Results tagged orangettes from David Lebovitz

Le Pont de Brent

first courses

After my visit to the Vevey market with Chef Stéphane Décotterd, we headed back to Le Pont de Brent, his restaurant located above the lakeside Swiss town of Montreux. While he was laying out the fish for the day, which he had just sourced, I noticed the kitchen was unusually calm for pre-service and I didn’t see anyone in the usual panic that happens in restaurant kitchens just before the customers arrive. The cooks were quietly doing tasks like peeling and slicing vegetables into tiny pieces, rolling leeks around scallops with thin wisps of black truffles in between, and baking off miniature tartlet shells.

lobster butter pot

Laid out neatly on trays, he showed me the different fish he had, from a kite-sized Turbot to a blue lobster from Brittany, with tiny black eggs stuck in between all the craws and crevasses.

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Fouquet

I’m not sure if there’s a French term that’s the equivalent of “phone tag.” I’m pretty sure there isn’t one for “internet tag”, but I can say with relative certainty that there isn’t one in English. At least I think there isn’t.

I’d met Frédéric Chambeau’s father about five years ago and he graciously invited me to visit their laboratoire in Paris, but hadn’t heard back after our last bout of telephone messages. Then I got an e-mail from Frédéric, who’d taken over Fouquet, and after a few months of back-and forth messages, we finally kicked it into gear and made a date.

I don’t think there’s a comparable expression for “kick into gear”, but it wouldn’t be the first time I got something wrong in French. Or in English, if you want to get picky about it.

pâtes de fruits

Fouquet is one of the oldest confectioners in Paris, and one of the last remaining who makes their candies and chocolates in their own shop, which is tucked away on a sidestreet near Drouot, the main auction house of Paris. Speaking of terms, when I asked him what “fouquet” meant, he told me it’s an old French term for squirrels, but didn’t know how the business took the name. (There’s a fancy-schmancy restaurant on the Champs-Elysées with the same name, but there’s no connection to them.)

fouquet orangettes

When I visited Fouquet, it was just before the Christmas crush and the staff was in full swing, wrapping boxes of all sorts of treats, including colorful pâtes de fruits, orangettes (candied orange strips dipped in dark chocolate), and hand-wrapped squares of buttery salted caramel.

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John-Charles Rochoux, Parisian Chocolatier

One of the hardest things about writing about food is coming up with that killer opening sentence. It should start with something that grabs your attention right away, tickles your curiosity, then encourages the reader (which would be you) to follow the writer (which, or course, would be me) deeper into the story. Thankfully when writing about chocolate, I can include pictures to help me get going, so most of the work is already done.

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A Handcarved Rabbit Made of Pure White chocolate.

The other difficult thing when writing about chocolate is that there’s only so many superlatives you can use to describe it, and words like: dark, unctuous, bittersweet, delicious, seductive, etc…don’t really seem to pinpoint that feeling that you get when you walk into a pristine chocolate shop and are completely overwhelmed by the heady experience, inhaling that sweet, unmistakable scent of chocolate that permeates the air and overtakes you. There’s that quiet moment, when you step into a special place full of chocolate, where you briefly forget all that’s going on outside.

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Slender Orangettes; strips of candied orange peel flecked with crunchy nougat, dipped in dark chocolate.

I’m fortunate to live a city where there’s an unusually large amount of very good chocolate shops, and all-too-often one needs a refuge from the fast-pace of the streets and sprawling avenues. Here in Paris, I have my favorites, and one of them is John-Charles Rochoux. His petit shop is located just off the bustling rue de Rennes. It’s not just a refuge from one of Paris’ busy boulevards, but a step back to another era. In his shop, chocolate is both an edible obsession and an object of sculptural craftsmanship, and you’ll find many intricate, precious little chocolate sculptures, as well as a rather serious selection of bonbons from one of Paris’ top chocolatiers.

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Paris Chocolatier Jean-Charles Rochoux

Although there’s several chocolate shops across the city that are terrific, at Jean-Charles Rochoux you’ll find lots of little wonders here to keep you enchanted, including the amazing chocolate sculptures that M. Rochoux creates in his small, pristine workshop just beneath the tidy boutique. This kind of craftsmanship is rarely found anymore, even in a chocolate-obsessed city like Paris.

I was fortunate enough to take some time from my busy schedule to pose for Monsieur Rochoux, so he could create one of the most iconic pieces in the shop: Le torse.

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