Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Paris Dispatches: Chocolate Roses

 A mind-altering display of chocolates at Patrick Roger. OK, not really mind-altering, but if you stare at it long enough a sailboat appears.

An overnight flight to Europe is not an awful way to spend Christmas. Face it, by noon at Christmas you are over the holiday, ready to kill Uncle Edgar, and wondering when you have to start making resolutions. Which is why Lindsay and I decided to spend Christmas in flight. The flight from Houston to Paris was about what you'd expect: soggy beef teriyaki, ice cold rolls, a tv monitor that didn't work, and neither enough booze nor sleep. Note: now airlines are charging for drinks on international flights; this is more troubling than charging you for bringing luggage.

When we arrived in Paris, she was blanketed by a cover of white snow. We stowed our bags in the apartment and headed out to begin rounding up provisions. Wine, cheese, bread, lettuce (don't worry it was not actually eaten), and pastries procured, we ate and then set off for Notre Dame, which is a church of significant importance due to it's underachieving football team.

Sightseeing done with, it was time to get back to snacking. First stop, was Patrick Roger to pick up some chocolates. While New Orleans may have in some Toolesian fantasy world po-boy shops on every corner, in Paris boutiques filled with pastries, breads, candies, and macaroons abound. The shops each have their own personality - from the whimsical forestry of Patrick Roger, the vintage, chocolate colored wonderland of Georges Larnicol, and the jewelery of Dabauve and Gallais, the shops express the vision of the chocolatier.

We sampled a variety of Roger's chocolate bars and truffles. The best being praline, lemon thyme, and lime chocolates. It being near Christmas time, Roger adorned.his shop with symbols of the season. There were Christmas trees dusted with snowy, powdered sugar, reindeer with exaggerated candied features, and a chocolate Santa Claus who resembled the bowling bowl from A Christmas Story.

A few more saunters through the 7th and we found ourselves near Da Rosa. Part wine shop, part dry goods store, part tapas restaurant, Da Rosa may be the single best place to snack in all of the world. It had been nearly twenty minutes since I last ate, so we started off quickly with some Salamanque vertes olives. As Lindsay will tell you, I can get very cranky if not fed timely. Also, when eating in any group setting, I tend to hoard the food. I blame it on being the baby of the family. Back to the olives - they were delicious with a big, meaty texture. I could have eaten these olives all day with a few glasses of sherry, but alas we had more work to do and were drinking rioja.

Then an arrangement of pink fleshed, white striped jamon iberico bellota unico crafted to resemble a rose. Made from 100% goodness of the black footed pig who spent his last few months munching on acorns, reading Shakespeare, and picking up hot chicks at barns. These pigs are spoiled. Just look at the striations of fat! The jamon itself could have been sliced just a bit thinner to really bring out the translucent and shimmering qualities of the ham. 

Also on the table was an order of toasted bread rubbed down with tomato that was a fine display of simple things done very well. While others at the table did not love the pate of pork and duck, I thought it was hearty and sultry like an overweight flamenco dancer.

Lastly, we rounded things out with a torchon of foie gras with quince jelly. Before we go any further, a word of caution. There is such thing as too much foie gras and truffles. We discovered this in Paris, but as this was our first foie dish in the city, we really enjoyed it, especially slathered across bread and sprinkled with sea salt. By the end of the trip, Lindsay began to openly hate foie. I think they have made up now, though.

So if you are keeping score at home, that was a full-day of eating with a brief smattering of sight-seeing. The rest of the trip would roll out in a similar fashion. But we are off to a good start, and everything was good enough to make that cross-ocean flight seem a distant memory like your last dental appointment.

1 comment:

katie said...

yummmm. That's wierd b/c I dreamt I flew to France last night. Thanks for bringing me back there!