Thursday, January 31, 2013

P comme p'tit sac

P comme p'tit sac
As previously discussed you can walk into almost any shop in Paris and request just one of something. One macaron, one caramel, one cupcake. No one will look down their nose at you. Giving yourself a little/petite treat is respected here. But often the vendeuse will respond to your request with what sounds a lot like
'Empty sac Madame?'
In fact she's asking if you'd like a little sac/bag for your single edible treasure. The French are given to compressing words like an accordian so:
petit becomes p'tit or sounds just like T
So many times I've paused and asked myself why is she asking me if I want an empty sac? C'est comme ca. Don't forget to ask for a sticker or two..
Un p'tit sticker is nice to put on your p'tit Molekine if you have one. The French are very big on the word p'tit. For example p'tit dejeuner and les p'tits refers to the little ones or kiddies...
Have you been to Pistacherie? They have a whole array of p'tit sacs starting at just 50 grm
Their collection of pistachios from around the world could never be called p'tit! These are from Grec and semi-salted.
5, Place de l'Alma 75008
Henri Le Roux is known especially for his CBS - caramels au beurre sale
But I died and went to heaven when I tasted one of his 'orange gingimbre' - not to be missed. Try one!
1 rue de Bourbon le Chateau 75006
I was curious to visit Christolphe Adams new eclair shop, L'Eclair de Genie in the Marais after seeing his pastries at SIRHA
Of course I got his 'baguette' eclaire which comes already wrapped in a newspaper bag. The vendeuse proceeded to place it inside another sac, but I requested un p'tit boite instead. Inside was a thin plaque of milk chocolate sandwiched between 2 layers of chocolate-flavored whipped cream plus a layer of framboise jam on the bottom half like...I don't know what!? Unique to say the least.
14, rue Pavee 75004
It's easy to end up with quite big collection of p'tit sacs in Paris.
What to do with them?
Hmmm...
So what French expressions do you know that begin with p'tit?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Paris: a love story

Mardi 23 janvier Kati Marton Paris - A Love Story
I went to the American Library's Wednesday book nights to hear Kati Marton. But catching author Marton's vivacity and mercurial charm isn't easy with brush or camera still she communicates vibrantly with words on the page. My sister lent me Kati's book, Paris: A Love Story my first night in Paris with the proviso I must read it quickly so she could finish. I stayed up all night enthralled.
Marton's book is a memoire of her early days in Paris first as student from Hungary and then as wife of ABC Peter Jennings and later Richard Holbrooke. She lived on rue des Ecoles. Not being familiar with the 5th arron. I decided to walk in her footsteps the next day.
 
The 5th has a villagie feel like any other university town...
Discovering the bargain bins on the rue St.-Placide, I gradually transformed myself into the facsimile of a chic Parisian girl. Well-cut pants (instead of baggy jeans) and a trench oat became my uniform. And, of course, I learned to tie scarves.
Later Kati talks of her quiet dinners with Holebrooke at this tiny bistro, Le Coupe Chou when he'd return from various missions sorting out nations. I'd eaten there on my second trip to Paris so I had to have a look.
 
It's on a little pedestrian rue that's a delight to wander.
 
Kati talks of discovering the cinema, La Desperado in her student days.
This crowd is here for a serious movie experience. It is a world away from my noisy Broadway Cineplex, where we jostle each other with giant tubs of popcorn and industrial-sized cups of soda. There is no food at the Desperado. (The French regard food as much too important to waste on snacks.)
 
Each morning I line up for bread at the Eric Kayser boulangerie on the rue Monge. A round of "Bonjours" with the bakers and my neighbors. As I leave with my baguette, the clochard, the homeless man, who has chosen this prime spot in the warm and aromatic entrance of the bakery, recognizes me from my last visit. "Vous etes de returnee Madame!"
 
This shop was not specifically mentioned yet so many moments of happiness by chance are a part of Paris: a love story.
 
