Photos of the Day: Basquiat

Photos of the Day: Adding a bit of light to the darkness as we get through the pandemic together.
This series features travel photos from my archives, shared with you as we shelter in place.

June 3rd, 2020

After yesterday’s blackout, we’re remaining in Paris for the next few days. Today we’re stopping by the Fondation Louis Vuitton, a museum of contemporary art with a breathtaking exterior of progressive shapes and materials. We journeyed to this gem of the 16th arrondissement to see the dual art exhibits of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Egon Schiele. What a day and what a joy to experience art in this space, surrounded by parkland.

Jean-Michel Basquiat was an American artist, born in 1960. Of Hatitan and Puerto Rican descent, he spoke three languages, dropped out of high school, started with graffiti and soon after was selling paintings for thousands (and later millions) of dollars. He died from an overdose at the age of 27. His powerful perspective on life and culture in America feels as relevant today as ever.

Until tomorrow,
Kelly

Art Daily Dose of Beauty Local Color

Oui Oui, Pâtisseries

Ladurée

Ladurée

Post of the Day: Adding a bit of light to the darkness as we get through the pandemic together.
This series features travel photos from my archives, shared with you as we shelter in place.

May 31st, 2020

Finalment, today we reach the sugar high point of my previous days’ posts. So far, we’ve sampled macarons, pastéis de nata and meringues on our way to les pâtisseries!

During my trip to Paris in 2018, I set out to leave no pastry behind. I learned about history, enjoyed a lot of delicious bites, and experienced the high fashion of pastry in Paris. There are far more pastries and shops than what I’ve included here ~ smaller bakeries, hundreds of interpretations, thousands of meters of piped whipped cream and enough dusted sugar to coat the earth. But the places featured here were memorable for creativity, history, and dedication to adding art and beauty to the sweetness of life.

Sébastien Gaudard

Of the pâtisseries I experienced, this was my favorite. Small, quaint and surprisingly quiet, Sébastien Gaudard felt authentically French. From the mosaic tile floor to the fonts on the menu, every detail was Parisian. We were welcomed with a smile and took a seat at a tiny café table in the interior. The pastries were displayed in a bright case – nothing over the top, just pure deliciousness among the chocolate curls, flaky puff pastry and creamy yellow custards.

Sébastian Gaudard himself has been called the “Tom Ford” and “Little Prince of Pastry.” His father Daniel, also a pastry chef, said, “Other children played with plasticine, my son played with almond paste.” Acclaimed and accomplished at a young age, Sebastien opened La Pâtisserie des Tuileries (the store I visited) in 2014. If you’re looking for more than sweets, something memorable, this would be my choice.

Angelina

On the Rue de Rivoli, Anton Rumplemayer opened his shop in 1903. Named after his daughter-in-law, Angelina became known for a signature pastry called the Mont-Blanc which is described on the website as: “Crispy and dry French meringue under a smooth creamy dome of light whipped cream, covered by chestnut vermicelli. Its shape was apparently inspired by the trending women hairstyle at the time: the sleek short square bob.” You can see it far left in the display case photo of the gallery.

Among the variety of Angelina’s pastries, I would say the Mont-Blanc may be among the least beautiful. I opted instead for a whipped cream dome of another kind. It was light but decadent in keeping with Angelina’s baroque identity. I look forward to returning here again someday to pick up a treat to enjoy in the adjacent Jardin des Tuileries.

Ladurée

The story of this company reaches back to 1862 when Louis Ernest Ladurée opened a bakery in Paris. Years later, at the urging of his wife, the bakery transitioned into a tea room to accommodate the new trend of social gathering amid high society. These days, Ladurée has dozens of stores in France and around the world. Painted in Ladurée’s characteristic tint of blue-green, each store displays the incredible artistry of their historic macarons. Yet pastries are just as important and their designs are delicate and detailed, strikingly displayed on a charcoal gray surface. According to their website, “Each pastry’s attractive colouring and flavours are designed to stimulate visually as well as gustatorially – pâtisserie is consumed by the eyes before it even reaches the mouth, after all.” Oui, c’est vrai.

Stohrer

Even older than Ladurée, Stohrer’s history began in 1730. Nicolas Stohrer, pastry chef of King Louis XV, opened a pâtisserie on Rue Montorgueil where a Stohrer shop still exists today (pictured). Specialties include rum babas and eclairs but what I found most intriguing were the lemon tarts with lime zest. Stohrer tops these sweet little rounds with proprietary clouds of meringue only seen at Stohrer. Overall, their creations look like they’re made with a heavier hand than other pâtisseries, but they certainly deliver on taste and their raspberry tarts were some of the prettiest in Paris.

