Thursday, June 28, 2007


In Paris, there is a gourmet grocery store, Fauchon. It is very trendy and includes so many things: delicatessen, chocolates, grocery, gifts, self service bakery and full service café!

Fauchon is named after the owner, Auguste Fauchon. It was opened in 1886 and is known as a leader in French gastronomy.

I love the poster with the lips and bow wrapped around it. I guess because their treats are a present for your taste buds!

The window display had the most beautiful desserts. I loved the ones on the sticks. Those strawberries look amazing too!

The delicious macaroons were artfully designed in to this winding sculpture.

The fruits look so gorgeous and are beautifully arranged on the cake!

Here are some spices in cool test tube-like packaging. They had a wide variety of spices. The French seem to enjoy a lot of multicultural foods and flavours.

When you go to Paris, check out Fauchon. It was in my top 10 guide book! It certainly deserves it places in the list.

Monday, June 25, 2007

La Maison du Chocolat

One of the most delicious shops Maileen and I went to in Paris was La Maison du Chocolat (the house of chocolate!). It was so wonderful! It was highly recommended by our guide books and I had even seen it in InStyle.

We indulged with some glace chocolat (chocolate ice cream) and sampled some of their wonderful chocolate creations. One of the more exotic chocolates was called the Maiko and was infused with fresh grated ginger. It was not the typical flavour I'm used to from chocolate but delicious none the less.

Some other delectable flavours I tried were:
Rigaletto Noir: Caramelised mousse with a dark chocolate coating,
Figaro Noir: Hazelnut and almond praline wrapped in dark chocolate
Jolika: pistachio infused almond paste.

Mmmmmm. I will have to go back one day and try all of the different flavours!
I got a sampler for Shankar to try. I think he and Kanchana enjoyed the little taste of Paris I brought back for them. For chocolate lovers, this shop would be paradise!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Pretty in Pink Birthday Cake

It was my manager's birthday so I decided to decorate a cake and bring it to work. I cheated a little and bought the perfectly rounded sponge cakes from Longo's as the layers. It is so handy and it is a great time saver. I have found that it really reduces the crumb control issues as well because the cake is well made. I got the vanilla sponge cake and poured melted chocolate in the middle layer. I used Cote D'Or Orange Noir which is a dark chocolate with orange flavour and candied orange zest in it which gives a surprising crunchy texture and mouth feel.

The dots were made with colour flow and the roses were made from royal icing. It turned out quite nicely. Everyone enjoyed it. Rav and I went to the Kraft Kitchens and borrowed a lovely cake stand to enhance the presentation of the pictures we took.

Here are the best shots!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Les crepes et les galettes sont tres chouette!

Our first meal in Paris was crepes! I was so excited to eat cheese so I selected the crepe au fromage. It was cheesy goodness but I had trouble finishing the whole thing. We went to a small little creperie near our hotel. The lady made if fresh in front of us on a large circular metal surface. She twirled this T shaped stick thing to spread it around evenly. It was awesome. Then she cooks it perfectly and adds whatever topping you want!

Maileen chose nutella and banana which looked and tasted delicious. Nutella is very popular in France. I noticed it in a number of desserts in restaurants too. The chocolate hazelnut combination is always delicious. It reminds me of Ferrero Rocher!

The cheese was delicious. What a start to our Parisian adventure!

Later in the week, we went to another creperie that was a proper restaurant. We went after we visited Sacre Coeur, the church in Monmartre famous for its 24 hour prayer by monks. We tried galettes which are buckwheat crepes and are traditionally savoury. Mine was filled with champignons and crème fraiche (mushrooms and sour cream) and Maileen's was filled with tomato and peppers and seasoned with cumin. They were both delicious. The crispy galette reminded me of dosa! It was very thin and had a different texture than the ones we had from the street stalls. We also had salad vert. I got one with walnuts in it!

Maileen had read that when you want tap water you simply ask for a "carafe d'eau." That was a really helpful phrase to know or else they will give you bottled water which is like 10 euros.

Make sure you get crepes made fresh in front of you...if they are pre-made they are a little too chewy. If you go to Paris, crepes and galettes are a must! You will not regret it!

I initially thought my post title translated to "Crepes and galettes are cool" but have learned that chouette means cute. I'm going to keep it because I like the fact that galette and chouette rhyme. That's another thing I learned in Paris- You need to make an effort to speak French. It's the only way to learn. I was apprehensive at first and was shy to speak because I would make mistakes but by the end of the week I was much better. J'adore Paris:) C'est tres belle!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Macarons from Paris

One of the most delicious desserts I ate in Paris was macarons. They are not like the little coconut treats you get here. They are little bites of pure heaven with chantilly (whipped cream) or ganache in the middle. The flavours are endless, vanilla, chocolate, pistache (pistachio), strawberry, caramel and so many more. They look and taste amazing. I found out they are meringue cookies which surprised me because I didn't think it would have been so flavourful.

The little boulangerie patisserie beside the hotel Maileen and I stayed in was our morning breakfast haunt. Every morning we indulged in a new treat. Our staples were croissant aux beurre, pain au chocolate and this mini baguette/bread stick thing called a tradition. I liked the ones with poivrons (mixed peppers). We tried the macarons here on our last morning. I was kicking myself because I should have eaten them everyday! They were .40 euros at our little local bakery, the fancy chains like Laduree, Fauchon and Dalloyau were a lot more expensive. Will post about them later.

I really miss our bakery. We bonded with the people who owned the boulangerie and on our last day the boulanger (baker) showed us his photo album of cakes and desserts he had made!

There were so many delicious treats we sampled. The strawberry tarts were delicious! I think the boulangerie is one of the top three things I miss about Paris. I hope Mai moves there so I can go visit her!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Bike Ride for Heart

On Sunday Renu and I participated in the Bike Ride for Heart fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke foundation. The city closes down the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway (the main city highways) and over 12,000 cyclists ride on it.

We started training the week before by riding up one of the main streets up to Bronte Creek Camp grounds. This was about 30km so we thought we were in good shape. We decided to aim high and go for the 50km route. We were in for quite the ride. It was so challenging and had so many steep hills! There was even a moment I thought I couldn't make one of the hills. But we persevered and made it! It was a huge acheivement and we were so proud of ourselves. I'm not sure if we will do it again though!

I brought in some cupcakes to work on Friday and asked some of my co-workers to sponsor me. They were so supportive and generous I raised over $150! I put little hearts on the cupcakes to represent the bike ride for heart.

I guess you never know how much you can achieve until you put yourself outside you comfort zone! I don't think I could have done it without Renu though because she helped motivate me when I was down. I recommend bike riding with a friend. It's a great way to exercise and enjoy the nice summer weather! If you are very ambitious, there is a 75km route for the bike ride for heart. Check out (also where I got the below pic from).
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