Monthly Archives

October 2012

David’s 30th Birthday Party

October 30, 2012

Thank you for all your truly lovely, warm, comforting comments on my recent post about my brother’s birthday. I wish I could send you all a batch of I Miss Him Cookies as a thank you. I feel very special to have such love sent my way, my whole family does. What gorgeous people you are.

Turning 30 is a big deal, so as hard as it all is, we knew we wanted to celebrate. Last Sunday we had close family friends around to my parents’ house and threw a party for David. While it was absolutely beautiful, it was absolutely heartbreaking. But I kept most of my emotions tucked away in that little corner of my heart so as to be able to actually make it through the day.

Mum and Dad made CDs filled with David’s music, his classic compositions as well some lyrical works. Later in the day we all gathered to admire the memorial sculpture our incredibly talented friend made. It’s the most beautiful piece of art I have ever seen. 
And we ate, of course we ate. Thanks for friends for bringing nibbles, cheese and delicious salads to go with our food. Mum made gorgeous galettes with leek, roasted capsicum and olives (using Maggi Beer’s sour cream pastry), as well as ham and cheese croissants and sausages with onion and chutneys in rolls. And Ben and I made peanut butter cookies and ricotta doughnuts for sweets.


It was really, really lovely… a special sun-kissed day. I just wish that David could have been there to celebrate with us. He would have loved the attention. And the peanut butter cookies, his favourite.

 

 


 

 

 

 





 

 



 



 




Heidi xo

Savoury Greek Yoghurt Pancakes

October 26, 2012


I adore yoghurt. I truly do.

Many mornings during the week I will gather myself a bowl of yoghurt for breakfast. I add oats, flaxmeal and berries and it fills me up like nothing else. It’s a morning bowl of happiness. I also often enjoy yoghurt as a snack in the afternoon, maybe with a little cinnamon, honey and nuts. Yes, yoghurt brings me much joy.

I am a little but of a yoghurt snob, however. I enjoy quality yoghurt. Many brands out there are loaded with added sugar, tasting artificial and altogether offensive. Beware that yoghurt will naturally contain some sugar, as it is made with lactose (the sugar present in milk), however it’s good to limit added sugar. As I know many yoghurt-lovers out there also favour quality varieties, my tip is to have a look at the ingredients list (rather than the grams of sugar on the nutrition information panel) – if sugar is one of the first few ingredients, it’s likely that you can find a better product. Try to keep it natural.

…..

When Kat from Keep Left PR contact me to see if I was keen to try a new yoghurt on the market, I of course said yes. And I was thrilled with what I received…

My lovely loot of yoghurt was from Roaming Cow Dairies, a company who strive to produce wholesome yoghurt while respecting and fostering healthy farming practices. Their products contain no artificial colours or flavours (and are gluten-free), and 10c from each tub sold is put back into their farms in Tasmania to support clean farming practices. I was sent Roaming Cow Dairies Greek style yoghurt, Greek style reduced fat yoghurt, natural yoghurt and vanilla yoghurt. It was a real treat to play around with these varieties and enjoy such yummy yoghurts for a few weeks. You can find Roaming Cow Dairies yoghurts in Woolworths.

When I read the ingredients lists of the Greek style and natural yoghurts, I was really happy. The Greek style yoghurt contains skim milk, cream, milk solids and live cultures – so simple. The natural yoghurt contains skim milk, milk solids, cream (no cream in the reduced fat version) and live cultures. I’ve been enjoying the fantastically thick Greek yoghurt as an afternoon snack with some cinnamon – you don’t even need honey, as it’s naturally sweet enough. I’ve used the natural yoghurt alongside banana pudding and pancakes, as it cuts through the sweetness of those dishes wonderfully. This is some truly delicious Greek and natural yoghurt.

The vanilla yoghurt does contain a few more ingredients (such as fructose, rice starch, lemon juice concentrate and natural flavours), so it’s good to be aware of this when striving for less added sugar in your diet. However I absolutely don’t mind including such a product in my diet when a craving for lovely, thick vanilla yoghurt arises, as overall it is not particularly high in added sugar, especially compared to other flavoured yoghurts out there. This yoghurt is made with quality milk products and real vanilla bean. Plus it is just so delicious. Quality.


