I’m overdue for a post, so I was going to just do kind of a general thing talking about cool things I’ve done recently. But then I started going through my pictures, and I realized all I really want to tell you about are the amazing things I’ve eaten recently. (I know, you’re shocked.) Hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow to tell you about some of the non-foodie things I’ve done in Paris…but for now, here’s food to drool over.
Last Saturday (September 10) was awesome. It dawned warm, sunny, and beautiful, and I was loving life despite the fact that the entire right side of my body felt like it had been hit by a car, thanks to a full-force collision with a cobblestone road I’d experienced the night before. Oops. There’s not a lot to say.
Anyway, the day was great. My friends needed art supplies for their classes, so I headed out with them to pick some up. This was nice because I got to wander around a new part of the city (and, for that matter, see the inside of an authentic Parisian art shop–’twas impressive). It got sort of hot, but the walk was very pretty. We got to walk across the Seine, which is pretty much my favorite thing ever.
But what I really need to tell you about it is ice cream. More specifically, the best ice cream I’ve ever had. Our walk took us here…
Berthillon. Home of the world’s most perfect ice cream. People, I’m not even an ice cream fan. I mean, I’ll eat it. But I’ll almost always choose some other sugary treat first. Even when things are served a la mode, I skip the ice cream. It’s just not my thing.
All of that changed last Saturday. Ladies, and gentlemen, meet my perfect little cup of icy goodness.
Chocolate and salted caramel…of course. The best part is that this picture makes the scoops look bigger than they were…they were really about the size of golf balls. That’s perfect for me. I love my dairy, but dairy does not always love me back. (I know, you can only imagine how well the French take this.) So by the time I had finished my two scoops, I was perfectly content. More than content. I was over the moon. Berthillon is very famous, but it more than lives up to the hype. If you’re ever in Paris, go here.
L’As du Fallafel
Here’s another place that’s hyped about and has absolutely earned it. I don’t have any story to go with this one. I’ll just give you the facts, which speak for themselves.
1. It only costs five euros.
2. It’s the best falafel I’ve ever had. Ever.
3. I’ve been there twice in one week.
4. It’s in the Marais, which is the Jewish district of Paris, but is also apparently a very popular place among the gay men of Paris. (A little bit of challah and a little bit of fabulous? You knew I was going to love it.) Not to mention it’s adorable, with the narrow cobblestone streets I love (when I’m not falling into them) and tons of charming little shops and restaurants.
5. The first time I went there, I’d just run 10 miles. I could still barely finish the giant falafel special.
Aux Merveilleux de Fred
Aux Merveilleux de Fred is an adorable patisserie in a mostly residential area in the 15e arrondissement. The shop is gorgeous and sells the normal array of breads and croissants and such, but they’re best known for their meringue, which comes as absolutely no surprise.
To make their most famous treat, they roll balls of meringue in flavored whipped cream (either coffee, white chocolate, or chocolate), and then dust it with crystallized coffee, white chocolate shavings, or chocolate shavings. The result is quite possibly my favorite sweet treat I’ve had in Paris so far. I got l’impensable, or the coffee flavor. Of course.
I don’t know what to say. It was heaven. I’m pretty weirdly obsessed with meringue anyway, but this took it to a whole new level. And despite the large size and decadent look, it wasn’t too rich, thanks to the airy whipped cream and perfectly light meringue. It was very sweet, but I think the coffee flavor helped keep it from being too tooth-achingly sugary. The adorable box it came in scores the place some major points as well.
I’ll be back.
Chocolat Chaud from Pâtisserie Viennoise
Paris is pretty much the place to be for hot chocolate. Each cafe and patisserie seems determined to outdo the next in their quest to create the perfect cup of rich, sweet chocolat. Needless to say, I’m very much looking forward to a winter of finding the very best one. So far, I’ve found a very authentic option at the Pâtisserie Viennoise on Rue Ecole de Médecine in the 6th arrondissement.
I know, the to-go cup (a concept the Parisians really aren’t interested in getting behind) doesn’t exactly showcase this thing at it’s aesthetic best. But that almost suits it. This was a no-frills hot chocolate from a no-frills shop. The whipped cream was exactly that–whipped cream. I don’t know that it had any sugar in it. But it was pretty awesomely decadent, especially when it started to mix with the hot chocolate, which was the hot chocolate for any dark chocolate enthusiasts out there. I tend to prefer my chocolate almost bitter, and this was almost too much for me. (Don’t worry, it wasn’t.) I asked for it sweetened, and it still tasted like VERY dark chocolate. It was incredible, and I’d recommend it to anyone who can’t stand milk chocolate. (Don’t worry, I can.) I’m really glad I got to try it, because while I probably prefer the standard melted candy bar Parisian fare, this was unique and incredibly delicious. You could tell it was the real thing. The pastries all over the tiny and adorable shop didn’t look too shabby, either.
Flan from L’Autre Boulange
My friend Emily lives near this boulangerie and was raving about their pastries, so we went in there the other morning hoping for a standard flaky croissant or perfectly sweet brioche. As I was picking out my breakfast, though, a man in line told me that I needed to try the flan. “It’s the most famous in Paris,” he reassured me. This made sense, because there was a display case spanning an entire wall of the place dedicated exclusively to flan. Of course, after that, I had to have some. (I’m guessing I’ll only live in Paris once in my life, so I think it’s appropriate to have flan for breakfast every now and then.)
The verdict? It was delicious. I don’t really know much about flan, but this almost tasted like…fancy vanilla pudding in tart form. I love vanilla pudding (weird, I know), so I loved this. I’m no expert, but I’d believe that it IS the most famous in Paris!
Sadly, these treats are the exception, not the rule. Food is EXPENSIVE here, so the average day looks something like yogurt for breakfast, a grocery-store made salad for lunch, and soup or microwaved eggs (I’m not even kidding, they taste like sponges) for dinner. 90% of the time, I’m eating like any other college student who has no access to a kitchen (breaks my heart). But the rest of the time, I remember I’m in Paris and that I’ll hate myself forever if I leave one single gastronomy stone unturned.
Aaannddd, to finish things off, here’s my dinner from the past two nights.
Because sometimes all you need is a baguette, cheese, and chocolate. Not to mention some wine that went unpictured. 🙂
I promise I’ll come back tomorrow and talk about something besides food. Au revoir!