Friday, February 29, 2008


Cosmic Chocolates watercolor
Cosmic Chocolates, original watercolor, 10" x 12"
These are exotic flavored chocolates Cosmic Chocolates sent me -
Cherry Blossom, Jasmin Orange, Lemon Basil, cinnamon rose, lavender honey.. You get the idea.There are no chocolates that look like soap or olives...
salon du chocolat Are these green olives from Provence? Absolutely not.
These are chocolate olives from Provence. Just one of the many chocolate oddities I spotted at the Paris Salon du Chocolat.
Hey it's "Chocolate Friday" again.
salon du chocolat Not olives..not beans. But more CHOCOLATE!
salon du chocolat Same here... Looks are deceiving are they not?
And to go with your sausage you must have beer made from chocolate Cacao Nib.
salon du chocolat And don't forget the frites (white chocolate fries)
salon du chocolat White chocolate "Swiss cheese" from ever inventive Italian Capitano Rosso Pasticceria
salon du chocolat Chocolate dog bones for people? Why not.
salon du chocolat No, not soap. CHOCOLATE! also from Capitano Rosso Pasticceria.
salon du chocolat Big green tea square bars from RichArt Chocolate.

They always do things a little bit differently..looks like soap doesn't it?
I found many sets of chocolate tools at the show?
Is this the hint French wives give to their French husbands to get them cracking on whatever household job needs to be done?
salon du chocolatAnd now for something slightly less utilitarian..
French chocolate couture on display at the Salon - this chocolate creation by Jean-Paul Hevin.
I don't know the creator of this crazy wild chocolat extravaganza..?
salon du chocolat Ah...finger painting!
This is where I got my first art training at age 5. This I can relate to :)
salon du chocolatChocolates anyone?
Please help yourself.
salon du chocolat And enfin a solid chocolate bean filled with REAL chocolates!
Bonne Weekend everyone

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Le Violon d'Ingres

#172 Ice Cream Trio watercolor
Ice Cream Trio, original watercolor, 10" x 12"
Great figurative artist, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, well-known for his passion for playing the violin gave the French language an idiomatic expression, "violon d'Ingres", meaning a hobby or avocation.

My "violon d'Ingres" in Paris, is to go round taking photos of ice cream cones. Don't think for a second the giant pistachio cone lurking behind the cone lineup at ICE TO ICE gelato is for me.

I'm not sure why I love to see these lined up, but I do.Is it about "Great Expectations"! So many cones waiting to be filled at Delizefollie Gelato on rue Montorgueil.I love cone maps too..
Much like with chocolate maps, you suffer attacks of indecision while waiting your turn to choose.
My family used to go ice cream hunting on Sundays when I was a kid. I was the one sent in to "buy" the cones for everybody. Did they think the server would take pity on a 6-year old and give more generous scoops? How come my mother always got to "trim" my cone before I even had one bite?
Here's a "logo" cone from the Paris chain, Amorino.
YUM! An even nicer logo cone from Chanel.
Even if you don't like ice cream, could you pass up this ruby and diamond encrusted cone?
Surrealist photographer Man Ray, was an admirer of the Ingres' paintings and made a series of photographs, inspired by his languorous nudes. As a visual joke/pun he painted on the f-holes of a stringed instrument and named this, "Le Violon d'Ingres". Was it his hobby taking pictures of the model Kiki?
I used to be so obsessed with Ingre's figure drawings, that I took myself off to visit the rather obscure <>Musée Ingres in the small southwestern town of Montauban not once, but two times. Back then they let me sit in the cellar and hold original drawings in my hands. Seventh heaven. So Ingres was my hobbie - my "Violon d'Ingres". I think they have his actual violin there as well.
My "Violon d'Ingres" for the time being is collecting these ridiculous miniatures. If you'd rather make REAL ice cream than collect faux epoxy minis get David Lebovitz's excellent Perfect Scoop. And if you'd like to eat at a very good Parisien bistro do visit Chef Christian Constants' Le Violon d'Ingres
What's your violon d'Ingres?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fetish Ispahan

Fetish Ispahan, original watercolor
You might be thinking it's that time of year again. That Spring is on it's way

Fetish Ispahan Macarons, original watercolor

I arrive in Paris on March 17th and had planned to spend every waking moment sitting in Angelinas sipping hot chocolate. Change of plans! I will have 6 days to immerse myself in all kinds of Ispahanian Fetisherie. These include the Surprise Ispahan wrapped up like a taffy candy, the Emotion Ispahan which comes in a little glass, the Sensation Ispahan, the Tarte Ispahan, the Cheese-Cake Ispahan (!?) and of course the macaron Ispahan.
You can take a look by visiting the site..Let the drooling begin! These rose petals already have a drop of glycerine on them, so don't drool on them.This real rose petal looks like it's about to take off!I don't recall seeing the St. Honore Ispahan before. Did I mention Pierre Herme's Ispahans are a subtle alliance of la crème à la rose, la framboise (raspberry) and a hint of litchi, though I've never actually detected the litchi...
Safely in the box!
The St. Germain pool I like is just a stone's throw from the rue Bonaparte shop, so I figure I can workout first before I descend upon the Temple of The Ispahanian Rose.
The best laid plans :)

Again Herme is offering a contest to win his mini collection of desserts on his site.
Do not despair if you are in the US!
Dear Priscilla of NRFBQueen is happy to send you the same set and you don't have to win a contest or duke it out with thousands, even millions of fierce French women.
Meanwhile I'll be dreaming Amelie-like of days of macarons and roses... Ispahan Roses!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Piece of Cake

#179 Pieces of Cake Watercolor
Pieces of Cake, original watercolor, 9" x 11"
Yesterday, when I mentioned painting dogs wasn't a piece of cake a strong urge came over me to paint a piece of cake...
You will not see so many white cakes in Paris. True I bought this creamy affair from Castelblangeois, thinking I'd paint it. Your standard American white cake with icing is hard to find in Paris. Whipped cream like this pile of creamy delight from Angelina is another matter. This will not deflate like your everyday Ready-Whip. Love these glorious whipped cream-filled Gerard Mulot creations.White eggs abound in Paris - a giant white chocolate Easter egg at Pierre Marcolini. The French are more prone to have an oeuf dur every morning. The Japanese know how to make a good white cake like this St. Honore at Mitsuwa Marketplace in New Jersey.The French can do no wrong when it comes to white porcelaine .Mariage Freres' white teacups are perfection as is their tea.This bebe blanche is la creme de la creme. Only the Italians run neck in neck with the French in the area of exquisite baby clothes.White cheese is another area of expertise the French have mastered. Fromage frais de campagne sounds so much better than our Cottage Cheese.
The French may make the best yogurts or yaourt on the planet, but Greeks might take umbrage with that...
Wall after wall of white yogurt are available in any French super marche. PBers ask me to reccommend a nice Paris bistro. My 'bistro' meal of choice is eaten a casa:
Yaourt + a Salade Compose
I eat too many researche pastries for your benefit hence I'm reduced to a cup of yogurt for dinner. Don't ask me where you can find a nice piece of white cake.