An Interview

1/3/2015 Saturday 6:17 pm

In the fall I had several marvelous conversations with Yale Masters student Ian Tuski. He asked to interview me for an assignment, and had a series of questions dealing with nonprofit arts management, community service, and my role at Austin Classical Guitar.

I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations, and I anticipated that Ian would write a great paper, but what he shared with me I found truly inspiring, and so I asked if he would mind my sharing it.

I love that he not only captured the content of our conversations, but also the spirit of what I was trying to convey. That is such a rare talent! And I’m particularly excited that, in the course of this project, he was able to take various lessons and actually apply them in a practical setting in his community-based work.

Here’s the interview. Enjoy!

 

For my informational interview I chose to speak with Dr. Mathew Hinsley, Executive Director of Austin Classical Guitar, who describes his role in the organization as a leader, storyteller, advocate and educator. This array illustrates the multitude of roles an Executive Director of an arts organization must play and the versatile skill set it demands.

I found it most illuminating to hear Dr. Hinsley describe his role as someone who moves information in a way that is sensitive to the needs of diverse communities. He is constantly thinking about the best way to communicate to different communities news about the organization and how the organization is fulfilling its mission. This discussion brought us to one of the most essential skills Dr. Hinsley says he constantly uses in his job: empathy. When one is charged with the task of relaying information and summoning support from myriad communities and sources, it is essential to understand the different points of view and perspectives of everyone from a major donor to the parent of a young student in order to have one’s mission heard and believed in.

When I considered how to empathize with diverse audiences in my own work as an educator and performer, I thought of how to program concerts differently depending on the venue. For example, for a concert in a non-traditional venue that is meant to attract first time classical music listeners, it is best not to program long works or entire suites. Furthermore, depending on the neighborhood, it is a good idea to print programs and flyers in various languages letting potential audience members know all are welcome and to distribute them often. From a teaching perspective, it means tailoring one’s pedagogical approach to meet the needs of a given group of students. Austin Classical Guitar is helping teachers worldwide achieve this with their graded guitar ensemble curriculum, which boasts repertoire from Africa, Jamaica, Mexico, Argentina, Ireland and many other countries. For example, when teaching a new student who recently arrived from another country, I find it helpful to teach the student how to play music on the classical guitar that he or she will recognize. This music is more likely resonate with the student, spark his interest and serve as a bridge to the exploration of more classical music.

When the topic of conversation switched to fundraising, I was eager to hear what Dr. Hinsley had to say since the concept had always mystified me. Along with his Director of Development, he said that fundraising is an important function of his job. According to Dr. Hinsley, fundraising is about connecting with people. You should always be ready with information about your organization and where specifically you need support, but you should not go into a meeting or event expecting to receive money. Rather, the priority should be to learn about the other person and secondly to speak passionately about the work your organization does. It was eye-opening to me that on average Mr. Hinsley is out of the office twice a day to meet with potential donors. This led to an important realization I had during the interview: funding the arts is about process. It often takes years to see a return on your investment in a potential donor.

This aspect of the conversation will be particularly useful for me going forward as I previously thought of fundraising simply as the isolated act of asking for money. However, now if I decide to expand my own community-oriented guitar ensemble concerts in New Haven or another city, I will focus my energy on seeking out individuals who might be interested, inviting them to a concert and making them feel welcome, with money being the last thing on my mind. Already this new approach has been helpful. In the last concert I organized, it took much of the pressure off me when I was speaking to audience members since I focused solely on learning about them and then explaining more about my mission with community concerts.

