Saturday, November 15, 2014

Angelina Trouble - Out of the Woods - This Is How we Do

What do they say, "90% perspiration, 10% inspiration".
The perspiration was flying this week.

Everyone has their cafe in Paris. Mine is Angelina though I mostly browse. At least once a week I stop in for a look. Such a beautiful space. The exquisite pastries are inspiring.

When I go it's for breakfast before 9 am. The lines for tea time are daunting.

I decided November is perfect for chestnuts (marrons), Mont Blancs and of course Angelina.

One look at the histoire section of Angelina and it was a coup de foudre (love at 1st sight).

Why not draw Angelina for the November sketch letter art?


Why not include Coco Chanel and Marcel Proust, frequent Angelina habituées? Chanel always sat at table #10.

Let the drawing begin!

Many, many drawings later of Proust, Karl, Audrey, Pharrell, Katy, Taylor and Mont Blancs...

I began to tear my hair out. Clearly I'd bitten off more than I could chew.

A visit to Les Borgia exhibit at the Maillol museum to study crowd scenes near Angelina 108, rue du Bac was required.

Still, things were not falling into place.

The Mont Blancs were no problem. I ate quite a few to get the color right naturally. It was all those figures driving me nutz.

My theme song these past weeks: Taylor Wood's new OUT OF THE WOODS.
Are we out of the woods yet?
Are we out of the woods yet?
Are we out of the woods yet?
Are we out of the woods?
Are we in the clear yet?
Are we in the clear yet?
Are we in the clear yet?
Are we in the clear yet Girl?

Finally I got it.
Thanks to an airbrush teacher's best lesson,
"The fastest, easiest way is the best way"
I went back to the room photograph (near the top). Traced it.
Replaced the figures with celebrity sketches. Et voila.
Probably TMI (too much information), but THIS IS HOW WE DO(another theme song from Katy Perry that got me through. Especially the line
"IT'S NO BIG DEAL!"
A small dance for joy when the artwork was finished.
My reward? My own Angelina cup and saucer.

But no time for Champagne yet.
Envelopes must be filled, stamped, sealed, mailed out.
You can see the finished results over on ETSY.
Let me know what you think?
Did I do OK?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Salon du Chocolat - Chateau Vaux le Vicomte 2014

As if 5 days of the annual Paris Salon du Chocolat wasn't enough. The following weekend beginning of November along comes the chocolate salon at chateau Vaux le Vicomte near Melun.

Naturally I couldn't disappoint you by missing it could I?

And bear said he'd like to attend. 

The weather was sunny and lovely and not the least bit chilly.

Because of Remembrance Day on Tuesday, the chocolate salon was extended to 4 days. It's just a 35 minute train ride from Gare de Lyon and a quick hop on the chateaubus. Please add this to your extensive lists of Don't Misses PBers.

After all former owner of the chateau, Comte Nicolas Fouquet would be very disappointed if you didn't partake. I wonder what he'd think of the salon but then he adored giving grand soirées so he'd probably be first in line for the hot chocolate. If you'd like to see the chateau in its glorious hey day rent the costume film VATEL with Gerard Depardieu. Very grand indeed.

Sadaharu Aoki was on hand making his fabulous chocolate macaron/green tea cakes. I got 2 to eat later...Haha

There were a slew of top chefs in the grand ballroom and as always an outrageous chocolate sculpture. OK several outrageous chocolate sculptures.

Bear had to get up close to study Vaux le Vicomte's symbolic squirrels in chocolate.

Jean-Charles Rochoux was there as always with his mother. I, with the best of intentions, bought a little box of his heavenly chocolate ganache truffles for my concierge. Which...ahem...I just wolfed down. Fortunately his tiny shop is nearby in the 6th so I can easily replace them.

Bear loves Mazet's almond dragees. It was all I could do to keep his paws out of the generous tasting bowls of candy.

We both are crazy for Arnaud Larher's macarons. I got citron and mandarin macarons.

I'm finding more and more things to love from Sadaharu Aoki like these not-so sweet rusk 'macarons' he makes. Perfect for tea time. I think I need a replacement soon. Uh oh

Here's the list of excellent chefs taking part at the chateau (most show up every year). Fewer than the big Paris salon but oh so much more manageable. Just as the chateau is a mini version of Versailles designed by the same architect, Louis le Vaux, landscaper, Le Notre and interior decorator, Charles Le Brun. A wonderful day outing for the family or singles. Starting 29 of November the chateau will put on it's annual Noël fete. I hope to make it this year.

Of course there are some chocolate gowns to ooogle..

Can there ever be too many chefs stirring the pot when it's a pot of hot chocolate? A nearby pastry school, Antoine Careme always does demos and classes for the little ones at the salon. This is when I'd like to drink Alice's potion and shrink down to pint size. Kids have a ball in France. Not that I'm complaining at all.
*Here's a tip I've finally figured out after visiting many of these salons.
Buy what they are making onsite, like Aoki's Tokyo macaron Yaki or the hot chocolate. These items are freshly made and usually reasonably priced for feeding the masses.
You simply can't go wrong.
Hope to see you there next year PBers!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Salon du Chocolat Bye Bye

After reading all your oohing and ahhings to my previous post I made a dash out to Porte de Versailles the last day of the Salon du Chocolat 2014.

Naturally I was feeling completely in control of my cravings like the 'Le Kong' chocolate sculpture from Jean-Paul Hévin. NOT.

The Baba Tropical at Laurent Duchene beckoned. Why not? Research no?

Yes, it tasted every bit as good as it looked I'm happy to report. Light, delicate, and passion fruity with not too much rum.

The closing day of the salon is always a mad house. Many tempting items were gone (fortunately for me).

The French are famous for celebrating anything at all at the drop of a hat. No anniversary or birthday required to pop open their champagne. Why not drink from a chocolate flute and then eat it?

Top patissiere, chocolatier Sadaharu Aoki was there everyday at his stand.

His milk chocolate ginger confit was one things of the best chocolates I tasted at the salon and they kept putting out samples nonstop. yum yum

I decided to not resist his big chocolate macaron enrobed in green tea batter hot off the griddle or whatever this thing is.

I'm glad I caved. The chocolate macaron melts inside the non-sweet green tea batter making a perfect contrast of flavors and textures and a steal at 3€. Plus you won't see this again till next year so it's a  'Le Must'.

An exquisite autumnal leaf creation from grand French mark of Lyonaise chocolatier, Bernachon.

They have been making fine French chocolates since 1953 and their quality has never wavered. Another Le Must if you're visiting Lyon.

I got a bag of Bernachon unsweetened cacao and my morning cup of hot chocolate has a superior taste these days. I may have to visit Lyon to replenish.

After 3 visits to the Salon I finally got a glance at some of the chocolate creations by patissiers and designers.

Plus the finale fashion walk. A little bit of video on Flickr HERE.
 
Pralus was busy cleaning up early at 5pm. Have they read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up too? Not a single crumb of praline to be seen.

Outside the pastry trucks are almost as much fun as the pastries inside. Almost...

Time to go home. Everyone is sated and full of chocolate. Me too.
I hadn't noticed this chocolate-brown painted Wallace fountain before. The gent passed his hand under it but no hot chocolate flowed. Dommage. Bye Bye till next year Salon du Chocolat et merci!