Before, I moved to Paris, a French friend of mine told me that, from a culinary point of view, living in France was just like being in the movie Julie and Julia. I was skeptical, and have spent the last three months waiting to be disappointed. But I can categorically state, he was right.
Yes, there is a small baker's shop opposite my apartment, where I can pop down and buy fresh croissants, and baguettes so hot from the oven, that they burn your hands on the way home. Yes, there is a large turn-of-the-century market hall in the next street, where I have made friends with one of the grocers who will suggest just the right ingredients for whatever I am making. Yes, the city is full of the most amazing patisseries which compete with each other to create stunningly beautiful cakes that make you want to weep.
If I had to find something to complain about or criticize, it would be that the baker's is closed on a Saturday, and I have to walk to the next street to find the nearest alternative; the market is only open three days a week (although one of these is Sunday), and the patisseries can be expensive.
As well as the sheer range and quality of the food, I have been overwhelmed by the fads and fashions I have seen here, many of which haven't been heard of outside France. I have also discovered that there are myriad opportunities to learn how to cook as well, ranging from lessons at well-established cooking schools, to masterclasses with celebrity chefs.
All of the above led to a bit of a crisis on my blog, as I had no idea what to focus on as I couldn't write about it all. So, I have decided that a change of focus and a new direction are in order.
This blog will now focus on patisserie. Every week, I will try one classic pastry, from a famous shop and then recreate my own version at home. As I learn, I will share my recipes and insights here which will build up into a manual. I am also going to take a class once a month at a different cooking school and will blog about my experiences there too. Updates in between will focus on anything I happen to notice around town and feel like sharing.
So, sit back, relax, and enjoy. Updates coming soon about the oldest macaron shop in the world, a masterclass with a real TV celebrity, and a legendary tart made by two sisters.