Wednesday, April 01, 2015

School for Fish

While prepping a sneak preview of April's Paris Sketch letter, I discovered a little noted fact. Les fritures - the mini chocolate fish shapes specially eaten today, the 1st of April (poisons d'avril) are all facing left.
Is this a political statement?
"I couldn't possibly comment".

Many Parisian chocolate fish for Paques(Easter) have leftist leanings.

Jean-Paul Hevin's fish are left-facing and quite realistic, though I couldn't possible identify the species. Can you?

Even with the added brightly-colored bows.

His ganache-filled fish are classic Sardines.

Hevin's elegant chocolate scallop bivalves are not letting on their political preferences.

This glorious Hevin huge chocolate egg is embossed/engraved with gold scallops. Eggs and seafood go together at Easter in Paris, as long as they're chocolate.

More fish facts. You should know almost all larger French chocolate eggs, rabbits, bells are hollow molds, are held together with ribbon and filled with mini flat chocolate fish (garnis de fritures). Except here, the little fish are double-sided and filled with praline.

It should also be noted that Angelina, so far, is about the only place you'll find a mixture of milk, white and dark fritures(mini fish) in case you lean in that direction.

Gerard Mulot is offering a wider variety of fish I'm happy to report. Though they may appear to be facing to the right, don't forget they are two-faced so can swim both ways.

Chocolatier Sadaharu Aoki is Japanese so may not be aware of the importance of French fish orientation.

Chocolatier Patrick Roger is mainly focused on gigantic cow-eggs.

For total fishy immersion head over to Fauchon Madeleine.

Mini-sand buckets, sardine cans, you name it at Fauchon - Paris' fish central.

Here fish swim both ways. Non-political fish?

A special fish ├ęclair for poisson d'avril.

In Fauchon's savory department you'll find eclairs of real fish flavors.

Artiga has a special Easter offer - little fish purses that come with a packet of chocolate fritures through April 6. Hurry over to 22, rue des quatre vents 75006

Last night Solli and I made like fish in aquagym class at piscine Saint-Germain. I need to do this daily!
Health food chain Naturalia would like you to eat rabbits for Easter as long as they're chocolate.
Happy Poisson d'avril to you PBers!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Rainy Paris Sunday

A rainy grey weekend in Paris.

The parapluies (umbrellas) are out.

Bunny madness has hit Paris windows hard.

Why am I always surprised?

Bunny soaps like frogs sitting in a hair salon vitrine decked to the hilt.

More bunnies in a pet shop window.

A mad variety of bunnies in a stationary shop.

Green is the preferred bunny color.

Almost as much fuss is made over Easter here as Christmas not that I mind a bid. Very cheering.

The goodies above are at papeterie Marie-Tournelle - rue du deux ponts 75004

Elegant perfume shop Diptyque has a more sedate bunny onboard.

If you're in Paris, do hop over to rue Pontoise and bvd Saint-Germain to see the windows.

Diptyque has taken a good look at Dutch Golden age paintings certainment.

Every window a potential painting.

Lush flower, cherries and butterflies

Chocolate bunnies have been keeping me busy in the studio this week. Addressing envelopes and folding your April Sketch letters is the perfect pastime for a Paris rainy Sunday.

Paris rain doesn't stop the bikers or runners.

Or ducks observing passing boats on the Seine.
Someone wrote on the wet pavement on the bridge in italic script,
'Paris is Beautiful'.
Isn't it just.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sebastien Degardin Patisserie du Pantheon - My Sweet Paris

It's taken me more than a year to get to patisserie Sebastien Degardin.

Maybe I knew it would be dangerous.

But so pretty.

It's in the 5th arrondissement near the Sorbonne and Pantheon.
200, rue Saint-Jacques 75005

The window beckoned, 'Come inside'.

Very lovely too.

A classic old boulangerie the new owner, Desgardin, has cherished and embellished.

Of course I was tip-toeing around

Stealthily taking pictures whenever the vendeuse went into the back to fetch more Mont Blancs. Only when I got home did I realize she was the pastry chef's wife and partner.

 Isn't this witty. Hard boiled eggs garnished with biscuit 'soldiers' to dip into dark chocolate creme.

Desserts honoring the nearby Pantheon.

A chocolate egg pastry. Degardin's pastries are not at all like so many others you see repeated and repeated.

Their shapes and flavors are surprising.

Not easy to choose either but I always fall for passion fruit and mango.

The Pom Yuzu was sending out magnetic waves. A la prochaine.

I came home and consulted my new best Paris pastry guide, My Sweet Paris by Caroline Mignot.

Parisian author Mignon is a food writer for magazines Maison francaise, Prima, Regal, L'Hotellerie-Restauration, Le Monde plus her blog, Table a Decouvert . Her pastry book is just as detailed and informing.
'Another lovely cake is the Passiflore with it's extra-exotic notes: sitting on a thin coconut shortbread biscuit is a passion fruit cream topped with a very light, white chocolate mousse'. Perfect description.

On Sebastien Degardin, Mignot says,
'He was head pastry chef initially at Michel Troisgros' restaurant moving on to Pierre Gagnaire's establishment before opening his own place in the 12th arrondissement. (The diagrammatic drawing above is from the walls of his former shop). At the end of 2013 he moved into and modernized this magnificent location where part of the decoration has been classified by the Monuments Historiques of France.
I'll be coming back soon to Degardin for the Pom Yuzu. And I won't leave the house in future without My Sweet Paris.
150 pastry, ice cream, tea and chocolate shops are covered within.