These excerpts all come from Chapter 17.
The patisserie has thick planks of creaky hardwood and a chandelier draped with tinkly strings of topaz crystals. They glow like drops of honey. The women behind the counter lay extravagant cakes into brown-and-white-striped boxes and tie each package with turquoise ribbon and a silver bell. There's a long line, but everyone here is patiently basking in the ambience.
Mer and I wait between tiered displays as tall as we are. One is a tree made from macarons, round sandwich cookies with crusts as fragile as eggshells and fillings so moist and flavourful that I swoon on sight. The other is an arrangement of miniature cakes, gateaux, glazed with almond frosting and pressed with sugared pansies.
And then a bit further on
We're almost in viewing range of the display case. I see a hint of golden apple tarte tatins. The edge of a glossy chocolate-and-raspberry gateau.
At first everything seemed too sophisticated for my tastes, but three months into this, and I understand why the French are famous for their cuisine. Meals here are savored. Restaurant dinners are measured in hours, not minutes. It's so different from America. Parisians swing by the markets every day for the ripest fruit and vegetables, and they frequent specialty shops for cheese, fish, meat, poultry, and wine. And cake.
I like the cake shops the best.
And again further on ...
...we reach the front case. It shimmers with neat rows of square shaped tarte citrons, spongy cakes swelling with molten chocolate, caramel eclairs like ballet slippers, and red fruity cakes, with wild strawberries dusted in powdery sugar.
And more macarons.
Bin after bin of macarons in every flavor and color imaginable. Grass greens and pinky reds and sunshine yellows. While Mer debates over cakes, I select six.
Rose. Black currant. Orange. Fig. Pistachio. Violet.
And then I notice cinnamon and hazelnut praline, and I just want to die right there. Crawl over the counter and crunch my fingers through their delicate crusts and lick out the fragrant fillings until I can no longer breathe.
I've never actually tried macarons myself, but I have to say, I am definitely feeling the need to do so now! And just looking for pictures of them online was loads of fun because they just seem to look so gorgeous most of the time!
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