Around Paris: 10th: Du Pain et Des Idées (again)

5 01 2010


It’s January again, and you know what that means: galettes des rois!  It also means a new year, and a new project.  Last year I visited (virtually or otherwise) a different French region every month.  This year I want to focus on my adopted hometown, Paris.  My goal is to have (and write about) at least one food adventure in every one of Paris’ 20 arrondissements.  I haven’t yet decided if I’ll be doing them sequentially or not, but I’m starting with the 10th because it’s close to home, and home to one of my very favorite bakeries in town.  Yes, I’ve already written about Du Pain et Des Idées, but that was before I became a regular.  (And before Clotilde convinced me that sometimes it’s ok to repeat yourself on a blog, especially if it is about something that gets repeated frequently on your table.)  It is safe to say that I have by now sampled all their products, except the ones with walnuts, to which I am allergic.  For those of you who are wondering, the best mini-pavé is the Bayonne-Reblochon-figue, a lovely sweet and savory bite of cured ham, stinky cheese, and fresh fig.  I am also a big fan of the seasonal fruit tarts, which for most of the winter consist of apple caramelized in salted butter.  But I had yet to try their galette.  Until now.

Gorgeous galette

As you can see, it is spectacularly beautiful.  Fortunately, it tastes every bit as good as it looks.  Nick and I split a small one (which I am pretty sure is intended for four people) for breakfast on Sunday after a morning walk along the sunny Canal St. Martin.  The puff pastry is golden, buttery, and extremely flaky, and the almond filling is just right: not too sweet, moist as opposed to dry, and all the almond flavor comes from actual almonds.  After polishing off the galette (I got the bean, and used my powers to decree that I didn’t have to wear the silly paper crown) and our mugs of home-brewed coffee, we headed over to the Centre Pompidou for a free Sunday (the first Sunday of the month, many of Paris’ museums are free!) modern art fix.  But that’s another arrondissement.

Following me on my adventures around Paris is easy – check out my Platial map, the Gourmand’s Map of Paris.  It has markers for places I’ve written about as well as ones I’m keeping to myself.  I try to keep it up to date, and give useful information such as addresses, Métro stops, and opening hours.  Here’s to a fun new year of exploring!

Originally published on Croque-Camille.


And You Thought The Holidays Were Over

10 01 2009

In France, they keep it coming right on through January.  The holidays, I mean.

Galette des Rois

First, there’s Epiphany, on January 6th.  This is the traditional day to eat Galette des Rois, or Kings’ Cake.  So named for the three kings who supposedly arrived in Bethlehem a couple weeks late for Jesus’ birthday, the pastry itself is a simple but delicious round of puff pastry filled with almond cream (aka frangipane).  The top of the galette is scored in a decorative pattern (just ask me how!) and there is a “bean” (while it’s called a bean, it is usually some kind of ceramic figure or charm) hidden inside which gives the finder the privilege (or punishment) of wearing the little paper crown that comes wrapped around the galette.  I have recently learned that nowadays, instead of waiting for the actual date of Epiphany to roll around, the French celebrate with their galettes des rois on the first Sunday of the month, which explains why I spent 6 hours last Saturday making them.  You might think that the galette madness would be over by now, but it seems to be going strong and I am told that it continues through the whole month of January.

Check out all the flaky, buttery layers!

Speaking of January, the other important national “holiday” going on is Les Soldes – The Sales!  Twice a year, in January and June) French stores are allowed to reduce their prices as much as they want.  This is supposed to even the playing field between large companies and small businesses, but I’m not really sure how.  Nor do I much care, if it means I can afford to shop at Galeries Lafayette.  In terms of work, Les Soldes don’t affect me as much, although there is definitely an impact on my paycheck.  Heh.  It’s going to be another busy month.

Originally published on Croque-Camille.

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