Yesterday I posted a review of Paris in Love by Eloisa James. Like so many memoirs that are about life in Paris, there is a strong focus on food throughout the book, along with fashion, family, Paris the city and so much more. There were so many food passages that I could have chosen, but I have chosen four that will hopefully whet your appetite for the book. There was another one that I thought I had copied which talked about dreaming of food and the difference between men and women, but apparently I lost it somewhere along the way!
After extensive research, I have a blueprint for the perfect tart. It should be very small, hardly more than a bite, and have a buttery, flaky crust, a bit of pastry cream, and a miniature tower raspberries. One or two berries should be topped with edible gold leaf, in order to create the illusion that the eater is Marie Antoinette herself, wearing a spun-sugar wig, nibbling cakes, and handing out dining advice.
Today we went to Sunday brunch at one of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants in Versailles, La Veranda. The entrees were fine....but the desserts! I tried nine, determined to learn, through empirical research the very best one. The delicious, chewy passionfruit macaron? The froufrou hot pink marshmallows, the four flavours of creme, the fig tart, the delicate clafoutis? The winner was a dainty cake with a crackling top and luscious mango cream inside, because it was like biting into one of Alice's Wonderland cakes; inside was a voluptuous surprise.
Alessandro and I deserted the children for the evening and took ourselves out for dinner at a tiny new restaurant called Saveurs & Concidences, subtitled 'The Cuisine of the Good Senses.' Our waitress was married to the chef; she told us that her husband had long dreamed of opening a restaurant where the food was so fresh that they had no need of a refrigerator. Some of the dishes were good and some were only so-so (Italian men - not to mention names - should just stop ordering risottos in other countries, because it never measures up), but the passion was unmistakable. And while Madame talked, a little boy in and appropriately sized chef's apron poked his head out of the kitchen.
Viviane invited us over for dinner last night. The meal began with her rendition of an appetizer she'd recently eaten at a three-star Michelin restaurant (to die for) and ended with a cake that she bought from 'the best patisserie in Paris' - Dalloyau on boulevard Beaumarchais. The inside was in various layers: a tart raspberry mousse, topped with a delicate lemon layer, surrounded by pistachio sponge cake with a gorgeous stenciled pattern in raspberry sugar. The top was glossy with a pale lemon sheen and held a delicate arrangement of berries. The next day we marched to that patisserie, bought the same cake, and took it home to devour.