A Touch of Heaven Part Deux

Want to see what heaven part deux looks like?

It looks like this:

01: Caramels from Jacques Genin

You always learn something new in Paris.  For instance, on this trip, I discovered that caramels are so much more than the milk hard, chewy squares that I used to eat when I was a kid.   Caramels can be incredibly soft, chewy mouthfuls bursting with flavours such as honey, pistachio, mango, chocolate and almond.

Jacques Genin makes incredible caramels (that are displayed in a special refrigerated case), chocolates, fruit gelees, and pastries in his 3rd arr. shop and cafe.

Photo Source: 1 (my own), 2, 3, 4

I bought four very special caramels from Jacques Genin that I thought would last me the weekend. Sadly, they did not.

– 133, rue de Turenne


A Touch of Heaven

Ever wonder what a touch of heaven looks like?

It looks like this.

01: Homemade ready-t0-eat-pots of caramel with spoons


02: Kouignette (Kouign Amann- A buttery, dense pastry that hails from Brittany in Northern France)


03: Help-Yourself bins of chocolate covered everything!

I was in Paris at the beginning of December and made sure to visit one of my favourite chocolatier’s, Georges Larnicol (four locations in Paris).  This store is a little piece of heaven and is always great for small, portable gifts.  Speaking of gifts, I always make a grab bag of chocolate to bring home with me.

Between the cookies, meringues, truffles, chocolate-covered-everything, caramels, nougat and kouignette’s there is something for everyone!

– 14, rue de Rivoli

– 132, bd Saint-Germain

– 19 rue de la Harpe

– 7, rue de Steinkerque





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The weekend is here and I could not be happier.  While the weather continues to push 25 degrees in Prague, there is finally a breeze which makes nights a bit more comfortable sans a/c.

A couple weeks ago when I was in Paris, I forgot to blog about a cool experience I had at a chocolate store.  What made me remember is that I still have a small (but melting) bag of chocolate covered cherries from this place and as I was thinking about eating on, a light bulb went off in my brain.

I did my fair share of sampling sweets around the city: A macaron here, a chocolate there, a palmier here… you get the picture.  I don’t think I had a bad “sample” anywhere but there were a few spots that stood out from the rest.  One of which was La Maison Georges Larnicol.  Are you acquainted with this place?  It is a chocolate store with two locations in Paris (I visited the one on rue de Rivoli (4th)) that offers customers an interactive chocolate experience:  SELF SERVE.

Photo Source: 1

All of the chocolates are displayed in self-sever, bulk barn-esque bins where you can mix and match whatever items you want and simply pay by weight.  You can cross over between chocolates, caramels and the famed Kouign amann cakes (a special pastry originating from Brittany that tastes like a cinnamon roll, a palmier and a stick of butter rolled together).  If you are curious about these Kouign amann, I would recommend reading David Lebovitz’s post on this special delicacy and his experience at Larnicol.  I tasted half of one just to have the experience.  The Kouignette was dense, heavy and would have tasted better warmed up to make the sugar/butter/caramel gooier.

Photo Source: 2

In my experience roaming the chocolate stores of Paris, there is a beautiful glass case between you and your chocolate.  Not here.  The only things behind an official glass case are the macarons.  Otherwise it is a chocolate free-for-all.  The entire perimeter of the store is filled with chocolate covered everything, sometimes three or four bins deep, not to mention the displays of chocolate sculptures, products and gifts around the shelves and centre display cases.

 Photo Source: 3

Have a wonderful weekend.  Meet you back here next week.

Let me know what you tasted at Larnicol if you have been.


Food, Glorious Food

What I enjoyed most about walking the streets of Paris, was browsing the produce stands at the neighbourhood green grocers.  I returned home a little upset, wondering why I couldn’t have produce and green grocers like this in my neighbourhood?  I would eat so well every day.  Not that I”m starving or going without, but produce like this makes me happy.  It is simply next level produce and not every city can deliver.  C’est dommage, mais c’est la vie.

We bought a big box of cherries and ate the entire thing.  They were soo good.

What are these interesting tomatoes?  Look at their funny shape?  I am not a fan of tomatoes.  I am one of those weird people who prefer tomatoes cooked instead of raw, but these tomatoes in the picture below are intriguing.  I may be enticed to take a bite.

Have you ever seen a fresh almond before?  I haven’t, so I took a picture.  How do you eat these things?  Where is the nut?


