If you follow me on instagram or facebook you have probably already seen the images of the new ICO Collection.

I’m so excited to finally tell you about this project I have been working on for over a year!  I’m always on the lookout for beautiful products to feature in the webshop but sometimes it feels like there is so much unnecessary ‘stuff’.  I hate clutter but like objects that serve a purpose, things that are functional.  Interior Architect Marc Merckx and I collaborated on the ICO Collection.  He has designed so many beautiful things: a stone bowl that turns into a chopping board, a tray that serves as a bread board, a chair that can be used inside or out….

The materials used for the Collection go back to the archetypal kitchen.  They are solid, natural materials pleasing to use and touch.  Copper and brass refer to the traditional pots, pans, sinks and taps and have been selected because they are warm and tactile materials that age beautifully over time.  Each piece from marble and terrazzo – often used for worktops and sinks – is sculpted from a single block.  Wood is the traditional material for chopping boards and butcher’s blocks.

A small selection of objects is for sale in the webshop now with more coming up soon.

All this combined with my dayjob means I am rather busy… so I won’t be checking in on the blog regularly.  If you wish, you can follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.  If you want to know when new objects will be added, you can also subscribe to the newsletter.

With thanks to The Fresh Light for the beautiful photography and Nightingale for spreading the news and PR support.

 

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When australian friends you haven’t seen for eight years tell you they are going to be in Paris, what do you do? You jump in the car and drive there to catch up over lunch! We spent an extra day there to explore. We love the Marais but also felt like seeing a new area of Paris so spent a day walking around SoPi. I had read a lot about this up and coming area so was prepared to battle crowds of people but South Pigalle was actually pretty quiet and unassuming (perhaps because we went there during the day). It’s an area that’s evolving quickly with small boutiques next door to dodgy bars and mixed in with little restaurants, food shops and small boutiques that we loved exploring. There are so many places we liked but these were the highlights.

Buvette
Of course, you need some sustenance before a big walk so the first thing we did was lunch at Buvette.  A branch of  the New York restaurant with the same name this place has a nice vibe with good (though perhaps not very imaginative) food.  It’s a great place to sit at the counter, enjoy a cocktail and rillettes whilst planning the rest of the day.
(First image by Nicole Franzen for Conde Nast Traveller)

Causses
This is the place to find local fruit and veg as well as some special items such as smoked Lapsang Souchong salt.  Think heaps of cherries and radishes with bright green leaves, artichokes and handmade cheese.  There is a little café next door where we definitely would have had lunch if we hadn’t just staggered out of Buvette.

Le Rocket Ship
A small boutique but with a great selection of notebooks, ceramics, pans….

Rue Des Martyrs
It took us the better part of an hour to walk this small street just because there was so much to see here… The brownie at Rose Bakery left us to full to enjoy the other treats like patisserie at Sebastien Gaudard, choux at Popelini and more patisserie at Arnaud Delmontel.

A couple of other places we really liked elsewhere: Le Marché des Enfants Rouge (we bought fresh tumeric at this small food market in the Marais and admired the flowers), Merci and La Maison Plisson ( a new food shop by Bruno Doucet of La Régalade where we celebrated one of my best friend’s 50th a while back).

Though I love French food, I was also quite relieved to find some lighter options such as Bob’s Kitchen vegan cafe and the Cojean chain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I know I raved already about the beautiful Brooklyn based Bellocq Teas shop, but that’s before I found out they are also perfect to brew ice teas!  It’s been so hot out, I’ve been making litres and litres of ice tea, flavoured water, cold brew coffee, juices….  The White Nixon is a lovely tea blend of organic white tea, lavender and flower petals and great to cool down after sitting in a 27°C car for two hours…(yes, unfortunately that happened to me yesterday).

Up next I’m going to add to the cold tea vodka and ruby red grapejuice for a refreshing cocktail according to this recipe on the Bellocq website.

 

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Stumptown coffee was a lucky find.  Walking back to the hotel after a meeting on Madison Avenue, we were first attracted by the view of the amazing glass lights in the window across the street before realizing we were standing in front of the Ace hotel (Stumptown is in its lobby).  This Portland based coffee roaster sources its beans from all over the world.

