Friday, November 21, 2014

MIF Le Salon Made In France

Last weekend was the MIF salon at Porte de Versailles (Paris' Javits convention center) and I finally went after looking at posters in the Metro for two years. These are some of the items I bought. Missing is the miel(honey) from the Ile de Ré and a bar of defoliating soap from Jeanne M.

The 3-day salon is strictly regional French products. 300 entrepreneurs big and small proudly showing decor, fashion, home, cosmetics and of course gastronomie. Weekends are when these salons take place as a rule in Paris.
This weekend you can visit;
Le Perigord à Montmartre 21-23 around Sacre Coeur
Salon Saveurs 19-23 Porte de Versailles
Crèations Savoir-Faire (DIY) 19-23 Porte de Versailles.

MIF is at the same location as the Salon du chocolat. It's big.

And crowded on a Sunday afternoon, the last day. I thought I'd just waltz in and waltz out in an hour.

Ha! Not possible. Three hours later...Plus when you go the last day all the red apricot jam from Provence is long gone. Best go early. Did I say there is plenty of degustation (tasting).

My first purchase was this red current (groiseilles) juice. I simply can not resist a big bottle of home-grown fruity juice (65% fruit) especially if it's ruby red. This from Domaine des Rubis from Haut-Alpes.

Burnt Sienna vials of Armagnac made me wish I drank.
 
Regional beers on tap.

Like all the rest watching I am fascinated by anyone doing a food shortcut demo.

With great strength of character I resisted buying this plastic tube thing (5€) unlike the irresistable pineapple cutter or veggie chopper of past shows. You place it in an orange or lemon and easily squeeze out the juice. I saw French kids walking around, well-behaved, clutching oranges and calmly sucking up the juice tube.

Chicken tastes from poulet de Bresse,the best chicken in France.
 
I tasted much goat cheese but forgot to buy (end-of-show deals too) from Fromagerie de la Durance. Love to visit a goat farm. Most vendors have guided visits. Some have museums!

Another thing I should have bought - Cancoillotte from Franche-Comté. So creamy yet fat-free (according to Coco) but It's hard to buy something you can't pronounce :(

I tasted. I resisted. Only because this gateau Breton from Pont-Aven is sooo buttery and sugary for me right now..ahem. I'm always up for a taste at these shows otherwise what's the point of going? Forget your own personal likes and dislikes and go with the flow. It's the only way to discover new things. 

Loved this innovative children's playground equipment from Trigano-EVO. Many new fun products at the show. You sense the pride.

Cosmetics that make you look younger from Jeanne M (her grandmere) made from snail slime of La Rochelle. She gave me a bar of soap to try out.

Recently I'm mad for lavender. I have sachets hanging on every door knob and window latch. Plus sachets at my desk to squeeze and kneed (to release the soothing aromas).

They say Lavandre is a de-stressor. I'm convinced. I bought a spray from Les Agnels of Provence. I'd love to visit their lavender museum in the Luberan near Apt.

There is no French salon without mountains of chocolate, this from Beussent-Lachelle.
Evidently dogs and bears are allowed.
Do visit MIF next November. You'll have a ball. Shhh...no tourists either.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Angelina Trouble - Out of the Woods - This Is How we Do

What do they say, "90% perspiration, 10% inspiration".
The perspiration was flying this week.

Everyone has their cafe in Paris. Mine is Angelina though I mostly browse. At least once a week I stop in for a look. Such a beautiful space. The exquisite pastries are inspiring.

When I go it's for breakfast before 9 am. The lines for tea time are daunting.

I decided November is perfect for chestnuts (marrons), Mont Blancs and of course Angelina.

One look at the histoire section of Angelina and it was a coup de foudre (love at 1st sight).

Why not draw Angelina for the November sketch letter art?


Why not include Coco Chanel and Marcel Proust, frequent Angelina habituées? Chanel always sat at table #10.

Let the drawing begin!

Many, many drawings later of Proust, Karl, Audrey, Pharrell, Katy, Taylor and Mont Blancs...

I began to tear my hair out. Clearly I'd bitten off more than I could chew.

