I love Paris for a lot of things and the food is definitely high up on the list. Even if you don’t consider yourself a foodie – Paris has some of the best chocolate, pastries, and bread in the world – need I say more? And a lot of foods just taste DIFFERENT in Paris. BETTER. MUCH BETTER.
After I quit my corporate job and decided to leave Geneva, I was in desperate need of a break and a change of pace and scenery. I had this dream that I would move to Paris and translate my love for baking and desserts into a very successful career as a pastry chef. But we all know that the best way to mess with a hobby you love is to attempt to make it into a career. And this beauty marketer is in no way cut out to be a pastry chef of any kind.
Instead of following a “dream” that I’m sure would have turned out to be anything but, I spent a short week in Paris before moving back to the States and took a few dessert and bread making classes. Creme brûlée, chocolate soufflé, Madeleines, baguettes – all recipes that I learned in my classes and had tons of fun with it.
And then I moved back to the US and in my search for more “French” recipes, I discovered David Lebovitz, an American “living the sweet life in Paris”. He is an ex-SF area based pastry chef who shares his Paris life on his blog, including his favorite spots in Paris and amazing recipes. I’ve actually used some of his recipes on this blog – gluten-free brownies, French tart crust, and more. What I love most about his writing is the storytelling. Just look at any recipe and you’ll see what I mean.
As I have recently learned, David was actually a writer before he became a blogger and he has published a variety of books, the most recent called “My Paris Kitchen” (book here). As part of his book tour, David did a talk and book signing this past weekend at Williams-Sonoma in SF that I attended.
I decided to get in the French spirit by sporting my “Creme de la Creme” sweatshirt and Celine sunglasses (very low on the cool radar). David’s talk was all about French food & culture, and some of his experiences acclimating to the sweet life in Paris. David talked about the demise of the French bistro, his experiences “grocery” shopping in Paris (very, very different than the US and my experience in Geneva), and his tips for learning a different language (“the best way to learn a language is to argue in it”). Coming out of the talk, I realized I NEED Paris.
My Paris Kitchen (here) is an absolutely beautiful book, with amazing images of Paris, fresh ingredients, and decadent French recipes including Croque-Monsieur, Duck Confit, and Coq au Vin. The book is full of David’s signature storytelling and includes some of the cross-cultural influence that exists in Paris today. Oh, and one thing that he mentioned during his talk – he tests every recipe at least a dozen time, so the instructions are easy to follow. It’s no wonder that his recipes are perfection every time.
After meeting David and getting my book signed, I opened the book and landed on the salted butter caramel chocolate mousse recipe. UM?! I figured it would be the first recipe to try. As David writes in the book, “There’s not much I can say about this. One bite will leave you just speechless.”
Salted sweet anything is amazing. Salted caramel is even better. And combine that with chocolate mousse? I’m also speechless. This dessert is beyond decadent and quite possibly the best dessert I’ve ever had. Just be careful, because one bite is definitely not enough. The chocolate-dulce de leche tart is next on my list.
You can find the salted butter caramel-chocolate mousse excerpt here and My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories available here. And of course David’s blog here. Enjoy!