Today, none of the other externs were at the hospital except for me. I later realized it’s Good Friday and perhaps they thought it was a public holiday? Helped out in another surgery again…breast reduction. I kept on violating sterile rules in the beginning and had to changing my gown and gloves several times…I felt so stupid 😦 and the OT nurse looked so impatient with me. But then most OT nurses are grumpy. Hmph. Nonetheless, I’m learning more and more. So sad it’s almost time to go home. After watching one and helping out with one surgery, I headed out as I wanted to do more exploring. I went to Sacre-Coeur, and it was filled with people waiting for Good Friday mass. Outside, on the steps, was a guy playing guitar with tons of people watching him sing classics like Hotel California, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, etc. A little lower, a guy was putting on a puppet show. Below all that, one can see a birds’ eye view of Paris. Montmarte is a really cool place…actually, so is a lot of other places in Paris. ARGH IM GONNA MISS THIS PLACE.
Just before I got home, I was really craving chocolate, so I dropped into Boulangerie Beatrix and David again, which is downstairs and oh so convenient. I actually asked for Croquechoco, which looked like a version of the popular cake that Tony Wong makes. When I got home, I found out the salesgirl gave me a Rocher instead. Oh well, no worries, it’s still chocolate. The Rocher is basically a giant Ferrero Rocher. The whole thing is covered in real milk chocolate studded with salty nuts. For some reason, it didn’t taste like hazelnuts…it kind of tasted like peanuts. Need to double check tomorrow by going back to the boulangerie and looking at the sign.
Inside, from top to bottom are the noisette mousse, a thin layer of chocolate cake, chocolate hazelnut mousse, and then a croustillant layer. I could taste a little coffee in the noisette mousse…don’t know if it’s just my imagination as it’s coffee coloured. The biscuit provided a nice textural difference and separation between the 2 mousse layers.It seems like the French people really enjoy croustillant and hazelnuts, as it’s featured heavily in many stores pastries. This was satisfying. I mean, the combination of chocolate and hazelnuts is really hard to go wrong. Also, like their Paris Brest, the mousse is very light, while still satisfying due to its creaminess.
Earlier in the afternoon, after visiting Sacre-Coeur, I ended up at Champs Elysées just to have a walk. I visited a small shop called Aubrac Corner, which is a takeout store belonging to the restaurant Le Maison de L’Aubrac next door. Aubrac is a region in the South of France, and their specialty is aligot, a mashed potatoes, cheese, and butter concoction. I bought a box to have tonight. As I was too lazy to cook it on the stove, I just microwaved it, then mixed and mixed and mixed like the traditional way. It reminded me of natto, getting stickier and stretchier the more you mix. After having the mashed potatoes from Le Meurice, I’ve been spoiled; and this is a microwave version…still, it was interesting. Tasted like potatoes and cheese. The interesting thing is mostly the texture, which was super, uber, duper, stretchy and chewy. You can keep on twirling it around your fork. This is thanks to the addition of a special type of cheese called Tome cheese. Traditionally, aligot is served with wild boar sausage, but I don’t think I could finish a sausage with this rich dish. So instead, I also bought some cheese at Lafayette. As if cheese isn’t rich.
Lafayette’s grocery floor is a foodie’s paradise! Too bad you’re not allowed to take pictures there…or maybe better for me as I’d be so depressed everytime I looked back at those photos. They had Bellota Bellota hams…several of them. Heirloom tomatos, picture-perfect pomegranates, apples from all over the world (along with a DO NOT TOUCH sign). Cheese that rival a cheesemonger’s shop…at perfect ripeness. And varying ripenesses depending on what you want. They also have takeout counters of Chinese food, Thai food, Japanese food, Greek food, and famous boulangerie/patisseries like Jean Paul Hévin, Dalloyau, and Eric Kayser. All that, and tons more. Of course, the basics are also available.
After browsing around with longing sighs, I ended up back at the cheese counter for some cheese to go with with my aligot. After doing a 360 degree tour of the cheese case, I decided to choose a Roquefort. I ended up choosing the most expensive one, which was on sale. The saleslady told me it’s the strongest one and the only one which is artisanal. In fact, it’s the 2nd smallest Roquefort producer in the world. I also just found out that the area it’s produced in is in the same region aligot is produced in – what a coincidence.
Well, I’m no cheese expert, but this cheese was sooooooooooo good! It was crumbly yet creamy. Rindless, so nothing would go to waste. Salty and pungent. The part with the mold (towards the center) was creamier and saltier, while the part nearer the edge was thicker, more crumbly, and a bit milder (though still very pungent). I’ve only ever had roquefort in salads, but this roquefort I had would be sooo good on crackers or toasted bread. Too bad I didn’t have any on hand. Also, the price was very good. A piece around 2 euros satisfied me as the taste was sooo strong and it was super creamy.
Finally, I also went to Printemps next door to Café Pouchkine again. This time, I got the Charlotka, a traditional Russian cake kind of like a coffee cake. The Pouchkine version, however, is a bit more haute patisserie (as it better be with its pricetag). I love how it looks, with the dried vanilla, cinnamon, and anise on top. Unfortunately, the only part you can taste these spices was onthe top where they were touching the cake. The apples, in contrast to yesterday’s Laduree tarte tatin, are fresh and still crisp. The whole cake is wrapped in a tart shell, which is tender rather than crunchy. The biscuit had vanilla seeds within, although the vanilla taste wasn’t that strong. It was very moist and tender though, and with some quince pieces which were tasteless. In the center were cubes of quince. The whole thing is also coated in a sticky glaze similar to the Moskito. It smelled pretty vanilla-y and good. As for the taste?
The Pouchkine Charlotka is a cake light in flavour, instead focusing on the textures. The is in contrast to their Moskito, a heavily flavoured cake. I have to say I like the Moskito more. I may also be biased as I tend not to like cakey cakes like this one which is mostly vanilla biscuit. Also, I prefer my tarts crunchy/buttery and also with a creamy filling instead of something solid. It wasn’t a bad pastry, but it wasn’t worth 6.20 euros that I paid for it. Pretty indeed, but neighbourhood boulangerie in taste. According to their menu, this was a dessert created for the tzar……I’m not sure he would have accepted something neighbourhood in style! Or maybe my tastes just aren’t Russian…