Results tagged pastry from David Lebovitz

Macarons et Chocolat

A while back it was cannelés.

Those little eggy pastries baked with a cracky-crust, that everyone was going ga-ga over and just had to bring home the copper molds to make. (Hands up, folks. How many of you have ever used them?)

Then everyone moved on to macarons, dainty little “sandwiches”, made from two crispy almond meringues, with a layer of buttercream or jam in the middle.

macarons

So when I heard that pastry chef Arnaud Lahrer, who’s won the award for the best macaron in Paris, opened a shop devoted solely to macarons and chocolate, I put on my reporter hat and caught the métro up to the 18th arrondissement to taste them.

Of course, I couldn’t do it by myself, so I enlisted my friend Heather to come and help with this daunting task.

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Michel Chaudun

Paris chocolatier…

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Michel Chaudun
149, rue de l’Université (map)
01 47 53 74 40

Michel Chaudun (in Japan)

Rigoletto Noir from La Maison du Chocolat

Pardon, Monsieur Linxe, but I disagree.

La Maison du Chocolat

At a recent tasting at La Maison du Chocolat, I sampled at least eight chocolates—not to mention passion fruit ganache, chocolat chaud, plus two of their newest summer flavors: melon and star anise.

It was a lot to get through, let me tell you. I normally avoid any hot chocolate that’s offered in those kinds of situations, because I find that’s the tummy-buster, the stuff that puts you over the edge. And when faced with a plate of such fine chocolates, I want to enjoy and savor every chocolate-dipped bite. A warm cup of silky-rich chocolat chaud alongside? That’s just dorer le lys. (Gilding the lily.)

My favorite chocolate at La Maison du Chocolat is Rigoletto Noir.

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The Pâtisseries of Paris: A Paris Pastry Guide

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There’s a nifty guidebook to the bakeries, chocolate shops, and tea salons, called The Pâtisseries of Paris. This handy little book is full of great addresses and tips, and is just small enough to slip in your shoulder bag when hitting the streets of Paris, should you come to Paris on a mission for sweets.

I was surprised at how in-depth this guide takes you. Naturally, the usual suspects, like Ladurée and Stohrer, are in there. And chocolatiers like Jean-Charles Rochoux and Patrick Roger are always a stop whenever I’m on the Left Bank, so I was happy to see the nods toward them.

There’s few places that aren’t quite worth the calories. Such as Au Panetier bakery, where the pastries don’t make up for the glorious art nouveau tilework, although it is gorgeous.

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Chez Panisse Almond Tart Recipe

Last week, when I had to go into my local France Telecom office, instead of the usual dread, a thought flashed through my mind: “Well, at least this might make a good story for the blog.”

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But I want to spare you all that stuff so you can concentrate on the glories of Paris rather than the indignities that we citizens of the state must suffer under a regime that seeks to oppress the masses of the working people, who pay exorbitant prices for mobile phone service (and scallions…but that’s another story), who under the guise of state-run socialism are actually in cahoots with the only two other service providers that France Telecom will allow them to compete with themselves (yes…you read that right) so that we can pay 35 centimes a minute to make a call.

I don’t know what one has to do with the other, but thanks for letting me vent. Oh, after I left their office I stepped a big mess on the sidewalk…the first time in three years.

Mais oui.

However I’d like to stay focused, if I can, and talk about the Chez Panisse Almond Tart.

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La Boulangerie par Veronique Mauclerc

I’d like to introduce you to someone you may not have heard of: Véronique Mauclerc. But I hope on your next visit to Paris, or if you live here, you’ll make the trip to see her gorgeous and very special bakery.

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Early each morning at Véronique’s boulangerie in the 19th arrondissement, the bleary bakers start mixing the organic flour at 2am after torching-up the wood-fired oven, only one of four in Paris (and there’s only two people that know how to fix it in the city.) So if you’re wondering what you’re doing in the middle of nowhere, it’s because an oven this special just can’t be moved.

And what a magnificent oven it is! As the morning continues, and perhaps the coffee kicks in, the bakers start adding wood until the temperature of the oven’s just right for baking bread, 275C (about 530F). Then each hand-shaped loaf is baked off to crackly-crusty perfection.

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Her incredibly beautiful oven can hold up to 100 loaves at a time, but you’d never know she could reach such capacity when you see the small, carefully-crafted loaves of bread on display in the bakery, which is listed as a historic monument in Paris.

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Gerard Mulot in Paris

There’s a new face in the Marais: Gérard Mulot. Sure there’s lot of shoe shops, sunglass boutiques, and questionable “art” galleries in the Marais. But there’s a dearth of bakeries and pastry shops.

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So imagine my surprise and delight when one not-particularly-good bakery near me closed (the surprise part), then re-opened the other day as…Gérard Mulot! (the delight)

For those of you who don’t know who I’m talking about, Gérard Mulot is most famous for his Left Bank shop on the rue de Seine, where he turns out magnificent fruit tarts, from simple to architectural, buttery pastries which include a rich-rich-rich chocolate coconut fondant that’s barely finish-able (if that’s a word), and an impressive selection of hearth-baked breads for the appreciative crowds that are always oogling the pastries in the shop.

Pear-Caramel Macarons

(A few months ago I was fortunate to visit his workshop and watch his chocolatier make all sorts of things, as well as the rest of the staff, who demonstrated how they make their rather colorful macarons.)

His new shop is just one block from the places des Vosges, so if you’re exploring the Marais or the Bastille, you’re not far from pastry paradise.

And even better…now I am too!

Gérard Mulot
6, rue du Pas de la Mule (3rd), at rue des Tournelles (Map)
Tél: 01 42 78 52 17
Closed Monday

76 rue de Seine (6th)
Tél: 01 45 26 85 77
Closed Wednesday

93 rue de la Glacière (13th)
Tél: 01 45 81 39 09
Closed Monday

Should You Go To Culinary School?

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If you’re thinking about becoming a professional cook, whether or not to go to school may be the ultimate question for you to ponder. There are some very good culinary schools, but in general, I think it’s worth getting some experience either in a restaurant kitchen or bakery before you decide to invest a lot of money in education. Perhaps the work is far more challenging than expected, or the pay is going to be far (very far) lower than what you’re making as, say, an anesthesiologist.

Should You Go To Cooking School?

Over the years, I’ve gotten number of inquiries for people thinking they’re like to cook professionally. Perhaps much of the interest began when the ‘celebrity chef’ craze took hold in the 80’s and people began thinking it was exciting to work in a restaurant kitchen. I know, since I was one of those people. I loved restaurant work (well, most of the time) and it can be lots of fun depending on where you are. I’ve had some of the most exciting times of my life working in restaurant kitchens, but it can also be a living hell.

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