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An Interview with Raphaële Marchal, Food Writer Extraordinaire & Author of À La Folie

Raphaële Marchal A La Folie Book

À La Folie, Stéphane de Bourgies

If there’s one name to know in Paris’ fizzing new food scene, it’s that of Raphaële Marchal. Contributing writer to the all-things-sugar magazine, Fou de Pâtisserie, and the Parisian’s go-to guide for young and creative cuisine, Le Fooding, the 26 year-old also runs her own successful food blog, En Rang d’Oignons, and contributes to many of the gastronomic events in Paris.

With names like Pierre Hermé and Jacques Genin in her iPhone contacts, it’s no wonder that Raphaële decided to write a book on pastries. À La Folie, released in Paris on November 10, presents 60 pastry chefs and their signature creations alongside the most exquisite (and mouthwatering!) photos from David Bonnier and Antoine Pesch. With recipes from Christophe Adam’s caramel éclairs to Yann Couvreur’s impeccable millefeuille, to Jacques Génin’s zesty lemon and basil tart, À La Folie is 100% sweet and oh-so Parisian.

Want to impress your husband with your culinary flair? Polish up on your French (an English translation of the book is in the works) and pull out the old KitchenAid. Ethereal Parisian pastries are your well-deserved reward.

We sat down with Raphaële over lunch at AG Les Halles to discuss her favorite sweets, her go-to pastry shops in Paris, and her Montmartre neighborhood.

Raphaële Marchal A La Folie Book

À La Folie

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Privé de Dessert 2: Traditional French “Desserts” with a Twist

Privé de Dessert, a unique culinary concept in Paris

At PDD2 what you see is not what you get. The offshoot of Privé de Dessert, the quirky SoPi restaurant where entrées and main dishes look like classic French pastries, has brought the same fun approach to the Opéra neighborhood in the guise of a take-away “pâtisserie” with a twist.

Every delicacy in this bright 2nd arrondissement café looks like a pastry, yet they’re anything but dessert: a réligieuse with avocado cream and salmon rillettes, a delicate éclair that refashions the traditional ham-and-butter lunchtime sandwich, or a savory cupcake that hides a surprise tartiflette filling.

Privé de Dessert, a unique culinary concept in Paris

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Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | No Comments »

DonAntónia Pastelaria: Portuguese Treats Along the Canal St-Martin

HiP Paris Blog DonAntonia Pastelaria Canal St MartinAmong all of the trendy coffee shops and boutiques along the Canal Saint Martin, one new address is standing out from the rest. Forget croissants and café crèmes for a moment and immerse yourself in the pasteis de nata and galão at DonAntónia, a part eatery, part grocery store that is dedicated to the tastes of Portugal.

HiP Paris Blog DonAntonia Pastelaria Canal St MartinThe idea is simple: everything – down to the milk in the coffee – comes from Portugal. A team at Canelas bakery in Pierrefitte, just north of Paris, creates the pastries each day. In fact, they’ve been catering Portuguese cuisine for 35 years, but DonAntónia is the first storefront for the products in Paris. Continue Reading »

Posted in Coffee, Food, Restaurant Reviews | 2 Comments »

The Best (Organic) Bread in Paris

The best organic bakeries in Paris, serving up baguettes and pastries that are healthy as well as delicious

Maison Kayser

Healthy, organic food is sweeping through Paris in the form of health food stores, juice bars, and vegetarian cafés, and not even boulangeries are immune to this food craze. The city’s top bakers are making baguettes and other loaves in biologique (organic) varieties in an effort to offer healthier products and protect the environment. Those who come to Paris hoping to forget about their diets and indulge in the city’s legendary baguettes and pastries should not be dismayed; the switch to organic flour doesn’t mean a sacrifice in taste.

The best organic bakeries in Paris, serving up baguettes and pastries that are healthy as well as delicious

Du Pain et Des Idées

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Posted in Food, Markets | 3 Comments »

CREAM Café: Craft Roasted Coffee in Paris’ Belleville Neighborhood

CREAM Café: Stop in for a craft-roasted espresso or a light lunch at Paris' own authentic coffee shop in Belleville

Climb the ascending rue de Belleville in the 20th arrondissement of Paris and you’ll find CREAM, the city’s newest address for craft roasted coffee.

CREAM Café: Stop in for a craft-roasted espresso or a light lunch at Paris' own authentic coffee shop in Belleville

On a chilly winter afternoon, the foggy windows of the shopfront hide a warm, hole-in-the-wall haven. CREAM’s simple interior- white walls, natural wood surfaces, scattered green plants – make for an uncluttered yet welcoming space.

