For a while now I’ve lost my blogging mojo. I needed to find my spark again for writing and trying out new recipes. Perfectly timed, my lovely friend Marine invited me to visit her in Paris for the weekend. I used to work with her before she moved to Melbourne for a year then settling back to her homeland and in the capital being accepted on to a pâtisserie course. I may have arrived armed with a list of foodie spots that I wanted to tick off my pâtisserie bucket list, Marine was very kind to oblige and found some places that Marine hadn’t visited yet.
Our first stop was an Instagram favourite of mine, Popelini the home to rows of beautiful choux craquelin, choux buns with exciting fillings and a crispy crackled surface. They just looked so pretty lined up ready to be devoured.
I picked to try the Iran Pistachio with the Griotte Cherries and Marine went for the Praline. Both were just perfect little mouthfuls of joy and not too heavy or overly sweet, just balanced. I would say more interesting and flavoursome than a macaron.
Thanks Marine for the picture below!
We strolled on towards the pâtisserie chapel of L’Éclair De Génie. Home of some of the most beautiful eclairs you will lay your eyes on. Flavours such as Lemon and Yuzu, Passion Crisp with Raspberry and Grand Cru Chocolate means you’ll be making you decision for quite a while. We saw tourists getting rows of these gems packed up to take home with them to far off lands.
Lunch time! We visited Les Bols De Jean, winner of Top Chef Jean Imbert has developed the perfect bread with baker Eric Kayser that can be toasted, flavoursome vehicles for some brilliant fillings for lunch. We went for the Market Bowl, a base of a green lentil salad at the bottom of the toasted brioche bowl, nestled in the middle a perfectly poached egg, topped with a bacon foam. Beyond good, such good value for lunch with fantastic flavours and textures. And added bonus, once you’ve finished the filling you can tucking into that bread bowl soaked in the delicious flavours. A true gem!
Striding around the slightly damp streets to tick more off stops on the pâtisserie wonder tour we found ourselves outside the sexy Fauchon. Gleaming glass cabinets of rows on rows of perfect pâtisseries. Both Marine and I were taking notes to up our presentation skills to up our own makes. I mean all about the glitter hazelnuts.
Saturday stroll around Bastille in the sun meant that we stumbled on an absolute find. Maybe the foodie find of the holiday for me was Alain Ducasse’s chocolate manufacturing site in the city. Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse in tucked in an alley that opens to a courtyard with a small plaque on the alley entrance as the only sign of the pure joy that lays before you. As you know I’m a huge fan of single origin chocolate and the day before I was kicking myself that I didn’t treat myself to a bar at one of the many gastronomic food halls we had visited.But I managed to get a bar from the very source, which I will savour with my memories of my trip. I went for a 75% Vietnamese Single Origin Bar, described as a rugged and slightly acidic dark chocolate, however, I could have bought up the whole shop when it smelt so amazing.
The lovely thing about visiting a well-known city with someone who lives there means you get to visit all the cool little up and coming places without spending the majority of your time elbow to elbow with tourists trying to get a snap of a monument. The closest I got to a tourist spot was the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral on our way to an institute for anyone who loves a good book.
Shakespeare and Company sat on the Left Bank, a stone’s throw away from Norte Dame is one of the most beautiful bookshop I’ve ever been in. Wall to wall and every nook and cranny full of books on every subject you could possibly every dream of. Yes, we queued to get in, but not for too long and was so worth it. People wander around in an almost religious respectful silence, curled in corners in overstuffed armchairs and stroking cracked leather spines.
Apparently sometimes there is positions in the shop where if you work for free in the store then you can stay in the bed in the actual shop surround by thousands upon thousands of stories to set up on the best start to any adventure in your dreams. With a piano next to the tiny bed for anyone who wants to tickle the ivories while others browsing the pages.
Keep your eyes open to spot the message post box, where you can write a message of good wishes, positivity, and love which the staff will slip into the poetry books in the shop to be discovered and enjoyed around the world.
Sunday arrived with my last day in Paris and in need of some serious pick me up as suffering from some end of holiday blues. We needed some edible sunshine and definitely found in the walls of Holybelly. A Melbourne style café, serving up some insane breakfasts and brunch including the option to build your own breakfast with Eggs and Sides, choose how you want your eggs cooked then pair it up with some damn sexy sides such as thyme mushrooms, roasted goat cheese with a drizzle of honey and super crispy hash browns. But when I heard that they had Huevos Rancheros as the daily special, we just had to go for it!
Look at those colours! How vibrant and fresh! The poached eggs were perfection and oozy, with the fire of the salsa and the harshness from the red onion made subtle with being lightly pickled. All moped up with soft tortillas until the plates were spotless.
We couldn’t walk past the sweet treats on the counter without sharing a piece of the walnut chocolate brownie to finish off our fabulous brunch. So rich and so delicious.
I just had enough time for more exploring and to work off the brunch, ending up in the area of Parc de la Villette, with their many parks. A lovely area I wouldn’t have thought to visit unless I was with Marine but totally a visit and adventure.
The planetarium on a cloudy day makes for a stunning moon like skyline…
Marine’s sister said I couldn’t leave Paris without having had a pain au chocolat, so waved me off at the metro station on my way to the airport clutching a monster of a pain au chocolat. Even pâtisserie heavy to the end. I had such a wonderful time with Marine and her sister, who made me feel so welcomed and such a part of their amazing lives in a gorgeous city that after three days, I could easily see myself pottering around markets and flouncing around baking treats. Blogging mojo, well and truly back.
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