soft creamy cheese from France.  It is low fat but still has a luxurious texture and delicate flavor, making it a perfect pairing for fresh strawberries and butter cookies. It is also fun to experiment with the fromage blanc; you can add fresh herbs for the summer or add cinnamon for a bit of warmth in the fall. It is an incredibly versatile French cheese and I know that once you give it a try, it will become a staple in your kitchen!

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Ingredients (serves 6)

  • Fromage Blanc - 8 ounces, at room temperature

  • Honey – 3 tablespoons

  • Fleur de Sel – ¼ teaspoon

  • Dark Chocolate - 2 ounces, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish, 72% Cacao recommended

  • Butter Cookies, for serving

  • Fresh Strawberries, for serving

  • Mint, for garnish 


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the fromage blanc, honey, Fleur de Sel and dark chocolate. 

  2. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle the top with more chopped chocolate and place it on a serving platter.  Serve with butter cookies, strawberries or even pound cake.  Garnish the platter with fresh mint.  Serve at room temperature.

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My Intimate Affair with Paris, in Chicago!

Marc J. Sievers

P.O.S.H. Chicago

In the June issue of Chicago-Woman Magazine, my article INSPIRÈ: A Curated Collection of Parisian Inspiration featured local Chicago boutiques bursting at the seams with fabulous Parisian flare!  As a regular ORD to CDG traveler, there were still more of my favorite Chicago spots with a French accent that I wanted to share with you.  This “Toddlin’ Town” we all love and adore is replete with ways to take a mini Paris-inspired stay-cation just by climbing into the back of an Uber!  From flowers, to bakeries, to hotel silver, fragrance, and French fries, I hope you enjoy a look into my intimate affair with Paris, in Chicago!

Christine Noelle Design

When I stumbled upon Christine Noelle Design tucked away on Oak Street, I was instantly inspired and transported to which is a favorite floral boutique of mine in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood of Paris, on Rue de Babylone.  Christine’s charming, colorful, and delicate studio in Chicago is about simplicity at its best!  Her studio is filled with fresh blooms, rustic farm tables, and French antique touches that set her well apart from others in the city.  Both studios are a must visit!

Flowers: by Christine Noelle Design.  A full service flower studio filled with a fresh daily selection of unique and one-of-a-kind blooms, celebrating each season, while manipulating color, texture, and composition to strike beauty and balance.  Individual blooms and full arrangements available. 

Christine Noelle Design

106 East Oak Street, Chicago, IL 60610


Hendrickx Bakery

At Hendrickx Bakery in the Gold Coast, it starts with top quality ingredients:  the best butter directly imported from France, artisanal flour, and lots of patience (as it takes them 18 hours to prepare fold after fold for the perfect croissant dough).  The result is irresistible, light, airy, buttery, flaky.  Your challenge—decide which of their twelve varieties to choose from!  Walking into Hendrickx, which also serves salads, soups, tartines, and other Parisian essentials, is like walking into a patisserie in Paris – instant charm, warmth, and amazing food!  The next time you are in Paris, check out Mamie Gateaux for simple country cakes, food, and charm!

Croissants:  by Hendrickx Bakery.  Discover our artisanal breads, croissants, macarons and pastries.  Enjoy a home-made sandwich or soup or salad, all prepared from scratch on the premises by Belgian Chef Renaud Hendrickx and his inspired team.  Before you leave, don't forget to take a peak in the all open kitchen, who knows, Renaud might offer you a sample of one of his new products!

Hendrickx Bakery

100 E Walton Street, Chicago, IL 60611



Synonymous with French fragrance, diptyque threw opens its doors in Chicago in November 2012 on North Damen Avenue in Wicker Park.  The incredibly elegant and sophisticated interiors by Jennifer Studio gives you the feeling of stepping inside a jewel box filled with complex and layered textiles, finishes, and of course some of the most cultivated fragrances in the world.  My personal favorites are Géranium Rosa, reminiscent of the red geraniums that fill Parisian window boxes in the summer, and Feu de Bois for the woodsy scent of billowing smoke from wood-burning fireplaces in the fall and winter!  

Candles: by diptyque.  The diptyque story began in Paris 51 years ago, at 34 Boulevard St-Germain, with three friends Christiane Gautrot, interior decorator, Desmond Knox-Leet, painter, and Yves Coueslant, theatre administrator and set designer. Previously designing fabrics and wallpaper for Liberty and Sanderson, together they teamed up in 1961 and opened the first diptyque boutique to showcase their fabric designs. With their unique taste, they gradually transformed the store into a chic bazaar offering a fascinating variety of unexpected items, unique to Paris, which the trio brought back from their travels. In 1963, they introduce the first diptyque scented candles – Aubépine, Cannelle and Thé - and a few years later, they launched their first eau de toilette, L’Eau. Today, the brand’s extensive product portfolio includes home and personal fragrances along with a body care line.


