Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Who's ready for cupcake camp?

This Sunday, July 4, Little Miss Cupcake is gathering the troops—Berko, Synie’s Cupcakes, Chloé S, Cupcakes & Co., and Little Miss Cupcake, bien sur—for Cupcake Camp, a fun festival of tasting and comparing cupcakes as they compete for such dubious titles as “Most Patriotic Cupcake” and “Cupcake with the Most Unusual Ingredient”. The most delicious bit is that the event’s proceeds will go to Rebuilding Haiti Now, which provides relief for Haiti’s earthquake victims. Eat for a good cause!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The perfect excuse to pause for dessert

There is nothing better than un gateau individuel from a landmark patisserie. But there is something to be said for the neighborhood bakery as well.

So the Pause Détente patisserie is not Pierre Hermé, La Patisserie des Reves or Arnaud Delmontel. But it’s a sweet spot all the same.

Located in the 11the arrondisement, they make giant crispy, custardy éclairs and tarts au citron that are accented with chocolate disks.

Many of their individual cakes are studded with fresh cream or berries…

…macarons or chocolate shavings (as well they should be!).

The big cakes get the same kind of trimmings. You just better be sure you have some help with these beauties.

And there’s even an entire section devoted to chocolate. Pralines and ganache. Milk and dark. Simple and elaborate.

It’s the perfect spot for a Saturday afternoon, n’est ce pas?

98 Avenue Ledru-Rollin, 11eme

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Milk chocolate + Speculoos = Trouble

I am nothing if not a sucker for Speculoos. And now that I’ve discovered Dolfin makes a milk chocolate bar with Speculoos, I am in big trouble.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sunday tea and macarons

Carette is a beautiful art deco salon de thé that’s been at Place du Trocadero for over 80 years. But this I didn’t know until Carol told me when we were sitting at the new Marais location. Whereas the original establishment is riche et royale, where we were perched was quite casual; the perfect spot from which to watch the world sashay by. (And sashay they did, these incorrigible Frenchies.)

So, a Sunday tea date. What might accompany my pot of thé de menthe?

I stole a look inside to let the taste buds start percolating. Strawberry and rhubarb tart with these naughty-looking crunchy bits?

Raspberry gateau? A hedonistic slice of rich, dark chocolate cake?

I’ve found I like things that begin with C. And so I got the classic cherry clafoutis (I even made this lovely custardy dessert once).

Carol ordered un chocolat. Trop modest, I thought, until I saw what she’d been up to earlier in the day.

All around us, people were indulging in plates of vibrantly-colored macarons.

Pistachio, cassis, café, lemon, vanilla, raspberry, rose…

As soon as Carol saw the colors, there was no going back. We went inside so she could buy a box.

A beautiful hot pink box! Filled with macarons!

I was very jealous, and contented myself with admiring the macaron displays.

(And plotting my return to get a box myself.)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Creamy, chocolaty brioche

Does this look familiar?

Different viennoiserie, same boulangerie.

I can’t help it. Boulangerie Julien has a magnetic pull. At least once a week as I’m walking to work, I must go in.

Usually I just press my nose against the window.

Other times, like when I see a chocolate chip brioche, it's all too easy to give in.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

New macaron flavors that make me happy

When you live in Paris, you can't help but fall in love with macarons. And with so many incredible flavor combinations—peach and ginger; litchi, rose and raspberry; caramel with salted butter—there is always something new to tickle your taste buds. Even though I’ve done considerable research and tasting, last weekend I sampled two brand new flavors that I loved.

The first was at Rachel Khoo’s dinner party. You might look at the lovely tray of petit green delights and think, Pistachio? Passionfruit? Green apple?

Wrong, wrong and wrong. Rachel made savory macarons: wasabi and olive. I didn’t try the olive one as I was saving my appetite for the five-course extravaganza that was ahead of us, but the wasabi macaron was delicious. The same delicate and creamy, moist but crisp texture, but it was a mouthful of savory instead of sweet. Surprising in a good way.

The next day I had lunch at Gaya and, after indulging in the heavenly chocolate praliné cake with rhubarb and hazelnut salted caramel ice cream (seriously)…

… we got a lovely little plate of petite fours, including macarons in another flavor that, shockingly, I’ve never seen or sampled: mint.

There is much to love in this city.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Back to Lisbon for pastéis de natas

Although the Pastéis de Belém Café was a haul from our hotel in Lisbon, it was essential that we visit. This 171-year-old bakery claims to have invented pastéis de natas—those deliciously sweet custard tarts that we had been inhaling all week. Were they worth the hype?

When we arrived, the café was blissfully crowd-free, giving us the opportunity to admire the old time-y charm and the pastries in the display.

Of course we were there for the pastéis de natas, but, as good tourists, it was our duty to sample the other treats too.

We settled on a simple but delightful corn muffin, sweet bread and coffee and juice to wash it down. A beautiful breakfast spread.

The muffin was light, moist and sweet.

And the pastéis de natas were everything promised—sweet, light, creamy and totally indulgent (though we thought the ones from Doce Real a wee bit better).

Still, that didn’t stop us from cleaning our plates.

Just in the nick of time. As we left the bakery and make our way to Sintra, the rest of the tourists were clogging the sidewalk, hungry for their turn.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Edible Parisian Icons

What will you see everywhere in Paris?

Eiffel Towers.

And macarons.

And if you’re in the Montorgueil quartier, you will see them deliciously brought together at Stohrer. Such a beautiful city.