As a thank you for sending me these beautiful yoghurt products, I created a wholesome and nourishing recipe using the Greek style variety. Ben is mad for this recipe – he’s a dill-nut and really appreciates savoury pancakes as a change from sweet. Apparently I cook a lot of sweet pancakes…who knew?



Savoury Greek Yoghurt Pancakes


Makes 6 large pancakes (serves 2-3. If serving 3 people, you might like to purchase extra smoked salmon).

Ingredients

3/4 cup Wholemeal Plain Flour
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
3 pinches Salt
Freshly Cracked Pepper
2 – 2 1/2 tablespoons Dill, chopped (depending on how dilly you like it)
1 big handful Baby Spinach Leaves, chopped
1 Egg
1 tablespoon Milk
2/3 cup Roaming Cow Dairies Greek Style Yoghurt (plus an extra two spoons for serving)
75g Feta (I favour Dodoni Feta)

Spray Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for cooking
1 handful Baby Spinach Leaves, for serving
125g Smoked Salmon
A few extra sprigs of Dill, for serving

Method

1. Sift the flour into a large bowl (adding the remaining wholemeal flakes back to the bowl). Sift the baking soda into the bowl, then add the salt and some freshly cracked pepper, and stir with a wooden spoon.
2. Add the dill and spinach to the flour mixture. In a separate bowl whisk the egg then add that to the flour mixture along with the milk and the yoghurt. Fold the wet ingredients through the dry until incorporated (do not over-mix). Add a tiny bit more milk or flour if necessary until you have a nice and moist (but not wet) pancake batter. Crumble the feta to the mixture and gently fold through.
3. Heat a non-stick pan over low-medium heat with a generous spray of oil (ideally use two pans and cook all your pancakes at the same time). Test that the pan is hot by flicking water on the pan (if it dances, it’s ready). Spoon heaped tablespoons of the mixture on the hot pan and flatten with a spatula (keeping in mind you’re aiming for 6 large pancakes). Cook for ~3-5 minutes until golden brown.
4. Lift your pancake with a spatula and add some more spray oil to the pan, then flip and flatten again slightly with a spatula (repeating for all pancakes), cooking on this second side for ~3-4 minutes until golden brown (turn down the heat if over-browning). Flip one final time and cook on the original side for ~1 minute.
5. Serve your pancakes on a bed of spinach, topped with smoked salmon and a sprig of dill. An extra spoon of yoghurt will also go down a treat.



Giveaway


Roaming Cow Dairies are keen for you to sample some of their delicious yoghurt too! How fabulous is that? I am well an truly addicted and am slightly, definitely, terribly jealous of whoever wins.

Three readers will receive an adorable mason jar with yoghurt toppings as well as a $10 Woolworths voucher for you to purchase some Roaming Cow Dairies yoghurt.

To be in the running, please leave a comment below stating what you look for in a yoghurt, and in one week I will select the winners (Friday 2nd November). This giveaway is open to Australian readers only. Be sure to include your email address if you do not have a blog link.

So, let’s talk yoghurt…

Heidi xo

Update: Giveaway Winners!


It was very difficult to select winners, as you all seem very keen to try the yoghurt. Thank you for your energetic comments! Congratulations to Su, Julia and Blithely Unaware! Please email me your postal addresses and I will pass on your details to Keep Left PR. Enjoy your goodies!

I Miss Him Cookies

October 23, 2012

Today is my brother’s birthday. His 30th. It’s been almost five years since he died. Five years…it kind of seems like a long time. But it still feels raw. So much so that I struggle to even say his name. Clearly.

David. Dave.

I’m working on it.



…..

I miss him.

I miss him laughing so very loudly at The Simpsons. The last moments I spent with him alive were watching an episode.

I miss coming down to the kitchen and having the scent of grilled cheese on toast waft over me…he loved his cheese. French cheese, especially.

I miss him always insisting on listening to Triple M when in the car, even though it drove me insane at the time. Now it’s Midnight Oil forever.

I miss telling him off for drinking juice straight out of the carton.

I miss hearing him play the piano. Every day.
I miss his presence…feeling, knowing that he would always protect me. Even when we fought, I knew he’d do anything for me. He was my big brother.

