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Champagne and Patisserie Salon – Paris 2018

If it wasn’t for Carol Gillott’s enticingly beautiful, bubbly artwork announcing the 2-day Champagne and Patisserie Salon in Paris this week, I wouldn’t have popped out to play. I’d almost forgotten what it was like to venture out again, jump on a train out of Mumsy land, and sip Champagne with a taste of the most exquisite French patisserie.

Champagne Patisserie Salon Paris

Thankfully Madame Bauchet came to the rescue. Stepping in to the velveteen-carpeted room fizzing with some of the 33 prestigious Champagne houses at the Pavillon Ledoyen can be intimidating, especially as the chandelier-clad address just off the Champs-Elysées is not only one of the oldest restaurant in Paris (1792), but also happens to be THE address of 3-starred Michelin chef extraordinaire, Yannick Alléno.

Champagne Pol Roger and Bauchet

The room was popping with the incredibles of French fizz; no patisserie in sight and where was Carol?

In the meantime, I spotted Winston Churchill’s favourite (Jill’s too), Pol Roger, but headed for the houses I didn’t know yet. Madame Bauchet, continuing her family’s Champagne since 1920, helped tantalise my palet with her elegant Cuvée Constraste, a slightly mineral extra brut Blanc de Pinot Noir (Blanc de Noirs) from the vines of the Côte des Bar and Montagne de Reims that woke up the senses. Their domaine of 34 hectares produces different crus featuring Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Champagne Lamiable et Mailly

I was tempted to try another of her neighbour’s 100% Pinot Noir bubbles with Lamiable’s Cuvée Les Meslaines (Grand Cru, 2011) from Tours sur Marne, picked from 60-year-old vines named Meslaines.  Subtle notes of hazelnuts and grilled fruit turned my mind to dessert. Hm, I fancy a fruit gratin coming on. It was certainly opening up the appetite, hence why these are excellent Champagnes for an apéritif.

Never be shy with the spittoons or crachoirs. I’m still looking for ways to spit elegantly so any ideas at the bottom of this post are most welcome!  I always feel guilty, especially when the wine-maker is right in front of you. It’s like saying, “I spit out your wine!” but honestly, if you want to stay standing by the end of it all, they encourage it.

Eager to get to the next room for some patisserie, I tried out the Maison de Mailly. All their Champagnes are Grand Cru. Again, there was no Pinot Meunier. Before uttering the embarrassing words, “But I LOVE a touch of Pinot Meunier …”, I was saved by a jolly English-American who interrupted, convinced I was like Julie Andrews. Most flattered, this was the point I suddenly gathered up some of Maria’s confidence and decided it was time for the patisserie, grabbing a taster of Mailly’s Rosé Champagne by maceration (90% Pinot Noir/10% Chardonnay), with a hint of strawberries. Surely there was something that could go with it.

rum baba chef Vauxion K2

As if by magic, strawberries appeared in a form of art in a mini tasting dish. Sébastien Vauxion, executive pastry chef of Le K2 Collections in Courchevel, was demonstrating his Rum Baba, with the show projected on to a bigger screen for those not able to make it to the front line and see all the details. I posted this as a Live Video on Instagram but forgot to take a photo for you here.

In the background is another piece of pastry artwork by the new chef pâtissier from Paris’s Hôtel Le Crillon, Pablo Gicquel: an intense vanilla meringue filled with vanilla and almond praline.

Rum baba and De Sousa Champagne

This is a Baba au Rhum based on a surprising pronounced twist of saffron from Savoie (the restaurants are all based there, particularly in Courchevel), lemon, strawberry and red pepper. It sounds crazy but I love everything a bit on the mad side and this totally worked. During the demonstration, chef Vauxion ensures that there’s plenty of vanilla Chantilly piped on top and adds the finishing touch: candied pears.

Do you know what always amazes me about the finest French patisserie? It’s never overly sweet.  It’s all in the dosage by the nearest gram: not too little and never too much – just like Champagne. Thankfully, the general manager of the K2 Collection, Jean-Alain Baccon, suddenly appeared as personal sommelier and brought the perfect match: De Sousa’s 2008 Cuvée des Caudalies, strong enough in Chardonnay to support the saffron. I could get used to this.

Carol Gillott watercolour artist Paris

There she was!

Carol Gillott (of Paris Breakfasts fame) had her own artist quarters, tucked in the most deliciously gourmet corner next to the patisserie chefs’ central demonstration stand.

