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Ladurée Collection

24 May
Pretty Ladurée box

Pretty Ladurée box

Since my last post was of Pierre Hermé’s macarons, it would be natural to follow it with a post on Ladurée. As I mentioned yesterday, I love both and they pretty much stand equal on my favourite macaron list, both being #1. Although I only brought back 6 Ladurée macarons, I already finished off plenty in Paris, and also brought back a box of 8 for my Mum. So, what is featured here is only a tiny fraction of what I actually had.

Mmmm yummy in my tummy!

Mmmm yummy in my tummy!

In the box of 6 I brought home, there were 5 of my favourite flavours (réglisse, café, caramel, rose, et vanille), and one flavour I hadn’t tried yet (citron vert et chocolat). Ladurée does the classic flavours very well.

The licorice was a shocking midnight black, but the filling was a creamy beige. Rather than having the weird licorice candy flavours, this was more caramelly and slightly herbal. The fleur d’oranger, rose, and vanilla all tasted strongly of what they were supposed to taste like, while not being artifical. The caramel is my all time favourite macaron. The filling is wonderfully smooth and runny, while still holding it’s shape. It accentuated the slight chewiness and delicate, crisp shells of Ladurée macarons. The seasonal citron vert chocolat, on the other hand, didn’t fare so well. The lime green shell was specked with chocolate flakes, while the filling was chocolate ganache. I found the whole macaron tasted too perfumy. In fact, my mum even described it as tasting like citrus dishwashing soap.

My 3 favourites: Vanilla, Caramel, Réglisse

My 3 favourites: Vanilla, Caramel, Réglisse

The best part of Ladurée is that they always manage to get the shell-to-filling ratio perfectly. Sometimes, I find that PH’s fillings are a bit overwhelming. Ladurée never has this problem. Their intense flavours mean that a modest amount of filling is enough to bring out the taste. As mentioned yesterday, Ladurée’s shells are very delicate on the outside, and quite chewy and distinctively almondy on the inside. Classic.

Just for comparison, I purchased some macarons from a well-known local patisserie, Paul Lafayet.

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The End…For Now

29 Apr

So here I am, on my last day of my stay in Paris. My flight’s at 1 pm tomorrow, and I still haven’t packed at ALL. :S FML….like yesterday, I spent the whole day at the hospital doing surgery. Also said all my goodbyes to the nurses at the clinic, to the interns, the doctors I met, the OT nurses, the professor, secretaries. Delivered my Berko cupcakes to the clinic nurses which were well received. Took lots of photos, wanted to cry. Sigh…I hate goodbyes. I’LL BE BACK, PARIS AND HOPITAL SAINT-LOUIS!

After that, went to the Grands Magasins (again) to get more souvenirs (again). I finished off the macarons I bought which were supposed to be smuggled back to HK for my family and me…….whoops. So I bought more. And bought extra so I wouldn’t have to steal from the boxes. I wasn’t really in an eating mood (surprising, eh?) tonight as I was feeling so sad. 😦

Starbucks Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake

Starbucks Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake

So I got something from Starbucks. Cheesecake from Starbucks. What was I thinking?? Well…Berko was closed by the time I got back to the Beaubourg area, so I couldn’t end my trip with an amazing piece of Berko cheesecake. Yes, I was very, very sad. This Framboise-Chocolat Blanc Gâteau Fromage was so bad I didn’t even finish it. For one, the texture is all wrong. I think gelatin was used, which makes it a bit-jelly like. Not as bad as the Hong Kong style cheesecakes, but definitely not creamy like cheesecakes are supposed to be. Also, I couldn’t taste any white chocolate OR raspberry. Starbucks fail.

Goat Milk Chocolate Pudding

Ewe's Milk Chocolate Pudding

Also bought a bunch of stuff from the gourmet deli near my home, including this interesting pudding made of ewe’s milk (brebis). I was expecting a stronger, more gamey taste. Unfortunately, it only tasted like a very smooth chocolate pudding. It was the texture of warm ginger milk pudding…just at the border of liquid and solid. Actually, I think even HK style milk pudding has a stronger gamey taste than this.

Fromage Blanc Marron

Fromage Blanc Marron

This was something else I bought from the deli (yes I went crazy…it’s my last day after all). Chestnut flavoured fromage blanc isn’t something very common in HK, but I’ve seen it everywhere in Paris. Actually…getting this was a stupid idea…since it seems pretty easy to make myself. Good nonetheless. I’ve grown to really like fromage blanc…the texture is smoother than yogurt (which I find more watery), and the tartness isn’t overwhelming. It’s also usually made with skim milk!

