Tuesday, May 31, 2011

L'Amour Fou

Petits Fours by Carol Gillott L'Amour Fou de Petits Fours, watercolor
Still crazy for petits fours, I thought I'd try the competition. Mais quelle disastre! Staff grabbed the box, ran in the kitchen and tried to patch them together.
Where are the little protective caissettes plissées that go under each petit four bien sur?
Mon dieu! I was mad. Growling like these not-to-be-missed animal sculptures of Ai Weiwei  near The Plaza Hotel.

Financier Pastries C'est la vie. I returned to Financier Pastries for a 2nd set of petits fours. A pastry artist must have something to paint.

Financier Pastries As a consolation prize I got a passion fruit macaron = instant happiness. When life gives you lemons eat macarons.

With all this mad, crazy love for petits fours seeing L'Amour Fou/crazy love was a natural.

L'Amour Fou is a French documentary about the relationship of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge, their amazing art collection and Berge's decision to auction it off in 2009 in a 3-day extravaganza. Read more in Elaine Sciolino's story here.

The film offers a detailed inside look at their lives together and the relentless luxury of their lifestyle.

Financier Pastries Yesterday Yellow Bird dragged me down for more pastry luxuries. Who does he think he is - YSL?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Les Meilleures Tartes au Fraises de Paris

Berries by Fantin- Latour The French mad for their fraises/strawberries.

I can't remember all the varieties (fraise de bois, gariguette, charlotte, mara des bois, ciflorette, etc.), but try to buy a box from Espana at Monoprix and you'll get a slap. Buy local bien sur! 

Is there a pastry chef in Paris who dips his brush into the strawberry patch more than.

I think not. 

Name a contender and we can duke it out.
Really it's no wonder Gerard Mulot won hands down this month's Le Figaro contest for the BEST Strawberry tarte in all of Paris.
Who doesn't want to be in this taste testers shoes?
Photo courtesey of Le Figaro
Are you drooling yet
Photo courtesy of Le Figaro
There is NOTHING in my fridge that even hints of strawberries
I cannot even claim to have tasted Mulot's winning tartelette though I have taken a gazillion photos both inside his patisserie and outside.
I can claim to having eaten these horrors -faux fraise tagada, marshmellowy affairs - not really something you want to shout out about...ahem
Well here's the list of winners in order. Guess who will be using this as her guide next trip to Paris?
At least I photographed runner-up Carette's tarte - another non-accomplishment.
Meanwhile Little Bear is running his own tasting contest, if he could only decide which fourchette to use! Do pop into Le Figaro and drive youself nuts watching the video. Then run out and find something FRAISE for Gawd's sakes. That's what I'm going to do RIGHT NOW!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bonjour Happiness

Bonjour Happiness, watercolor sketch, 9" x 11"

A week ago I went to hear Jamie Cat Callan talk about her newest book on finding your inner 'Frenchiness'...
'Bonjour Happiness'
Jamie was recently injured in her car (by a possibly texting driver) but she reminded us, "You can still have joi de vie whilst hobbling around in a leg cast". Jamie is nothing if not an optimist.
The French have recently adopted the cheesecake as a favorite dessert.
But they've always had the best 'cheesecake' of all - matching lingerie. Jamie says"your lingerie MUST match and be frilly' or just furgettaboutit if you wanna find your inner French girl.
Jamie proceeded
to do the 'French' scarf demo
For us.
There was a REAL French girl present to concur with Jamies' scarf instructions.
"DO NOT ever wear your scarf the way the sales guy in the street shows you"Non JAMAIS!"
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
French Girl agreed.
Jamie says, "French people do not have an expression for 'the pursuit of happiness'.
"They do not chase after it. Rather they take things slowly. Jamie says, "You must cultivate your own 'secret garden'. That place where you can refresh your senses and recoup.
Jamie says, "Learn the Galic shrug when presented with a difficult situation.
Simply shrug your shoulders casually, "C'est la vie."
Bien sur there were macarons on hand (merci Mad Mac).
I asked Jamie what she thought of French men, since the DSK episode. Jamie said, "That's in the next book."
I shrugged and said, "C'est la vie..."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Financier Pastries 2

Financier Pastries Financier Petit Fours, watercolor, 9"x 11"

Champagne by Carol Gillott Drinking too much Champagne once-a-year is not that big a problem.

Financier Pastries But becoming attached at the hip to a Patisserie just a short train ride away is another matter.
Financier Pastries Dear PBers,
I need an intervention.

Financier Pastries What started out as mere research for a petit four drawing project.

Financier Pastries Has turned into an obsession. Ouch!

Financier Pastries I tell myself I'm buying these delights just to paint them. Ha! They're disappearing faster than I can paint them :(Financier Pastries A few years ago I kept pastry temptation under control easily.

I only painted miniatures.

Under an inch high. Help me PBers.
Especially since I haven't tasted "Le Tropical. At least there is a remedy for greediness straight from Paris - Oddibil charcoal tablets created for pastry overeaters. I recommend it highly.
BONJOUR Petits Fours 2!

Chef Eric Bedoucha of Financier Pastries

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Comite Champagne

Financier Pastries Red Fruits with Rose Champagne, 9" x 11"
 Yesterday I learned I can drink rose champagne with red fruity, chocolatie desserts.

Do you LOVE ❤️ French Champagne 🍾 

You would have adored yesterday's French Comite Champagne tasting in Hotel Plaza's ballroom.

You got a chance to speak directly to 30 champagne makers from Rheims and Epernay.

They were happy to explain to you with passion the whys and wherefores of their brand's characteristics.

You got just a slug to taste, but after many slugs...hmmm

Of course you can 'nose' champagne to enhale the aromas, floral or fruity - as long as you have a tall glass and wait for the bubbles to quiet...

Don't forget to SPIT and do not drink up to the last drop or you'll never make it around the room in one piece (like some people)

Cleanse your palate with a plain cracker occasionally...

Pommery guides me in tasting a 'flight' of three - their most recent, one a few years older and their vintage Champagne from 2004 - simply divine. But I forgot to spit. Too divine to waste...

I paid later for my enthusiasm when I sit down momentarily, then got up leaving my purse and CAMERA on the chaise! I looked for my lipstick but my bag and camera were missing. I raced back and hotel security cames up to me, "Are you missing something Miss?" MON DIEU! Thank Gawd women wear lipstick.

Isn't this Belle Epoque bottle of Rose beautiful?

Financier Pastries Isn't this red fruit and chocolate tarte perfect to go with the Rose. But it was not served at the tasting.

Excellent French fromage et fruits were...

What's YOUR favorite Champagne? Some people drink it every night. Why not? There are so many to choose from. \
Do try a different brand next time.