Sunday, June 28, 2009

A la Mere de Famille, encore!

An outpost of the historic chocolatier A la Mere de Famille conveniently opened around the corner from me. It inevitably lacks the charm of the original store, but it’s still a cute little shop. It’s still filled with beautiful treats. And it’s still close to me.

Strangely though, I haven’t been craving chocolate a whole lot lately. My urge for something rich has been—only temporarily, I assure you—replaced by desire for something sweet and chewy. Namely, dried apple slices. Which have replaced my epic cravings for dried pineapple.

I started poking around La Mere de Famille, remembering nice big bins of dried fruit in the ninth arrondisement location and, sure enough, back in the corner, beyond the pralines, caramels and bonbons, I found my happy little jackpot.

Voila, beautiful dried pineapple. And dried apple slices, too.

Friday, June 19, 2009


My friend Alex is a soul sister in many ways. Her devotion to sweets is just one of them.

She had told me that the almond croissant she had at Ladurée last year was one of the best things she’s ever eaten. Naturally I had to try one—especially seeing as I walk by the Champs-Elysée tea salon every morning.

The 2,70 euro pastry—about twice the price of your average almond croissant—that I found is not just a regular old almond croissant, but rather a croissant aux noix, filled with walnuts and hazelnuts in addition to almonds. It was, true to Alex’s word, divine.

It didn’t have that showy powdered sugar top, but was slick with a sugary glaze. The sweetness of this glaze and the richness of the butter started duking it out with my first bite. But wait—with the second bite, the savory nuts kicked in. Magic. There was some serious heft between the fresh doughy pastry layers, making it rich and sweet, but not in a headrush sort of way.

I wanted to hate Ladurée when I came here because it seemed so in your face, with all the tourists rabidly toting the pastel green bags. But I can’t. I can’t hate a place that delivers such pretty and perfect pastries.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Just for laughs

Ordinarily I would think the chocolate stilettos, cigars and ties that Jean-Paul Hévin creates are so cheesy. Even the chocolate heart. Just give me a tablette, bouchon or bonbon.

And, well, I still do. But I love this guy’s chocolates and cakes so much, he’s such a choco-idol, that he can get away with it.

Even the chocolate iPod that he whipped up (seven years later), for Father’s Day.