On to the pastries…

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Second to Last Day Sigh

28 Apr Spéculos® (Buttercream)

Today, when I got to the hospital, I found out that most of the interns from other places had left Paris already! :(:( If I had known, I would’ve stayed longer yesterday. Also, I missed a house party one of the interns from Marseilles was throwing……and now they’ve all left. My favourite intern from Algeria was still here and leaving the same day as I was though, so that’s a consolation.

The box of 6 I got yesterday for myself

The box of 6 I got yesterday for myself

Since it’s my last 2 days in Paris, I’m staying at the hospital for the whole day until they finish. I also needed to scramble to get souvenirs for people back in Hong Kong and also gifts for those at the hospital. So today, after school, I headed to Berko first to get a dozen of cupcakes for the nurses at the clinic, and also a box of 3 for myself (in addition to the box of 6 I haven’t finished from yesterday lol). I’m gonna miss living 5 mins away on foot from a cupcake slash cheesecake store…………better for my waistline though.

Then I went on a massive shopping spree at Lafayette’s food market, and also various macarons stores like PH, Ladurée and Sadaharu Aoki around the Grand Magasins area. Also bought some cheese for my family as a souvenir. The cheese guy at Lafayette was so nice. But I also made a gaffe haha…I asked him if Tomme was similar to Swiss cheese, and he gave me the nastiest glare and said “NON!!! C’est FRANCAIS!!!! Pas suisse, nos fromages sont FRANCAIS!” Heh…sorry. Hurt his French pride. I sated him by buying some Tomme Affinée, Beaufort de Savoie, and Camembert. He also let me try a lot of cheese before buying…he gave me HUGE (like, 3X4 INCH) pieces to try. I was so full after trying lol.

Noix de Coco & mangue (buttercream); tarte aux fruit rouges

Noix de Coco & mangue (buttercream); tarte aux fruit rouges

This was my appetizer. Let’s just say tarts are not Berko’s forté…the tart base wasn’t buttery enough and I would’ve preferred more filling. Of course, it’s not fair to judge them based on a mini-tart I guess. The coconut and mango cupcake was yummerz!!! And I don’t even like coconut.

Takeout from Monoprix: tabouleh and satay chicken noodles

Takeout from Monoprix: tabouleh and satay chicken noodles

I also bought some takeaway from Monoprix as I like to experience what “instant food” is like in other countries as well.

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Hectic Tuesday

26 Apr Passionata from Boulangerie Julien

This morning, I spent the morning scrubbed in with Dr. Pulvermacker in the OT. As I caught a cold, I wasn’t feeling very well and left early….

Really small

Really small

Headed to the Musee de l’Histoire de la Medécine at the 2nd floor of the Faculty of Medicine in the université de Paris V René Descartes. It was really small, occupying just one room. Interesting…but not TOO interesting. Gonna go to Musée Dupuytren tomorrow, which holds a lot of wacky medical specimens. Should be more interesting!

Un Dimanche à Paris

Un Dimanche à Paris

Being a bit hungry, I headed across the street to Un Dimanche à Paris to get one of their mini trio sets. I wish I bought more of their stuff, as everything was really good! The mini lemon tart was….very tart! But had a sweet lingering citrusy note….the tart base was very crispy. The eclair was OK. I’m beginning to think I don’t really like eclairs lol because I’ve had 2 just OK eclairs these 2 days from 2 great patisseries, so maybe it’s just me. Finally, the mini chocolate fondant was verrrrrryyy melt-in-your-mouth. I wish I had a giant version of this.

Then, I headed to Montparnasse to look for Des Gateaux et Du Pain….i kept on walking in the wrong direction till i got there 1 hour later 😦 with very sore feet. And………….found out it was closed. 😦 Argh!!!! I really wanted to try the Pomme Tatin. Don’t think I’ll have time to come all the way out there in the next few days either. Oh well…next time.

So i went back to the Les Halles area as I wanted to go to the kookai outlet which closes at 7:30. I got there at 7:00 pm, and they didn’t let me in anymore. BOO. To heal my disappointment, went into Monoprix to get a Petit Pain aux Raisin Poilane (which tasted not very special either). Then I went to Rue Montorgueil…wanted to run into cute salesguy at Kayser. He wasn’t there, so I left (JUST KIDDING…I wanted a ficelle and they were out). Ok. Maybe NOT so kidding haha….nonetheless, I headed to Stohrer instead to do the same thing (KIDDING…although the salesguys at Stohrer ARE incredibly cute). Actually, I wanted to get their tarte aux fraises bois, but they were out ALSO 😦 It’s only 7 pm! So I got some chocolate thing called a Marie something…which was dark chocolate wrapped around praline with half a cherry glacé on top and half on the middle. It was…kind…tasteless. I threw it away after 2 bites.

