Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Carrément Chocolat - Pastry Geometry

I'm down to my last few delicious SQUARES of chocolate from the Fancy Food Show a month ago...Pierre Hermé likes SQUARES too.His Carrément Chocolat shows up in many sizes - as a gateau for 4, a popsicle, as a portion individule (I bought this one).

The interior - Chocolat noir, gelé de chocolat et croustilland de chocolat = this is a whole lot of chocolat!
Google translates carrément chocolat as 'straightforwardly' but I think "SQUARELY chocolate" would be better.
Any help from the audience is appreciated.

Paris pastry chefs use plenty of geometry in their creations.
Desserts naturally take the form of abstract geometric shapes-cubes, spheres, cylinders, pyramids, triangles what with the SQUARE and circular pans used for baking. But What's so great about geometric forms and why ever would these influence French pastry chefs?
Pierre Hermé Gateaux, watercolor, 10 1/2 x 7 1/2"

Cezanne said, if you can draw a cube, a sphere, a can draw anything. Most art foundation courses start off drawing these same shapes. They're the basis of all forms.
Ok not mashed potatos, but the head, the figure etc can all be carved out of a cube.
There's an inherent harmony in these shapes.
They're pleasing aesthetically to the eye and no chefs are more conscious of aesthetics than pastry chefs IMO.
Everywhere I looked in Paris I saw these pure geometric shapes. Square within a square at La Maison du Chocolat, rectangles at Christian Constant, triangles and circles at Lenotre, on and on.
BTW if you buy any of these don't let them sit around as I did on my drawing table -- you'll have a nice penicillin farm in no time at all.
The vendeuse at Jean-Paul Hévin said ONLY 3 HOURS OUTSIDE THE FRIGO! after I left a raspberry rectangle out while I went south for 3 DAYS!!!
And let me tell you, even in the Frigo - do not forget these guys! OK do you think I'm nuts?  Feel free to tell me know your opinion of the Paris pastry geometry theory.


  1. Anonymous3:08 PM

    Excellent geometry on the chocolate square you painted--and excellently painted, too. And thank heavens you mentioned the fridge, bc I had some petits fours I have to paint that I'd left on the kitchen island all night. Yikes! Caught 'em in time, thanks to you!

  2. Anonymous9:03 PM

    ah yes, this is pure deliciousness!

  3. Anonymous12:02 AM

    What an interesting observation about the geometry of pastry! All I know is that I'd want to gobble it all up!

    Go and replenish your chocolate stash!

  4. AH HA Ivonne alias Cream Puffs! There's a discerning eye. I've added you to my links so I can easily jump to your beautiful but non-geometric creations. "Organic" is the operative word here. Not to worry. You're in good company. Gérard Mulot is another organically inclined chef. If you do a search in Flickr you'll see how he covers his cubes etc with fruit and flowers and all but obliterates the basic forms. Here's an example of one of his wild fruity numbers...
    Thanks for your observations.

  5. I need internet access! I miss your posts :( Everything looks delicieux as usual.

  6. The last time I was in Paris, I loaded up on Michel Cluizel chocolates as well. Some of them were a bit too high in cocoa content for my taste, but I know that's what makes great chocolate great! Thanks for visiting my blog - I'm enjoying reading yours very much!


  7. Runaround - wait until you taste Italian Domori's 100% cacao !
    The funny thing is after a while you get atuned to it. I'm finding Cluizel a bit tame now, though I do love Valrhona.

  8. Carrément Chocolat is a wonderful pun.

    "Carrément" is often used in conversation to mean something like "absolutely" (familiar sense).

    "Tu l'as aimé?" "Oui! Carrément!"


    "C'était carrément bon/mauvais."


    Them chocolates do look nummy. tnx for the pics.

  9. Oh Thanks Jennc, I was hoping someone would come up with an accurate translation. My usual Fr. corrector is unreachable and off keeping cool in the Swiss Alpes..grrr

  10. hi carol, trust the artist amongst us to spot the cubist movement in haute patisserie ;) i have a total weakness for those geometric forms you so wonderfully describe...and your fabulous rendition of the carrement! it is just too sublime.

  11. Hi Carol

    Everything looks so much better in those neat geometric shapes. They look so perfect, especially the chocolate. Seems a shame to eat them. Somehow I don't think that would stop me!

    Bon Appetit!


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