When fundraising for classical guitar education and performance, Dr. Hinsley says he often faces challenges unique to this field. It is difficult to advocate for something that does not yield an instant return and that is seen as unessential by some. Furthermore, since classical guitar has to compete with opera houses and symphonies for funding and attention, one has to craft a message that makes classical guitar relevant, defines a need and shows how you plan to fill it. This part of the conversation forced me to think about what exactly the classical guitar has to offer that is unique. Being that it is portable, cheap and popular means that classical guitar can serve as a bridge to introduce new audiences to classical music. Because it is prominent in so much music from so many different places, classical guitar tends not to have the elitist image that an orchestra or opera does for some people. As discussions amongst various arts leaders continue about the future of classical music, I think it is necessary for guitarists to be outspoken about why we are uniquely equipped to act as a bridge to new audiences and able to attract new students.

Another aspect of the interview that I found fascinating was learning how successful relationships with donors, constituents, board members, employees and volunteers are built on trust. One way to build trust is through steady attention to detail. The more times you present an event where programs are neat and available, well-made posters and fliers are distributed, audience members are greeted warmly and the artist performing is of a high caliber, the more donors will trust that their contributions are being put to good use, audience members will want to return and corporations and other non-profit organizations will want to collaborate and support your mission. This principle was a guiding force behind the last concert I organized in New Haven. Understanding that I at times overlook details, I paid attention to having flyers distributed in both Spanish and English weeks in advance of the concert along with having formal programs that not only stated the works performed, but also included the mission of the concert. Furthermore, as I spoke to the audience before the concert began, I made sure to clearly convey that the concert was less about me and the other Yale students performing and more about the experience of the students sharing their music with members of their community, forging relationships, building confidence through performing and learning how to talk to an audience by introducing pieces.

The conversation then turned to a topic that is pertinent to those interested in being a community-oriented arts administrator who is also a professional musician: how to keep those two aspects of one’s career separate. As an avid and well-respected classical guitar performer, Dr. Hinsley has been careful to make sure “Matt the administrator” and “Matt the artist,” are separate entities. It may be tempting for some administrators to invite certain artists in the hope of being invited to the festival or guitar society that said artist runs. This concern with personal gain is antithetical to Dr. Hinsley’s vision for his work and organization and goes along with everything he had been saying in the interview until this point. If he were concerned with personal gain, he would not be empathizing with the needs of the communities he serves and would be violating the trust many have placed in him to carry out his organization’s mission of serving diverse communities. This tells me that if one engages in service work, it has to be because one feels a need to do so. If I want to try to benefit personally, I will not be doing an adequate job serving a community because their needs will not be my primary focus.

This interview made me more resolute and confident in my opinion that guitar has something unique and important to offer classical music and society. Furthermore, the work of Dr. Hinsley and Austin Classical Guitar is essential to developing the guitar’s role as a means to transcend cultural and economic borders through educational and performance opportunities open to people of all communities.

 

by Ian Tuski

For MUSIC 621Prof. Astrid Baumgardner, Yale University

 

Why We Do This

7/28/2014 Monday 9:09 am

The following is the last chapter of my book, Creativity To Community:

– – –

Why do we go through all of this?  Why should we, as artists and art lovers, go through the mundane steps of incorporation and nonprofit petitions, and drum up community support one coffee at a time year after year?  Why take the careful steps required to set up organizational structures and office practices, and shoulder the sometimes-sticky politics of growing organizations in our communities?  Why do this for modest salaries, if any, and no potential, thanks to the nonprofit structure, for business ownership or substantial personal gain?

We go through all of this because nonprofit arts organizations are the vehicles through which the arts thrive in America.  Nonprofit arts organizations bring patrons and audience members to the arts year after year, and pay artists to make the art that we love so much and that our society so desperately needs.  Said another way, without nonprofit arts organizations in America, there would be no museums, and no symphonies, operas, ballets or the myriad arts groups that give voice to thousands of worthy and miraculous artists who serve our diverse communities in countless ways.

The arts are part of a complex ecological system.  On one side of the system there are artists and on the other there are consumers in the form of audience members, students and more.  There is a vast network of schools, universities and conservatories, along with apprenticeship programs and master craftspeople, all of whom help train and develop an ever-growing population of artists.  This growing population of artists makes an ever-increasing quantity of art, in various forms, that is in need of being consumed, appreciated, purchased and enjoyed.

