Eight inches shorter than me, half my dress size and brimming with a fire pistol temper, she is my cousin from Paris. When my mom suggested that I stay with my cousin on my first days in the city, I had no idea what I was getting into. Maly is the feisty pint-sized version of me, who took charge of guiding me through France's largest city. Don't let that sweet photo of her fool you, she is a feisty one!
Before we set out for our adventure in Paris, Maly gave me a couple of ground rules, of which I only remember one: if someone pushes you, you push them back harder. And then she taught me a couple of words that would be useful for navigating through the city, let's just say they were quite naughty. I don't think this is what my mom had in mind when she suggested I visit my cousin.
Since I only had a day in Paris, we hit several of tourist spots including l'Arc de Triomphe on the western end of the Champs-Élysées, and the Galeries Lafayette, which is a ten story department store in the 9th arrondissement.
The dome-shaped architecture of the building is stunning with ornate gold flowers pinning the palatial arches and balconies of Galerie Lafayette.
Even more magnificent is the intricate detail of the large stained glass dome window overhead. I probably could have spent the entire day studying the structure of the building.
My favorite part of the Galeries Lafayette was the Lafayette Gourmet, one of the fanciest grocery stores in Paris. Photos are not permitted, but as you know I always try my best to share my experiences with my well-loved readers. So I took a risk by surreptitiously snapping photos from my pocket.
It's such a shame that photos aren't permitted, nearly every food item was so beautiful that I personally would have been hesitant to eat it. Above are two green tea flavored desserts made by Sadaharu AOKI. The first one looks so velvety that you can almost feel the plush surface from the picture. The second is Biscuit Joconde, which features layers of a rich green tea pastry cream, stacked with thin layers of chocolate.
As you can probably guess from these photos, Sadaharu Aoki is an incredibly talented pastry chef producing gorgeous pieces that are as divine to devour as they are to admire.
If beautiful pastries did not whet your appetite, perhaps the foie gras and caviar counter will. With so many options, how can one choose?
You may have seen caviar before, but have you seen snail caviar? No? This was my first time too! The gentleman behind the counter described snail eggs as having delicate flavors that burst with surprising sensation in your mouth.
It looks more like luxurious jewelry than food. Quite precious indeed at $109/oz. It must be an impressive experience to try, but I'll wait for a day when someone gives me a good recipe.
I think I could live on cheese and bread for the rest of my life!
And of course black truffles! This was the main purpose of my journey to France. I will be sharing much more in future posts about the amazing lessons I have learned on truffles. Stay tuned!
- Culinary Getaways Truffle Week
- Truffle Hunting in Provence
- The Truffle Dining Experience in Provence - Chez Bruno