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Bastille Market

24 Apr Breton galette for meeeeee

Today I planned to wake up early to head down to the Louvre before going to Versailles (yes again) to watch an equestrian performance at the Grand Ecurie. Unfortunately, I’m just not one for waking up early and I woke up at 8:45, which would mean huge line-ups at the Louvre, especially since it’s Easter. I was planning to go to Sunday mass at Notre Dame at 10, and I didn’t think I would make it if I went to the Louvre. So I headed out for some early morning wandering instead…

All-You-Can-Spread at Le Pain Quotidien

All-You-Can-Spread at Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien is a chain store selling organic breads in “naturally” decorated cafés with lots of wood panelling, communal wooden tables, and lots of bread. But that’s not what made me happy. I ordered a croissant au beurre for here, and what was ON the table made me happiest. ALL YOU CAN SPREAD spreads!!! They had Brunette (hazelnut butter), Noisella (nutella dupe but organic), Blondie (white chocolate spread), Noir (dark chocolate spread), and various jams, but who cares about jams when you have unlimited chocolate spreads? Ok, just kidding, their cherry jam was excellent paired with the dark chocolate spread. So, for 2.20 euros, I had a croissant as a side dish to my million different kinds of spreads. And also went through my guidebook (which I only started reading today. Yes, my last week. lol) trying to decide where to go.

Easter Sunday Mass at Notre Dame

Easter Sunday Mass at Notre Dame

I decided I would head over to the Île de la Cité a bit earlier in case there were lines at Notre Dame, and thank god I did, as the lines were SNAKING. Ah spring break. Fortunately, I got into the cathedral just as the Gregorian mass was about to start, and attended my first mass in…many years (not since I switched high schools from a Catholic one to a secular one I believe). It was calming, and I must admit I sort of missed it. 🙂 Not to mention the venue was gorgeous and it’s breathtaking to imagine mass a few hundred years ago here. The picture above is of the English mass, after the Gregorian mass, which I snapped as I was leaving.

My next stop was the Bastille market across the street from the Opéra Bastille, a starkingly modern structure in contrast to everything else in Paris. I actually read about the market in the guidebook this morning, and I’m glad I did. Or else, I would’ve missed the chance to experience an outdoor market!

Bastille Market

Bastille Market

It was bustling and lively. There were stalls selling all kinds of things: raw meats, rotisserie, fresh oysters, Breton specialties, North African goodies, Greek deli items, Italian stalls, cheap clothing, shoes, fruits, vegetables, Chinese food, Bob the Paella guy (I think it’s a franchise), breads, LOTS of cheese, Portuguese food, and street musicians. Oh, and underwear. Yea. Kinda reminded me of 女人街, except the food they sell is a lot classier.

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Good Friday

22 Apr Love the top...and the fresh tasting apples are probably what I like best about this cake

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.

Basilique Sacre-Coeur

Basilique Sacre-Coeur

They changed their wrapping paper!

They changed their wrapping paper!

Rocher

Rocher

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.

Chocolate coating, noisette mousse, chocolate cake, chocolate hazelnut mousse, feuilletine

Chocolate coating, noisette mousse, chocolate cake, chocolate hazelnut mousse, croustillant

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.

Aligot...so stretchy!

Aligot...so stretchy!

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.

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All the Big Names

21 Apr

This week’s been boring at school. For some reason, most of the surgeries have been facial surgeries like lifting, eyelid surgeries, cancer excision. That means that if I scrub up, I’ll be pretty useless standing there…and probably being in the way as well. I miss last week, especially Thursday when I got to actually scrub up and help with the surgery. There was an abdominoplasty where it was just me, an intern, and an extern in the OT. I handed them instruments, did diathermy, handled all the equipment. The first time I actually felt useful in the OT. Hopefully next week (my last! :() will be more fruitful. Left early today to go to the Louvre…

Afterwards, I did another patisserie march. First stop was Carl Marletti again. Remember last time I had an AWESOME Belle Helene? This time was pretty awesome too.

Carl Marletti storefront

Carl Marletti storefront

Carl Marletti: inside the store

Carl Marletti: inside the store

This time I managed to get shots of the exterior and interior. Like I said, it’s very low-key and you’d miss it if you weren’t looking. It’s across the famous Saint Medard church and right next to a bright, shiny, Greek traiteur. Inconspicuous, but its pastries are not.

My haul...all the pretty bags

My haul...all the pretty bags

I then headed to the Grands Magasins to get some big name pastries. I had planned to get a Tarte Tatin from Laduree at Printemps, then an Opera at Dalloyau. Unfortunately, Laduree was out of Tarte Tatins, and I settled for something at Cafe Pouchkine, which is a Russian royal pastry cafe with a pop-up store at Printemps. By the way, Grands Magasins is paradise…shopping AND food paradise. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t live in Paris…or else I’d go bankrupt in a few months (or weeks)? SO first, an amuse-bouche…

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