Chestnut, Pumpkin & Mushroom Tarts – and Beaujolais Nouveau!

A taste of Autumn on a plate, with the most deliciously rustic chestnut flour tart base to accompany the season’s mushrooms and at Thanksgiving, add some leftover turkey – or at any time of year!

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Chestnut flour pastry for pumpkin sage and mushroom tarts

The shock of the inhuman terrorist attacks in Paris last week have perhaps numbed us. But this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau Wine Day 2015 has never been so symbolic this Thursday 19 November. Beaujolais producers affirm that their “wines are to be celebrated” and “they represent French conviviality and culture.

The moment of sharing this year is a strong symbol to show that France still stands strong and is proud of its values.”

The French know how to continue their art de vivre and they need our support during this tough time – as locals and tourists alike are perhaps scared to venture out for a while in the Paris we love so much. After an exceptionally hot summer and a perfectly mature early harvest, the French have good reason to be proud. 2015 will apparently be an outstanding vintage and so it’s time to celebrate wine in France and around the world.

Beaujolais Nouveau Wine Day 2015 Paris

Today nearly a third of Beaujolais production is sold as Beaujolais Nouveau. It’s the first French wine to be released for each vintage year. Harvesting takes place late August to early September and the traditional Gamay Noir grapes (which make up 98% of Beaujolais wines) are fermented for only a few days then released on the third Thursday in November, a practise that has continued since 1985 by the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (INAO).

Like Beaujolais Nouveau, Beaujolais basic reds are to be drunk within the year. They’re real bistro wines in Paris, served slightly chilled and slightly blueish-light-purple in colour due to the Gamay grape, known for being light, fruity and easy-drinking.

Pumpkin sage and mushroom tarts with Chestnut Flour

This week also marks 24 years ago since I met my Frenchman. Antoine had just returned from a student Beaujolais Nouveau evening and so we quickly found a mutual conversation starter – admittedly I made him do most of the talking just to listen to his endearing, oh-là-là accent. Having blind-tasted the Scottish Wine Society’s selection the previous evening – celebrated in true Frenchie style with the official jury arriving on bicycles, clad in onion-johnnys, berets, blue and white stripy nautical matelot jerseys – the best producer was unveiled with its pretty flowery label since it typically tasted of banana and bubble gum. Although my thoughts were leaning towards the highest category, the Beaujolais Cru wines.

When I explained to my new French-Corsican friend Antoine that evening about the 10 Crus (Brouilly, Régnié, Chiroubles; Côte de Brouilly, Fleurie, Saint-Amour; Chénas, Juliénas, Morgon, Moulin à Vent), and how some of them could keep up to 10 years in the bottle with no need to chill the red wine either – I’d somehow talked myself into a Frenchman’s heart. We had an excuse to meet again and thankfully, we’re still continuing the love of discovering of new wines together.

Chestnut Pumpkin Tarts

So to celebrate the perfect partner, here’s a delicious recipe for chestnut pumpkin tarts that match well with the basic Beaujolais or the lighter to medium bodied crus. Inspired by my Corsican family who use chestnut flour in their cooking, I’ve added it to the pastry; the roasted pumpkin and mushroom filling is also good with any turkey leftovers. Do try and find some sage to add to this, as this adds that extra je ne sais quoi to the flavour.

Roasted Pumpkin, Mushroom and Chestnut Tart Recipe

You could also replace the mushrooms with left-over turkey, as the wines also partner very well with poultry. Inspired by and adapted from a recipe from the French edition of Elle magazine. Enjoy a taste of Autumn on a plate!

Makes one large tart (28cm diameter) or 8 individual tartlets


Chestnut pumpkin tarts

Roasted Pumpkin, Mushroom and Chestnut Tart Recipe
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Resting time
2 hrs
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins

A taste of Autumn on a plate, with the most deliciously moorish chestnut flour tart base to accompany the season's mushrooms and at Thanksgiving, add some leftover turkey - or at any time of year! Recipe inspired by the French edition of Saveurs magazine (September 2015).

