Friday, October 31, 2014

Salon du Temptation

They say if you draw the food you crave you will forget about craving it.

In fact drawing your favorite foods can be a mood booster. Drawing pizza makes you feel 28% happier. Who knew?

At the SALON DU CHOCOLAT I wish they would hand out sketch pads and pencils at the door to help us control our cravings. Walter Mischel talks about the15-minute marshmallow test he gave kids years ago. He has a book coming out on self control shortly. The chocolate salon is kind of 3-4 hour 'marshmallow test'. You are bombarded with temptation right and left.

We are all reduced to 5 years old and smart vendors know that.

This sign is for adults.

I stood and flirted with this tropical baba concoction from Laurent Duchene for easily 5-10 minutes. Then I sent this picture to Jill Colonna and she went and ate it for me. Too kind.

I wish more tasty items had glass bell jars protecting them.

One of Mischel's techniques is distracting yourself by singing songs or looking elsewhere. Carl Marletti's tartelette citron is resistible when surrounded by the distraction chocolate aromas.

Clever pastry chef Sadaharu Aoki always has macarons baking onsite at the show. You can buy big ones hot off the griddle for under 5€. He appeals to all your senses. Irresistible.

Some pastry chefs like Hugo and Victor create something special each year like this faux sweet hotdog under 5€. Raspberries and mango instead of catchup and mustard.

I remember eating these Belgian crispy waffles last year and can't resist this year. Memory comes into play in the game of temptation. It was from the same vender too. She had complimented me on buying the waffle plain with no extras.

Last year and the year before I ate Arnaud Lahrer's wonderful caramelly Kouign-Amann. This year I practiced some resistance and walked away. Not easy.

My waistline since I've moved to Paris now looks like this. M.I.A.(gone missing).

Meanwhile the toasting almonds churn in sugar at Mazet Confiseur's stand. We look on and salivate. Choices, choices.

Pralus, as usual is baking his special praline bread on site. It smells and tastes divine.

You used to be able to buy a half. Now they sell only the whole loaf, so it's easier to resist.

The jam people have figured it out unlike many others at the show.

Taste to your hearts content. No limit on the number of spoons.

A long bank of jam jars. A flavor for everyone. I bought their hazelnut spread.
As Oscar Wilde said, "The only way to get rid of temptation(tentation) is to yield to it... I can resist everything but temptation."
What's your irresistible temptation? Do tell all.
For some this is lunch or research. A chance to fine tune the taste buds. 
Speaking of choices, I've now got an archive of 6 past Paris sketch letters you can now buy all at one time as a gift or give to someone else yourself one at a time.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Salon Du Chocolat 2014

My haul from last night's opening soirée at the SALON DU CHOCOLAT. I was focused on small chocolate souvenir cards to stuff the Paris Sketch Letters with more than edibles. Impulse did finally get the better of me but my neighbors will be happy when they open their front doors this morning. Some people are not safe around caramel chocolate wafers. Guess who?

The chocolate salon is celebrating it's 20th birthday. It's reach is now world wide with chocolate celebrations across the globe. This global chocolate dress says it all. I'm going back today to sketch the chocolate creations.

Cémoi of the wonderful marshmallow chocolate bears had this old but quite elegant poster on display.

Once the chocolate fashion show gets going everyone crowds round hoping for a look. The perfect time for me to go off shooting the stands.

There is a big homage of photos to M. Chocolat, ROBERT LINXE who made Paris the chocolate center of the world with his MAISON DU CHOCOLAT years ago. I remember when he came to the James Beard House and gave us a tasting and demo eons ago. Linxe remains the mentor and role model to France's chocolatiers without doubt. La creme du la creme.

His Maison has always had wonderfully elegant design. The show this year seemed filled with elegant design. Perfect so close to Paris Fashion Week.

Of course I'm a big fan of the design and chocolates of Frederick Cassel Fontainebleau.

This year like last, he used my drawings as a backdrop for his chocolates.

His limited edition feve honoring Bonaparte are ready if you plan ahead for your January galette du roi.

On to the chocolate, stacks and stacks of it in every imaginable flavor.

Molten chocolate never ceases to fascinate. Ah...the smell of it.

There will always be chocolate fountains and the temptation to pass a finger under...don't you dare.

Here's huge pear that did pass under the chocolate wave. I must go back and search for this.

Football fields of exquisite chocolates. These are from Dalloyau and I can attest they are excellent after 4 samples. The passion fruit in milk chocolate especially.

Of course it's purely an interest in abstract shapes that attracts me. Cube, sphere, Cezanne would have been happy.

Praliné spheres encircling a dark chocolate tree from Michel Cluizel with LED lights. Eat your tree. No waste. No mess.

On to the buche du Noel. Here the chocolate log is taken to ultimate simplicity with wit and elegance by master chocolatier Jean-Paul Hévin.

A more playful version from Hévin.

I felt like this guy when I left at 10:30 pm. The clocks moved back last weekend and I still haven't adjusted.

Should you go to the Salon du Chocolat  if you're in Paris? 
I say YES!
There are many more things besides chocolate if you don't love the bean. The elegant, inspiring presentation alone is a good reason to go. Chocolate chefs are artists so expect eye candy of the highest order. If you need more proof check out my other pictures on Flickr.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Paris Signs of Automne

Do you think a hotdog is a Fall food? The way the French make it, loaded with Emmanthal cheese it could very well be. Since I came to France I've hankered for these cholesterol queens. Called 'La Hotdog Parisienne' according to Jill of Mad about Macarons. She said I must only eat them where is says 'Fait Maison' (made in house). By the way I don't think I quite captured the French hotdog here..

I was passing boulangerie Secco yesterday and noticed a sign, 'Everything made in house'. Ah ha. Then I noticed they have la Hotdog Parisienne. Time to indulge. Let's face it. When isn't it time to indulge in Paris?

Secco's tarte au pomme is one of the best in the city if not the whole planet, so how bad could their hotdog be? Their tarte took top honors in 750 grs Magazine by the way.

Eric Kayser has his Fall fruit tarts out - the unpronounceable quetches et poire.

La Grand Epicerie is big on figs. The sales woman actually wiggled her finger in front of my lense but she wasn't fast enough. Who does that anymore? Gimmeabreak.

Figs are big in the marché right now. That's how you know it's Fall.

Sunday morning I put on my bathing suit with big plans to hit the pool. It's been a long time.

Instead I turned towards the Bastille and walked 10 minutes to the marché. It's been too long. Yet it's always refreshing, like a shot in the arm (whatever that is?).

The Fall moules from Mont St. Michel are back. I got a kilo (4,50) and they threw in a bunch of parsley gratis. The market wine guy from Burgundy sold and opened a bottle of blanc sec (3,50) for me. All I needed was some onions and garlic for my Sunday lunch. Oh and an olive baguette. Pas mal.
Naturally I've been thinking about what to do for the November sketch letter. I'm developing the PB Sounding Board. If you want to put in your 2 cents let me know.

Perfect complimentary colors orange and blue. Those market venders could probably paint.

French Girl suggested I paint potiron and pumpkins for a Thanksgiving theme but bells were not going off for me.

Don't these leaves look like they came straight from Vermont? Nothing like em in Paris.

Then French Girl suggested I paint chestnuts (marrons) instead.

My guy showed me how to cut and roast them. All the venders seem like they are my guys in the market.

Of course chestnuts or marrons are also used to make a Mont Blanc. Research materials this weekend for sketching. Hint hint
You can still get a jar of pear(poire) jam watercolor if you subscribe to the Paris Sketch letters before the November letter comes out. i do not plan to be late this time..ahem.