A visit to Les Borgia exhibit at the Maillol museum to study crowd scenes near Angelina 108, rue du Bac was required.

Still, things were not falling into place.

The Mont Blancs were no problem. I ate quite a few to get the color right naturally. It was all those figures driving me nutz.

My theme song these past weeks: Taylor Wood's new OUT OF THE WOODS.
Are we out of the woods yet?
Are we out of the woods yet?
Are we out of the woods yet?
Are we out of the woods?
Are we in the clear yet?
Are we in the clear yet?
Are we in the clear yet?
Are we in the clear yet Girl?

Finally I got it.
Thanks to an airbrush teacher's best lesson,
"The fastest, easiest way is the best way"
I went back to the room photograph (near the top). Traced it.
Replaced the figures with celebrity sketches. Et voila.
Probably TMI (too much information), but THIS IS HOW WE DO(another theme song from Katy Perry that got me through. Especially the line
"IT'S NO BIG DEAL!"
A small dance for joy when the artwork was finished.
My reward? My own Angelina cup and saucer.

But no time for Champagne yet.
Envelopes must be filled, stamped, sealed, mailed out.
You can see the finished results over on ETSY.
Let me know what you think?
Did I do OK?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Salon du Chocolat - Chateau Vaux le Vicomte 2014

As if 5 days of the annual Paris Salon du Chocolat wasn't enough. The following weekend beginning of November along comes the chocolate salon at chateau Vaux le Vicomte near Melun.

Naturally I couldn't disappoint you by missing it could I?

And bear said he'd like to attend. 

The weather was sunny and lovely and not the least bit chilly.

Because of Remembrance Day on Tuesday, the chocolate salon was extended to 4 days. It's just a 35 minute train ride from Gare de Lyon and a quick hop on the chateaubus. Please add this to your extensive lists of Don't Misses PBers.

After all former owner of the chateau, Comte Nicolas Fouquet would be very disappointed if you didn't partake. I wonder what he'd think of the salon but then he adored giving grand soirées so he'd probably be first in line for the hot chocolate. If you'd like to see the chateau in its glorious hey day rent the costume film VATEL with Gerard Depardieu. Very grand indeed.

Sadaharu Aoki was on hand making his fabulous chocolate macaron/green tea cakes. I got 2 to eat later...Haha

There were a slew of top chefs in the grand ballroom and as always an outrageous chocolate sculpture. OK several outrageous chocolate sculptures.

Bear had to get up close to study Vaux le Vicomte's symbolic squirrels in chocolate.

Jean-Charles Rochoux was there as always with his mother. I, with the best of intentions, bought a little box of his heavenly chocolate ganache truffles for my concierge. Which...ahem...I just wolfed down. Fortunately his tiny shop is nearby in the 6th so I can easily replace them.

Bear loves Mazet's almond dragees. It was all I could do to keep his paws out of the generous tasting bowls of candy.

We both are crazy for Arnaud Larher's macarons. I got citron and mandarin macarons.

I'm finding more and more things to love from Sadaharu Aoki like these not-so sweet rusk 'macarons' he makes. Perfect for tea time. I think I need a replacement soon. Uh oh

Here's the list of excellent chefs taking part at the chateau (most show up every year). Fewer than the big Paris salon but oh so much more manageable. Just as the chateau is a mini version of Versailles designed by the same architect, Louis le Vaux, landscaper, Le Notre and interior decorator, Charles Le Brun. A wonderful day outing for the family or singles. Starting 29 of November the chateau will put on it's annual Noël fete. I hope to make it this year.

Of course there are some chocolate gowns to ooogle..

Can there ever be too many chefs stirring the pot when it's a pot of hot chocolate? A nearby pastry school, Antoine Careme always does demos and classes for the little ones at the salon. This is when I'd like to drink Alice's potion and shrink down to pint size. Kids have a ball in France. Not that I'm complaining at all.
*Here's a tip I've finally figured out after visiting many of these salons.
Buy what they are making onsite, like Aoki's Tokyo macaron Yaki or the hot chocolate. These items are freshly made and usually reasonably priced for feeding the masses.
You simply can't go wrong.
Hope to see you there next year PBers!