Thursday, June 18, 2009

"The Sweet Life In Paris" book review and a visit to Isabelle et Vincent ....a lovely French Bakery

It all started with a new book I am reading,  "The Sweet Life In Paris" by David Lebowitz and a promise by the weatherman for a good 5 hours of sunshine.
I left the laundry, yard work and dog sitting behind for an afternoon on Fairfield Beach. I am so enjoying this book by pastry chef and cookbook author David Lebovitz about his adventures living in Paris. He is honest about the quirks of life there and has amazing recipes at the end of each entry.
I now know the proper way to cut cheese, like a cake, never in tiny squares and chunks.
You don't want to go to Paris for coffee, but for chocolate ~ ohhh lala!
  I was reading page 90 ~hot chocolate to die for ~ where he describes a visit to a cafe Patisserie Viennoise.
Not being fond of hot chocolate but unable to shake a shivering chill, he ordered a petit chocalat chaud.
He goes on to describe the almost out of body experience that followed,the cloud of steam that
rose to the surface, the chocolate whipped up fresh, the billowy whipped creme teetering dangerously on the edge of the cup.
OKAY ~ it was chilly at the beach.I was wrapped in a towel and unable to even venture to the waters edge because of the cool ocean breeze!
Who cares that the calender says June 17 ~ I needed some French Hot Cocoa ~ NOW!!!!

Then I remembered ~ oh YIPPEE ~ just down the road, a French Bakery!

The lovely Isabelle et Vincent.
 I honestly felt like I had just stepped inside of my book. All of David's lovely descriptions of french pastry's layed before my very eyes!
I asked the young man behind the counter if hot chocolate was available.
He did not bat an eye but told me the chef would be right there to make it for me.
As I waited I snapped these photos ~
The tall gentleman in this photo is Chef Vincent ~ owner and my hot chocolate maker.

 Meanwhile I was in heaven or should I say Paris ~ watching all these delicacies being made.

Chef Vincent spoke French but I understood when he asked if I wanted sugar in my chocolate.
My excitement was not easily hidden and he chuckled as he whipped the chocolate into submission!

So here I was, sitting in my car with the top down, in the parking lot of a french bakery in June ~ drinking this delightful hot chocolate drink with this AMAZING eclair, not overly sweet like the American bakery's
but sweetened just enough to take the bitter from the chocolate.
For this moment ~ I was in Paris.
What an amazing afternoon!
I encourage you to visit David's web site where you will find a huge collection of recipes
as well as incite on all things Paris and cooking. It is DELIGHTFUL!
This is from his blog ~
Wittamer's Belgian Hot Chocolate
Four to six servings
1 quart (1l) half-and-half or whole milk
8 ounces (230g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 ounces (115g) milk chocolate
finely chopped tiny pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Warm about one-third of the half-and-half or milk, with the chopped chocolates and salt, stirring until the chocolate is melted.
2. Whisk in the remaining half-and-half or milk, heating until the mixture is warmed through. Add the cinnamon.
3. Use a hand-held blender, or a whisk, and mix the hot chocolate until it's completely smooth. Serve very warm.
Serve with whipped creme and chocolate curls ~
David suggest a hint of cognac or chartreuse for more adult taste


inventivesoul said...

~*Hi Terri!*~

I LOVE this wet and chilly weather so late in June!

It means so many GOOD things, like no drought, happy trees that will turn beautiul and vibrant colors in the fall rather than from green to brown...
It means less crime, more indoor cozy time with the family, lower electric bills- NO A.C. use means less pollution- etc. etc. etc.


I really enjoyed reading your last few entries!
mmmmm the flavors and sights are wonderful!
And it looks like you have one stylish and fabulous mom!

It's fun for me to read about other people's lives, especially day trips full of gourmet goodness and shopping finds.

Thank you for sharing that with your readers and thank you for dropping by to say hello!

Lilla said...

thanks for coming over to my place.
All the talk of France makes me hungry. Like the look of the book, will have to search for it.
I did a bit of French cooking today so check it out when I post, probably tomorrow.
aloha Lilla

Sharon said...

Oh dear me I can't stop drooling. The hot chocolate sounds sooooooo good and a day at the beach wonderful. Thanks I enjoyed myself. Sharon

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