Late during the evenings of most arts festivals, I am struck by how many conversations turn to discussions of the need for more employment.  Great artists from around the world are looking for work, they are looking to teach, or looking to perform.  European artists speak longingly about the perceived superior artistic market in the United States, and American artists speak longingly about how in Europe everyone supposedly loves the arts, and how the arts are, theoretically, supported lavishly.  Students of the arts who are approaching graduation appear petrified as they end a period of time in their lives where they have been taught almost exclusively about artistic aesthetics and the highest-levels of technical achievement, but have not been taught one ounce about what they can do with those skills to make a living in a world where most people do not understand, appreciate, or pay for the finer points of great artistry.

These late-night discussions point to the great crisis in the arts world – the elephant in the room.  They point to the enormous break in our ecological chain.  The break that results in so many young artists turning to alternative careers after art school in order to make ends meet while, at the same time, so many would-be art consumers in our country do not have adequate opportunities to nurture their artistic sense because of their financial or social situation, or a simple lack of opportunity in their geographic location.  We have advanced systems in academia for churning out highly trained artists, and we have many millions of potential consumers out there who would benefit from exposure to the talents that these wonderful artists possess.  We lack, however, the step that connects the two together.  In a sense we have tons of supply in our fine artists, and we have the capacity for tons of demand in our population at large, but the sales, marketing and delivery systems that bring one to the other are vastly insufficient!

That, in short, is where nonprofit arts organizations come in.  Successful nonprofit arts organizations in America connect deeply with our communities, and through the strong roots they establish, they draw together the strength and support necessary to provide for the artists that enhance our lives.  Money is a huge part of the equation, to be sure, but the connection that exists is so much greater than money.  The community roots that principled nonprofits nurture, help them to be in constant dialogue with the community, and help their leaders to understand what each community really needs.  At the same time the expert communication generated by well-run nonprofit arts organizations helps to promote artists in ways that are meaningful to the community.

It is this connection that we need to build.  Those of us who are artists, or who have loved ones who are artists, recognize this need because we want so badly to provide opportunities for artists to survive.  We wish for an environment where great artists can support themselves making the art they are driven to make, while receiving the respect and appreciation their efforts deserve.  Those of us with community perspective recognize this need because we know children who have stayed in school because of an art class, outsiders who have found community in the arts, or soft-spoken individuals who have found their voices on the stage.  We know the power of community coming together – leaving their homes, computers, and televisions – to meet each other in person and appreciate great cultural expression as a community.

For these reasons we are driven to develop nonprofit arts organizations.  We pour our energy, and passion, and time, and personal resources, into this endeavor because we envision communities that embrace the arts, communities that benefit from the arts, and communities where artists receive the support they need to thrive.

Eating in Paris

6/30/2013 Sunday 12:10 pm

Food was easily one of the most inspiring parts of our Paris trip.  Food figures into my earlier blogs about our first day in Paris (markets and picnics), the people we visited (our dinner cruise on the Seine), and of course cooking in Paris (our hands-on class with Chef Frederick).

But for sure, our many trips to cafes and restaurants were big highlights.  Not only were the experiences great, and the food and drink tasty, but for a novice French speaker like myself, these were the moments I most-prepared for in my studies. They were at once scary and exhilarating opportunities to practice asking for a table, ordering form the menu, saying thanks and how great everything tasted, indicating I’m a vegetarian, and more.

So before I get right to it, I’d like to mention that I thoroughly enjoyed studying French with the free CoffeeBreak French Podcast.  Teacher Mark and his student Anna (who learns along with you) are from Scotland, and listening to their Scottish accents was as fun as learning the French itself for me.  I cannot recommend these bite-sized conversational French audio mini-courses enough!