Servings: 8 people
Calories: 436 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Chestnut Flour Tart Base:
  • 150 g plain flour
  • 100 g chestnut flour
  • 125 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4-5 tbsp water
  • 350 g pumpkin ( (or red kuri squash/potimarron) roughly chopped into small chunks
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 leek, white part sliced finely
  • 300 g mushrooms (Parisian mushrooms, cremini) cut into big pieces
  • 1 tbsp sage leaves finely chopped
  • 3 eggs organic
  • 250 g crème fraîche
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • good pinch salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan (not the packaged grated stuff)
For the pastry base:
  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and mix until the dough forms a ball. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for an hour. Remove the dough from the fridge and leave to stand about 10 minutes, to make it easy to roll it out.
  2. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface then using the pastry roller, wrap around the pastry to transfer it to the tart tin (I find it easier using a tart tin with a loose bottom). Press it in to the sides then, again with the roller, roll over the top of the tin to clean up the edges. Keep in the fridge while preparing the filling.
For the filling:
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F (gas 6). Place the pumpkin with half of the oil and sage in a roasting tin and roast uncovered in the oven for 20 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, over medium heat, dry fry the mushrooms. There’s no need to add any oil. Wait until the mushrooms give off their liquid and then transfer to a bowl. Set aside to cool slightly. In the same pan, add a little olive oil and fry the leeks until they’re translucent but not brown.

  3. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, crème fraîche, nutmeg, parmesan, and season to taste.

  4. Sprinkle the roasted pumpkin with sage over the tart base, top with the leek and mushrooms and pour over the creamy egg mix. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes for a large tart (30 minutes if making tartlets).
Recipe Notes

Matching wines with Chestnut & Mushroom Tart: Enjoy with a Beaujolais Nouveau - or at any time of year with a Beaujolais Villages, or go for a medium-bodied Beaujolais Cru: a Saint-Amour, a Fleurie, or a Côte de Brouilly.

For Thanksgiving: You could also replace (some of) the mushrooms with left-over turkey, as the wines also partner very well with poultry.


Jill Colonna

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October Wine Festival Montmartre, Paris

While the arrival of Autumn is reminding us of its gradual presence in the early mornings and evenings, Paris has been enjoying a blue-skied Indian summer this past week. It has been a time for us to head outdoors to celebrate it. I have an excuse for you to join in, too, with the October Wine Festival Montmartre (known as la Fête des Vendanges).

Sacré Coeur Paris Montmartre

Each year grapes are harvested from the Montmartre vineyard and made into wine. The locals have celebrated this tradition since 1934 – and so 2015 marks the 82nd edition of the Fête des Vendanges, or the Montmartre Paris Wine Festival which takes place around the second Saturday in October. Last year it attracted 500,000 visitors.

The Montmartre Vineyard

Montmartre was covered in vines in the Middle Ages (first evidence dates back to 944).  Just around the corner from Sacré Coeur (the second most visited site in Paris after the Eiffel Tower), you’ll see the Clos de Montmartre’s vineyard, rue Saint Vincent, on the hill or butte, with an altitude of 130 metres. 2000 vines were planted in 1933 in memory of the vines of times past with Gamay, Pinot noir and Landay grapes.

Today the grapes are cultivated without using any pesticides and about 950 bottles of Clos Montmartre are produced every year, elaborated in the cellar of the town hall of the 18th arrondissement of Paris.  Grape juice is also made for the children taking part in the events.

October Wine Festival Montmartre Paris

Annual Wine Festival, Montmartre

This year, according to Sylviane Leplâtre, wine expert for Paris vines, the climate has been more favourable than previous years and a rosé has been particularly produced to suit public demand. How is it? According to Leplâtre, it’s unique colour is salmon pink, it has floral and sweet spicy notes on the nose and the taste is light and delicate.

The grape harvest celebrations last for 5 days and festivities are full on.  Just looking at the programme reveals all sorts of workshops (art including Manga; a how-to guide for the local beehives; floral displays, etc.), competitions, concerts (including a singing-in-the-wine Bordeaux evening), tours and lectures (many of them need to be booked in advance online), and of course the wine tasting and Parcours de Goût (Tasting Journey of producers of hams, cheeses, oysters, wine, etc from all around France) from Friday to Sunday.

For a feel of the celebrations, check out Carol Gillott’s artistic ParisBreakfast view of last year’s event. She recommends you bring your own glass, save yourself for the truffled omelettes, and perhaps even wear a black jacket and red scarf …

October Wine Festival Montmartre Paris

October Wine Festival Montmartre Paris

Ever since the very first festival took place in 1934 with actor Fernandel as “Godfather” (Parrain) and actress Mistinguett as “Godmother” (Marraine), French celebrities are chosen by the mayors of Montmartre and Paris to lead the festivities. Next week actress/model Melanie Thierry and singer Raphael will take the lead. For example, every day we are adding new temporary phone number to verify your QIWI Wallet Nigeria account, and now we’re removing invalid numbers.

