April 25, 2014
Walking through the streets of Paris, past famous monuments and cult patisserie shops, it’s hard not to notice the lines filling up with tourists. The Japanese, in particular, have become huge fans of French sweets in recent years, thanks in part to the now-global reach of brands like Ladurée.
The influence between the two cultures is far from one-sided, however. Asian ingredients and flavors are no longer rare on French menus, as French chefs and patissiers are won over by the restraint and precision that dominate Japanese cuisine – a refreshing alternative to over-the-top traditional fare.
This symbiotic relationship has not escaped the pastry arena in Paris. Among the most popular pastry shops in Paris today, you’ll find more than one Japanese star leaving its mark on French and international palates. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 4 Comments »
April 18, 2014
When I quit my corporate job and moved to Paris to pursue my dream of becoming a pastry chef, I wasn’t sure how far down this path I could manage.
Sure, I loved eating pastries and I loved the idea of making them, but I had also heard enough Hell’s Kitchen stories that had kept me worried.
So what is it really like to work in a pastry kitchen in Paris? As a part of my professional pastry program at école Ferrandi, I completed a 5-month internship at Un Dimanche à Paris, a chic boutique known for its beautiful exhibition kitchen and delicious pastries. Here are some behind-the-scene snapshots to give you an idea of what the life of a French patissier is like. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 16 Comments »
February 16, 2012
Here at HiP, we’re always up for a good expat adventure tale, particularly one in which desserts play a starring role. In her new book, Paris, My Sweet, food writer (and regular HiP Paris contributor!) Amy Thomas regales us with stories from her two-year stint in Paris, where she wrote advertising copy for Louis Vuitton by day and scoured the city for sweets in her spare time.
All in all, it sounds like a pretty ideal existence, but like all expats in Paris, Amy faced a typical series of ups and downs. It’s no surprise that she fell hard for the city upon arrival; and it’s also no surprise that, once the initial Parisian shine wore off, Amy ultimately came to see the city’s not-quite-so-sweet side. It’s at this point that the story really starts to ring true for those of us who have been expats in Paris: you’re simultaneously charmed and alienated, comforted and challenged, energized and exhausted.
As Amy weathered the highs and lows of expat life, she also covered serious ground in the dessert department, hitting all of Paris’ confectionary hotspots and sampling the city’s most decadent delights. This book is not only an account of her time in Paris, but also a goldmine of bonnes addresses (in both Paris and New York) for dessert lovers. This woman knows her way around a pâtisserie, and serious sugar-high seekers would do well to heed Amy’s recommendations.
Paris, My Sweet is a guidebook of sorts, but it’s also just a fun and decadent read—I devoured it in less than 48 hours, pausing only to scrounge up some chocolate now and again. In addition to making me hungry, Amy’s writing transported me back to Paris, a trip I am ever-eager to make, if only vicariously.
Below, I caught up with the author to talk Paris, pastries, and ultimately picking her favorite city. Continue Reading »
Posted in Events, Food, Parisian Living, Travel | 14 Comments »
March 30, 2011
Doughnuts American style (Honey + Jam)
It’s an affliction. This I know after living in Paris for nearly two years. I used to think that, in New York, it was natural and inevitable that I was such a Sweet Freak. Everywhere I looked, there were seductive displays of oozing chocolaty chip cookies, obscenely large sticky buns and towering three-layer red velvet cakes. Irresistible!
But in Paris, I was just as big a leche-vitrine—maybe more so, drawn as I was to the rows of pristine gateaux, Technicolor macarons and perfect dark chocolate pavés. Having spent significant amounts of time and invested gazillions of glorious calories in both cities, it’s still a question I find difficult answering: who has the best sweets, New York or Paris? A transatlantic smackdown might tell.
Brownies v. Moelleux au Chocolat
A pastry Neanderthal might say: what’s the difference? They’re two brown chocolaty-cakey treats. But the pastry connoisseur understands the difference between dense and molten. Between fudgy and finessed. Between a snack that can be dunked in milk with your fingers and an haute dessert that oozes into a pool of uber-rich ganache on your dessert plate.
Verdict? A brownie is comfort and joy; moelleux is hedonism and bliss. They’re both worthy and delicious. But as good as a dense, fudgy brownie is, anything with molten chocolate wins, n’est-ce pas?
Winner: Moelleux. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food | 10 Comments »
December 12, 2009
Our friend Kim Petyt, fabulous Paris wedding planner and writer of Parisian Party, shares with us the traditional French Christmas dessert – the bûche de Noël, otherwise known to us as a Yule log. Check out her post below, featuring some beautiful designer takes on the traditional cake.
Text by Kim Petyt
The holiday season is in full swing, and all across Paris cries can be heard to Bring on Les Bûches! No French holiday meal would be complete without the grand finale, the Bûche de Noël! Paris is especially known for its vast selection of couture bûches – most are available in limited quantities and for a limited time. So if you plan to get your bûche on at this year’s holiday party, you’d better hurry and reserve yours now. Here are some highlights from this season’s cake collections. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Shopping | 1 Comment »