Friday, January 11, 2013
Macaron Dreams 2013
Just how in this world am I supposed to concentrate or get any work at all done when this is what I look at on my desk right next to my computer? AND when visions of Paris are dancing in my head? And when I have a blinking 6ft. tall Tour Eiffel in the corner of my salle de classe?
One of the girlies today even asked me how I am not just busting at the seams since I leave for Paris next week. I must hide the excitement really well. That's all I have to say. I have lists on paper and lists in my head. I lie awake at night thinking of things I want to see and do. I have not made out an itinerary for myself. I usually jot down a few notes about places I want to see and the metro stops. I need to drag out my new Paris for Dummies and green Michelin guide and get to work. Things on my mental list...
1) Pierre Hermé's macaron shop-- after all, I have an autographed picture of M. Le Pâtissier and Laura Florand has made me hungry for his Ispahan combination of rose, letchis, et framboises featured in The Chocolate Kiss. (If you want to read about macarons, handsome macaron-making pastry chefs, chocolate-brewing witches, and the area around Ile Saint Louis, grab this book as fast as you can. Beware, though, it is what we used to call "racy." I gave a copy of it to my belle-mère... I hope she survives it.)
There are seven of M. Hermé's shops in Paris, if you count the ones inside Galeries Lafayette and the Publicis Drugstore. I've been to the one in Galeries Lafayette a couple of times. It's more like a kiosk-- a fancy one, mind you, but a kiosk nonetheless. I am ready for the store. I am thinking the one on Rue Bonaparte in the 6th arrondissement, métro Saint Sulpice, in the Saint Germain neighborhood, open at 10h00 both Saturday and Sunday. (I've done my homework, grâce à Google.)
2) Arizona Tammy has sent money for more Nestlé Dessert chocolate so that she can make la mousse au chocolat à la Fanny. As good an excuse as any to hit Monoprix or ask Mme P to take me to the supermarché. (Oui, not only am I going to Paris for three days, I am also going down south to spend five days at my favorite B&B, Chez Fanny. It's not really a B&B, of course, just Mme P's lovely home. When she does indeed open her B&B, I will be her muffin-maker and cleaning lady. I thank Mlle Audrey in advance for the use of her room!) Arizona Tammy would also like for me to look for some of the little figurines that are baked into la Galette des Rois. January is the month of King's Cakes in France. I look forward to photographing them in bakery windows and trying one or two. There are two types, one made with puff pastry and filled with an almond paste-
and one that is more brioche/sweet bread style with pearl sugar and candied fruit.
(I took these pictures at the bakery in Pujaut.)
These are the figurines that Mme P's son collected last year-
And this is the fève I found in one of my pieces, marked with the bakery's name.
I hope to find the figurines at a brocanterie or flea market. I have a few that I picked up for a euro each last year. (I should have offered to buy the whole basket for 20 euros!)
3) The Paris portion of the trip is courtesy of ACIS, the student travel company I now use for my spring break trips. The grand highlight this year is a trip a bit north of Paris to the lovely town of Chantilly. I am well-acquainted with this town. I visited it for the first time with my college roommate and traveling buddy, Melody Scott, in the winter of 1978. It is also where I met Mme M for the first time, in the summer of 1991. There is a beautiful château there. It was featured in the James Bond movie A View To A Kill. This was back in the Roger Moore era. We will go to the château for a tour and dinner, no less. I hope that I will get to see Mme M-- it's been far too long since I've seen her. Four years to be exact. This is a photo she sent me recently.
3) Have dinner/lunch/a drink/whatever with the Best Guide in Paris. I've emailed him, but he hasn't responded. I have not given up hope. He is a busy guy. He is a travel guide, works as a translator for Air France, and volunteers in Israel. I did see him in July, but hey, that's already seven months ago. I am nothing if not patient.
4) Play American Star with Mme P's classes. I will deliver gifts, pen pal letters, and whatever else I need to do to generate enthusiasm and excitement for the spring exchange trips. Ours is in March, theirs is in April. Oui, I get to spend over three weeks with Mme P between now and mid-April. I hope to see Mme Boop also.
How lucky am I that I have these two belles Françaises as my friends?
So, yes, I am very excited. I am busting at the seams. I am making lists and packing my bags. I've ordered euros, made a photocopy of my passport, met with my substitute teacher, collected various gifts, bookmarked spots in my guidebooks that I want to see, dreamed of strolling along the Seine and the Rhône, bought travel-sized toiletries, asked Son 1 and Son 2 what they would like for me to bring them back (other than beautiful French girls), and on and on and on. The Ex-Ex will have a nice, quiet, neat house all to himself for a few days. The cats will survive without me and probably not even miss me. (The Ex-Ex will feed them.) And before I know it, the January trip will be a memory and I will be moving on to the very hectic March trip. The one where I will count to 17 at least one hundred times and not get much sleep at all. Life moves quickly. Carpe diem and always have your passport handy.
Bon appétit, Paris et la Provence!