I miss it all.

…..

As I have each year since I started this blog, I made cookies for David’s birthday. Today they’re Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe link). Why? Because I was having a particularly shitty day two weeks ago, feeling super emotional about his upcoming birthday and just generally missing him. I felt like baking that afternoon, baking a chocolate chip cookie with a bit more wholesome nutrition than your average version. And so I chose this recipe.


If you discount the exorbitant amount of sugar in these bites, they’re a little healthier than your typical cookie – full of oats and almond butter, with some flaxmeal to boot. Just what I wanted. And while these cookies are vegan (ensuring you use appropriate dark chocolate chips), they don’t taste as you might expect a vegan cookie to taste. Let’s be honest, it’s due to all that sugar.

These cookies are downright delicious. They’re comfort. I’m quite certain David would have liked these cookies. In fact, he’d probably have struggled to stop at 2 or 3. Yes, absolutely.

I miss him.

I’m going to go watch The Simpsons, season 1 (my favourite), while drinking juice straight out of the carton. Later I’ll listen to Midnight Oil and make a grilled cheese sandwich. Or maybe this one – man, he would LOVE that sandwich. He had good taste, my brother.

Happy 30th birthday, David. I miss you. I so wish I could taunt you for being old today. Instead, you’ll be forever young.



Cookies in afternoon light. David would have appreciated that. Good living.



Heidi xo

Septime

October 20, 2012
Our last day in Paris…
Oh, Paris.
Before our afternoon departure to Morocco – the fourth stop on our 5 week honeymoon – Ben and I went for lunch at Septime with my friend Peta (who has been living in France and was joining us for a week). We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect farewell Paris lunch.
Septime is a truly beautiful bistro in the 11th arrondissement. It oozes casual sophistication. At Septime, quality produce is celebrated, nurtured and encouraged into supreme deliciousness. Their food is clean, delicate, purposeful and inspiring.

On this day we were a little rushed due to our impending departure, nevertheless we had a truly beautiful meal and were very well looked after. The lunch menu at Septime involves three courses (with a number of choices), and is 26 euros – incredible value.Septime will remain a favourite corner of mine, a place I will dearly recommend to fellow foodie travellers. Let me show you why…

Bread and fresh sliced salami to start.

Entree:
Raw tuna with cucumber, red currants and goats cheese. Fresh. Favourite.
Fava bean puree with peach foam, broad beans and almonds. This subtle puree with vibrant foam was a nice interplay of flavours.
Oh, yes, please.

Main:

Whiting with squash, pickled carrots and pumpkin, butter, thyme puree. Stunning. Intentional.

Pork belly with rhubarb and pickled sweet onions. Exciting. Divine.

 

Chocolate fudge log with basil and raspberry gelato. The chocolate log was incredibly rich and the gelato truly spectacular. Basil! It was all so brilliantly well-balanced, a combination of loving cuddles and sunshine twirls.

 

Goodbye, Paris. It’s been a dream. And what a dream to end with this sensational Septime lunch.
Heidi xo

 

Paris Notes

Length of stay

: 4 days – never enough time. This is my fourth visit, however, and so I had already seen many tourist sights. I would recommend staying at least 1 week for first timers.

Accommodation

: we stayed in a studio apartment in the Marais (Ref #016 via Special Apartments). It was stunning and very affordable. The owners were fantastic – very professional, helpful and friendly. The location was wonderful, although very much in the touristy section of the Marais. One issue was the heat – even with a fan we found this apartment to be quite hot at night (and the weather was not particularly warm when we were there, either). Having said that, we would not hesitate to stay again or book another apartment through this owner.

Where we ate

– see previous posts: A Pastry Tale, Septime and Paris Day 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Highlights

: Paris, the city of light…what a special city. I’ll highlight the truly beautiful meal with my man at L’Ourcine. Hanging out at favourite spots – Jardin du Luxembourg, Musee Rodin and Musee l’Orangerie. Lunch at Septime, dinner at Josephine Chez Dumonet and crepes from Boulevard Raspail Organic Sunday Market. Dinner with friends at Chez Marianne (please, can I have another falafel?) and cocktails at Candelaria and Kong with my man and Peta. Having our own apartment in the Marais – special, so special. And really, just being able to just wander the streets of Paris for hours and hours…that’s the best thing to do in Paris. Wander in wonderment.

