Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Dress Rehearsals

Lots of bouchons/corks were popping on Sunday when Les Bleus won the world cup. There are signs around Paris thanking the team, MERCI LES BLEUS! And digital signs thanking each team member by name. Yet the leadup to the big game was a bit like a dress rehearsal. There was uncertainty as to whether they would make the big win.
The week before the champagne salon, I figured I shoud get into fighting shape and make the rounds of some of the salon's patissiers. Do a sort of sketching dress rehearsal. It seemed a trek out to the 17th to KL Patisserie 78, avenue de Villiers.
Well worth it in fact. Kevin Lacote's pastries are delectable. A mini version of the raspberry-grapefruit dome showed up at the salon. They suggested I try the Kara Maca - Caramel with madademia nuts.
So good, I ate it minus a fork or spoon in the metro station. Irresistable and beautifully boxed to not move an inch on the route home.
Philippe Conticini uses a specially textured paper to keep his pastries from listing enroute to home.
I fell hard for Conticini's chouquette creme pistache. So hard i went back for another the next day. It looked trés petit next to my painted 'Mt. Everest' version.
Chef Nina Metayer from Cafe Pouchkine made this meringue Pavlova filled with raspberries and red  currants. Pavlovas are trendy this summer PBers.
While munching my Pavolova in their outdoor cafe at Madeleine I spotted a big poster announcing a 3-day exhibit of Dior jewelry at musee d'Art Moderne. I ran there next day.
The artistry of fine jewelry and fine patisserie is not unrelated. Precious, rare ingredients match precious gems, though one luxury is definitely more affordable. Many Paris patisseries look similar to fine jewelry stores though I'm happy to see less and less black interiors.
Only 30 visitors were allowed in at one time to the free exhibit. Many men in black (security guards) guided us through.
Just three rooms, very dark, to set off a Pandora's treasure of 222 sublime jewels designed by Victoire de Castellane.
I would have loved to sketch onsite but there was no time.
As we left each room, attendants came and cleaned the glass for the next group. A spectacular very brief exhibit. If I had not seen the sign (and taken a picture of it) I would have missed it altogether.
Quite a while back I got to stay for a week on my own at Veuve Clicquot's newly refurbished manor house in the vineyards at Verzy.
At the time I didn't know I was doing a dress rehearsal to paint Champagne later on.

Every morning someone came and laid out croissants, jam and coffee for me. Otherwise. I was told to help myself to anything in the fridge. There was nothing else inside other than big champagne jeroboams!
This week I've been painting the one bottle of Champagne I own over and over. It can be hard coming down from Mount Olympus ... And I've been painting up a storm of Paris cherries for the latest Paris map. Thank you for reading Parisbreakfast. If you enjoyed this post, forward to a friend. Subscribe to Paris maps or letters in your mailbox + French souvenirs at ETSY.
I wish you un Bel Été

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Performance artists at Salon des Champagnes et des Patisseries Fines

What a fabulous whirlwind the past few weeks have been ending in the grand finale - the two-day Salon des Champagnes et des Patisseries Fine at Pavillon Ledoyen Sunday was a festive family day There were many children (free from ages 3-10). Monday was for professionals, journalists, restauranteurs etc.
I'm just coming down to planet earth...maybe too many bubbles..ahem
My work station right next to the pastry demo station.
Fortunately I painted quite a few champagne glasses before i left the house sunday morning.
The right setting for all the exquisite desserts. Here the new Hotel Crillon pastry chef Pablo Gicquel demonstrates a miniature version
Of his choux d'amor - vanilla creme, almond praliné, full of vanilla bean

Patissier chef Guillaume Sanchez signs my watercolor
Chef James Berthier of Sucré Cacao made this lush morsel - a deep chocolate base, plus black cherry, plus black sesame flavored chantilly on top.
Pavillon Ledoyen's pwn pastry chef, Aurélien Rivoire combined courgette flowers and strawberries with a vanilla cream.
Plating the 100 desserts as the crowd looked on patiently waiting
Pavillon Ledoyen's top 3-star chef, Yannick Alleno jumped in to help the team plate desserts
Miniature peach-red current meringue pavlovas from Cafe Pouchkine's chef Nina Métayer. I missed tasting this one but I had the fullsize number earlier in the week at the cafe. I was 'rehearsing' you could say for the big event...
Not to forget the 34 stations of champagne! Many small producers were present.
It was an opportunity to taste smaller family brands like grand cru, De Sousa
As well as big names like Billecart Salmon, Pol Roger, Lanson.
A number of wineries asked me to paint their bottles onsite
I loved painting this deep green bottle of Aspasie plus the chunk of chalk from their caves.
All tasting glasses were provided by Spiegelau,
A big THANK YOU to the many PBers who showed up at the salon, including macaron queen, Jill Colonna of Mad about Macarons, whose background training was as a sommelier. The two days were a delightful whirlwind of tasting, painting, and imbibing beautiful bubbles. Plus the chance to participate with Paris top chefs. Now back to Paris maps, letters and reality. If you'd like a dessert or champagne watercolor or letters from Paris let me know🥂🍾🍒. Thanks for reading Parisbreakfast. Cheers Carolg

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Lobster Land, Trouville sur mer

For 3 days I've been doing hand-to-claw combat with a lobster. Finally I zeroed in on just painting the claw and capturing that inimitable 'lobster red' in watercolor. I think I nailed it.. There is almost no place I love better than Trouville sur mer en Normandie. Sand, sun, ocean, boardwalks, Victoriana
And lobster, my fav food. Early lobbie thumbnail sketches...
Trouville's Marché de Poissoniere was busy, busy at lunch time...12:15 and every table filled. One hour's wait. Françoise said, Let's have crepes? No way José!
I took my homard de Breton/lobster + plate and cutlery away/pour importer...
It was 90 degrees in Trouville. Hot, hot, hot. Finally a cool, quiet place to plunge into my lobster. In fact quite a few people climbed those steps, wishing me a, "bon appetite!"
The night before I ate classic Normand moules/mussels
At one of the 30 classic bistros serving moules. It doesn't matter where you go. It's all good et pas cher.
At dusk, the obligatory orangie Apero is de rigueur on the boardwalk by the sea.
During daytime Trouville beach may be hot and crammed with tourists, not that I care..
At night temps drop. Bring a jacket. While everyone is off eating moules
Cool your toes in the surf and stroll. So relaxing.
My hotel was OK. FYI, no AC.
Still with temps down in the 60s I could paint comfortably in my room
That perfect isolated beach.
What to wear in Victorian Trouville sur mer?
Ruffles if you like, a long loose skirt with flip flops. Trouville is not a fashion center. Anything goes.
Better yet, shed it all and throw yourself into the cooling surf. Next visit, I'll stay longer. Meanwhile Trouville lobsters are up on Etsy. Get a watercolor among other French goodies 🍒 in your 📮mailbox. Thanks for reading Parisbreakfast. If you enjoyed this post please share. Cheers Carolg and Bear