Champagne Patisserie Salon Paris

What a table, surrounded by patisserie and bubbles.  She was absolutely radiant, sketching and painting tempting watercolours of the fine patisseries and Champagne on the spot, along with the chefs’ signatures.

Did you know that Carol painted the gorgeous Paris map as the endpapers in my book, Teatime in Paris?

Carol Gillott's map in Teatime in Paris

Carol Gillott’s map made for the endpapers in Teatime in Paris!

Meanwhile, Carol’s artistic eye caught sight of Jessica, Chef Vauxion’s wife, beautiful in this chic red dress. Carol looked ready to paint her too. No wonder – the ruffles looked like Saint-Honoré waves of a strawberry Crème Chiboust.

Chef Vauxion and wife

Chef Sebastien Vauxion and wife, Jessica

I spotted chef Alléno a few times, as I had a quick peak upstairs with Carol. In French, I’d say he’s a bel homme and rather a beau-gosse: slim, dynamic, suave, attractive. Typical; I gaze at him as he brushes past, I’m starry-eyed, trying to utter the words in French, ‘Please can I take your photo for my readers?’ He swiftly targets the disguised, curtained door. I’ve missed the opportunity – just as well, as I suddenly can’t even find the camera button.

Pavillon Ledoyen Paris

Pavillon Ledoyen, Paris

Back to see what was going on at the Patisserie stand, next up was Chef Aurélien Rivoire, the only French pastry chef who is head of two three-starred restaurants, the Pavillon Ledoyen and the Cheval Blanc in Courchevel. Again, I took this floral courgette, strawberry and vanilla dessert live on stories and forgot to save it!  Was it the Champagne?

Champagne Patisserie Salon Paris

Before heading out the door, I spotted my favourite rosé Champagne, Billecart Salmon, preparing to party. Trust the French to leave an event with such panache.

Meanwhile, it was time to get back on the RER train’s carriage to Saint-Germain-en-Laye, just outside Paris and think about my shopping list, the next load of laundry and what’s for dinner. Let’s see; something with saffron, red peppers, vanilla, strawberries and tucked into a rum baba, please.

Carol Gillott

With Carol Gillott, artist in Residence for the Champagne and Fine Patisserie Salon, Paris, 2018

Thanks for a most wonderful effervescent afternoon, Carol!

Paris Breakfasts Gourmet Paris Maps in Watercolour

Carol Gillott is an American artist who has been living in Paris full time now for 3 years.  As soon as I started following her popular ParisBreakfasts blog a few years ago, it didn’t take long to become hooked on such an artistic eye’s view of life in Paris and open my own eyes to a different perspective on a city I’d lived in for over 20 years.

Watercolour map of Ile Saint Louis ice cream from Teatime in Paris

Carol particularly loves the gourmet side of the City of Light. Whether it’s varieties of cherries or Coeur de Boeuf tomatoes floating around the Eiffel Tower, she always manages to paint Paris dreams. It’s no surprise that ice cream also makes a lip-smacking feature, as she lives just a stone’s throw from the Parisian ice cream institution on Ile Saint-Louis.

Paris Breakfasts Eiffel Tower watercolours

While I tend to look up at historical plaques on buildings and put my foot in it (twisted my other ankle this way last month), Carol is more down to earth – spotting spectacular shoes and colour-coded fashions of those around her. I always wondered about the fascination in chaussures until she explained her background in designing shoes which took her around in the fashion world from NYC, Hong Kong, India, and Italy.

As she says herself, her Mom taught her watercolors at 5 and she’s still at it, painting for Champagne Mumm, Peggy Porchen, Guerlain, The Russian Tearoom, the Maharana of Udaipur, and … for my book, Teatime in Paris!

Carol Gillott of Paris Breakfasts sketching maps

When Carol agreed to work on a delicious map as the endpapers of the book, I was overcome with excitement seeing her at work in her studio as she started sketching out ideas based on the book’s recipes.  I knew she was mad about maps already, but I had no idea that this was her first gourmet map of Paris in the making!

hot chocolate and garden maps

Imagine having a wonderful excuse to taste what she paints: as I brought a few madeleines, chouquettes, and buttery financiers from the book, Carol made us the most exquisite hot chocolate with grated cinnamon.  And while we sipped on the chocolate, I realised that we were surrounded: even her placemats were maps of the gardens of Versailles.  And before we knew it, the book was launched in May this year.

Teatime in Paris endpapers map watercolour by Carol Gillott

Then in June, Carol presented us her map of Rue du Bac, which was perfectly fitting for the sweetest street in Paris’s brand new annual event, the Bac Sucré.  Her subscribers were also receiving such treats in the mail while last week, Chef Conticini from La Pâtisserie des Rêves also fell under Carol’s mapping spell.