Now I only started drinking coffee when I was 35 but have definitely tried to make up for lost ground by drinking plenty of it everywhere I go.  Without exaggeration, Stumptown is the best coffee  I have ever tried.  I know there are a lot of photos of the interior in this blogpost and none of the coffee but really that is because once the coffee arrived I was pretty much speechless for at least a full 3 minutes… My mind just went blank… and I mean that in a good way!  The cold brew tasted fantastic: very soft and subtle (the complete opposite of cold brews that I usually find quite acidic and harsh) and the espresso an explosion of taste. I would consider moving to New York just to drink coffee here everyday!

 

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If you google paleo and New York, chances are Hu Kitchen will definitely pop up a couple of times.   Hu does not use cane sugar, soy lecicithin, refined sugar, gluten, emulsifiers or GMO’s in its food.  They do not use palm oil, filter their water 5 times and have Frank Lipman as one of their advisers (I am a big fan of his Revive book).  The marbled interior is nice enough to look at but the real star here is the food.  Their delicounter has some amazing salads: wild salmon fishcakes, grilled asparagus, roasted butternut and sweet potatoes, grassfed beef meatloaf (my personal favourite) ….. I also tried the egg sandwich for which they bake their own glutenfree bread.  This was one of the best gf breads i have ever tasted with a really good texture, crumb and taste.  The bar has kombucha on tap and if you are still hungry after all that, they do an amazing banana bread!

Another of my favourite places was  Fat Radish.  I follow Nicole Franzen, a New York based photographer on instagram which is how I found out about this great place.  This Soho based restaurant is one of the more creative ones with a vegetable based (though not vegetarian) kitchen and was within walking distance of our hotel (a coincidence, I swear!).

The amazing Dark and Stormy came with crisp fat radishes smothered in black tapenade.  The radish/ tapenade combo doesnt sound like it would work but did!  The fat radish plate main course features all kinds of veggies and brown rice. On our second visit, i had the bacon cheeseburger with house pickles an duck fat chips. If you are planning a trip to NY, put this on your list of places to visit!

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Mast Brothers was actually what we were aiming for walking down from Bellocq towards the Southern part of Brooklyn.  The two Mast brothers definitely get creative with their flavours (truffle or smoked vanilla anyone?) though the darkest chocolate they do is around 75 percent which I find a bit on the sweet side.   I just found out they have a shop in London too, I’m definitely swinging by on my next visit to stock up on my favourite, the Stumptown coffee flavour!

A couple of houses down from their shop, they have a little cafe where we tried the chocolate beer, a 24 hour cold brew of ground roasted chocolate beans with sparkling water, this was one of the most intensely flavoured chocolate beverages I ever tried (and judging from the people’s reaction in the shop we weren’t the only ones thinking this).  With chocolate milk, the creaminess always distracts from the chocolate taste.  The (alcohol free) chocolate beer was all about the chocolate.  (that’s it in the picture there, I know it looks like ice tea but believe me when I say it has the most intense chocolate flavour ever!).  Mast cafe also serves grilled sourdough tartine with chocolate spread, unfortunately I wasn’t hungry enough to try but it looked delicious!

Next door to the Mast brothers cafe is the permanent home of the Sketchbook project.  More than 33 822 people from more than 135 different countries donated a sketchbook, well worth a look!

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After we finished work, we had 24 hours in New York before we left.  At the top of my list of things I really wanted to do was a visit to Bellocq.  I know this tea brand from their pop up shop in London years ago and had heard a lot of good things about their Brooklyn shop which is also where their headquarters is (and probably the most instagrammed shop in the world…).  Not an easy place to get to (the shop is in Greenpoint which is the northern most area of Brooklyn which means changing subway lines… twice) but it was well worth the trip.  Bellocq makes their own custom blends with names such as Corazon de Cien Fuegos (a deep red hibiscus tea), Hindu Holiday and Ashram afternoon.  Their packaging is simple yet beautiful and the taste…  I am so looking forward to trying all the blends I bought!

After our visit to Bellocq, we walked south towards Williamsburg following the Hudson river.  I would definitely reccomend the walk if only for the view of the Manhattan skyline.  This area of New York is so much quieter with less noise from nypd and fire trucks racing by every five minutes.  On Saturdays there is a little market at the park with food stalls (and amazing coffee…). Up next: a visit to Mast Brothers!

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