Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dabbling in Paris: Bread, Butter and Pastries

Hello fellow dabblers, as promised, today's blog will detail all the delicious dabbling that occurred on my trip to Paris. The trip was to celebrate my wonderful mom's birthday. We didn't have birthday cake...but we did eat the raspberry pastry pictured above, and I can assure you the cake was not missed.

I was really excited to have the opportunity to experience French cuisine in Paris. I love the food culture in France...slow meals, great wine, an appreciation for showcasing ingredients simply and of course, a love for butter. How could one go wrong?

On our first night in Paris, my mom and I were strolling around in search of a dinner spot. We happened upon a small place in a residential neighborhood near the Eiffel Tower. I had been looking forward to ordering Croque Madame for months, and I was not disappointed by this version:

The combination of the toasty, crunchy bread, with the creamy bechamel sauce and cheese...all used to absorb the rich deliciousness of the egg yolk...fabulous. This beautiful plate was paired with a bottle of local red wine, and I was in food heaven. One of my goals is to master making bechamel sauce. I will keep you posted on those dabblings.

The next day, we walked to E. Dehillerin, a wholesale supplier to the French catering and restaurant industries. This place was like a treasure trove of cookware. Never in my life have I seen pots of that size. I was most excited to purchase a Peugeot pepper mill. Apparently, before Peugeot started making automobiles, they were in the pepper mill business...and all the restaurants still carry them. They have a lifetime warranty, and are purported to be the best pepper mill you will find. Here is a link to pepper mill that I purchased. I saw them in all different colors and sizes,  including a mini red cute, on the tables of Parisian restaurants. I'm already thinking they will make wonderful Christmas presents....If you are considering buying one, search for them on Google and shop around for the best deal.

Pictured above: Pain au Chocolat....the chocolate croissant. I consumed my fair share of these delectable pastries while in Paris. The flaky, buttery dough with rich chocolate in the middle...what a combo. I started off every day with a pain au chocolat, and I miss them already. In addition to mastering bechamel sauce, my second Parisian-inspired food goal is to learn to make a killer pain au chocolat.

I was blessed to go to Paris with many great restaurant recommendations. A good friend of mine studied abroad in Paris and recommended my mom and I visit Laduree. Laduree has several locations and is known for its macaroons and pastries. Pictured left is a sampling of the flavored macaroons. The bite-sized versions were so appealing. They are dainty in appearance and fun to eat. I was impressed with the array of flavors that were offered and how impressive they looked when piled in their respective flavors. I think these would make a great cocktail party dessert.

Pictured right is our pastry box from much deliciousness is such a small space. These are the desserts we used to celebrate my mom's birthday. We bought these pastries and walked a few blocks to the Tulieries Garden. We sat next to a fountain and watched the toy boats floating in the pond and the children feeding the ducks. It was a serene moment, topped off by the heavenly chocolate mousse filling of the chocolate eclairs.

Detailing all of the beautiful things we saw and the delicious things we ate could be a blog all its own, but I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to travel to Paris, and to celebrate my mom. She is an amazing lady, and the love and support she has given to me over the years translates into my cooking.

So dabblers, I will leave you with a few more pictures from Paris. I would love to hear about your dabbles into French cooking, or where you love to eat when traveling to Paris. Enjoy, and happy dabbling.

-The Delicious Dabbler

 Cherry Blossoms blooming in Paris. A welcome change from the snow I left in Minnesota.

A view of the Eiffel Tower from the Seine River. We took an evening boat cruise on the river. The Eiffel Tower is a stunning, awe-inspiring sight to behold.

Chocolate Pastry Heaven. 

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful trip it was!!! And the best company a Mom could ask for. Love this blog post!!