Rue du Bac map in watercolor by Carol Gillott

And just look what continued? Rue Mouffetard, Rue du Cherche-Midi, Rue Montorgeuil, Rue de Martyrs, Ile-Saint-Louis ….

Paris maps in watercolour by artist Carol Gillott

These foodie streets could all be yours and it’s not too late before Christmas, although you’ll need to hurry to receive Carol’s Paris monthly sketches and maps in your Mailbox.

Paris Breakfasts in your mailbox

Don’t you just love to get mail in the holidays?  Especially from Paris…

Breakfast in Paris with ParisBreakfasts for Teatime?

“Let’s meet at Yamazaki for breakfast and we can talk shop.”

Can you imagine this exciting moment: a meet-up with watercolour artist, Carol Gillott? If you’ve been following le blog you’ll remember Carol, of ParisBreakfasts fame, and you’ll know just how much I adore her wonderful sketches and watercolours of sweet treats and Parisian dreams.

This was our first meeting at the end of October to talk about ze project.

Yamazaki macarons Paris

We certainly did talk shop; like pastry shops, particularly pâtisseries in Paris and favourite afternoon treats, over large cups of café crème.

Yamazaki is one of my personal favourite French pâtisseries with a Japanese twist in the 16th Arrondissement Paris.  There are more pâtisseries like this (and restaurants) opening in Paris (with Sadaharu Aoki being most well known) but this small boutique and tea room, at the Chaussée de la Muette, is where I popped in most often, as I worked around the corner for ten years. I wonder how many kilos of breakfast croissants that represents, plus light pastries for many an afternoon treat, or French goûter around 4 o’clock teatime… but I digress.

pastries at Yamasaki patisserie Paris

Teatime.  That’s a word you’ll be hearing more of here.  Why?

My next book is called “Teatime in Paris!” and will be released on 7 May 2015.  It may seem a while away but, believe me, each teatime will fly by and before we know it, the big day will be here!

In the meantime, there’s still a lot to do.  There’s the re-look of this website to welcome it for a start.  My wee head is spinning with so many ideas for you on le blog, not to mention all the photos to catalogue that I’ve taken for the book.  I did a count the other day and there are nearly 300 images!  Not forgetting the recipes, the whole point of the book!

parisbreakfasts bear showing Paris sketch letters by Carol Gillott

At our next meeting at ParisBreakfast HQ, Bear showed off some of Carol’s sketch letters from Paris as we were talking about Teatime – he even whispered word that she has a new Valentine’s sketch letter.  I couldn’t think of a more perfect artist to conjure up the Parisian pâtisserie magic to finish off the look and feel of this exciting new book. Oh, I can’t wait to show you it all now!

Thank you so much for following on le blog, for buying Mad About Macarons, for being such a great support.  You know, every little comment here and on the other distracting fun areas like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, mean so much. Merci beaucoup!

Are you ready? I have many behind-the-scenes snippets to share with you along this delicious new adventure.  And if you have any ideas that you would love to see here, then let me know.  This is your space, too!

Teatime in Paris, here we come!

Sketch Letters and Macaron Holiday Special at Paris Breakfast

Would you love a letter from Paris in your mailbox? Well perhaps you’ve heard of Carol Gillott.  If you have been following Mad About Macarons, I’m sure you have.  She is the talented American artist behind the popular blog, Paris Breakfast.

Sketch letters of water-colour prints by Paris Breakfast

Carol is real food lover.  Now living on Ile-Saint-Louis in Paris, she paints Parisian dreams and manages to take you on an imagined stroll through Paris.

She does this through her imaginative and colourful monthly Paris Sketch Letters.  They celebrate all kinds of French seasonal food each month and you’ll discover that she has a particular penchant for macarons and pastries.  When your package arrives from Paris, you’ll discover all sorts of petits additions – such as ribbons, perfume testers, and business cards from Parisian cafés and shops.

Sketch letters by Carol Gillott of Paris Breakfast blog

Paris Sketch Letters come in different subscription packages and this month there is a holiday special for the month of December!

December holiday special sketch letters by Carol Gillott

Delivered to you from Paris by Carol Gillott

Order a subscription on ETSY and get a watercolor print of a box of macarons with your name on it!
It’s not too late to receive the personalized macaron print in time for the holidays (Hanukkah and Kwanza included).

They’re ready to ship out TODAY! If you want to personally give the 1st letter, Carol can send it to you and the rest to the gift recipient.