La Pâtisserie du Meurice par Cédric Grolet

La Pâtisserie du Meurice par Cédric Grolet

If modern art had an equivalent in pâtisserie, Cedric Grolet would be the acclaimed artist. At the helm of the shop, Grolet has elevated the French pastry to something almost unrecognizable. I’m not sure if what’s offered by Le Meurice appeals to everyone, but the artistry and creativity cannot be disputed. Every season, he and his team curate the featured flavors into a limited variety of pastries ~ only four to six at most. The depth of artistry increases the time spent making each one which limits the volume of production.

Walk into the at Le Meurice hotel and you’ll find an equally limited view. When we stopped by, just four pastries were displayed on a white countertop. Upon making our selection, our pastries were discreetly boxed and bagged by a man in a business suit and his assistant, and we were quickly on our way home to dig in. The biggest mystery was the flavor. The exterior gives a clue of course, as you can see by the apple and black lemon with citrus peel texture, but cracking into them revealed a few surprises. The apple was paired with dill in a delicate balance and the black lemon had hints of pear and a light chocolate cream filling. At up to 17 Euros per pastry, we only tried two!

If all the custards, chocolates and fancy whipped creams are too much for your palate, never fear … it’s France. You can always have a crêpe.

Une Crêpe

Une Crêpe

Cuisine Art
Le Sans-Culotte

Photos of the Day: Mmmmeringue

L'Excentrique

L’Excentrique

Photos of the Day: Adding a bit of light to the darkness as we get through the pandemic together.
This series features travel photos from my archives, shared with you as we shelter in place.

May 30th, 2020

Our deep dive into the land of sweets continues today with meringues. How can we be in Paris and not talk about meringues? That airy, crispy, melt-in-your-mouth texture is like nothing else in the culinary world.

Walking through Le Marais, we saw the window displays first – packed with what looked like pink and white snowballs. These are the meringue creations of Aux Merveilleux de Fred. They sell various sizes and flavors including Le Sans-Culotte (white) and L’Excentrique (pink). The store also sells more traditionally shaped meringues, stacked high to sweet visual effect.

Meringues are found throughout France, in huge dollops as big as your hand. They don’t look particularly difficult to make but don’t be fooled. The ingredients, air temperature, baking temperature, cooling time and science behind the composition of meringues make them a never-the-same-result-twice kind of baking adventure. You can even make meringue from aquafaba, the liquid byproduct of boiled or canned chickpeas.

It’s Sunday funday tomorrow. Bring your sweet tooth.

Until then,
Kelly

Art Cuisine Daily Dose of Beauty

Photos of the Day: Pastéis de Nata

Photo of the Day: Adding a bit of light to the darkness as we get through the pandemic together.
This series features travel photos from my archives, shared with you as we shelter in place.

May 29th, 2020

After yesterday’s macarons we’re moving into heavier subject matter, although not necessarily French.

Pastéis de Nata, or Portuguese egg tarts, delight the senses with their creamy custard texture, flaky crust, touch of blistered beauty and dust of cinnamon. Although I’m posting this on a Friday evening, hopefully a few of you are reading this in the morning with a café — the preferred accompaniment for enjoyment.

We first discovered these little nuggets of gold while exploring Lisbon. We were thrilled a second time when we almost (almost) walked past Comme à Lisbonne in Le Marais in Paris. Needless to say, we returned several times on our afternoon walks back to our flat.

I hope you enjoy today’s sweet delight as we work our way, bite by bite, into the depths of Parisian deliciousness.

More tomorrow,
Kelly

Cuisine Daily Dose of Beauty

Photo of the Day: Nom-Nom Miam-Miam

Les Macarons

Les Macarons

Photo of the Day: Adding a bit of light to the darkness as we get through the pandemic together.
This series features travel photos from my archives, shared with you as we shelter in place.

May 28th, 2020

Well, it seems I struck a chord with yesterday’s Paris post of the Musée D’Orsay ~ a favorite among readers! And thank you to Andrew S. and Peter H. (both accomplished artists) for helping identify my favorite painting of flowers in a high vase by Odilon Redon. High fives and bonus points to both of you!

Today, we’re going to start slowly transitioning to French art of a different kind … starting with something mignon, délicieux, coloré et très Francais: le macaron.

Consider this an amuse-bouche for what’s to come this weekend!

Until tomorrow,
Kelly

Art Cuisine Daily Dose of Beauty

Photos of the Day: Musée D’Orsay

Musée D'Orsay

Musée D’Orsay

Photo of the Day: Adding a bit of light to the darkness as we get through the pandemic together.
This series features travel photos from my archives, shared with you as we shelter in place.

May 27th, 2020

During our soujourn in Paris in 2018, just wandering the neighborhoods was the priority but we did make time to see a few of the city’s popular sights. The Musée D’Orsay is one such place – a former train station built at the end of the 19th century which now displays paintings, furniture and sculpture in the voluminous interior. With natural light diffused through the ceiling, it’s a wonderful place to spend an afternoon appreciating art in its many forms.

Bonus points for anyone who can help me identify the painted bouquet of flowers!

More tomorrow,
Kelly

Art Daily Dose of Beauty