Rose Bakery- Finally!

Have you ever owned a cookbook that was published by a restaurant or bakery where you have made several of their recipes but have never visited the company itself and then finally get to go?

I just had that experience with Rose Bakery.  My fiance and I went for breakfast at Rose Bakery on the weekend and finally got to see and taste, first hand, the source of what I have been cooking from their cookbook, Breakfast, Lunch, Tea, since 2008.

Photo Source: 1

My fiance and I arrived at 10 am, just as the doors were opening in their 9eme location, to make sure we snagged a table (it is a small space).  Had I not been on a schedule that Sunday morning, I would have been more lax about timing my arrival. However, this special breakfast stop was high on the priority list and timing was essential.

Fast forward to looking at their menu and trying to decide what to order.  If you are well acquainted with a cookbook and by extension, a business, how do you choose what to order when you have been working with a version of their menu for almost half a decade?!

We kept it simple.  I ordered a pot of  jasmine tea (predictable me), a bowl of granola (predictable me) and their gateau aux fruits rouge.  He got a latte, a bowl of muesli and a slice of streusel cake.  The meal was worth it. I loved eating breakfast at Rose Bakery.  It is what I had imagined: Quaint, homey, with a local community feel-good space, an active, roll up your sleeves type of kitchen to the point that they were using the back room in the restaurant to make their tarts, and mini pizzas for the day right on the table tops and a farmer’s market mini grocery section, all packed into the front entrance.

Rose Bakery 46 Rue des Martyrs



Popelini Choux: Move Over Macarons

I am cheating on my beloved macarons.  I have written numerous posts over the past four years of blogging about my love and devotion to the colourful, sweet, half crunchy-half chewy, flavour bursting mouthfuls.  Everywhere I travel, I sample macarons.  I have probably eaten macarons in over 25 different countries.  I digress; back to my story of how I cheated on macarons.

It happened this past weekend while visiting family-to-be in Paris.  Here is how it started.  Like most of you, I keep old issues of magazines in my house like prized trophies.  I had an old copy of Marie Claire Maison laying around and decided to brush up on my French before venturing to France.  While flipping through the magazine, I came across one of those page-stopping articles where you are compelled to read the entire thing, word for word, instead of just eyeballing it- you know what reading on the Internet does to reading patterns these days.

This 250 word blurb on Lauren Koumetz’s growing choux business, complemented by a big picture of round, fluffy looking balls topped with a circular disk of sugar, hooked me. I had to find time to get to Popelini to see what these mysterious desserts were about.

Before the family lunch on Sunday, we snuck out to the 9eme where we timed our breakfast at Rose Bakery followed by some choux at Popelini, perfectly.  The choux experience was surreal.  Much better than the macarons I had sampled the day before at Laduree in Printemps.

I should ask, do you know what a choux is?  It is a cream puff!  Gasp.  That’s right, a cream puff.  If you roll in my circles, you know I hate creamy desserts – it’s the texture that gets me.  This means, no mousse, no eclairs, no cream puffs.  No offence to Beard Papa’s in Hong Kong which kind of cemented this no-creamy dessert thing for me. Completely sworn never to eat another cream filled pastry, I turned to macarons for the past eight years.

However, I am an open minded person and partially due to my lazy French brain, I actually forgot what choux was when I read the article.  Fortunately for me, I let my cream puff guard down and bit into a heavenly dark chocolate choux.  Unreal!  We ended up purchasing a sample of 12 flavours to bring to the family lunch for dessert. I think they were a hit.

I feel like it is almost sacrilegious to make this claim but macarons, you have met your match with choux, specifically choux from Popelini.  While savouring my choux, the other idea firing off in my brain was, why does this not exist in Toronto? Hello choux bar at my wedding?  I would love to have a choux bar at an event.

These things are so much fun to pop into your mouth and eat.  Not only do they come in all different flavours {salted caramel, vanilla, pistachio, praline, rose & raspberry and milk chocolate with passion fruit} and colours, but also, they neatly fit in the palm of your hand.  In other words, excellent as a cocktail format food item.  Leave me a comment if you have tried or love choux.

Here are some other people who apparently share my sentiments on Popelini + choux:

1. New York Times Travel Magazine/Blog Let Them Eat Choux

2. The Puff List – Popelini Paris

3. Paper Blog Addict aux choux a la creme Popelini (with interview with Lauren -in French)


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