Friday, July 19, 2013

Frederic Cassel et le vrai Fontainebleau

Sometimes I feel like a lucky duck. I sent off Monday's post to patissier Frederic Cassel of Fontainebleau and he invited me to visit his 'Labo'!

Feeling like Alice back in wonderland, these beautiful pastries are so inspiring.

Cassel says on Saturdays he has 150 different desserts in the shop and last Saturday when Louise and I visited there were 600 customers. WOW

With so many berry pastries, Cassel grows his own raspberries and strawberries around Fontainebleau and Nemours. I wish he had big pictures of the berry fields in the wonder the fruits taste so fresh and ripe!

Here is Cassel, like a general inspecting the troops.
Everything is absolutely parfait bien sur.

Norbert was kind enough to take me up to see the Labo on several floors - a chance to see what goes on behind the scenes.

A giant order of macarons was being made up. Miam

This is the framboise glacage that covers the beautiful Lulu gateaux.

Like a Venetian glass finish...

Later we sat down for a chat. I asked Frederic,
"What exactly is the story on the reknown la Fontainebleau? Is there Chantilly whipped cream in it? Is it Fromage Blanc? What?
He drew me this picture of a traditional milk can and explained the process.

Back in the day when the Fountainebleau marchands de laiterie brought their milk to Paris, it would get jostled on the bumpy roads and the cream at the top would mingle with the milk (I hope I got this right with my sketchy French) creating a thick but very light cloud of fluffy delicious cream. The clever milk  merchants skimmed this off and sold it separately. Voila = La Fountainebleau.
So there is NO Chantilly, NO Fromage Blanc in a true Fontainebleau.

Then Frederic escorted me across the street to Barthelemy where they have the correct Fontainebleau. All the others we saw on Saturday were whipped Chantilly and not authentic.

Even though Frederic provided me with a special freezer bag and cold 'bricks' my Fountainebleau was a mess by the time I got home in the extreme heat. They have a shelf life of ONE day. That is it. I went off this morning to Madame Nicole on 51, rue Grenelle 75007 to get a fresh one. Her niece has the shop in Fountainebleau so it's all in the family.

I showed her my pictures of the horse cart and asked how she achieved the same effect. Of course she would not give me her recipe but she said she uses a kind of 'pulsator' that pushes air up through the fresh milk and creates the Fountainebleau. I asked how do you eat it? With a bit of sugar or fruit coulis or fresh berries. She pulled back the muslin and said you can also eat it 'au nature' right out of the cup.

Ta Da!
As someone not keen on creamy things, I've changed my tune. The strawberry confiture is from Cassel's berry fields, and a perfect partner.

Yesterday I picked up an Apricot mousse and strawberry fraiser (long gone) at the patisserie to try. Working one's way through 150 desserts is an undertaking but one must keep at it mustn't one...

I'd been smitten by the mini 'Vacherons' in the freezer case last weekend but forgot to get one. This time I did not. Later in the station waiting for the Paris train I thought I'd try it. Mine was flavored Mango-Coconut. Honestly I've been to Brazil 5 times and if a perfectly ripe mango fell off a tree and hit me on the head it could not come close to the perfectly silky mangoness of this little dessert. I had half a mind to jump on the bus back into town and get another. But I guess it's a good excuse to return to Fontainebleau. And there are those other 144 desserts waiting...
You are now about to see the saddest picture I've ever shown on Parisbreakfast. Should I go back for more PBers? Will you make the trip to Fountainebleau too to try this? I hope so.
Bonne Weekend!


  1. Oh my goodness - I need to go on a diet just reading your delicious post. Thank you for taking us along with you.

  2. Norman4:24 PM

    Thanks for another great piece and find. I will now definitely go to Fontainebleau to try it.

  3. And just think....I was really geared up about making peach bourbon popsicles for dessert....thank you for contributing to my diet. Nothing local looks worth a trip across town after this post!

  4. Oh my! What a wonderful job you have. I could not have dreamed up your job, but I am so glad you did. When I saw the framboise glacage I thought I bet she did a blob of that. Gorgeous.