Saturday 10th October marks the main events: the Ban des Vendanges, a gathering of the robe-clad Confrerie brotherhoods of local food and wine; the Clos de Montmartre wine auction, when the produce proceeds go to charity organisations in the district; the Grand Parade (Défilé), when 1500 participants leave the Mairie of the 18th at 3pm and arriving at 5.45pm at Place Saint Pierre; and at night enjoy a 15-minute firework display orchestrated by world firework champion, Joseph Couturier, at the foot of Montmartre.

Montmartre Paris

And while you’re there, don’t forget to check out the chocolate (try the chocolate buttes and kisses!) and macarons from my pastry chef chocolate friend, Christophe Roussel, who is in Rue Tardieu, just opposite the 2,280 steps and entrance to the Finiculaire cable car. Please say bonjour from me!

For more information, check out the latest edition of the Fêtes des Vendanges de Montmartre (in French) or for details in English, head to the site of Sortir à Paris’s Montmartre Wine Festival.

Metros: Abbesses or Anvers.


Update: next edition is 10-14 October 2018.

The Teatime in Paris Pastry Walking Tour!

It’s great to be back in Paris and settle into a good old routine! As I’m starting to get organised around a more serious school year’s schedule, this rentrée is different.

Thanks to my lovely colleagues at Context Travel, I’m thrilled to be leading a brand NEW macaron, pastry and chocolate walking tour to coincide with my new book.

Welcome to the Teatime in Paris Pastry Walk!

Macarons chocolates and teacakes in Paris for teatime

If you love Paris, pastries, chocolate, macarons and like to bake at home, then this walking tour is right up your street.

Just as I do in the book, I’ll be walking you around some of the finest pastry and chocolate boutiques, pointing out some of the lesser known spots along the way.

Madeleine area and rue saint honore in Paris

Don’t come after a large lunch: we’ll also be tasting many of the finest and award-winning éclairs, tarts, financiers, canelés, madeleines, macarons, chocolates and pralines, just to name a few.  With Autumn on us, it’s the perfect time to enjoy a taste of decadent hot chocolate too.  As we sample, we’ll talk about their Parisian history and how they’re made – so for budding bakers, your questions are welcome.

Patrick Roger Chocolate Madeleine

The tour will take place on Mondays and Tuesdays until end October – ideal for that long weekend trip – as these days are best for enjoying the boutiques at our own pace during 2.5 hours and avoiding the more hustle and bustle of the 8th arrondissement at peak times. And with no more than 6 people in the group, it’s a personal experience.

To finish off, included in this one-off exceptional tour is your own copy of my new cookbook and armchair sweet travel guide. For an idea what’s inside, see About Teatime in Paris.

Teatime in Paris: A Walk Through Easy French Patisserie Recipes

For those of you not in Paris, don’t worry; it doesn’t stop here. With Teatime in Paris you can make your own Parisian-style hot chocolate, teacakes, macarons and pastries for a special teatime at home.  Thanks to Waverley Books, there’s a special offer until the end of September on

It’s also competition time in the UK over at Party Pieces. So hurry – you still have until noon on Monday 14th September to enter the Teatime in Paris UK giveaway. You could be one of the 4 lucky winners… good luck!

Teatime in Paris pastry recipe book and guide to patisseries in Paris

Have you tried these Chocolate – Earl Grey Tarlets with Orange-Liqueur Crumble Puffs yet from the Tea Party chapter? I’ll be continuing to make recipes from the book on my FB page or instagram feed.

In the meantime, I hope to see you very soon on the Teatime in Paris Pastry Walk with Context Travel .

Jill x

P.S. I forgot to tell you the most important part: it’s also simply great fun!

Le Bac Sucré – 16-21 June, Rue du Bac Paris

For the very first time, Paris’s most famous gourmet street is holding a festival this week, entitled Le Bac Sucré. From Tuesday 16 to Sunday 21 June 2015, the Rue du Bac will be demonstrating its glorious deliciousness to the public.

Situated on the left bank (Rive Gauche) south of the River Seine, the Rue du Bac is one of the sweetest streets of Paris, with an astonishing high concentration of high-end pâtisseries and chocolate boutiques. So it’s not surprising that it’s featured prominently in Teatime in Paris!