1645 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647


P.O.S.H. Chicago

Whenever I need a retail pick-me-up, I always head to P.O.S.H. on State Street!  With a desire to offer something unique to the consumer that had grown weary of “sameness”, their small shop is met with a warm reception as the search for pieces that haven’t been mass-produced for coast-to-coast consumption is shared by many.  This is where I like to look for unique hostess gifts, celebration gifts, and truly French vintage tabletop décor – it is like walking into a gleaming Parisian dream!  I especially love holiday time as their window displays are just beyond magical! 

Home Décor & Gifts: by P.O.S.H.  “At some point in your life, you want something that feels authentic - something that speaks to you.” That thought is what drives P.O.S.H. to search high and low for the items that stock its shelves - an eclectic assortment of vintage Hotel and Estate Silver, Restaurant China and Dinnerware and an ever-changing mix of European Flea Market Finds. Found in such disparate places as long-shuttered American china warehouses and restaurant supply depots to the antique markets and auction houses of Europe, the items sold at P.O.S.H. are often one-of-a-kind or limited in quantity. From a vintage silverplate tea service once used in an English Country Inn to a beautiful water pitcher from a Grand Hotel in New York, most of our pieces tell a romantic story of an age gone by.


613 N State Street, Chicago, IL 60654


Le Petit Paris

Probably my most-visited French restaurant in Chicago is Le Petit Paris on Chestnut Street.  It is my go-to spot to sit in the bar area and sip a glass of Champagne while nibbling on a basket of pomme frites, as Edith Piaf plays from the wall mounted jukebox!  There are blinking garlands of Christmas lights in the bar, the occasional Valentine decoration on the wall, and even a couple rolling office chairs for “extra seating”, all of which (and more!) equal eclectic perfection!  Le Petit Paris has genuine charm and personality, partly from the ambience, and also from Alain—chef, owner, bartender, and music volume controller (I like it loud!).  He works seven days a week at his restaurant and goes to the markets every morning at 6:30am to secure the day’s freshest produce, meats, fish, and poultry.  He is then in his kitchen preparing and cooking until the doors open for dinner service starting at 5:00pm. This is truly a hidden gem of Chicago!

French Bistro: Le Petit Paris.  Locals and visitors alike are drawn to the ambiance and relaxed atmosphere of our classic French bistro. Chef/Owner Alain Sutbon lights up the evening and provides a warm setting for lively conversation over a glass of red wine and fabulous French cuisine.  Along with our fine selections of French wines, our signature dishes include Duck with Grand Marnier Sauce, Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb, and fish.  Daily trips to the market are used to give you the freshest ingredients!  To complete the evening, try our house-made desserts with a glass of port.  Check often for monthly specials!

Le Petit Paris

260 E Chestnut St, Chicago, IL 60611

312.787.8260 (Call for reservations)

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A Creative Approach to Everyday Tablescapes

Marc J. Sievers

Designing tablescapes is something I have been doing for clients for years.  The word “tablescape” sometimes scares people as it conjures images of towering floral arrangements, polished gleaming silver, and layers of fine China.  While that specific image is certainly an option—glorious in its own right—the word tablescape also can refer to everyday tabletop design that have well thought out concepts and choices to help accentuate your personal style, décor, and theme of your soirée, while also showcasing your everyday dishes, glassware, flatware, linens, and other casual pieces you may have.

This May, in celebration for Mother’s Day, I was asked by WGN Chicago to showcase a Mother’s Day brunch extravaganza!  Since Spring is in full swing (most of the days!), I wanted to create a colorful table filled with flowers, texture, thoughtful touches, and an easy and elegant main dish, my Eggs Provençal from my cookbook Entertaining with Love.  In addition to shopping for the ingredients I needed to prepare brunch, I also relied on my local Trader Joe’s for the best overnight croissants (they are available in plain, almond, or chocolate!), another favorite local grocer for an edible and over-the-top gift basket, and stunning flowers, all budget-friendly!

While this tablescape, menu, and basket were each created on the theme of Mother’s Day, they would be equally as fabulous and impressive for a birthday celebration, dinner party, weeknight dinner, or any other celebration with which you want to make a statement—easily using everyday ingredients that are readily available at your local grocery store!  Have fun entertaining!

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!


Watch the clip below to get a video tour.

