Friday, May 22, 2015

Taste of Paris - Grand Palais

Last night was the major foodie event opening of TASTE OF PARIS at Grand Palais.
Get ready to graze from France's top chefs and purveyors.
14 stations serving tasting bites from master chefs.
Alain Ducasse, top chef and head honcho of the event confers.
Whilst the line chefs rush to produce.
The last real and true jambon de Paris, Le Prince - a must-taste.
Saffron from the Vallee de la Vienne. No need to go to Persia.
Divine oils from Huilerie Beaujolaise with intense flavors of pistachio and hazelnut, used only to dress food, so delicate.
Did you know ketchup is hot, hot, hot in Paris? You can put it on just about anything and it comes in a variety of flavors here. From Oliviers & CO created by 'Goth' chef Olivier Streiff.
I bought a bag of fleur de sel salt from the Les Sauniers de l'Ile de Re - a place I am dying to visit.
Sausage tastes
An eating game - try eating with your opposite hand or blindfolded from Jeux de Degustation. Very fun to watch.
The perfect companion at a tasting - food designer and cookbook author, Coco Jobard. There is almost no one Coco doesn't know in the food world. Here she inspects the best kitchenware on the planet. Cristal will last as long as you do says Coco.
We try NOGLU cupcakes. Tastes yummy. How do they do it?
Can't remember what these are exactly but they look good from Benoit Castel of Liberte. Coco says I must go taste his cream tarts.
The Laurent-Perrier Champagne was flowing but we needed to keep our wits about us and abstained.
Loved this giant poster of a traditional French bistro.
We did get to taste this foamy concoction from restaurant Kei. Stir it up before eating. Wonderful with hints of sesame oil. Otherwise very mysterious.
The deal is you buy giton coins before entering. Then get on line at 14 tasting stations.
Master chef Joel Robuchon in attendance. Other chefs presenting mini plates of their famous food through Sunday: Francis Fauvel, Kei Kobayashi, Stéphanie Le Quellec, Jean-Louis Nomicos, David Rathgeber, Guy Savoy, Pierre Sang, Frédéric Simonin, Frédéric Vardon.
The piece de resistance to cleanse our palates (several times) was Giolito gelato from pastry chef Gilles Marchal (formerly top chef at La Maison du Chocolat FYI).
He has a new patisserie in Montmartre, 9 rue Ravignan 75018 and I haven't been yet. This is obligatory. The pistache, mangue, caramel flavors were out of this world.
Stepping out of the Grand Palais on to the Champs-Elyseese at night is also out of this world.
TASTE OF PARIS will be on through 24 May.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Jill Colonna's Teatime in Paris, Treize, Flower

Yesterday was Jill's book signing for her lovely new Teatime in Paris - a DYI to all the secrets of Parisian pastry making you've always dreamed of.

Here is Jill showing off the endpapers I painted for her delightful book.

Naturally I had to eat every illustrated pastry to get the inner essence of it's essential pastry-ness.

The macarons were overflowing, all made by Jill (of the famous Mad About Macarons cook book).

Remember a few weeks ago Jill personally gave me choux-making lessons? Voila!

Jill is like a Humming bird. Impossible to catch on film. Here her divinely rosy macarons.

Did I say we gathered at Treize - A Baker's Dozen, tucked away in a courtyard at 16, rue des Saint Peres 75007
Owned by top baker formerly of Sugar Plum Cake Shop, Southerner Laurel Sanderson is noted for her divine carrot cake. She gives cooking lessons along with serving up lunch and brunch. Reservations are recommended.

My eye was caught by this flower crown on the wall of Treize. Laurel says she exchanges cakes for flowers at the shop next door. I went to explore.

Cosy and intimate is Treize. Do try it next time in Paris.

The corridor out to the street is guarded by a Marie-Antoinette milkmaid.

Look in the chandelier shop on your right as you exit the cour.

These hidden corridors full of treasures are so Paris.

On to No.14 rue des Saint Peres.

Bowers of old-fashioned bouquets at Flower.

Visiting this Parisian fleurist is another must-do.

Old-fashioned note cards to go in your luscious bouquet!
Top that.

At last the flower crowns hanging on a Burgundy jacquard wall.

Vogue online, just the other day, did a history of flower crowns.
   Few accessories have aroused such commentary, for and against, than the flower crown, so trendy of late among the neo-hippie festival crowd. Despite detractors, these decorative headpieces, whose history in mythology and art can be traced back to ancient civilizations, show no signs of fading from favor. Not only was actress Fan Bingbing a flower-crowned vision on the red carpet at Cannes this week, but, thanks to a new exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden, Fridamania (appreciation of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, who often wore flowers in her hair) is raging.

It’s a look that has roots. In agrarian societies, tied to the land and the seasons, flower crowns had great symbolic meaning. Worn for practical and ceremonial reasons, they could illustrate status and accomplishment (Olympic olive wreaths).

These FLOWER bouquets...

Look like they stepped out of this Giverny plate painted by Fabrice Moireau at china house, Gien just around the corner on 13, rue JacobDo explore these little streets in quartier Saint Germain for lots of delicious surprises.
And get Jill's book and do it yourself!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Chantilly at Chateau de Chantilly

Ah Ha!
Caught red-handed with an ice cream cone and a double one at that(the 1st cone crumbled in the server's hand..haha)
They had NO Cups! Shocking really, but pure Chantilly whipped cream on home-made(fait maison) melon ice cream can not be passed up on a gorgeously sunny day at Chateau de Chantilly right?
 
Go to Gare du Nord.
Then try to find the special train to Picardie. It will be upstairs in the main hall for the Grands Lignes.
Do not bother with the RER - double the time and complicated.

Chantilly is the second stop and takes around 25 minutes (costs about 8,50 euros). There is a shuttle bus in the bus parking lot nearby. Follow the crowds.
 
Why didn't I buy this divine mouse pad with an overview of the chateau?
 
One can go for a quiet contemplative visit at Chantilly.

Or attend the 3-day huge gardening event, Les Journees des Plantes de Courson a Chantilly. For someone who does not have a 'Green thumb' I go to lots of gardening events in France. But they are spectacularly beautiful. Has anyone been to Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire Festival International des Jardins? I'm thinking of going..
 
I would love to paint these shaped hedges.
 
And I definitely need Champagne tables made from pitchforks too. Who doesn't?
 
Attendees were carting off loads of gorgeous plants. Love this event description: Pour perpétuer la passion du jardin et de la diversité végétale.
 
On inside the chateau surrounded by lakes.
 
I don't think I've visited since 2008.
 
The theme of Chantilly is La Chasse.
 
Décor is stunning.
 
The world famous art collection belonging to the Prince de Condes is nothing to sniff at either.
 
Just fabulous.

Crowded as the event was, there are still many rooms to explore in peace, You can easily imagine yourself a princess-in-residence at Chantilly.

Views out the windows are enthralling.

I went to Chantilly with Solli, who is one of these specks on the grounds. She wanted to find the 'hamlet' with animals and I went for the art.

A grand library.

Full of flower prints.

There were certainly plenty of peonies on offer in the tents.
You can see more of my chateau pictures on Flickr.
Chantilly info is here.
And you can still get a peony watercolor for your own on Etsy by subscribing.