We have had a lot of wonderful things going on at La Dolce Vita since we moved. I have not written all summer because I am fighting with iPhotos but now I have hired someone to take it all away from me and handle it. I am going to kill someone or blow up my computer if I keep messing with it. Seriously, I have wasted more time trying to download the photos from my good Canon than I wasted all the years as a teenager pining over boys. (All the photos today will be from my iPhone and they will not be as nice, but I can't deal with this downloading/inabitlity to resize thing another second.) I am sitting in the precious dining room in the Hotel Vendome. It has black and white houndstooth chairs, small pink satin lumbar pillows, perfect grey walls with delicate molding all over, and sweet French music piped in. (Actually right now it's sexy Barry White, which is fine by moi, but it was French music a minute ago.) Almost all of the guests have arrived and we are having our first meeting at 5:00, then off to Le Meurice for our first dinner together in Paris. I love Le Meurice. it is where I had my Sunday night I-am-so-homesick- dinner my third year in culinary school. The first two years it was at the Ritz, but then the Ritz closed for renovations, so I had to switch to Le Meurice. Self pity can be so expensive.
This summer, we've gone from this....
...to better than this!
Now it is all done, so it is even nicer than this picture. See those pretty lights on either side of the door? I got those on eBay. I love eBay, as many of you know. I also got all the tiny gold Florentine shelves that hold the hand-made French sachets, as well as the sconces on either side of the front door inside the shop. eBay is the best! I have sourced some items for the new shop not to be found anywhere around Indiana. Like the above mentioned handmade sachets and soaps from Catherine Masson from France. Even the boxes they come in are works of art! I suspect that the same company who makes the boxes for Laduree makes her boxes. Please look at them when you come in. oh--and buy them for yourself or for a friend! I saw these sachets the last time I was in Paris and have built up a nice rapport with her.
Speaking of rapport, I am also carrying Laura Selingnac hand painted porcelains. Friday I went all the way to the tippity top north part of Paris to her workshop. Being Friday, I did not realize the painters would not be there because France REALLY does have a 35 hour work week. It's not a myth! But the very kind Marie took me through the teeny workshop and explained the whole process for me. These porcelain pieces are made for Hermes, the Georges V, and -----la Dolce Vita! The workshop is so small; they really are craftsman, working on a small scale. When you purchase a piece from Laura Selignac, you really are getting a one of a kind. I could not believe it. The firing oven is no bigger than a large microwave.
Here is one of the seats where a painter sits. The one working there the longest has been with the company 10 years.
Marie is demonstrating how they mix a blue from dry powder.
She adds chemicals to it to turn the powder into liquid. There were two, but she could not tell me the names of the liquids in English.
This is a small plate they do for Hermes. They paint the design first, which really surprised me. They fire that in the kiln. Then they carefully paint a clear coating over it, so the background color they will paint next will not come off on it. Then they fire that on. Then they super carefully paint the background color over the whole thing, using a stippling technique. I think that is what she was saying. There was a little translation problem, but not much.
Here is the finished product, which sells for hundreds of Euros and takes days to make. Quite impressive now that I know all the hand detailing. Made only by a very few people who make all of the objects shipped all over the world. Even to Roanoke, Indiana!!!!
I want to show you a few photos of the details of the stairway in our hotel. These French don't miss an opportunity to make every corner of their world exquisite. Just a little panel outside my door, with a matching one on the other side. Going up the stairs, so I will see beauty while I pant my way up the 5 flights. Actually, this place has an elevator that WORKS. Mon dieu!
A plaster bouquet to hide the stairway lighting. Bonne idea!!
On another note, the Wednesday lunches have been going gangbusters! (Every Wednesday, except 9/16 and9/23 from 11:00-2:00.) I am blown away, but not surprised, in the demand for high quality food in a serene setting. I have said this many times, but some people, some
nay-sayers, have said, people don't really care what they eat here in Fort Wayne. Au contraire. People do want to eat good food everywhere. Yes even in the Midwest. They just need someone to realize this and La Dolce Vita is filling a need. Because good food will satisfy you and you are less likely to get fat when you are satisfied. You eat the right amount, you can eat a bit of it all, and you are happy. You will not want to snack on junk as much. (Don't think of my tummy when you are reading this, ok?)People are eating, staying, chatting, catching up with friends, meeting new people beside them, doing a little shopping around in the shop and taking their time with lunch. I love it all. I am so happy. I hope you will join us on Wednesdays for lunch because you need a good, slow, healthy lunch to be good to your hard working self. Because it has been so popular, I suggest that if you are coming with more than one person, you make a reservation.
As many of you know, my sweet kitty, Pushkin, died last month. We had Pushkin for 17 years. I say we with tongue in cheek because really, no one is really a cat person in my house but me. Pushkin solidly stayed with me through thick and thin: when I quit drinking, when my little baby boys grew up and went off to college, when we brought those annoying puppies home and they had the audacity to stay, when I had my knees replaced--through it all! And now, sadly for me, he is in kitty heaven with all of our other deceased pets. My talented sister surprised me with this watercolor of Pushkin and I just bawled when I saw it.
Pushkin was a Norwegian Forest Cat, although he did not spend anytime in the snow, that's for sure! He really did have long, pointy ears and was such a fluffy fur ball.
Debbie will paint your pet for you in watercolor! She has two sizes. if you are interested, please let me know. It is a wonderful way to commemorate the favorite animals in your life or to give as a gift to your loved one of theirs. She also does really pretty Christmas ornaments with pets on them. I sold them for her last year and they all sold out! Many people gave them as Christmas presents. Now is the time to order them, so she has time to get them done, because you cannot rush art.
I am working on the cooking classes today as the guests arrive. The next email will have them listed. Please remember the shop is closed this week, while we are getting our Francaise on!
P.S. I saw my friend, who lives in Ohio here in Paris and we met for lunch. How crazy is that?!