Thursday, September 19, 2013

Les Mirabelles en Saison

If you plan to be in Paris in September puleeze eat a Mirabelle! One of the great joys of Paris is eating seasonally, but you'll have to go to the morning marche to get the hang of what's in and what's out.
These are so tiny plan on eating quite a few if you're hungry.
On the other hand you'll notice the price can cascade from 1euro a kilo (if you're at marche d'Aligre where they'll insist you taste one) all the way up to 7,95 euros a kilo (2.2 pounds - that's a lot of Mirabelles. Get the jam jars out.
The window of opportunity is small for these babies.
They first appear in late August from the Lorraine area (the Metz Mirabelles have a distinguishing touch of red to them). If you should go to Nancy and why not, just an hour or so away from Paris, Mirabelles will hit you over the head in every form possible. Tartes, Eau de Vie, preserved in liquer, confiteur of course and hard candies and even marshmallows. Yellow, yellow and more yellow prevails in Nancy. I wish I'd known there was a 2-week celebration in Metz end of August with much dancing in the streets, floats and Mirabelle dessert contests. I'd have been there in a flash.
Luckily you can find Mirabelle tartes in most boulangeries.
Boulangerie au 140 (140, rue de Belleville and a favorite of Trish Devine) is the cousin/sister of haute couture patisserie de l'Eglise around the corner. *Note they won best baguette in 2001. This is an award that never goes away.
Also look around while you're on line for your tartelette. A 3-day Edith Piaf festival is just on the horizon in Belleville. I've yet to visit her little museum here. Too much to do! More to come on the fete I promise.
Patisserie d'Eglis was closed at 8:55 so I ran to marche Pyranee for some plumes.
The church is appropriately reflected in it's doorway.
Later on I came back to see if they had any Mirabelle tartes. They did! This is unusual. Most of the 'haute couture' patisseries for some strange reason do not have seasonal fruit desserts other than the standard fraise et framboise. I've yet to figure this out. Tons of chocolate and whipped cream - always yes. Seasonal fruits - rarely?!
A comparative analysis begins.
The boulangerie tarte wins the days for crunchier more caramelized crust. The fancy tarte is almost a 'crumble' but not quite. The shortbread crust is excellent but not as crunchy. The fruit on both are running neck and neck winning :)
Plums or pruneau are pretty divine this time of year in France so please don't miss out. On The left you have the almighty and nearly unpronounceable Quetsch (a combination of kvetch and wetch) ready to eat right out of the paper bag. On the left the lovely green Reine Claude, a tad larger than the Mirabelles.
Also equally unpronounceable and requiring long cooking, the Coing(pronounced like a duck's quack but without the K).
I'm seeing Girolle mushrooms are in. But wait they are NOT from France. Wait a bit on these plus the price is out of sight as are the very French, fresh walnuts at 9,95 a kilo.
What to wear when eating French plums?
This squirrel cardie of course (even if it is English). I've yet to encounter a live French squirrel but at the Agriculture Salon they said French squirrels are noted for their shyness. Maybe a few could come to New York and mingle?


  1. Anonymous10:12 AM

    Les mirabelles en saison

    1. Merci!
      I knew it didn't look right :(

    2. I should have said

  2. We planted a green gage plum a few years ago - none for several years, last year 6 and this year 10 with two not edible - maybe next year we will have a full plumage - the ones we ate this year were heaven.

  3. Aahh 'les Mirabelles. j'adore. We had several mirabelle trees in the garden at our first house, 2km from where we now live. I almost overdosed on them during our 1st summer. I ate them fresh from the tree whist picking them, in tartes,in crumble and confiture. i go back to the house from time to time, & guess what the new owners have cut them all down. said they didn'y have time to pick them... ugghhh !!!! I was so angry.

    1. That is the saddest thing.
      Why ever do people cut down trees unnecessarily?

  4. Never heard of them, but I love the photos!

  5. My heart stopped when you said the new owners cut down the trees!!!!!!!!!

  6. Carol, so many visual treats in this post, full of suggestions that tasting these beauties would be even better.

    Perhaps much simpler, but still delicious, the 2013 apples are now appearing in NYC farmers markets. I love the possibility of selecting the smaller apples, and now have a little collection to admire, and perhaps even draw or paint.

    Well. I am going to eat one of these charmers in a few minutes, just to test this season's crop.

    Unrelated/a bit related question for you. I remember your mentioning ages ago that you like DaVinci brushes and that Blick carried the brand. Yes...indeed they do, and lots of varieties. Would you please send me an email about which of these varieties you like best, and if the "rounds" are good. I've not used them before, and would like to make a trip over to Bond St. (NYC version) to see what might be good to test.


    1. I use only the rounds though I have a few Flats...
      Cheap and cheerful they are!
      You can't go wrong.

  7. Lucinda12:45 AM

    Adorable squirrely cardigan..who wouldn't want that for fall?
    Orla R has Great stuff!!

  8. I love Paris so much, as you know. I have only been there for her spring/summer extravagances though. I so long to be there for different seasons. These mirabelles look so astonishing. I'd love to try them and the mirabelle tartes! How fun to compare and contrast two tartes. I love doing things like that too. Lovely to see the nuts and mushrooms coming into season too.

  9. Anonymous4:21 AM

    I loooove mirabelles. During my childhood in Denmark I climbed up many a mirabelle tree to eat a bunch of them or to bring them back home, where my mum made jam of them. Funnily enough I don't recall ever getting tummy aches despite the huge amount of mirabelles I ate. Yesterday I started making jam with my other favourite the Reine Claude plum. Can't wait to taste it today on fresh bread from my favourite French bakery. And I just might go on the hunt for delicious Tartes aux mirabelles, like you did!!!

  10. Coing! My favorite! Mirabelles, too. The tartes look delicious as always.

  11. Les mirabelles, my favorite. I wish ppl would plant some here...they are sacred in Alsace where I lived. Sigh. xoxo Carol

    1. And I wish the fancy Fr pastry chefs would do something with them but they won't touch seasonal fruits...sad really.
      Always the same old, same old chocolate, whipped cream and babas etc.
      I'd like to go on strike about it!

  12. I think preserving them in liquor sounds like an excellent idea! Especially if the liquor were served with a tarte.

  13. Love that painting of the mirabelles! Such great color!

    1. Oooo thanks J!
      It's a challenge for me to catch the colors of all these new French fruits

  14. Love Mirabelles... great sketch:-)
    had some home-made Damson jam on the weekend - yum!!


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