Paris calls to me and I long for her with a soulful ache…but, my life in Los Angeles grows more blissful still.
You will recognize this shot from my post titled “Grey Days are Never Dull.” But, now the trees adorn their winter costumes and add an entirely new and layered aesthetic to the city. The air is cold and inviting all at once. The food seems warmer and the hot chocolate more essential. And, nothing compares to the happiness of coming in out of the cold, turning up the radiators, peeling off the layers, and hanging up cold, wet scarves and gloves to dry before the next outing.
Below is a view from the George Pompidou Center. What a treat to find refuge from the elements inside of this most unique museum of modern art featuring the likes of Picasso, Chagall, and Kandinsky…along side of some extremely unique and somewhat campy modern art from the 20’s and 30’s.
Paris is a remmarkable city and I refuse to say goodbye. I spent the day walking…breathing in all the smells, sounds, and sights that I have come to love. I will miss this place…but, I will be back soon enough. In fact, I will be back in approximately 40 days. Meanwhile, I will keep writing…about Paris and about this magical thing we call life. Tonight, however…I just want to be.
Let’s face it—food in France is on a whole other level. And, it is a subject so vast, one would not even know where to begin. But, let’s take a look at the patisserie and the boulangerie. One is not the other!! A shop must adhere to strict regulations and guidelines to legally qualify as a pâtisserie or a boulangerie. Both are highly artisanal crafts and not to be confused. To be clear–the patisseries are pastry shops, and the are boulangeries are bakeries. A patissier does not consider himself to be a boulanger and vice versa. You can liken it to a cardiologist versus a neurologist. And, their crafts are taken just that seriously. For real.
I love to cook and to bake and decided that I could not pass up the opportunity to acquire some regional skills while here in Paris. I had a specific request (thank you Mark–and, get ready) for Pain au chocolat, which I was all too happy to honor.
Today, I spent many hours with a patissier learning how to make breakfast pastries. Of course, in real life, this would have been a three day process which would include dough making, laminating, and baking. But, we were able to get a hands on education of the entire process and enjoy the fruits of our labor all in one day. We made and used one “detrempe” or starting dough for our Pain au Chocolate, Croissants, and Croissant aux Amandes. The process was exacting and careful, but also very enjoyable.
And, I must admit that tasting these creations hot out of the oven was a an extremely heady experience that deeply affected the senses. The feel of the dough was like holding the happiness of my childhood in my hand. The smell in the kitchen was buttery. It surrounded me like a tangible cloud and when it flowed through my nose it made my head light and my heart warm. And, when the treats were cooled enough to eat, my tongue and mouth experienced a texture and a taste that were pure joy. Words cannot do justice…so, you will have to settle for some photos.