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Posted in Coffee, Food, Restaurant Reviews | 7 Comments »

The Sweet Life: Japanese Pastry Chefs Are Making Waves in Paris

Japanese Pastries, MORI YOSHIDA, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo

Mori Yoshida

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.

Japanese Pastries, MORI YOSHIDA, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo

Mori Yoshida

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.

Japanese Pastries, Ciel, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo

Ciel

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 »

The Life Of a Pastry Chef: My Internship At Un Dimanche A Paris

Un Dimanche à Paris Internship

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.

Un Dimanche à Paris Internship

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.

Un Dimanche à Paris Internship

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 | 19 Comments »

Teatime: The Best Places to Indulge in Tea (and Something Sweet) in Paris

HiP Paris Blog, Making Magique, Tea Salons in Paris

Making Magique

When the cold arrives in the City of Light there’s nothing better than cuddling up with a cup of hot tea and a few delicious pastries in the corner of a Parisian café.

HiP Paris Blog, Carin Olsson, Tea Salons in Paris, Rose Bakery Tea Room

Rose Bakery Tea Room (Carin Olsson)

After a summer of short summer dresses and light tank tops, it’s time to put on that knitted sweater, cozy scarf, and those leather boots… Which also means that a few extra pastries won’t really hurt that much…  Well, at least that’s what I keep telling myself (yes, that’s my theory and I’m sticking with it).

HiP Paris Blog, Toastwife, Tea Salons in Paris

Toastwife

After surviving cold autumn days and freezing winters in Paris before, I now know where to get my tea and pastry fix in this city. In a city like Paris the possibilities for indulgence are endless, so I’ve tried to narrow it down for you. Don’t forget to bundle up before heading out! Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Shopping | 20 Comments »

Surviving Valentine’s Day in Paris

So in love, they don’t even need the sidewalk (Dutotime)

You know what I love about February in Paris? Well, for one thing, by some quirk of nature the sky that has been threatening to cave in on Paris for the past 4 months of winter suddenly breaks and Paris is blessed with a few almost-warm days of uninterrupted sunlight. All the left bank vampires come out of their lairs, café terraces once again fill up with sunglass-toting-espresso-drinking Parisians and for a small window of time we can almost imagine that one day it will be Spring again.

The second reason why I like Paris in February is that storefronts, restaurants and TV commercials remain remarkably red-heart free until, say, a week before the Big Day – which seems like a completely reasonable amount of time to either start fretting or preparing for the year’s Day of Love.

Paris: the capital of park-bench romances (Trevino)

This also means that you and I are free to either glide blissfully unaware past Valentine’s Day or design a holiday that actually means something, devoid of the pressure of a month’s worth of intense, color-and-sound coordinated marketing tactics — all leading up to one pretty intense day that once, in some lost galaxy far, far away, was intended to give us pause to reflect on how lucky we are to have love in our lives.

So. Far from my candy hearts and hallmark cards and overpriced roses and expensive restaurant reservations made 3 weeks ahead of time, I would like to propose an alternate holiday of sorts, made up of all the things I love most about Paris and, if I’m lucky (but this is not central to the plan), someone with whom to share these indulgences. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 10 Comments »

Croissant Smackdown: Paris’ Best Croissants

Amy Thomas, Paris’ sweets goddess, recently organized a croissant tasting for a blessed few. To our great dismay, we were out of town and unable to partake in the buttery festivities. To make up for it, we’re sharing her write-up here so you can live vicariously through the smackdown with us…

flickr-robopy
Buttery, flaky deliciousness… The Croissant. Photo by Robopy

One of the first things many tourists do upon arrival in Paris is go to the nearest café and order a café au lait and croissant. We expats like to whisper conspiratorially, “Only tourists order café au lait, it’s really un crème…” If we’re nice about it, we even advise our visiting friends of this nuance so they can be more local than tourist.

But when it comes to the croissant part of the equation, there don’t seem to be many insider tricks or tips. As omnipresent as croissants are in Paris, they don’t inspire the same loyalty and rivalry as macarons, the same adoring squeals of delight as petit gateaux, or the same declarations of the very, very best like baguettes or cocoa.

So on a recent Saturday morning, I gathered a group of bloggers and friends from all pockets of the world to at least begin making comparisons and declarations—it was the third edition of an American Smackdown in Paris. What did it reveal?

4montagemore redThe contenders: (clockwise from top left): Gerard Mulot, Au Levain du Marais, sample plate of the mystery contender, and the inside of the Gerard Mulot croissant. Photos by Amy Thomas.

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Posted in Food | 17 Comments »