Paris: Day 4

October 17, 2012
On this day, our fourth in Paris, Peta and I went for a lovely long morning walk around the Tuileries. I so miss this lady, my dear friend living abroad. She speaks truths and is ever intelligent and inspiring.
The Louvre, my favourite building. The history buff in me is so very happy in Paris.

Croissants

For breakfast this morning we ventured to Montmarte for Gontran Cherrier pastries, before exploring the area.
Paris…what a view.

 

Cafe Charlot

The three of us decided that a classic French cafe lunch was in order. Something simple, something classy… something like Cafe Charlot. This gem, located opposite the Marché des Enfants Rouges in the Marais, was everything we wanted and more.
 

 

I had the fish of the day with green beans. Clean and delicious.
While Peta and Ben both had the steak tartare.

 

After paying our bill we ran into Sarah Jessica Parker outside the cafe. No big deal. We didn’t even care…much…
And we absolutely did not hightail it to Kong that night for Cosmopolitans. Nope.
After gaining composure, we headed to the Tuileries and parked ourselves on some chairs. Here we read our novels and did some quality people watching. An afternoon well spent.

Berthillon

Peta is a dear – even though Ben and I have both been lucky enough to visit Paris multiple times in the past, she wanted to give us romantic honeymoon Paris time each day. And so later that afternoon Peta went back to the apartment to relax, while my husband and I had a sweet moment with Berthillon on the Île SaintLouis. Salted caramel perfection.

Joséphine “Chez Dumonet”

 
For dinner we had a booking at the classic French Bistro in Saint Germain,Joséphine “Chez Dumonet”. Set in an 1880s vintage dining room (enough said), this experience was an absolute treat, and absolutely one I will always cherish. Tip: make your reservation in advance!
Complimentary gazpacho. Softly sweet.
Peta’s beef bourguignon. Hearty, thick, rich comfort. Her green beans were lovely also.
My confit duck. Perfection. So much meat, so soft and succulent, encased in deliriously thin, crisp, seasoned skin.
Served alongside duck fat potatoes….too much…too much.
Ben’s steak fillet was true quality, completely delicious. We found the butter sauce nice but rather unnecessary – the steak was incredible on it’s own. Well, with duck fat potatoes, of course.
For dessert Peta went light with lovely sugared Summer berries.
I delighted in the stately soufflé, which was served alongside a shot of grand marnier, which completely brought out the flavour of the soufflé. Fabulous.
Ben went with our classic favourite – Crème brûlée. This quaint little dish was modest in it’s brilliance. I may or may not have eaten most of this serving. It was love.
And there you have our fourth day in Paris. A day filled with traditional French eats, fantastical and unforgettable Parisian romance and a touch of wonder. What more could you want?
Heidi xo

Paris: Day 3

October 14, 2012

It’s market day in Paris. Gather your basket and foraging hats, we’re off!

Boulevard Raspail Market

My friend Peta (who was staying with us for this week of our trip) has spent some time in Paris, finding favourite corners and hidden gems, so she couldn’t wait to take us to her favourite market – the beautiful Boulevard Raspail’s organic Sunday market. We walked to  the corner of Rue du Cherche-Midi and Rue de Rennes from our apartment first thing, working up a big appetite, and there we were…amongst the locals filling their baskets with heavenly produce. I’d like to imagine them returning home with their loot and creating a fabulous, seasonal Sunday meal for their families.

First we browsed the stores, marvelling at the colours and textures and sheer wholesome beauty of it all…

And then somehow we gathered our gastronomic desires and preferences and decided what we would purchase for a pleasant picnic. It was a difficult task, let me assure you.We also fell for the scent of bubbling batter and treated ourselves to crêpes, which we ate while walking to our picnic spot. 

Ben and I shared a cheese and egg crêpe and a butter and sugar crêpe. These were two of the most delicious crêpes I’ve eaten in Paris. In France. In life. J’adore crêpes.
 
 
We parked in Jardin du Luxembourg and spread out our feast. We absolutely bought too much food so decided to split up our goodies across two meals (later that day, dessert was eaten for lunch back in our apartment).
Quiche. Best. Assured. Best.