OK.  I’ve one other thing to say, and that is that our service was terrific.  I don’t know if we just got lucky day after day… but this whole business of getting lousy service in Paris was absolutely not our experience.  The people we met were talkative, delightful, helpful, forthcoming and welcoming.

It IS another culture, and one helpful tip Glenda read–that we abided by carefully–was to approach shops like you’re going into someone’s home: speak French as well as you can, say hello to the owner, ask before touching things and taking pictures, say goodbye when you leave, etc.  As a result, we had a wonderful time with the many shopkeepers and waiters we met on our journey.

Here’s my sister, Sarina, in one of the countless Cafés we visited.  It seems every street has a café… or five!  And the amazing thing is that they are almost always bustling with activity!

 

1 Cafe Sarina

 

Ooo.  The other myth I’d like to debunk is that Paris is a difficult place for vegetarians.  Nope.  It’s a breeze.  My sister and I are both vegetarian, and it was easy to find things to eat on almost every menu.  Like many US menus, in fact, there were often vegetarian sections with even little carrot or leaf icons next to the veggie selections!

 

2 Vegetarian

 

The Seine is a marvelous place to pop a squat and have a picnic (or beer, or bottle of wine).  Many do this at night.  Here is Sarina and I enjoying baked open-faced sandwiches (Tartines) that we picked up from a place “to go” (a emporter)–we’re sitting right across from Notre Dame!

 

3 Sandwiches Seine

 

So, you may know this, Notre Dame is on one of two little islands in the middle of the Seine.  They are Ile de la Cite (where Notre Dame is) and Ile Saint-Louis where Johnny Depp has a house… and where we ate crepes!  Crepes are, of course, a mainstay, and they come both savory and sweet.  Here’s Dad with a crepe!

 

4 Crepe Dad

 

And here’s a closer look at Dad’s crepe.  If you look carefully, you’ll see it’s actually on fire!  It was some tasty, sweet alcoholic flambé crepe.  Mmmmm.

 

5 Crepe Dad Close Up

 

Several times in my writings about Paris (and London too, really) I’ve made claims about how there are eateries everywhere, and that it seems everywhere you go there are special shops just for cheese, or wine, or bread, or pastries, or fish, or meat, etc.  Here’s proof: Rue Mouffetard!

 

6 Rue Mouffetard

 

We had a particularly good time at the cafe of the Grand Mosque.  We had mint tea, tasty couscous platters, and sat at these fabulous brass tables.  I’ll take this opportunity to also mention that, in retrospect (now that we’ve gotten the Visa bills), the cost of eating in Paris (and London) was really not that bad.  We had many wonderful meals and, overall, we’d say the prices are comparable to what we’d pay in Austin.

 

7 Mosque

 

Ah raclette!  What could be better than a giant hunk of cheese melting right in front of you so that you may scoop it off and spread it on bread and potatoes to your heart’s content?  This was a raclette restaurant we visited in Montmartre–one we’ll not soon forget!

 

8 Raclette Glenda

 

People In Paris

6/24/2013 Monday 6:36 am

It was amazing to see all the incredible landmarks, works of art and pinnacles of architecture and engineering on our trip to London and Paris.  But for me, the times that I truly felt the most connected abroad, and that I was experiencing these incredible cities at the utmost, were when I got to visit with friends and family.  In London, we met new people like the Beatle Brain, and cousin Laura introduced us to her friends Susan, Isobel, Mikaela, and Zsolt.  And I had the great joy of reconnecting with my college buddy Justin Yoo, and my good friends Xuefei Yang and Neil Muir.

In Paris, we’ve already mentioned our wonderful visit with Glenda’s Uncle Dinh, Aunt Vivienne, and cousin Vincent as well as our incredible class with chef Frederick Dillon Corneck.  But we had other warm and grounding visits that connected us with Paris in deep and powerful ways.

