David Lebovitz Podcast

By David Lebovitz

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Talks with my favorite bakers, food producers, pastry chefs, bartenders, cooks, spirits experts, and on other topics, such as travel, Paris, and French culinary culture.


Episode Date
Podcast: French and Italian Apéritifs with Brad Thomas Parsons
When I told a friend that when I’m in New York, I go out for drinks with Brad Parsons, she said, “Oh, he’s the holy grail of drinking buddies!” I was introduced to Brad via Ed Anderson, who photographed my books Drinking French and My Paris Kitchen, and he photographed all of Brad’s books. After shooting My Paris Kitchen, Ed sent me a copy of Bitters, which was so well-written and covered the subject so well (a subject I wasn’t all that familiar with, but the book piqued my interest!) that I had to meet him.

Brad has not only written Bitters, which won coveted James Beard and IACP awards, but also the book on Amaro, and Last Call, about closing time in the bar world. In Distillery Cats, he profiles “the world’s most spirited mousers,” and he’s currently working on a book about Italian drinks.

I often refer to Brad as the Godfather of Drinking French as Brad was kind enough to put me in touch with contacts he had in the U.S., and he spent more than a few evenings with me doing “research” at bars, so I could see and learn how bartenders used French spirits, while also learning what was (and wasn’t) readily available outside of France.

I’m fortunate to have Brad as a friend. He knows his spirits and is great fun to have a drink with. He just launched a his own newsletter, Last Call, where he covers the cocktail scene and shares stories, such as a nostalgic look at his favorite hand pies in New Orleans, a heartfelt ode to his late best friend and companion, and cocktail recipes, including seasonal summer drinks from New York’s famed Gramercy Tavern.

Subscribe to my newsletter to receive new posts, podcasts, recipes…and more! (Paid subscribers get full access to archives and more Paris stories.)

In my podcast, Brad and I talked about French and Italian spirits and apéritifs, as well as how the countries differ in what they drink, and the way they drink, along with recipes if you’d like to share a drink with us!

You can also find Brad at his website and on Instagram, and the recipes for the drinks we made in the podcast are below. - David

Campari and Soda

From Brad Thomas Parsons

2 ounces Campari (stored in the freezer)

6 ounces ice-cold seltzer or club soda

Garnish: orange slice or twist

Add the chilled Campari to a frozen tumbler or highball glass.

Top with seltzer or club soda. Add ice and orange slice or twist.

Campari Shakerato

From Brad Thomas Parsons, adapted from Naren Young, at Dante, NYC

2 1/2 ounces Campari

Add the Campari to a mixing tin and shake with ice.

Strain the mixture into the empty part of the mixing tin, if using a 2-part Boston shaker—if using a standard 3-part shaker, called a cobbler shaker, strain the mixture into another vessel. (You can read about the different types of shakers here.) Discard the ice and pour the mixture back into the shaker and shake vigorously—called a “dry shake”—for 10-15 seconds.

Strain into a chilled Nick and Nora glass or small coupe glass.

Suze and Tonic

Adapted from Drinking French

You can use Suze or Salers, another gentian-flavored French apéritif, in this twist on the classic Gin & Tonic. If you want it on the stronger side, feel free to add more Suze or Salers.

1 ounce Suze or Salers

3 ounces ice-cold tonic water

2 lime wedges

Add the Suze or Salers to a tall Collins glass or tumbler, or a footed goblet.

Top with tonic water and add a generous handful or two of ice. Garnish with lime wedges.

Get full access to David Lebovitz Newsletter at davidlebovitz.substack.com/subscribe
Aug 05, 2022
A chat with Pastry Chef Ali Spahr
Who doesn’t love a great croissant? I certainly do. But I also love the other delicious treats that come out of the oven of Ali Spahr, pastry chef, and ace baker at Winner in Brooklyn.

Ali studied baking in France at the esteemed Ferrandi cooking school in Paris, and when Daniel Eddy, the chef/owner of Winner (who also lived in Paris) decided to open up a café and bakery in New York, he wanted to re-create some of the “grab and go” pastries that France is known for, and tapped Ali with the task.

I make it a point to go to Winner every time I’m in New York, and so do a lot of locals, as evidenced by the lines of people waiting patiently for one of her gorgeous Croissants, Pains au chocolat, stellar Monkey Bread, and Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies. The cookies are so good that Romain once bought eight of them!

Join me for this podcast as I chat with Ali about baking in France and America, how she comes up with ideas for the “daily drop” of doughnuts and beignets, and the exciting news that she’s going to have her own dedicated baking space soon.

You can listen in at the link at the top of this post, or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast platform. Enjoy! - David

Follow Ali on Instagram.

Visit Winner in Brooklyn at 367 7th Avenue and Winner in the Park.

Get full access to David Lebovitz Newsletter at davidlebovitz.substack.com/subscribe
Jun 20, 2022
Benoît Marinos of La Cidrerie
One of the great things about writing a book about French drinks was going outside of my “lane,” so to speak. I was fascinated by the culture of French drinks, everything from Cognac to beer, and wanted to take a deep dive into the subject and share what I knew, and what I learned. The subject is vast and I couldn’t include an in-depth discussion of every boisson in the French canon—quite a few, like Armagnac, wine, eaux-de-vie, pastis, and even cider, merit their own books. (American cider, on the other hand, has been written about.)