Rue du Bac Teatime in Paris

Naturally, the Mayor of the 7th arrondissement is proud to show off its area and share the savoir-faire of its talented bakers, pastry chefs, and chocolate makers.

Led by Philippe Conticini of the Pâtisserie des Rêves, six days will be centred around tastings, workshops and demonstrations open to the public, including animations for children.

Rue du Bac Paris Patisseries

Other stars of pastry and chocolate will be there, and I’m sincerely hoping to also get a glimpse of  Pierre Marcolini and Jacques Genin.

Participating artists include the famous houses of La Pâtisserie des Rêves, Angelina, Hugo & Victor, Des Gateaux et du Pain (Claire Damon), Eric Kayser, La Grande Epicerie de Paris, plus the historical house of Dalloyau.

Download Le Bac Sucré programme here (in French).

For more information, visit Each year, the festival typically falls during the annual Baccalaureate (BAC) exams, mid June.

Teatime in Paris Online Book Tour

What a fantastic week this has been with the Paris sunshine. The cherry on the cake is that Teatime in Paris has been lucky enough to continue its online book tour to Toronto and Vancouver in Canada this week!  It has then enjoyed being eaten in the USA, then flown over to Cornwall, England and returned to France, popping in to one of the cutest villages, near Le Touquet.  Although it would be wonderful being whisked on a magic carpet and sent to these places in person, I’m so happy that Teatime has continued its launch limelight, being featured by such wonderful writers.

Salted Caramel Macarons from Teatime in Paris

If anyone follows le blog and also on social media, you’ll notice just how many teatime treats I’ve enjoyed together in Paris over the years with my good friend, Mardi Michels.

Mardi writes and cooks for EatLiveTravelWrite and also spends her spare time cooking up a storm with the petits chefs at school, teaching macaron classes in Toronto and regularly comes to Paris, keeping up-to-date with the latest gastronomic addresses. So it was an honour that she picked the salted caramel macarons to try. To see the recipe for the salted caramel filling and her review, please say bonjour from me over at EatLiveTravelWrite. If you’re in Canada or the USA, then enter the Giveaway for your chance to win a copy!


Heading west in Canada, Teatime ended up in one of my favourite cities, Vancouver.  I was thrilled the book made it just in time to conclude Teresa McCarthy’s Spring Book Reviews on her blog, OneWetFoot. She chose to make a family favourite of ours, passion and lemon meringue tarts – and if I understand, this recipe has now become her family favourite, too.  Please step over to enter the giveaway plus see the recipe and Teresa’s review at OneWetFoot.

In the USA, Teatime has been indexed by Eat Your Books! I was lucky to be interviewed by Jane about how the book came about and what discoveries were made along the way.  Please take a look. While reading the interview, don’t forget to enter the Giveaway for your chance to win a copy and discover the online cookbook world there.

Do you love sweet surprises? Just a few days ago, as I popped in for my favourite fun fix on Instagram, I was bowled over to see that Cherita, on the other side of the world, had already started baking from the book – and has also chosen to star these passion-lemon tarts for her parents’ anniversary. It’s so exciting when people don’t just read the book but try out the recipes too!

passion fruit and lemon meringue tartlet

In the UK, it has been such a pleasure to see teatime featured by Choclette, who writes for Tin and Thyme. Normally, as her name implies, Choclette features the most chocolatey of treats and was going to feature the double chocolate tartlets.  As they were previously featured by French Village Diaries and FarmersGirlKitchen, she chose to make the Diamond Biscuits to go with her tea. I love that she added her own twist to them by replacing half of the flour with wholemeal spelt flour. To see the diamants recipe and her review, pop over to Choclette’s Tin and Thyme and say hi from me!

Diamond biscuits from Teatime in Paris

Back in France, teatime is featured by Janine Marsh who writes for The Good Life France.  I was so happy to have Janine join us for the launch event in Paris then review the book with her readers. Don’t forget to enter the international giveaway and hear what she has to say about Teatime.

If you have a copy of Teatime in Paris, please do join in the recipe fun and show us your creations by tagging me @madaboutmacarons and using the hashtag #TeatimeInParis. I’d love to see what recipe you make and I’ll look forward to sharing them.

A huge, heartfelt thank you for featuring the book on your websites and on social media.  Wishing you all a lovely week. Next up, I’m sharing a taste of a fabulous pâtisserie in Paris, with one of France’s most prized pastry chefs!

