Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Paris Winter Whites and The Greek Diet

Some days take on a color from the get go. Yesterday I received this card from a friend in New York of skaters in Central Park.

Next I looked at Monique's gorgeous post on her Canadian winter wonderland. If you have not visited La Table de Nana you have a big treat in store. Run, don't walk.

The only snow in Paris right now is faux (false) resting on top of faux chalets in the marche des Noels like the one on boulevard Saint Germain.

First thing I got off the bus yesterday I was blasted with a whoosh of Winter whites in perfumerie Caron's vitrine(window).

Next door Joseph had Winter white on the brain with this posh snowy outfit.

Monop has 'les hits tres hotte de Noel' Winter white T-shirt for the kids at a way lower price tag.

My purpose was a visit it to the new Café Pouchkine salon de The, 155, blvd Saint Germain 75006

If you want a true blast of winter head for a Russian café.

And very glam as expected.

Good idea to rob a bank before dropping by (though forget the rubles at the moment which are diving).

I wish I'd been more adventurous picking out my white dessert...


Why of why did I go for the Koulich (in fact an Easter fruit cake)? Oh right. I was looking on the right side of the menu.

The hot chocolate, made at your table at Pouchkine is divine. The cake, not so exciting. Half a bite and I was finished. Still a very good choice if you're on a diet. No worries or guilt about cleaning up the plate!

Outside the always tres hotte hit of the big white scarf is in evidence.

For a big splash of white visit Printemps on Avenue Haussmann.

More Winter whites at Monoprix. I am currently on THE GREEK DIET as of last Friday after perusing the NYTimes story on Maria Loi's new diet book. I've always been a big fan of Fage Greek yogurt. And supposedly, after 2 weeks of just a full cup for dinner I will lose 10 pounds! I'm up for that PBers. Anyone want to join in? So far I'm really enjoying it, plus the addition of a little chopped fresh coconut (also from Monop).

*As it happens Bear is a whiz at making easy Greek yogurt lemon zest ice cream. The recipe is here. Hmm I don't think Maria Loi would approve of this for her '10 pillars of eating'...ahem.
Is there snow where you are?
In Paris we have drizzle...again.

Monday, December 15, 2014

L'Alsace Fete Noel à la Gare de l'Est

If you love Alsacien food the Marche de Noel a la Gare de L'Est is a must do in Paris during the holiday season.

Hop on the 47 bus and you're there.

All the trains go off to points east like Nancy and Strasbourg so this part of Paris has names like Hotel Lorraine, boulevard de Strasbourg.

*One warning. Unlike most Christmas markets in Paris (usually loaded with holiday snack foods like spiced wine, crepes, hot chestnuts) you will find none of that here. Fortunately the 47 bus drops you just in front of traiteur Schmid, one of the best Alsacien epiceries in town. I went in and browsed.

Perfect kugelhopfs. Every kind of sausage, choucroute, you name it.
They have the very traditional 'Le Mannele Alsacien' made during the holidays of milk bread and served to French children since the 13th century with bowls of hot chocolate.

Naturally I bought nothing at the delicious Schmid, saving myself for the Noel Market. Ha!

Forewarned is forearmed. DRESS WARMLY! No heating inside the tent of authentic Alsacien purveyors. Of course Saturday was the day I decided to not wear so many layers. Ha again.

Pain d'epice in great heaping loaves. My favorite French cookie is the Alsacien Etoiles a la Cannelle. Cinnamon is a rarity in French cuisine but not in Alsace. These are loaded with it and almond flour but not gluten free.

Massive hunks of smoked country bacon. Very tempting as one who grew up on BLTs as a kid.

I did fall hard for the sets of Choucroute Garni. I just need a dash of Riesling wine to throw in. The perfect warming winter dinner.

Once you start it's hard to stop. Yes I got some of these potato roesti. Gone, gone gone.

I'm a fan of Alsacian 'Pizza' already or Flammkuchen also called tarte Flambee. Thin, brittle, fromage blanc with lardon and onions.

There may have been no snack food but there was plenty of excellent wines to taste freely. All the wines Alsace is noted for: Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinots, eau de vies.

Adorable wine carriers create an Alsacien village.

If you've ever visited Alsace you'll know many of those villages are toy towns.

There's a folksy, quaint even cutsey look to the life in Alsace.

The graphic artist, Hansi (1873-1951) captured the iconic folksy Alsatian style to perfection.It's not just for the kiddies. This drape was on a very fine purveyor of foie gras. His logo too bore a Hansi little kid. Hansi was active politically during the wars against the Germans and still revered.

I visited the Hansi museum in Riquewihr a long while back and loved it. Altogether this is a wonderful Christmas market as long as you get some hearty snacks at Schmid before visiting.

You could bring a snack from home. Do you know the easy hack for Mandarins/Clemintines? A simple slice on both ends and one cut in the middle = a lovely 'caterpillar' effect with no messy peels.
You can still give yourself or another Paris Sketch letters in time to arrive before the Holidays by the way :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Astier de Villatte Paris

There's a tiny shop full of treasures lower end of rue Saint Honore, at 173, 75001, easily missed if you don't know the inside scoop.

That's why ParisBreakfasts is here PBers!

Bear knows about Astier de Villatte naturalement.

In fact Bear told me about it.

You may already have seen the divine all-white porcelain from Astier. They have it in ABC in New York and many other special shops.

The well-kept secret is!! Shhhhh...

Astier de Villate has the most enchanting collection of tree ornament in Paris, maybe the world. I kid you not.

Starting in early November they fill the upstairs room with bits of joy.

The vendeuse told me I was already 'Late!'
Many of the best tree ornaments have already sold out.
How is this possible? Everything looks pretty damn good (PDG) to me.

And she said, "it keeps getting earlier and earlier" (the Christmas season). So if you happen to be in Paris in November, make a mad dash over to Astier to get first dibs. I'll do the same next year or as they say here 'a la prochaine'.

Sadly the only gateaux in the joint :(
I was looking for an ECLAIR tree ornament. No way.

A big carp? No problem.

Paris' famous giant crows. You got it!

I did not see any of their stunning wolves this year. Trop tard.

Still ya gotta admit the leftover ornaments look pretty terrific non?
I'll take them in a heartbeat.
Speaking of a dear heart, lovely Macaron queen, Jill Colonna, soon to be all-time pastry queen has given the Paris Sketch letters a very nice shout-out. Do drop in if you don't know Jill's lovely blog or her book, Mad about Macarons and say Hi. You might pick up some tips to improve your macaron-making on the way.

Paris is all about desire isn't it?