Parisian Macarons presentation box watercolour print by Carol Gillott

I’m changing my name to Sue, the lucky macaron girl!  I’m off to make some macarons, then.

Oh, and just a wee whisper in your ear … you’ll be seeing a bit more of Carol around here soon;  I can’t wait to tell you about an exciting project. That’s a promise…

Going Macarons at the Paris Salon du Chocolat

How come I’ve never been before? It took my talented artistic American friend, Carol Gillott of ParisBreakfasts, to entice me along finally to the 2011 Salon du Chocolat in Paris. Was I too busy making macarons? Perhaps more because it’s at Porte de Versailles, an area that’s a nightmare to park and with all the exhibition halls for someone with no sense of direction, it’s like suffering an orienteering course for a sports exam when it’s not your sport. Arriving seriously late with a lame excuse of being too nice in traffic jams, she was an angel to still take me under her wing.

Who was more mad about macarons? Check out Carol’s eye-catching gear of tee-shirt and matching macaron bracelet. Not difficult to lose her – although she might tell you the opposite. Each stand visited, we were greeted with “Superb T-Shirt!” followed by more chocolate tastings, thanks to her savoir-faire.

Carol knows a thing or two about Paris fashions – not surprising, as she has the artist’s eye. Macarons are definitely à la mode (by that I don’t mean the American ice-cream on top, I’m talking trendy Parisian fashion here.)

See?  Macaron ruffled necklaces are obviously in.

Another necklace – this time just like her bracelet, plus macarons dotted around the dress.

Should I perhaps give some macarons to the French fashion creator, Jean Colonna? We could create Le Colonna macaron dress. Just an idea…

Meanwhile, looking around, it’s macarons galore – perfect for a macaron blog.

A rather foxy (get it?) macaron-shell tower in all its glory by Gregory Renard and then his Eiffel Tower of macarons…

While we’re gazing at the Paris monuments, what about l’Arc de Triomphe by Léonidas?  It’s the one time I can negotiate the traffic around it without needing a bumper or aspirin.

Eye-spy, my little eye falls on chocolate-dipped macarons by Christophe Roussel.

Then a tasting over at Arnaud Larher‘s stand, even if the taster macaron bits were so near yet so far behind the counter. Pain d’épice (gingerbread) and orange. What a gorgeous filling texture, although I didn’t really get the orange, sorry.  Hm – what’s that electric green colouring for pistachio? Never mind, it’s delicious!

Quite the chocolate treat from Arnaud Larher: these are chocomacs. They’re not macarons but chocolates in the shape of macarons. Now when you see macaron molds, you understand it’s not to make macarons but chocolate-shaped macarons.

There’s also a Professional Salon du Chocolat downstairs, including packaging, equipment and all kinds of tricks for the trade. This macaron-making machine might be rather bulky for the kitchen, n’est-ce pas? It also looks rather complicated but worth it if you need to make macarons in their thousands daily. Give me the simple piping bag any day.

Meanwhile, time to check out the World Chocolate Masters 2011. It’s serious business between the top chocolatiers strutting their stuff until something catches my eye in the audience. I should really learn to concentrate.

Imagine this blissful scene: somebody is just sitting with their arms out, holding these miniature macaron beauties.  Of course, I asked if I could try just one since I LOVE macarons. Wouldn’t you do the same on seeing this sight?

This was a Grand Marnier mini macaron, with a macaron shell on top of the most exquisite chocolate by Spruengli in Switzerland. What lovely people!

Then came Sébastien Bouillet. He’s a pâtisserie legend in Lyon and his speciality?

The Macalyon.  It’s a salted caramel macaron dipped completely in 70% dark chocolate.  Only €6.80 for a box of four…

It was with his Macalyon that I was inspired with this bitter chocolate macaron for the book, but only dipping it in half. Then Christophe Roussel also does it. What do you think? Personally I prefer seeing a macaron’s feet, rather than hiding it all. Although…

Chocolate macaron from my book, “Mad About Macarons”

 

My chocolate! Is that the time already? Now if I was really Smart, I could get in this nifty Salon du Chocolat special edition car and whisk myself home, weaving in front of the crazy drivers, just in time for school pick-up. It’s sweet but macarons were missing on it, don’t you think?

If you’re in Paris, then do check it out: the Salon du Chocolat is still open until Monday 24 October!

It’s guaranteed you’ll have a smashing time!

Ah. Just as well I’d made more chocolate macarons back home for dessert. All this chocolate is making me crave more.  I wonder why?