We took the metro up near the famous Paris cemetery Pere Lachaise to meet Glenda’s cousin Catherine and her thoughtful and incredibly smart daughter July for dinner.  We had a delicious vegetarian Vietnamese meal at a restaurant Catherine found, and a wonderful conversation there.  (Glenda adds: Catherine is an artist, and her works may be found here.)

 

1 Catherine and July

 

It’s fun to see dogs in restaurants in Paris.  I mean… right up in there!  Once in the while in the US you’ll see dogs in certain parts of certain restaurants–usually outside–but it seems in Paris that there’s a different set of rules regarding canines and cuisine!

 

2 July Dog

 

Dad and Vicky took us to Montmartre one day to meet with their dear friends Nancy and Francois. Francois has had this apartment in Montmartre for 50 years!  Nancy and Vicky went to school together, off and on, since the first grade!!!  It was phenomenal to see them together.  Francois is a photographer with photos that have been in major magazines and newspapers, and he and Nancy have been all over the world… like, really, all over the world!  (Glenda adds: they had just returned from Vietnam, and were about to head to their second home in Provence.)

 

3 Francois & Nancy

 

Occasionally in Paris you’ll come across 100-year-old florid Art Nouveau iron-work decorative elements—like this one that surrounds the Montmartre metro entrance.

 

4 Francois Art Nouveau

 

Montmartre is like the San Francisco of Paris!  The small streets have steep grades, often stairs, and always-incredible views.  It’s no wonder this was such an inspiring and fertile place for some of the greatest artists ever.

 

5 Francois Steps

 

And speaking of the greatest artists ever… here’s the last remaining wall of the Bateau Lavoir where so many actually lived right around 1900.  Folks like Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, Henri Matisse, and Guillaime Apollinaire lived and worked here.  And this is where Picasso painted his super-famous Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

 

6 Francois Bateau

 

And at the “heart” of Montmartre is Sacre Coeur.  Stunning.

 

7 Francois Sacre Cour

 

Equally stunning is the view of the city from the front steps.

 

8 Francois View

 

The group was headed for raclette for dinner, but I must mention that I snuck off to the Moulin Rouge to meet my dear friend and phenomenal guitarist and teacher, Judicael Perroy.  I’ve got no pics of Judicael and I, but we had a wonderful visit together walking around the streets of Montmartre and stopping to enjoy a Pastis (anise liqueur).  I first met Judicael in 1999 when he came to Austin as part of his Guitar Foundation of America winner’s tour, and our next rendezvous will be in Austin next April when we bring him back again!  You can watch Judicael play Bach here.  Get ready for beautiful!

OK.  This is cool.  My awesome student Celeste, her mom Lou and her dad Bruce, just happened to be traveling in Paris at the same time we were.  So our family and their family all got together for a dinner cruise on the Seine!  Here’s the whole crew!

 

9 Celeste

 

The dinner and conversation were just wonderful, and so were the views.  We found this in London, too–there’s something really special about seeing these great cities from the water.  One of my favorite views was this one, of Paris’ Statue of Liberty (they’ve got one too, of course!) set against the Eiffel Tower!

 

10 Celeste View

 

Glenda, as you may have figured out, has quite a bit of extended family in France.  We had a terrific lunch at Fumoir with her second cousin Solivan and we talked about their relatives who live in France, the US, Cambodia and Tahiti. (Glenda adds: Solivan is quite conversant in English, and was able to kindly answer Matthew’s grammar and vocabulary questions about French.)

 

11 Solivan

 

And I got to connect with another great guitarist and dear friend on our last night in Paris!  Jeremy Jouve is a fabulous guy, a phenomenal musician, and he rides around Paris on this super-cool motorcycle!

 

12 Jeremy Bike

 

Jeremy introduced us to his lovely fiancée Elsa.  We had a tremendous visit and talked about guitar (of course), Paris, and all the goings-on in each other’s lives.  (I went for another Pastis!) (Glenda adds: I did too!).  Here’s Jeremy playing a piece called Cavalcade by Mathias Duplessy: watching this you’ll probably get an idea of how he rides the motorcylcle!