....you cannot step out of your front door without makeup, well-coiffed hair, jewelry, nice shoes and the required scarf tied just so. There is a performance aspect to every foray onto the Parisian stage. People check each other out, frankly and without embarrassment. This is part of the city's pleasure. No carelessness, no sloppiness-focus on the task at hand. This soigné air gives the city it's festive quality, an acknowledged net that we are in Paris.
 
Hemingway said it best.
 
Kati Marton is the author of Enemies of the People: My Family’s Journey to America, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. Her other books include The Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World, Hidden Power: Presidential Marriages That Shaped Our History, Wallenberg, The Polk Conspiracy, and A Death in Jerusalem. She is an award-winning former NPR and ABC News correspondent. She lives in New York City.
 
Another favorite quote:
Peter could not have been more supportive. To encourage me, he had the ABC art department make up a framed sign that said,
"One page at a time, One day at a time. You are a great talent."
He hung it on the wall over my desk, where it stayed.
I was touched by Marton's poignant memoire. It made an undiscovered part of Paris even richer for me. I think you'll enjoy Paris:A Love Story too.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

La Coupe de Monde de la Patisserie

Dimanche 27 janvier Coupe de Monde de la Patisserie 2013
There are a gazillion gorgeous gateaux sitting around in the VIP area
It's easy to forget how much engineering goes into creating these cakes like this cut-away diagram in the Valrhona stand.
Cakes are used all over the place instead of floral bouquets...
These are table decor not to be cut or eaten...
Inside the Coupe de Monde de la Patisserie competition the cakes are really far away.
Everyone is shooting everyone else AND the cakes of course...
You have to watch the big screen above the competition judges to gather what's going on in front and back in the kitchens.
Better yet upstairs in the press room you can get very up close and personal with the harried contestents preping their desserts.
You can watch the chef judges expressions as they taste the creations of 21 world wide teams.
They must taste:
3 chocolate desserts
3 frozen fruit desserts
12 plates of desserts
Judge a sugar showpiece, a chocolate showpiece, and an ice sculpture. All this must be produced in a mere 10 hours and done to perfection after 2 years of practice, practice, practice. So in the end the judges job is quite an undertaking. I have no idea how they do it. I was felled yesterday with a mild tummy ache by a few bites here and there at SIRHA. The French team won this year coached by Frederic Cassel who also ran the Charles Proust Concours at the Salon du Chocolat. Still this event is full of tremendous fun and excitement, even if the cakes aren't for tasting. Come back in 2 years for the next Coupe de Monde de la Patisserie in 2015!

Monday, January 28, 2013

SIRAH 2013

Dimanche 27 janvier SIRAH 2013 Lyon
I left the house at 6am to run to Gare du Lyon for the 7:58TGV train
Another tram + a bus et voila - SIRAH!
This show is enormous. Every bit as big as Maison et Objet and I took just a tiny bite of it...thinking of running back today for more bites.
Football fields of food, tableware, equipment.
2200 exhibitors and brands!
22 national pavilions!
1200 demonstrations every day! 
And chefs, chefs, chefs!
And chefs demos mis en place
Thousands of croissants to nibble on wherever you looked.
But so many other delish things like these witty Christolphe Adams 'baguette' eclairs (formerly Fauchon's eclair maitre and now l'Eclair du Genie).
Valrhona Chocolate is a major sponsor of the 5 day extravaganza. They had exquisite tasting trays of various chocolate mousse or is it mousses..?
Loved this olive oil tasting much like a perfume tasting.
Beautiful KitchenAids like Rockette dancers were in every chefs kitchen on site.
And of course many signs of Paul Bocuse everywhere. The Bocuse d'Or concours is the last 2 days and a major world wide event.
Clever Villeroy and Boch had a space where anyone could paint their own version of the Bocuse commemorative plate. Fun!
The 'presse' lunch upstairs in the press room I ate - a bit of relief from all the lush goodies in the food halls downstairs. I'll tell you about the Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Dog of the day at the Lyon train station end of day. My camera broke on me on Saturday so these are all shot with my new mini iPad. Please excuse the fuzz
Bonne Journee!