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French Bistro Vinaigrette

Marc J. Sievers

Every time I am in Paris, I am mesmerized at how simple and delicious the classic bistro food is!  The menus are long and extensive, but each and every dish seems to be accompanied by a petite salad dressed in a light and creamy vinaigrette – the iconic creamy mustard vinaigrette.  There are thousands of cookbooks and online recipes with different versions on this classic vinaigrette with alternating ingredients and measurements.  And truth be told, some of the ones I tried are really very good, just not what I remember from my Parisian experiences. 

So I set off on my vinaigrette journey armed with an obscene amount of oils, jars of different mustards, whisks, and measuring cups.  Batches and batches later I finally figured out a few small but important tricks to recreate this iconic dressing at home in Chicago; Crème Fraiche, a garlic press, and a combination of both olive oil & vegetable oil.  Adding Crème Fraiche gave it more of a creaminess and tang, that when I left it out, it was noticeable in both texture and flavor.  Instead on mincing the garlic and having the vinaigrette have small pieces in it, using the garlic press turned the garlic into almost a paste which incorporated into the dressing better.  Finally, adding both the olive oil and vegetable oil was, I my opinion, the biggest key to my French Bistro Vinaigrette.  Using all olive oil was too heavy in taste, and using all vegetable oil didn’t add any flavor.  Using both was the perfect combination!

Making my French Bistro Vinaigrette doesn’t take more than 5 minutes and is the perfect accompaniment on a variety of salads, even ones with roasted vegetables and fruit.  It is also quite lovely to decorate a cheese plate with – the mustard really comes through the dressing and amps up the flavors of certain cheeses, like Gruyere.  It is also fabulous to serve alongside a crudité platter.  Salad greens, vegetables, cheeses, and fruits are about to become even more exciting!

Watch my webisode on French Bistro Vinaigrette

French Bistro Vinaigrette 

Ingredients (make 1 ¼ cups)

  • Egg Yolks – 1 extra-large, at room temperature

  • Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Champagne Vinegar – 2 tablespoons

  • Crème Fraiche – 1 tablespoon

  • Dijon Mustard – 2 teaspoons

  • Garlic – 1 clove, crushed using a garlic press

  • Vegetable Oil – 7 tablespoons

  • Olive Oil – 1 tablespoon


  1. Place all of the ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously for about 60 seconds.

  2. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before dressing a salad.

Tip: This is by far my most favorite vinaigrette and one that I keep constantly on hand.  It can be prepared up to 7 days in advance and stored in an air tight container.

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

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A Chocolate Dream-Date!

Marc J. Sievers

A variety of chocolate confections for my Valentine!

A variety of chocolate confections for my Valentine!

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of hosting a lunch for my dear friend Susan, who just happens to be a chocolatier!  She travels between Chicago, Seattle, and London (can you believe it!) soaking up everything to do with the art of chocolate.  I asked her to help me make some special handmade chocolates for my valentine Ryan, since this year we want our gifts to be hand-made for one another.

I searched for the perfect, romantic, and sweetest molds I could find.  I finally chose the Eiffel Tower and a simple heart.  Two iconic shapes that instantly make anything and everything seem more romantic!  I also wanted to dip some dried fruit, like apricots and candied orange, ginger and lemon peel into a variety of chocolates.  In the end we made over four pounds of various chocolate delights!  Once Susan and I got started it was addictive (and not just because we were eating every other little creation).  I had Parisian-themed music by Pink Martini (a favorite of mine for dinner parties) playing in the background, we sipped lavender tea with cream, and shared stories of our individual sources of inspiration.

A new take on chocolate dipped cherries. Simply add dried cherries to a milk chocolate bar or chocolate bark for a revamp of a classic!

A new take on chocolate dipped cherries. Simply add dried cherries to a milk chocolate bar or chocolate bark for a revamp of a classic!

The day ended with me walking with Susan to the train station while it was snowing (those amazingly huge snowflakes) like a fabulous scene in a movie!  Regardless of how perfectly (or not) my chocolates turned out, it was the experience and memories that made so special!

Though I love to use chocolate in my cooking, and have perfected a sinfully (or perhaps angelically) decadent Honey Lavender Truffle (page 181 in Entertaining with Love), there are advanced techniques with chocolate that I have found to be daunting.  Susan helped me to navigate some of those techniques, as well as provided reassuring advice along the way.  The experience was both fun an eye-opening.  There was no reason to be put off by my perception of chocolate being difficult to work with.  Lesson learned is that there is always something to learn, but you will never learn it unless you try!  Practice makes perfect (or at least increasingly edible), and you should have fun in the process!

Hand-dipped candied orange, lemon and ginger make for the perfect accompaniment after dinner with a glass of champagne!

Hand-dipped candied orange, lemon and ginger make for the perfect accompaniment after dinner with a glass of champagne!

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