 

13 Jeremy

 

Glenda had heard about the view, and the nightly party, at Trocadero.  So that’s where we met Jeremy and Elsa.  As usual Glenda’s Spidey sense led us to a groovy hot spot and it was from Trocadero that we saw, perhaps, the most amazing view of our entire Europe trip.

 

14 Jeremy Trocadero View

Cooking In Paris

6/18/2013 Tuesday 8:39 am

Cooking is one of Glenda’s and my favorite things to do.  It’s a really big part of both our lives.  I grew up cooking and baking all kinds of things , and almost 13 years ago, Glenda joined a supper club of incredible women who have stayed together since then!  Holiday times mean cooking times, and the days when we can clear our schedules to work side by side in the kitchen are life-giving, joyous days indeed.

Oh yeah, we also love eating!  So we’ve been super-excited about this trip, among other reasons, because we wanted to explore food in Paris.  We visited many restaurants during our week there, but we also had some simple memorable meals at home, visited the markets (les marchés) and even had a phenomenal class with a French chef!

Here I am with my sister, Sarina, in our flat having our typical breakfast of coffee and fresh croissants from the fabulous corner bakery.  Each morning, Dad went out to get the croissants, and usually came back with some other goodies too, like pain au lait, or pain au chocolat!  Yum.

 

1 Breakfast with Sarina

 

Without question our culinary highlight of the week was Wednesday, when we spent the morning–and the early afternoon–with Chef Frederick Dillon Corneck.  I realize that his name doesn’t sound particularly French, but he’s quite French, from Normandy, and he was a generous and insightful guide, host and teacher.  (Glenda adds, he said something like, “My middle name and last name are Irish, and I love Irish culture, but I am French.  Nobody’s perfect.” Here Frederick answers a question from Dad about sharpening knives.

 

2 Class Frederick

 

The class began with Frederick taking us across the street to a long and bustling market where we walked from one end to the other appraising the large quantities of produce.  There was everything from fruits and veggies to meats, cheeses, dairy products, fish, seafood, spices, dried versions of most of the above, and more.  (Glenda adds, like CD-Roms, kitchen tools, garments, and accessories.  When one vendor saw our group, he hawked, “Paris-style clothing!,” and added in an American accent, “I looove it!”)  Then we stopped for coffee (of course) and made a plan for what we’d make for lunch!  Frederic came up with a marvelous menu on the spot and we set about buying the goods.

Here is Vicky, Dad, and Sarina after we’ve returned from the market with our spoils that included tomatoes, chicken breasts (Glenda adds: chicken boobies), Roquefort cheese, endives, and much more!

 

5 Class Sarina D&V

 

Glenda is appraising the goods!  On the far right you see a purple plastic bag.  Those are pre-steamed beets that are, apparently, available at most markets here.  For those we combined fresh chevre with fine-cut shallots, fresh thyme, and chives, and layered the mixture between four thick beet slices to create a vegetarian napoleon, with salt, pepper and drizzles of olive oil and vinegar on top.  (Glenda adds, this was like a napoleon, and the filling was similar to the French dip called cervelle de canut–except we used fresh goat cheese, rather than fresh dairy cheese.)

 

4Class Dad and Glenda

 

Here Vicky is quartering a carrot lengthwise, leaving just a bit of the green top, per Frederick’s instructions.  These carrots, along with radishes and these unbelievable new potatoes (grown on an island off the coast of France that is often covered by seawater) that are only available part of the year and not exported due to their rarity, were cooked stove-top with butter and fresh thyme in a covered dish and served as sides.  (Glenda adds, these were the potatoes of my dreams!  They are naturally salty, and Frederick said they have a slight hazelnut taste to them–for me, I tasted walnut.)

