Nothing says Spring or June like strawberries/fraise.
The wearing of strawberry anything in Paris is de rigueur as a rite of Printemps/Spring.
I had big plans to attend the annual June fete de fraise in Plougastel, Brittany.
I was going to visit the musee de la fraise too
And pay homage to dear Amedee-Francois Frezier, who brought back 6 species of strawberries/fraises/Fragaria Chiloensis to France from Chili (now grown to 600 species).
When a New York friend came to town in early May natch I took her to the patisserie to taste a Fraisier. What better way to celebrate Spring and her visit.
Naturally I gave her the bag to carry - a big honor in my mind.
Did I know she would swing it like "a tisket, a tasket, a red and yellow basket". I was ready to throttle her. Aieeeee
When she said she Loved my preparatory sketches for the June letter on fraises, I was ready to hug her. All was forgiven and the cake tasted Fab anyway.
The June strawberry letter has been through so many renditions it's silly.
Monsieur Frézier was an essential ingredient.
But where to put him and how to make him look less grumpy.
Graphic designer Sarah Vasseghi saved the day on Sunday when she said, "You need scale! Everything is the same size". YES.
When I fell and broke my leg I was on way out the door to get Fraisier cake samples. No wonder I wasn't paying attention. Frederic Cassel's Fraisier saved the day and became my model. I've yet to find the true origins of the Fraisier gateau but it's certainly the French version of our strawberry shortcake with a perhaps lighter and more fanciful touch. The berries are sandwiched between 2 thin layers of Genoise cake with a base of pate d'almond, a topping of here a very light guimauve/marshmallow and filled in with creme moussiline. More fresh fruit on top. Yum.
I had so many prep sheets of sketches, French Girl suggested we cut them up and paint a strawberry tied with a red ribbon as a little favor to go inside the June Paris Sketch letters.
I thought she was nuts
But in no time French Girl was punching holes and tying ribbons as she lined them up like strawberry soldiers.
While I painted up a storm.
Speaking of storms, we had torrential rains here and even hail but I haven't gotten a toe wet. Fr Girl bought tons of ribbon, Lois found strawberry perfume to spritz all the envelopes before they ship out, Janice made trips to the printer - La Poste and Wendy brought the strawberries today for the shot. I couldn't have done it without you dear friends. So that's the story of the June Paris sketch letter.
Big Merci all !
Big Merci all !