Friday, March 29, 2013

Context Chocolate Tour

Vendredi 29 Mars chocolate walk in Paris 

Today I was a guest at the Context Chocolate tour in the 6th arrondissement. This is our well-informed chocolate leader Bryan filling us in on the origins of chocolate histoire at Paris' oldest chocolate shop Debeauve et Gallais.

Of course huge chocolate chickens grace the window

We taste the same circles of dark chocolate Marie-Antoinette ate daily.

At Arnaud Larher we eat chocolate macarons but the chocolates are enticing.

And the eggs are elegant.

A stop in Gerard Mulot for an array of flavors - caramel au beurre sale, framboise ganache and a minty palate cleanser.

We stop in 10 different chocolate shops for an immersion quite complete.

My favorites at Pierre Marcolini are the white chocolate hearts (white chocolate can be made in endless colors) filled with raspberry ganache. The bunnies are full of noisette praline.

Un Dimanche dans Paris is an elegantly modern setting.

Yet they have the very popular fried egg look on display. The egg in all forms is much loved by the French no doubt about it.

At top chocolatier Patrick Roger the lines are dense and the windows are getting a workover.

It's 4 pm in Paris on Good Friday and everyone has the same idea. Grab heaps of chocolate and run home and devour. Bryan tells us the French average 2 kilos (2.5 pounds) of chocolate during Easter alone. Restraint is not on the menu. By the way there are no day-after Easter sales in Paris. The bunnies/eggs are available for a quite a while post Easter.

Patrick Roger's windows are dependably bizarre.

Someone has escaped the maddening crowd and run off with her signature turquoise bag of Patrick Roger goodies. The rest of us try to wait patiently.
Don't miss this fabulous Context chocolate tour next visit.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Le Chocolat - Ducasse

Hier 27 Mars Le Chocolat - Ducasse
If you haven't already heard Alain Ducasse has a brand new chocolate factory on funky#22, rue de la Roquette 75011
Keep an eye out or you could easily miss it.
Once you're in the entry way the whole atmosphere changes dramatically
From funk to high-end utter chicness.
And continues inside. The staff, by the way, could not be kinder or more helpful. Merci M. Ducasse!
In that handsome glass case - gorgeous ganache bonbons.
These chocolate sculptures look to have hopped off a ceramist's spinning wheel - if only a ceramist could make something so unique and deliciously edible. Did I mention this is Paris' first bean-to-bar chocolate factory? Cocoa beans are generously strewn around. If you look on the lower shelves there are some chocolate-covered beans to taste. Miam miam
Everywhere it's a Zen moment for the eye to contemplate. Must find out who the designer is here..
And you can even gaze right into the factory while browsing...
Ducasse has a splendid collection of vintage chocolate molds he's using for his 'fritures'. Note the chockie fish in the watercolor above. These did not hop out of a plastic mold for sure.
*I always try milk/lait chocolate since it's harder to get the balance right than your ever-so-popular noir/dark chocolates. These were absolutely excellent though I wish there was a melange of dark/milk/white on offer...

Up at the cash register sits a knockout Aztec sculpture holding your box-to-be of chocolates. Do mention it's a cadeau/gift and get an additional handsome box. Everything here is designed within an inch of it's life but tastes excellent. Looks count but so does content.
What to wear to Le Chocolat?
Black of course even if you're in your pram chicness counts.
Don't miss out on the samples at the cash register and don't be afraid to ask,'Gratuit?'
It is. Oh and DON'T go on a Monday like I did first time. It's closed.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

La Grande Chasse aux Oeufs

Mercredi 27 Mars what's your oeuf du jour?
By popular request Paris oeufs/egg/ Ooouf!
I love these felt Easter baskets with the ladybugs I'm seeing around town.
Did I say hay is Big/In this year in Paris along with fried eggs for Paques. Get your hay out Peeps!
Pierre Marcolini is into transformations this year. The chicken or the egg is too mundane for PM. Rabbits look out or you could end in someone's Easter basket.
Fauchon warns you 'to walk on eggs' this Easter...preferably their eggs.
Reflections through a glass at the Madeleine ?
I'm not getting what Hediard is after digging into pirate's treasure trove...I guess it's super cool..qui sait?
I totally GET Victor et Hugo's painted Easter eggs.
Right up my allee.
Very traditional and very delicious oeufs from A la Mere de famille
A la Mere de Famille et boutique Colette are having a SURPRISE egg hunt TODAY at 3:00!
You have to check in at Colette for the exact location!!
Meet up on Wednesday, March 27 from 3 pm in an as yet undisclosed location (near colette) for a big egg hunt with À La Mère de Famille!
We will reveal the location tomorrow at 2pm at colette and on our social networks (#chasseauxoeufscolette) as well as by email (if you subscribe here).  Get ready and come fill your baskets before Easter!
Open to all, big and small.
What's your Easter oeuf du jour Peeps?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Peeps du Paris

Mardi 26 Mars NYC Peeps vs. Paris Poussy Mallows

Vivian threw down the gauntlet when she commented:
Is this your first Easter in France?
Hope you'll be OK without Peeps to get you through.

It doesn't take much for me to rise to a challange when it's tossed my way. But finding a Peeps equivalent in Paris or my quartier has proved harder than expected. These Lindt milk chocolate chicks will not do no matter how nice they taste.

Nor this adorb but inedible candle from Monop...

I did enfin find the 'Peeps' of Paris at the bulk candy shop on bd de Grenelle - les Poussy Mallows. But what to do with 4.5 pounds of marshmallow chickens? This is definitely de trop.

Usually I cover the higher end of the Easter chocolate range in Paris. I have to admit after several months here (when in Rome...) I've succombed to the unavoidable lollipops everywhere. These chockie chicks are irresistible non?

Gerard Mulot can be depended upon to make huge luscious chocolate hens and matching eggs for Paques.

The fried egg look is Very In this Paques season. Witness these rather distressed chocolate hens at Georges Larnicol sitting on someone's sunny side up!

At Galeries Lafayette you can get your sunny side up egg still in the skillet (all chocolate of course).
Chocolatier Weisse has their choc eggs tied up with a cow ribbon! Don't ask why.
Top chocolatiere Pierre Marcolini has the chicken or egg issue covered with his combo solution.

Back to the misbegotten Parisian Poussy Mallow, which though physically more mature than the NYC Peep chick, is missing an eye and lacks the overall definition of its competitor. Peeps have an annual "Peep Off" competition held in Maryland on the first Saturday after Easter.
And Peeps has become a part of the urban vernacular.
One can refer to 'my peeps' meaning pals. A good example:
I bought some Peeps for my peeps.
Peeps even have their on Wikipedia description.
Who knew?
There is one positive thing to be said for the Parisian Poussy Mallow. Do a Google search and some pretty attractive cats will show up unasked for.
If you've seen Poussy Mallow in your quartier in manageable quantities let me know. I'll be there in a flash for a taste testing. Otherwise I'll do without. 150 marshmallow chickens is just too much even for me.
Just say the word oui o non.