Stories of this Canadian girl's adventures exploring Europe...join me!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

parisian sweets

As Halloween candy grows stale in every home in North America and a few here in Germany, like the third chocolate croissant you just can't finish, I am thinking of sweets of another kind. The Parisian kind.


A few months ago, I had the opportunity to fill my eyes, ears, and definitely my nose while strolling through the park-lined streets of Paris. Among the many elegant things Parisians are known for; fashion, perfume, the grave of Jim Morrison, and the odd incredible landmark or two, one thing stands out: the Parisienne patisserie.


With plenty of writing and people-gazing on my itinerary, my goal for this second trip to Paris was to experience the sweet and savory side of the city un petit peu. This was not a difficult task.

First up, the macaron. With flavours as luscious as the delicate double-decker delight itself: religieuse pistache, fleur de cerisier, framboise-anis, the macaron is a luxury. Is it just me or does everything sound just a little bit better in French? Case in point: the raspberry.

In one of the most beautiful pastry shops (or shops period) that I've been in, Ladurée in St. Germain, I had an oh so lovely experience. Was it because I smiled extra sweetly and fluttered my eyelashes or possibly because I pouted like a pretty parisian? The monsieur behind the counter, in a gray pinstripe suit and black bowtie, gave me an XL macaron for me to try. Ooo la la! Ladurée is one of the oldest and best known patisseries in the world; with humble beginnings in 1862 when Louis-Ernest Ladurée, a well-known satirist and writer opened a bakery. This just goes to show that writers everywhere need to support themselves somehow!


Beyond the gargoyle gazes along the Seine, in a narrow rue near the Marais district, I stumbled upon a feast of colour and flavour, and that was just from the outside. I was standing in front of the long, immaculate window display of Pain de Sucre, on rue Rambateau. If I'm not mistaken that translates as 'bread of sugar'. Well, sugar is definitely well represented here. Arranged in apothecary jars are the largest, most square marshmellows I've ever seen. Their vibrant colours give away their exotic flavours; saffron, blackcurrant, cassis, eau de rose, chocolat noir coco, and caramel beurre sale (salted caramel - yum). They are squishy and bouncy and delish. 


Between each of many 'cultural' pauses, I stopped to smell the espresso. Outdoor cafés with elegantly dressed men and women sipping coffee, while sharing a baguette and some fine cheese served on a thick wooden board, is the sight on every street corner. And, although everything is small (there is nothing super-sized here except the marshmellows), in my mind I fit right in. C'était vraiment super!


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