Friday, May 21, 2010

Leaving Paris

We are on the speed-of-light train to Mannheim. A forest... a field... an embankment... farmhouses... yellow fields of rape seed... wind turbines... a tunnel... sheep and cows grazing... all a blur of color through the camera lens.
We'll be in Mannheim before I can get you caught up on the past six days in Paris. But I'll get started. First of all you cannot see Paris in a week. We tried. Most days we were out of the apartment at 8 am and back after midnight.

We had a Paris Visite metro pass, which means we climbed a lot of stairs. Paris has a lot more stairs than Berlin, but they also have more pastries, macaroons, and chocolates. One must climb the stairs to reach them.

It's really easy to get lost in Paris because the streets change names every few blocks, the metro has multiple exits, and streets do not run parallel and perpendicular. The first couple of days Dave and I spent more time walking the wrong direction than we spent at our destinations. In Paris, when that happens, you stop and have coffee... oh, and some pastries, or chocolate, or macaroons.

On Friday morning, I took Dave to L'Ecole Ferrandi, the cooking school I attended a few years ago ago, then to Poilane for some freshly baked bread, and then to the La Grande Epicerie du Bon Marche.

The weather was cold and drippy when we arrived and downright raining when we left, after having successfully negotiated a perfectly ripened (tendre) goat cheese and fragrant slices of salami.

While trying to figure out which metro station would get us to our next destination we passed a Maison du Chocolat. Hmm, forget the metro.

It took us far less time to eat our chocolates than to figure out which ones to buy. There are no photos. I'll describe the cherries. Each fondant-coated cherry had been dipped into rich dark chocolate. The cherry had dissolved into an alcoholic liquid with a seed at that center, so I'm guessing these started out as fresh cherries. Wow! Good thing we had more stairs to climb.

Retracing our steps, we passed A la Reine Astrid, another confisserie and were drawn to the shop by this window display.

This fruit-studded mound of nougat is sold in slices. We went into the shop and found these.

The Dammann Freres bar on the lower left was incredibly expensive but the photo was free. The dark chocolate mendiants on the lower right were delicious. The nuts were roasted and lightly glazed before they were dropped onto the puddle of chocolate. The green and white slice at the upper right is made of almond paste layered with cherries and hazelnuts. The upper left is a piece of nougat with apricots, almonds, and pistachios.

More stairs please!

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