 

Roast chicken with potatoes.
Pissaladière. One with tuna, the other with caramelised onions. Love.
Almond Brioche. Surely this beauty cannot be legal, surely not. Far too delicious.

Fruit Bun.

Berry Tart. So tart, so divine.

Fruit and Nut Bread. Chunky perfection.

Blueberries and strawberries. Summer berry bliss.

We spent the remainder of the day walking, wandering, wishing we could stay longer. Ben and I visited my favourite Musée Rodin and dreamt of moving into the beautiful house. Yes, I’d be quite happy living there.

Chez Marianne

That evening we had dinner plans with friends from home. In 2009 we met our friend, Belinda, at a fabulous, lively restaurant in the Marais – good times were had. In 2012, we all happened to be back in Paris at the same time! So naturally we had to met for another meal at Chez Marianne. Thankfully, it very much lived up to our expectations.

We selected a variety of plates and all shared. That’s the way you do it at Chez Marianne. We ordered bottles of the house red, complete with the classy portait – excellent.

The eats! Gorgeous slabs of fetta, perfectly pungent dips, deliriously delicious faelafel as well as pastramitabboulehmarinated vegetableslamb pastry parcels and their lovely, warm pita bread.
If you’re wanting something entirely different and entirely delicious in Paris, I absolutely recommend Chez Marianne. The food is completely scrumptious and the atmosphere infectious. Fun times are guaranteed.

A walk to the Seine to see the light show from afar was a fittingly beautiful way to end day 3 in Paris.

 

Heid xo

Paris: Day 2

October 11, 2012

Ahh, day 2 in Paris. The day when I was reunited with my beautiful friend, Peta, who has been living in France. How special. I was in a flurry to catch up with my dear friend, who departed for her overseas adventure two days after our wedding where she was a stunning, supportive bridesmaid. 4 months apart felt a bit too long, really.

Croissants

Our day started with a run around Notre Dame (pinch me) before enjoying pastries for breakfast in Place des Vosges.

Ben and I then headed back to our apartment to await Miss Peta’s arrival. Of course she came bearing gifts – she’s divine. We were showered with treats from the Basque County – wine, caramels, cheese, foie gras and chocolates. Spoilt.

Poilâne

The three of us then headed out for lunch at Poilâne, a boulangerie I had been very eager to try since reading of their tasty loaves.

The lunch deal included salads to start. There were dried apricots in this salad – happiness.

I ordered the open sandwich with Bayonne ham, which was awfully delicious.

Ben had his with avocado and prawn, which was so fresh and tasty.

Peta had tomato and mozzarella, which was lovely also.

After lunch we wandered around some, catching up and exchanging tales. Peta then went back to the apartment for a nap, leaving Ben and I to explore the left bank.

We visited our beloved Jardin du Luxembourg

and Jean-Charles Rochoux,

where we bought truffles and marvelled at the exquisite chocolate carvings. I found myself a little starstruck by Monsieur Rochoux’s presence, and blurted out that I liked the way his store melt. Oh the embarrassment.

Crêpes

As we left chocolate heaven and started walking (so much walking), we were caught in yet another storm. Why, Paris, why? Completed saturated from the knees down, we sought refuge in La Crêperie de Josselin, which I knew to be nearby…it was all rather fortuitous, I suppose.

Nutella crêpesand cognac for afternoon tea.

Cocktails at Candelaria and Kong

After warming up and finding our way home we moseyed around, relaxing in our apartment a while. Later that evening the three of us went out in the Marais for cocktails at Candelaria, a hidden bar that is very New York and far too cool for me.

Cocktails and chips with guacamole.
Reunited in Paris, how special.

We then dashed to our 10pm dinner booking (so European) at Kong, a fabulous French-Japanese fusion restaurant. You might recognise Kong from Sex and the City, when Carrie is in Paris and has dinner with The Russian’s ex-wife. The chairs were not that hideous, FYI.

I believe there to be a direct correlation between cocktail consumption and a lack of photos from dinner that night. Trust me, though, if you’re wanting a sleek environment while you enjoy expensive but delicious cocktails followed by fresh, exciting food, Kong is the place to go. We had delicious seafood and scrumptious duck that night.

