There's something magical that occurs when you introduce friends to Paris. The city recaptures you with its charm and beauty.
Friends from the Bay Area arrived before Thanksgiving and asked me to take them on a food walking tour. I knew of no better place than the 6ème, with its famous pastry shops and La Grande Épicerie. We decided to have a picnic in Jardin du Luxembourg and join the throngs of Parisians and their children. Even though it was quite cold outside, it didn't deter us from packing a few cheeses and a bottle of Beaujolais for our outdoor meal.
I have never had so much fun selecting pastries. We selected macaron after macaron, marveling at their vibrant colors. We oohed and aahed at the glittery macarons at Pierre Herme, read the descriptions of the millefeuilles with glee, wondered at the Émotions in their delicate glass holders.
Leaving with our treasures, we settled in the green chairs next to the little pond in Luxembourg. It was hard not to have dessert first, but we dutifully had some baguette and fromages along with glasses of Beaujolais (not too bad this year).
Here's the rundown of what we had:
- Macarons: Chocolate, Vanilla, Coffee, Pistachio, Raspberry, Lemon, Blackcurrant Violet, Salted butter Caramel. My favorites were blackcurrant violet and salted butter caramel, marvelous combinations!
- Emotion Mahogany: litchi, mango, marshmallows, all served in a beautiful glass cup. Dig deep with your spoon to catch all the flavors. An all-around favorite, we agreed.
- Millefeuille Caramel: my personal favorite, layers of flaky pastry, marscapone, and perfectly-cooked caramel at the almost-burnt stage. I loved the slight bitter notes it had.
- Macaron Plenitude
- Macaron Truffe Blanche: I must say that I was disappointed. I think the truffle flavor was too intense and too foreign to be in a macaron for me. And I usually love all things truffle!
Near the end of our picnic, a man and his daughter approached us. He pulled out a bottle of wine and handed it to us. "You look like you're having so much fun, please enjoy this wine. It's Beaujolais nouveau ." What a beautiful moment. Who said the French aren't generous?
A gift of wine, a spread of heavenly desserts, a landscaped park in the middle of Paris, wonderful friends to share it all with. You could never recreate this kind of magic.