Monday, October 3, 2011

A Week in Paris

Choclate tart from Fauchon
You may or may not have noticed that I have been MIA for a little while. Well, it's because I went to Paris last week. For those of you who don't know, I have my bachelor's degree in French and I studied abroad for 9 months in college. I then returned to France after receiving my degree and spent 7 months as a teaching assistant. Needless to say, during my time in France, I developed a love affair with French food and wine. And pastries. And chocolate.

Yellow always makes me happy
So why did I go to Paris this time? Mainly, I needed to get away. It had been a year and a half since my last vacation and I was just itching to get out of my hometown. Wanderlust seems to be embedded in my DNA, so I tend to get a bit stir-crazy if I go for to long without any travelling. I had also been missing France quite a bit, and when I saw a good deal on airfare, I jumped at the opportunity.

My other goal in going to Paris was to eat. And drink, but mostly eat. And eat I did, as you will see by these pictures (though I realize that there is no evidence that I consumed any of this food, but I am sure you know me well enough by now to know that I cannot look at food like this and not eat it). I ate plenty of pastries (some of which were eaten too quickly for me to photograph), and drank plenty of espresso and wine (not at the same time, mind you). Yes, Paris was delicious.

So good...
There were a few culinary highlights on my trip. The first, I would say, was the chèvre chaud salad I had on my second night at a nice little French bistro off the beaten track. What made this salad particularly special was that they drizzled honey over the warm goat cheese, which added depth to the dish. Seriously, I will be making this in the future. So freaking good.

Best salmon ever.
The second highlight was the salmon dinner I had at a cute little restaurant/bar near my hostel in Montmartre. It was a pavé de saumon à la provençale, which was essentially salmon and tomatoes and zucchini cooked in butter and served with rice. Butter makes everything taste so much better...

St. Honore
Thick and delicious
Another highlight for me was the chocolat à l'ancienne that I had at Angelina. Story goes that Coco Chanel used to frequent this place, famous for its hot chocolate. The chocolate is served in a little pitcher and you are supposed to pour it into your cup, then you can add whipped cream (served in a dish alongside the pitcher of chocolate) to thin the chocolate out a little. Believe me, this stuff is thick. It is really like drinking melted chocolate. So decadent and tasty. To accompany my hot chocolate, I ordered a St. Honoré, a pastry that I do not usually order (in fact, I'm not sure I've ever tried one). It turns out that I've been missing out on something that is pretty darn good. The puff pastry balls are filled with vanilla pastry cream, covered in caramel, and topped with Bourbon whipped cream. Very rich, but so very worth it.

Royally delicious!
The biggest highlight came when I had a little picnic in the park. I bought a baguette, some sheep's milk cheese, a nice little bottle of Bordeaux, and a Royal Chocolat. The wine was really great, though I felt a bit self-conscious about openly drinking wine straight out of the bottle all by myself on a public park bench. The best part, however, was the Royal Chocolat. I already knew that that particular dessert was my favorite French patisserie. This one just happened to be the best I've ever had. Ever. Really. I would fly back to France right now just to get another one. While I was sitting on the bench, savoring this dessert, a French lady walked by and saw this wonderful treat and came and asked me where I bought it because it looked "trop bon." Yes indeed, it was "trop bon."

Magical macarons!
There were of course many other delectable goodies that I consumed. Pain au chocolat, which Americans simply cannot make well to save their lives. Then of course, there were crêpes (yes, multiple, all with Nutella). And lest we forget, macarons! Yes, Paris was delicious, and I cannot wait to return...

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