Paris, day 2. Special in so many ways.

 

Heidi xo

Paris: Day 1

October 8, 2012

Hello, dear ones.

We’re in week two of our five week honeymoon recap. I thought I’d post the Paris portion day by day, how does that sound? Chronological order feels comforting right now, as I find myself a little overwhelmed with thoughts and pictures and memories. It’s all wonderful, I just don’t quite know where to start. This feels right. Now where did I leave off?…

Oh that’s right, pastry. I’ve covered our croissant experiences – naturally this is done first – so things are looking good. I’d now like to share with you our first day in Paris.

Galettes

Ben and I arrived early afternoon and headed straight to Breizh Cafe. According to many, Breizh Cafe is the place to get your galette (savoury crepes) and cider fix in Paris. We obliged.

After a short wait, we snagged a table and ordered some delicious eggy, cheesy, bacon-full galettes – you can’t go wrong with egg, cheese and bacon, now can you? We also had some cider, authentic cider that tasted slightly of farm. Farm in a beverage. Or maybe that’s just us – we are new to this cider business…

Pozzetto Scoops

After lunch I promptly ignored the impending storm and promptly directed us to Pozzetto, the David Lebovitz praised ice-cream shop. A scoop of milk and a scoop of hazelnut was pure bliss. A little too delicious…You know how some things feel too good to be true? Well here I was, in Paris, on this dream trip with my love, eating a cup of rich divinity whilst strolling the dizzyingly romantic streets. How did I get to be so lucky?

I suppose things evened some when we were promptly saturated in a downpour…

Nope, I think I still come out on top.

 

L’Ourcine

Later that night, after wandering for hours and visiting the Musée de l’Orangerie (love) I put on my new white blouse. I knew Ben had special plans for our first night in Paris, and I was delighted when it turned out to be a dinner date.
You see, our last visit to Paris was in 2009 when we were very much backpacking and very much eating crêpes or cheap (yet still fabulous) Vietnamese for dinner.I had longed to visit one of Clotilde‘s French Bistro recommendations but alas, we couldn’t quite afford it back then. This time was different, as Ben and I were treated to brilliant meals and unforgettable experiences by our incredibly generous friends and family (honeymoon contributions were our Wedding gift request). This trip, those meals, the moments…they were a true treat, one we will dearly treasure forever.
And so on this, our first day back in Paris, Ben surprised me with dinner at L’Ourcine.
Located in the 13th arrondissement, in a decidedly un-touristy area, L’Ourcine is absolutely one of the most unpretentious and most fabulous French eateries I have had the pleasure of visiting.
We were treated to a supremely enjoyable experience – from the warm setting to the down-to-earth and helpful service. And the food was just absolutely delicious – traditional, seasonal, measured and nurturing. Oh, and dinner was incredibly affordable – only 34 euros for 3 courses (they have a lunch deal, too).
Our complimentary appetiser – a delicate foam with croutons and chives.
Our starters – sautéed mixed mushrooms. Just illegally good.
And Rabbit Terrine. Ben and I ordered the terrine for it’s earnest French appeal, and while we absolutely new this was a quality dish, we are just not terrine people….we’re just not. As much as we’d like to be, it’s just not going to happen for us. Such a shame.

 

But those mushrooms…with thick slices of hearty, soft sourdough. Heaven.
For our mains, we shared the beef cheek with red wine (served in a tomato), which was as rich and spectacular as you’d imagine.
And the roast chicken stuffed with foie gras. Truly delicious.
For dessert, we indulged in the chocolate cherry cream, which was bliss.
And the vanilla panna cotta with apricots – subtle beauty.
It was all so very French and so very fabulous. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. And that’s the way it should be, in Paris.
Heidi xo

A Pastry Tale

October 5, 2012

I have a tale for you, a tale of pastries. Pastries in Paris.

It’s a happy tale.

On our brief but beautiful 4 day visit to Paris on our recent honeymoon, Ben and I gallivanted across the French capital in search of pastry perfection. It was a croissant crusade, fuelled by a long-time love of the buttery crescent, and it was entirely wonderful.