    1. Sadly it was look, don't touch with the glacage...I was ready to be sure...

  5. Well if ever I go I will..What a smile the gentleman has~
    And I love he is holding your aquarelle~
    I love glass finishes like that..
    Oh lala l'eau é la bouche..
    L'aquarelle..les pâtisseries..
    At this very moment I have some fraises macerating in the fridge to make a Christine Ferber confiture..
    I love his little jam pot.
    100 degrees here..thunderstorms..lightning and no power since 3 PM..
    Torrential downpours.
    Looks like a fun day!

    1. Bonne chance M with the weather M.
      Yes the chef is a real charmer...
      And that jam jar is exactly 2 days old and half gone!

  6. Bien sur, mon amie...return to Fontainbeleau.

    Unlike you, I do love cream, heavy, light, and even make room for half and half.

    I think that I must put Fontainbleau on my travel list.

    Merci for your guidance. xo

    1. Fontainebleau might be called cream city but then all of Northern France is I've heard it said.
      Wait till I get to Brittany...there you're swimming in it!

  7. Yummmmm, you must go back, that looks amazing! I love Frederic's drawing of the milk can. Dear.

  8. Definitely!
    I'm headed to the pool now!
    And walking there to boot.
    Perhaps 2 visits today..?

  9. Fabulous shots - I'd like to have some now :)

  10. I've decided you are the ultimate torturer! Day after day, week after week, month after month you seduce us with the perfection of French deserts, and then leave us with nothing but your empty containers. How much more of this can I endure?

    1. Let me tell you Bill you ain't seen nuttin'
      Can you even imagine the torture it is for me here?
      A plethora of choices everyday awaiting the eye.
      And the aromas from the boulangeries
      How to chose? And how to lose?
      The inches are creeping up on me
      It's a have NO IDEA!

  11. Anonymous2:43 AM

    The glaze from LULU !!!
    That looks amazing, I imagine it smelt amazing too.


    Frederic Cassel

  13. Maureen8:25 AM

    Carol that authentic Fontainebleu sounds divine. Unlike you, I love all things creamy. And with a spoonful of his jam....miam! Thank you for the charming history lesson on it's origins. So glad you have La Piscine to off-set the countless temptations of Paris and the surrounding delights such as fontainebleu. Wish I had a sample for my petit dejeuner!

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  15. What an experience-we're all pea green out here. Makes me want to go back to Fontainebleau toute suite. How incredible that he grows his own berries, that is dedication. He does look like a general inspecting the troops, but it's that attention to detail, and exquisite technique and imagination that really shows. I'd certainly like to work my way through more of those 150 desserts. One dessert and one viennoiserie, just doesn't seem much of an effort any more.

  16. Anonymous1:27 PM

    I would find a place to live close by and be there morning noon and nite..

  17. What total,complete HEAVEN!
    YUM! (and WOW!)
    What a pleasure AND a privilege to not only get the authentic story but to be able to go behind the scenes and see how all of these delights are made.
    Carol, thank you!

  18. Oh wow.. You would have to start rolling me around if I was over there..I would become a barrel..... to tempting to not have some of each. :)

  19. I so look forward to your post in my mailbox....this one has my mouth watering to boot! Thanks for the creme del la creme your artwork too! And I thought Laduree and Angelina's was the best....

  20. Anonymous11:49 PM

    How generous of Monsieur Cassel to welcome you so openly! If I were you, I would head back there next week-end. Perhaps he could have your wonderful watercolors on his packaging or on his walls. With 150 pastries you could set up a studio there :) Painting and eating those would think you were in heaven. I just wish I would have gone there last month, it would have been well worth the trip!!! Carolyn

  21. When we return to Paris, I'll go to Fountainebleau with you! I love creamy desserts! We'll knock off those 150---although I can't imagine how different they all can be---with pleasure. Lovely post...

  22. You've made me discover something new!! Fontainebleau :-)

    I've seen it on the dessert menu at a bistro I go to often and they buy their Fontainbleau from the Barthelemy shop. But since I never knew what it was, and the waiter told me it was a kind of a cheese they served with jam (?!?!?!) I never felt tempted to try it. But hey, if its more like cream I'm all in for that dessert!
    I wonder if they sell it at the marché bio? Will check tomorrow :-) Bisous!


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