Imagine a Strawberry Shortcake in a layered cake format and you’re just about there. Introducing the Strawberry Rosemary Charlotte!
After snagging an entire plaque of strawberries I got to baking in the kitchen of the lovely home in the 16th arrondissement I was watching.
Whipped cream infused with rosemary mixed with fresh strawberry puree and whole strawberries to make a mousse and encased with handmade and pipped lady fingers. Then all of this is topped with a little lady finger hat and more fresh strawberries.
Let’s take a peak inside shall we!
oh Spring do I love thee!
As the interior mousse can be made with any kind of fruit puree this one is great to have at any season- Pear Charlotte? Apple Charlotte? ohhh ya!
A quick hour train ride away from Paris and I felt like I was in another country and it was exactly as I expected. Cows, fields of green grass, and an immediate downpour of rain. I was in Normandy for the first time and breathing in as much fresh air as I could fill my lungs with!
I had been invited to join the last two days of the Fabulous Feast in Normandy Trip organized by Delicious Connections to photograph their exciting adventures!
The rain shower had just let up when the whole van of food discoverers pulled up at the train station in Le Mans to pick me up, complete with a huge grin from the owner of the Chateau where we were staying, Charles-Henry, and long time friend of Patricia’s, the owner of Delicious Connections. Regaled with stories of the countryside and the winery they had just visited nearby, we made our way back to Chateau de Saint Paterne, a family owned little hotel in the most magnificent setting.
Traditionally French with a gorgeous yard, fabulous food, and access to Normandy and the Loire valley, it is a wonderful place to stay- I might have been dancing in circles in our room and lounging outside to catch some much needed sun that would peek through the clouds every once and awhile.
The next morning we were off to the market in nearby town Alencon and there was just something about it! I’d visited several markets before but this one felt really special. It was bustling with locals doing their daily shopping and I think we were they only ‘tourists’ there. The produce was outstanding, covered in dirt from the fields, lush rich healthy colors, and incredible quality. A quaint little market that was everything you imagined one would be in the French countryside.
oh how I wished I lived nearby so I could have bought eggs from this lady! Best advertising ever!
And then there was the apple guy, with crates upon crates of different varieties of apples and bottles of cider.
With our knowledgeable guide, Charles-Henry, we picked up produce for a cooking class and the meals they would be cooking at the Chateau for the next few days.
Then it was off to explore the city, including this cute chocolate shop, Chocolats Glatigny.
There we tried a regional specialty, a chocolate with a ganache center and a hard meringue shell.
The next stop was a lovely little town for lunch. In France there is a designation of “les Plus Beaux Villages en France,” and this one was most certainly beautiful! It was made ever so sweet too by the clear skies that awaited us after dodging thunderous rain and hail(!) on the drive over.
Lunch was at a little cafe that had been around for quite awhile. After we’d finished eating, our waiter motioned us upstairs where he showed us artwork that had been painted directly on the walls by starving artists to pay for their meals.
The afternoon ended with a cooking class in the family’s private kitchens at the Chateau where we learned how to make (and flambe with Calvados) apple chicken in cider, a vegetable torte encased in cabbage leaves, and a frozen meringue and cream dessert called Vacherin that was customary to the region.
The cherry on top was that the meal we prepared was served to all the guests at dinner that night!
Here is the recipe we made for dessert. The finished dessert tasted much like ice cream and is great to make-ahead and keep in the freezer for any occasion. A special thanks to Delicious Connections, and Charles-Henry and Ségolène de Valbray of Chateau de St. Paterne for the recipe.
VACHERINS MAISON ST. PATERNE
4 large meringues with almonds (either purchased or made at home- each meringue should be about 6 inches in diameter)
1 cup crème fraîche
4 eggs (pasteurized)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a bowl, mix the egg yolks, crème fraîche, sugar and vanilla.
Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold gently into the egg mixture.
Crush the meringues into big pieces and add them to the above preparation. You might not use all of the meringue, just watch the consistency. Any extra meringue is great to serve with the finished dessert.
Put in the freezer in crown molds (round molds) and serve with chocolate sauce or a red fruit coulis.
It was such a wonderful trip and I’m so thankful to Delicious Connections for having me along!
Now usually there’s a bit of a heads up when something opens: construction, a coming soon sign, maybe a news article, but this one seemed to pop up literally overnight. One minute I’m jumping on the train to go to Normandy and the next, a text from a friend saying Fou de Patisserie is opening a boutique on Rue Montorgueil (a street I live off of and walk down almost every day).
Now my first thought was hmmm– what could they be selling because Fou de Patisserie is an incredible magazine that is focused entirely on pastry with amazing pictures and loads of recipes. (They will send the magazine all over the world too.) I seriously texted my friend and said, are they just going to be selling the magazine, surely not! It’s great but I don’t see it paying the rent.
And no, this is a brand new idea actually and a nice deviation from the crop of mono-product shops that have been opening up in the past years. The Fou de Patisserie Boutique will not be selling just one type of pastry like eclairs or macarons, but a variety, and even better than that… lots of different pastries from… a mix of the top pastry chefs in Paris. Just think- a place to go and sample handpicked pastries from several different fabulous patisseries. Made fresh and brought in each morning!
