Desserts are contagious.
How can I use such an ugly word for things that are so good? Believe it or not, I have always been a self-professed "salty tooth" person. I'd take a bowl of chips, cheese, dip, or bread over desserts anytime. Not that I hate desserts - I just don't have cravings for them.
But desserts can be more versatile than cuisine. I love baking up huge batches of cakes, cookies, or macarons to hand out to friends. They keep longer, can be kept at room temperature, and most of the ingredients are probably already in the cupboard. Composition-wise, desserts triumph over cuisine - all the different colors, heights, textures, & intricacies make them much more beautiful.
Most importantly, people are happy when approached with desserts. I find their happiness contagious and ooh and ahh along with them when we gaze into chocolatier and patisserie windows. All the while I'm looking at the brioche, croissants, or breads. Salon du Chocolate was amazing but hey, I still ended up going for salty rillette and foie gras when I was there.
The amount of desserts we make in the Cuisine program at Le Cordon Bleu is perfect for me. That is, we don't make any at all. However, we do get dessert recipes and see demonstrations and tastings of desserts. Perfect for people like me who can be satisfied with a sliver of something sweet. Our main chef is clearly not a patisserie chef - the desserts he produces are fairly simple and his plating is never spectacular, but still much better than what I can do.
I promise not to neglect sugar while in Paris though. Part of the fun is going with friends and discovering new places. Amarino is a gelato place where you can pick as many flavors as you like, and the happy servers expertly shape the gelato into flower petals on your cone. (To prove my point that desserts are more about the experience for me, I had tons of fun going here but couldn't even finish my cone.)
Berthillon is great, but dinky portion sizes, inconvenient hours, high prices, and impatient servers almost don't make up for the perfection it produces. Amarino is a much more crowd-pleasing, dare I say, hipper place, open until midnight! If only they had more seasonal flavors, as I'm dying for something with pumpkin in it!
I would be happy too if I worked here.
Cindy ready to dig in. I forgot what flavors she had.
Pistachio as the core, chocolate hazelnut in the middle, coconut on the outside.
Saddaharu AOKI is a legendary Japanese dessert maker I discovered while wandering on Rue de Vaugirard my first week here. I saw the sign, peeked in the window and saw lots of Asian-inspired creations that looked great, even though I had never heard of the shop before. Yes, I am such a big food nerd that I take pictures of signs to remind me to go back to places that look interesting.
Location in the 6eme on Rue de Vaugirard.
Then I heard people talking about "that" Japanese place where the desserts are much lighter and saw its sister stand in Gallerie Lafayettes. I finally went back on Sunday and tried a matcha green tea cake with red bean filling - pure tea flavor and not too sweet! This is coming from someone who has a red bean aversion after one too many pots of Chinese red bean dessert soup made by mom. I couldn't snap a decent picture though, because they shooed me out of the store when I tried to sit down at one of their tables (since I wasn't there for tea). And there wasn't a single customer in the store besides me.
Matcha Green Tea Cake with Red Bean Filling.
So I leave you with some of the desserts I've experienced at Le Cordon Bleu. Maybe I'll come back for the patisserie program one day to make these beautiful gems. Or else I'll continue experimenting on my own when I get home to the States, hopefully my recipients will welcome the results!
Sablé Biscuits with Pistachio Crème & Balsamic Reduction
(Anyone know if pistachio paste is available in the States?)
Deep Fried Puff Pastry Pear Fritters
Profiteroles, Vanilla Ice Ceam, Chocolate Sauce
35 Rue de Vaugirard
- AND -
56 Blvd Port Royal
Locations in Paris:
- Rue Vielle du Temple in the Marais
- Rue du Buci near Metro Mabillon or Odeon
- on the Ile St. Louis down the street from Berthillon
(there are probably more that I don't know about)