The Hotel de Sens is a city palace in the 4th arrondissement in Paris that is now home to the Forney Library. The palace was originally owned by the archbishops of Sens (a commune in Northern Burgundy). The library is supposed to host an impressive decorative art and textile book collection. I must confess I have never stepped foot inside the library.
I am always in such awe of the library from the outside. The building is one of the few vestiges of medieval architecture. On my visit to Paris last spring the tulips were in full bloom. It was just fitting that they were red.
I am not sure if it was intentional that they would match the door. I adore this red door. There is a church on Rue Rivoli in the Marais that also has a large red door. The French love their colour. Given that it is still February I want to give you as much red in France as I can.
Even the ladies who came here to enjoy their lunch had a splash of red.
So, I am sitting in bed with a horrible cold. I cannot really taste anything but that is not stopping me from craving something sweet. Actually I would love some cold ice-cream. My throat would love some cold ice cream. One of these desserts would also do the trick. I love the little dessert with the raspberries. It is an amaryllis-think macaron wafer with cream and fresh raspberries. I always have one of those with a nice cup of tea when I am in Paris.
However the one next to it with all the fruit is calling out my name. I love chocolate but I really enjoy fruity cakes. Anything with the taste of fruit is a favourite of mine.
Given it is February and love is in the air maybe you would like a strawberry macaron.
What about a big kiss from a chocolate frog?
I am always up for an eclair. Decisions Decisions. This is why I love going on vacation to Paris. The decisions I have to make there are always so delicious. Which dessert would you choose?
Back in 2005 I was in Paris just before Valentine's Day. The French do not celebrate the day the same way we do. They are much more low keyed about it than we are. This shop was down the street from my hotel. I loved the bright red hearts in the window. They added a splash of colour to a rather grey sky.
Of course a box of macarons from Laduree is always to make one's heart flutter. I hope that everyone had a lovely Valentine's Day.
It has almost been nine years since I was in India. I spent 3 weeks in Rahjastan traveling throughout the area. My time there was incredible. India by far is one of my favourite countries. As a photographer the photo opportunities were both generous and inspiring. This was one of the first times I spent time shooting street photography and people. For me, the photo above speaks to maternal love. You can see the mother's pride and protectiveness of her son.
I do not know what this little girl was looking at, however every photo I have of her has her looking backward. I love the contrast of the colours of her flowers against the blue backdrop.
This child was stunning. She was with her brother selling produce at the market. Her eyes were alive with life. I wonder were she is today. Is she married with her own children? I hope wherever she is she still has life in her eyes.
I shot this man early in the morning at a festival in the dessert. Early was around 6 am. The dessert area was crisp and starting to come to life as people began to commence their day.
This man was at the same market. I love the contrast of his skin against the bright red of his turban.
With Valentine's Day soon upon us a box of tea is the ideal present. Especially a box of tea from France. Imagine the delight on someone's face when they realize they can start their day with a little touch of France.
I am a huge fan of tea and start every morning with a cup of tea. Palais des Thés was kind enough to send me a box of le matin (the morning). With a selection of 6 teas every morning cup of tea will be a French treat. The box has a lovely assortment of 8 bags of each of the following teas. There is a flavour for every mood.
Thé des Moines: a floral blend inspired by a Tibetan traditional recipe.
So which is my favourite? Given I always start my day with Earl Grey, The des Lords is my initial pick. Each tea is delightful. Gout Russe 7 agrumes is quite refreshing with its citrus fruits. Whether there is a Francophile or tea afficiando in your life this is the perfect Valentine's Day. What is best is that there tea is available in the U.S. Yes flying to France for some tea would be so much fun but you can visit their store in NYC.
Merci a Palais de Thes for the lovely box. It is the perfect way to start the day and contribute to Dreaming of France hosted by Paulita at An Accidental Blog.
Last spring I decided to do a bakery tour with Meeting the French. I have been very fortunate with all the tours I have taken in Paris and this one was no exception. Our bakery tour was a behind the scene tour of the bakery with the baker.
Our boulanger was adorable. The bakery belongs to him. He was as enthusiastic a baker as one could hope to meet. Arriving early each morning around 3 am to start baking the croissants and baguettes he was more than happy to share his secrets with us.
The boulanger explained the different types of baguettes to us. There are the traditionals or l'ancienne. These are the best. They are hand rolled and no two baguettes are the same. The crust is crispy and lightly browned. This is the baguette that we all dream of when we think of French baguettes. Or am I the only one who dreams of the food I will eat when I go to France? Another baguette that a limited number of bakers make is the Parisse. This baguette is called the Parisse after the baker whose last name is Paris. To sell the Parisse you must be approved by the board.
The little end on the baguette distinguishes this baguette as La Parisse.
The boulanger explained to us how he makes his own yeast from apple peel. The process is really quite interesting. He also answered one of the greatest mysteries in my kitchen. Why is it that his baguettes taste so much better. The answer is quite simple. He is cooking with an industrial oven that has a humidifier inside. The bread needs to bake with lots of humidity. Alors!!!, I am never going to enjoy a delicious fresh baguette in my kitchen.
In addition to making baguettes we were also treated to a cooking class on croissants.
He made it all sound so easy. The class truly was a lot of fun. Our baker was very gregarious and the tour leader was adorable. Her English was perfect and she translated everything exactly as it was said. I did not need to listen to her, but when I did I found that she was translating everything as it was said.
We were also shown how to make escargots. This is a pastry that can any type of filling that you desire, pistachios, cranberries, raisins or whatever you wish for. And of course, we were allowed to sample everything...the dough, the fillings and the baked goods. The tour was truly fantastic. It was fun and quite informative. Of course any tour that sends me home with a goodie bag is going to high points from me. This was a unique and wonderful experience. Should you find yourself in Paris I would suggest you tour a bakery.
This is my contribution to Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads and Saturday Snapshot hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.
Cooking is one of my passions in life. Enjoying good food, pastries, chocolate and everything the French have to savor is my other. This should come as a surprise given my father chose my name after reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
I am a voracious reader and collector of cookbooks. Little did I know that all my grade school French lessons would come in handy one day.