If you skip over the fact that I made three trips in the past thirty days, and have two more coming up in the next two weeks, I don’t really travel all that much. (And it’s funny because some people like to try to point out inconsistencies about things I write about, which is amusing because I take even greater pains to point them out myself.) Before I moved to Europe, I was always quite surprised when I thought Europeans spent all their free time and weekends heading to other countries, visiting new cities, and immersing themselves in foreign cultures, when quite a few of them stay at home in lieu of hitting the road.
Recently in Chocolate category
One of the nifty things about a blog is that you can easily revisit recipes and make revisions, while learning more about baking, and sharing those discoveries, as you go. When I wrote Ready for Dessert, I was able to update my favorite recipes, many created over a decade ago, and I had fun including the changes I’d made over the years.
Hard as it is to believe, I have a few extra chocolates lying around. Because it’s almost summer and I’m getting ready for my very own mash-up – An American Under a Hot Zinc Roof in Paris – I need to start using up all of my chocolate, pronto, before the annual summer meltdown commences.
Sometime a while back, I recall reading about a Frrrozen Hot Chocolate served at Serendipity in New York City. The recipe was published in a variety of places, and what stood out for me was the fact that it called for using ‘chocolates’ in their beverage. As in dipped chocolates, not chopped up chocolate.
I’ve been quoted on more than one occasion as saying something along the lines of “To a pastry chef, a good marshmallow is the equivalent of a pricey and rare black truffle to a regular chef.” And thinking about it as I type right now, every cookbook I’ve ever written has some sort of recipe for a marshmallow or marshmallow-topped dessert in it.
When I was preparing our visit to Fouquet for my recent tour, Fréderic, the owner messaged me that he was going to give us a little avant-première of a new treat – but didn’t let me know to what it was.
Michael Recchiuti was recently here in Paris for a few weeks, visiting, and eating his way around town. Because he’s a chocolatier (from San Francisco), of course, he concentrated on chocolate. Interestingly I couldn’t remember how we met, but he recalled the event pretty well.
Apparently a group of us had been invited to Robert Steinberg’s kitchen, since he was working on developing ScharffenBerger chocolate. Along with me and Michael, Harold McGee was there, as well as a few other local pastry types. Although I vaguely remember this (so I reserve the right to dispute it at a later date), Michael said that I arrived for the chocolate tasting and discussion with a bag filled with my very own plastic containers and proceeded to unload and open them, each containing a recipe I was working on for my chocolate book, asking the various pastry chefs and food professionals sitting around the table for their opinions.
Les françaises are justifiably proud of their chocolates and chocolatiers, but if you talk to them about Swiss chocolate, many will say – “Oh, Swiss chocolate is very, very good.” Yet when I press them on which particular brands of chocolate are “very good”, they often don’t, or can’t, pin down the specific names* of any.
Folks who have been to Lausanne – French, American, and otherwise – however, always talk in glowing terms about Chocolats Blondel. And indeed, they’re worthy of adulation from people, far and wide, a fact I recently was reminded of.
I cannot not tell you about Aux Merveilleux de Fred. I bought three small meringues to share with friends, and when sitting on a nearby park bench waiting for one of them to arrive, I dug into the first meringue. I don’t swear on this blog so I won’t share exactly what I said, but take it from me, a few expletives were uttered.
I just realized that I haven’t used the word “astonishing” in a while. I’m not jaded or anything. I still walk around the streets of Paris sometimes and think, “Wow, this place is pretty spectacular.” And on my travels, including a recent trip to Chicago, I was wowed by everything from terrific Mexican food to a wonderful bakery.
But sometimes adjectives aren’t enough, and every so often you drop into a place and your jaw just kind of drops as well. Le Bonbon au Palais is such a place.