Hugs from a very sunny Paris


Teatime in Paris! US Release and Online Book Tour

What can I say?  It may have been quiet here on le blog but, I can tell you, it has been a busy and emotional week. Following the release of Teatime in Paris in the UK, the launch event was last week in one of Paris’s most hidden, secret gems at the Treize café.

Teatime in Paris book event Treize Cafe

Photos thanks to Inez Forbes

A huge thanks to all of you who managed to pop in – it wasn’t the easiest of times to come by on a weekday afternoon so it was wonderful to see so many of you! Thank you to Laurel Sanderson and her staff at Treize for hosting the event and thanks to Inez Forbes for these photographs – I was so bowled over that I forgot to bring out the camera.

Some of you cleverly managed to grab Carol Gillott for a signing. Carol did this most delicious watercolour artwork for the endpapers and I’m so proud to show it off. She’s posted about the event on her famous blog,  ParisBreakfasts and now continues to enchant her followers with more beautiful maps of Paris.

pastry map of Paris by artist Carol Gillott in Teatime in Paris

Beautiful watercolour pastry artwork by Carol Gillott in Teatime in Paris – photo also by Carol

I love making new friends and so it was inspiring to meet Anne Penketh (author of Food Fight – have just ordered it, looks super), Paula and Catherine from Australia, a lovely couple from Oregon, discover a new tea companion, Céline Huet of Arthémiss who even posted exceptionally in English about Teatime (she’s also in love with Théodor Teas), and thanks to Cédric Bonnard who is the internet guru behind this new website design.

What a sweet coincidence to have met Nicola of Literary Ramblings, who was so taken with the idea of having Teatime in Paris that she stayed on from her lunch at Treize with her fans and even posted a book review! And I was also absolutely delighted to finally meet bubbly Janine who is behind the most popular online magazine, The Good Life France!


Meanwhile, the online book tour continues in Europe and is now kicking off in the US and Canada in anticipation for the release of Teatime on 30 May. Eeeeek!  It’s in just a few days. US bookstores and retailers will release the book on 30 June.

Diamond biscuits from Liv Life Teatime in Paris

Photograph by Kim of Liv Life

My lovely, sunny BFF Californian friend Kim Kelly, also known for the family blog at Liv Life not only shares the book’s recipe for diamond biscuits, but she has put together the most fun blog post I’ve ever seen to review a cookbook!  Check out the photo her super-talented daughter, Olivia, and the Californian Carlsbad dancers around it, and how the Honors Algebra Class also take creative photos of the lemon and grapefruit macarons. I feel like I’ve known Kim for so long and yet it’s frustrating not to meet her in person. Next time I need to ask if I can go in the envelope with the book! Thank you, Kim.

Back in Paris, it has been an honour to be interviewed by globetrotting Parisian-based travel writer, Lindsey Tramuta from Lost in Cheeseland. Her article includes 5 of my tips to stress-free French pastry baking plus some of my favourite pâtisserie and tea salon addresses for your next visit in the City.

Photo of Strawberry Elderflower Eclair by Brooks at Cakewalker

Photograph by Brooks at Cakewalker: Strawberry Eclair and Elderflower Cream recipe from Teatime in Paris.

A couple of days ago, I was bowled over by my sweet friend, Brooks Walker, aka Cakewalker. I’m sure you already know Brooks for his most exquisite designer cakes but this time he swapped the piping bag for choux/éclair dough and made this recipe of Strawberry and Elderflower cream éclairs from the book (it’s also on the cover) and carried out a most thorough review.  He discovered that Ikea sold elderflower syrup in their gourmet section, so that’s another alternative if you can’t find Monin or St Germain liqueur. Merci beaucoup, Brooks – I say that since he has been tweeting and commenting with the most delicious French accents!

Thank you all so much x

As French Mother’s Day approaches this weekend, I’m looking forward to making a few of the recipes again myself.  We took a breather for a while during the printing process, since the girls were protesting about far too many tartlets and éclairs and now they’re missing them! So the time is just right to get back into the sweet swing of things.

Geraniums at the french market

Including planting the geraniums.  If there are any left at the market, that is.

Teatime in Paris French patisserie easy recipes

Don’t forget to enter the Giveaway to win a copy of Teatime in Paris! over at Cakewalker (until 30 May) and The Good Life France (until 10 June).  Or snap up your own copy on