 

3 Class Dad and Vicky

Et voila!  In addition to the veggies and beets we had Œuf  Cocotte à la Crème d’Endive, Roquefort et Noix (for the vegetarians), and La Roulade de Poulet à la Sausage for the meat eaters.  The first was sauteed endives topped with walnuts and cooked in the oven water bath with an egg, and then finished with a creamy gorgonzola sauce.  The second was chicken breasts sliced in half lengthwise and rolled with ham and sage (upper right of this photo).  (Glenda adds, like the Italian dish, saltimbocca.) We also made oven-roasted tomatoes topped with thyme and breadcrumbs a la Provencal–yum.  The lower left is a port-wine reduction he made from deglazing the pot the chicken had been sauteed in.

6 Class Finished

 

And here’s the finished (meaty) plate!  Ooo, and for dessert (yes, we made and ate dessert too) we had fresh black cherries, peaches and strawberries warmed in boiling honey with thyme.  Unbelievably tasty!  The thyme figured in heavily since it’s what we bought fresh.  (Glenda adds, the thyme was like a through-line for the menu.) We learned so much from Frederick but, among many other things, we were inspired by his spontaneity and his willingness to wait and see what was fresh and high quality before deciding what to make.  I hope very much that our paths will cross again.  (Glenda adds, me too!)

 

7 Class Plated

 

There is an amazing array of food options on nearly every street in Paris, it seems.  From restaurants, to take-away places, to markets and supermarkets and specialty shops.  We were struck by this device – which we actually saw several times, that is right out on the street.  Its a giant rotisserie with chicken and meat above and then, in the bottom, there’s a tray of roasting potatoes that’s catching all the drippings from the meat!  Not good for me, the veggie, but still fascinating! (Glenda adds, good for me though, the omnivore!)

 

8 Chicken and Potatoes

 

We had loads of fun in the cooking store, E. Dehillerin.  Here you see trays and trays of knives.  This was open to the public, but clearly had anything you’d need for a full commercial establishment.

 

9 Cooking Store Knives

 

Including gi-normous ladles!  On the upper right you see ladles that are more or less normal-sized.  But look along the lower shelf from left to right.  Those are all ladles too!  That’s a whole lot of stew!

 

10 Cooking Store Ladles

 

One of our favorite specialty shops was this breathtaking and lovingly presented candy shop called Le Bonbon au Palais on Rue de Monge (our flat’s street).  Here in the window you see fresh-made marshmallows in many flavors including Rose, Lychee, Pineapple, and more.  See those cute jars? Imagine an entire shop filled with everything from jellied chili peppers (delicious!) to real candied flowers like violets and rose petals.  Georges, the owner, is downright exuberant, speaks five languages, and simply loves to tell visitors all about the various artisans who make his candies – just for him.  (Glenda adds, and his decor was very charming–filled with elementary school paraphernalia like school desks, globes, diagrammatical posters, even his class pictures and report cards.)  We suspect that the jars are a little low because we turned our family and some American friends visiting Paris on to his shop!

 

11 Candy Store

 

So what do you do after buying all these goodies?  You head home and share with friends and family.  Here Dad was preparing a special apertif of white wine over violet (the flower!) syrup he’d picked up in Toulouse.

 

12 Wine at Home

 

And I couldn’t help getting a shot of this wine we tried.  I’m sure you can tell from the label alone that it was… exquisite, balanced, deep and engaging yet rounded and sophisticated, with a particularly good nose and body.  Mmmm.  (Glenda adds, what a body!)

 

13 Wine Mathieu

 

Cheers!

 

14 Dinner at Home Toast

 

And here I am on our final morning in Paris – enjoying our last omelette!  I made this one with the goal of using as many left-over ingredients as possible, so it was eggs with a soft cheese, avocado and tomatoes with toasted day-old pain au lait, coffee and jus de pomme.  Au revoir Paris!

 

15 Last Day Omelette