THIS IS HUGE!
And so. dangerous.
Therefore my resolve of just buying one pastry changed from two to three in a matter of seconds.
Currently at the Fou de Patisserie boutique are the following pastries in the case:
Le Baba au Rhum by Cyril Lignac, rum cake with creme chantilly
L’Equinox by Cyril Lignac, vanilla bourbon whipped ganache, center of salted caramel on a praline speculoos biscuit and covered in white chocolate
Le Phil’goût by Philippe Conticini, chocolate, hazelnut, and craquounet
Le Cheesecake Cassis/Mandarine de Sicile by Jonathan Blot, sable cookie made with Sicilian almonds, ricotta mousse, confit of cassis and mandarine from Sicile
La Tarte au Chocolat et Thé Earl Grey by Jonathan Blot, tart shell of pate a sucrée with cocoa powder and fleur de sel, chocolate ganache infused with earl grey topped with whipped ganache, toasted hazelnuts and cocoa nibs
L’Eclair Caramel/Beurre Salé by Christophe Adam (l’Eclair de Genie), pate a choux, salted caramel ganache
L’Eclair Parfums de Saison by Christophe Adam (l’Eclair de Genie), pate a choux, and a selection of seasonal flavors, made exclusively for Fou de Patisserie Boutique
Le Mille-Feuille by Hugues Pouget (Huge & Victor), puff pastry, ganache, lightly whipped cream with Madagascar vanilla
La Tarte au Citron-Vert by Hugues Pouget (Huge & Victor), pate sablée, almond creme, lemon/lime curd, and italian meringue
La Tarte Pistache/Pamplemousse by Olivier Haustraete (Boulangerie BO), pate sucrée sablée, light frangipane cream, pistachio, and grapefruit slices All are 5.90 euros and made fresh daily. They’re kept in refrigerators behind the pastry case- probably a nifty storage solution in a tiny Paris space. Let’s just note that I barely made it past the glazed Madelines by Gilles Marchal.
So ordering got difficult as my first selection of the super cool looking cheesecake turned into a quick addition of the Chocolate Earl Grey tart and then because the lady that was helping me was near them and the customer before me had bought them and because I love them, a financier. whoops. :-D
The cheesecake was so light and delicate with the perfect crust and right amount of flavor from the cassis/mandarine.
Chocolate upon chocolate with a subtle note of Earl Grey tea and a nice contrast in textures between the ganache and cream. And bonus- the crust wasn’t hard to get through like so many tart crusts can be.
Along the other side of the boutique is a selection of chocolates and caramels. Unrefrigerated goods are at the front in the store window just begging you to grab one without even asking.
Am I happy about this shop opening? NO! Because I will be there seriously all the time! This is NOT good. New life goal: try all the offerings at the boutique and any new rotations.
The oldest pastry shop down the street, Stohrer, will probably still get my visit for the classic no frills caramel eclair though. :-)
Fou de Patisserie Boutique – 45 rue Montorgueil, 75002 Paris
Open Tuesday to Friday from 11am to 8pm, Saturday from 9:30am to 8pm and Sunday from 9:30am to 1:30pm
This has been a little bit of a debate with my expat friends here in Paris. Coffee just isn’t done very well here, at least from our opinion. With that being said though, there are actually a lot of good local coffee spots that have been popping up. So lately we have been on the hunt for best places and a list is definitely forming.
So far we have HolyBelly in the 10th, Coutume, Ob-la-di in Oberkampf area (I posted this one on my Instagram this week and it has by far been my favorite), Telescope in the 1st, Craft Coffee in the 10th (be sure to stop by La Fabrique a Gateaux!), Ten Belles by Canal St Martin, Lockwood near me at Sentier, and Boots Cafe, a tiny spot with just three tables in Old Cordonnerie.
There’s also, Shakespeare and Co. a great place to stop in when you’re in need of some friendly English speaking and a good book.
Our test for good coffee is if sugar needs to be added or not.
Right next door is the bookstore that has been open since 1951 and has been a huge center for anglophone literature. You can see beds on the inside nestled between bookcases where artists and poets used to live. And right across the street, le Notre Dame!
Shakespeare and Company le Cafe and the Bookstore!
37 rue de la Bucherie
A little walk today through Paris from my apartment by Rue Montorgueil down through the Marais and over to Ile St Louis and the Latin Quarter before stopping for coffee at Shakespeare and Co. I love how Paris is a walking city and you can see so many different things just walking for an hour or so. It’s super bleak here at the moment and I’m really looking forward to the sun coming out and warmer weather, but a good cup of coffee and amazing friends always makes things better. :-)
In the first picture is a super cute little choux pastry spot called Odette. This location overlooks the Notre Dame down a small Parisian street that you can see in the second photo. It’s a little off the beaten path and a great place to stop for a petite bite of something sweet and an espresso.
77 Rue Galande, 75005 Paris