In the case of French apple cider, Benoît Marinos decided that it merited its own space in Paris to enjoy it. And when I discovered La Cidrerie, I was so taken with it that I wrote about it on my blog, to spread the word. Happily, others shared my affection for it, and the La Cidrerie just celebrated its third anniversary.

In France, Benoît told me just after he opened, cider isn’t given the same respect as wine; it’s generally a drink you enjoy with crêpes, often purchased at the supermarket (for €3/bottle) and the quality was secondary. But France, as well as Switzerland, Ireland, Belgium, and other countries, produce stellar, naturally-fermented ciders made with heirloom apples, and at times, with pears and quince. Many of them are on offer at La Cidrerie in bottles and on tap.

I recently sat down for a chat with Benoît at La Cidrerie. His Bar, Cave, and Atelier (as he calls it) is perfectly located on the banks of the scenic, and trendy, Canal St. Martin, as he prepares to open his second location in the 17th arrondissement. He’s one of my favorite people to talk to in Paris and I hope you enjoy this podcast episode!

La Cidrerie in Paris
51 quai deValmy (10th)

Follow La Cidrerie on Instagram and Facebook

Get full access to David Lebovitz Newsletter at davidlebovitz.substack.com/subscribe
Jun 03, 2022
Podcast with Artisan Baker Bryan Ford
The baking world is a big, bountiful place, and there’s a lot of ground to cover. And French breads and pastries, of course, take up a lot of that space. I met Bryan Ford, the author of New World Sourdough, back in 2019. At the time, I didn’t realize (and likely neither did he!) that he’d be one of the bright spots of a global pandemic, teaching people the art of sourdough baking during worldwide lockdowns and confinements.

Now Bryan is the host of his own television show, The Artisan’s Kitchen on Discovery+, and is working on a new book on Latin baking. Bryan raised some interesting points in an interview about how (and why) the world is captivated by European baking and croissants, and shared some observations about his Honduran heritage, that is worth reading.

Since he was in town, I invited him into my Paris kitchen to talk about some breads that I gathered from my favorite local bakeries for a tasting during our podcast.

Give it a listen!

French breads from top: Grainy baguette from The French B******s, sourdough loaf from Ten Belles, gluten-free Five Grain bread from Chambelland, an all-butter (mostly-eaten) croissant from Boulangerie Utopie. Not shown: A sesame-curry baguette, which Bryan is holding, also from Boulangerie Utopie.

Get full access to David Lebovitz Newsletter at davidlebovitz.substack.com/subscribe
May 20, 2022
Podcast with Quentin Chapuis
For this special podcast - my second! - I’m thrilled to have as my guest Quentin Chapuis, co-founder of the Fédération Française de l’Apéritif, otherwise known as the FFA. Founded by Quentin and two friends as a lark, the idea has grown into several excellent épiceries (food shops) and apéritif bars with several locations in Paris, and others in Lille and Lyon. I loved the idea so much that I featured the Fédération Française de l’Apéritif, and a drink from Quentin, in Drinking French.

The FFA features only items made in France, all guaranteed to create the perfect apéro hour, including pickled Basque chiles, crispy buckwheat crisps, rosemary-flecked socca (chickpea) chips, and a well-edited selection of French charcuterie and cheeses, as well as a few “only in France” curiosities. The wine and liquor selection is also fun to browse, making it the perfect place to stop by to do some shopping or to have a glass of wine or beer, so you can enjoy the best of France with whatever you’re drinking. They also carry a great selection of French wines, apéritifs, beers, and spirits, which we discuss in this podcast. I hope you enjoy meeting Quentin as much as I did having him as a guest! - David

The Fédération Française de l’Apéritif has three shops in Paris. The one at 2, rue de Paradis has a sit-down wine bar. They also have places in Lille and Lyon. The épiceries and wine bars, as well as their hours, are listed here. (Note: Some locations don’t have wine bars.)

Follow the FFA on Instagram.

Get full access to David Lebovitz Newsletter at davidlebovitz.substack.com/subscribe
Apr 04, 2022
Podcast: Chat with Baker Renato Poliafito
For my first podcast, I am thrilled to sit down with baker Renato Poliafito, owner of Ciao, Gloria in Brooklyn, New York.

I first met Renato when he was the co-owner and co-founder of Baked, and now he has his own delicious venue, with pastries and baked goods that reflect his Italian and Italian-American heritage, which include everything from breakfast sandwiches with eggs, crisp prosciutto and Calabrian aïoli on housemade brioche buns (they’re so good!), to Tricolor Bars (aka: Rainbow cookies), Bombolini, Amaretti, Coffee-Coffee Cake, Chocolate & Nutella-filled coissants, as well as the best-ever, deep-dark Cocoa Chip Brownies.

Ciao, Gloria is a must-stop in Brooklyn and we had a great time tasting his treats!

Buon appetito!

Ciao, Gloria
550 Vanderbilt Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Follow Ciao, Gloria and Renato Poliafito on Instagram

I hope you enjoy my first podcast - if there are any guests you’d like me to have on in the future, let me know in the comments!

Get full access to David Lebovitz Newsletter at davidlebovitz.substack.com/subscribe
Mar 19, 2022