Let me show you what we found. And please do share any delicious croissant corners you may have also found in Paris. And while we’re at it, let’s think on a larger scale and share with me your croissant finds from every corner of the world. The best croissant I’ve tasted outside of France was in San Francisco, at Tartine. That was a happy day.

Here we go, our pretty little Parisian pastry tale…

First up we have Au Levain Du Marais, where we sampled a plethora or pastry treats one morning for breakfast. Ben and I woke early and went for a run – let it be know that I take working up an appetite very seriously – before venturing out. David Lebovitz praised this Bastille boulangerie (despite ownership changes last year), and as I am a huge fan of Mr Lebovitz, I heeded his advice and paid a visit to this quaint, adorable store.

We left with a croissant au buerre (this is the variety to select, people), an escargot and a chocolat pastry. Ben and I took out loot and sat in Place des Vosges, which is a lovely, tranquil spot, especially first thing in the morning.
We sampled our buttery breakfast, oohing and aching at awfully frequent intervals. As we ate, a flock of firemen in athletic gear ran sprints back and forth right in front of us – early morning training session. A rather humorous juxtaposition, I felt.
The croissant au buerre

The escargot

 

 

And the chocolat pastry

 

I was amazed (yet not surprised) at the quality we were experiencing. These delights were very buttery, very flaky and very much pastry perfection. This was not my most favourite escargot, however I found the croissant to be earnestly perfect and the chocolate pastry terribly scrumptious. I don’t think I could have asked for a more intensely delicious introduction to this, my croissant crusade…

…..

Part two of this pastry tale took us to Montmarte, where we visited Gontran Cherrier. Clotilde from Chocolate and Zucchini is a firm fan of Gontran’s croissants and bread, and as I adore her I felt I would also fall for this dashing baker. I absolutely did.

When in Paris, I implore you to grab a loaf of Gontran Cherrier’s spectacular bread. From the fantastic, jet-black sesame loaf to rye and miso, it took all my strength not to buy the whole lot.

Peta, Ben and I had breakfast at his boulangerie one Sunny morning. Propped up on bar stools we peered out the window, watching locals on their morning rounds.

This croissant was less rich, but no less fabulous. As Clotilde highlights, Gontran uses a different pastry with his croissants, and as a result it is incredibly flaky. Flaky is a good thing. I truly enjoyed my dainty bite. It felt more modest, more approachable than Au Levain du Marais’ croissant.

Ben also sampled a tarte au citron, which he wholly enjoyed.
In addition to our pastry bite, we shared some superbly delicious baguette with über scrumptious jam. And butter. Oh France…you do breakfast well.

…..

So where does that leave my pastry tale? I feel these two croissants would be suited to different occasions – or rather, different cravings. One is best consumed on a park bench watching athletic men stride in front of you, while the other is less indulgent, more of a functional week-day croissant, if you will. Both are very welcome in my life.

And that’s where my pastry tale ends, my friends. I dearly believe in quality, not quantity, and so yes, these were the only two croissants I sampled while in Paris. I appreciate that more research is required before I become a Parisian pastry expert, and I firmly support my election for said job.

For now, this is my Parisian pastry tale. And I quite like it.

 

Heidi xo

Buttered Promises in Paris

October 2, 2012

Paris is romance. It’s history, elegance and light. Paris is assuming and perfect and it knows it, yes it absolutely knows it…but I adore it still.

It’s just far too easy to fall in love with this city. And like any good love story, it might break your heart a little, but you’ll leave enriched, a better person for it. True romance does that to you.

Paris broke our hearts this visits with its temperamental weather. It chastised us with sporadic downpours and violent storms, and then left us swooning with rich, buttered promises. We spent four days in this city of light and love on our 5 week honeymoon, joined by one of my bffs who is currently living in France. Our Marais apartment was perfectly quaint, poising us for many adventures and tasty treats. We re-visited favourite parks and museums, and meandered our way along sprawling boulevards. Walking all day does wonders for your appetite. Luckily we were no longer foraging backpackers and thus could afford to eat out with a cocktail or two. And wine, always wine…
We may have been treated to harsh, unpredictable weather and some offensively expensive beverage bills, but I don’t mind…it’s Paris. I’ll always forgive and always come back for more buttered promises. I’m just a fool in love.