vendredi 31 octobre 2008

Gregory Renard in Paris

I know it must seem like I do nothing but try out different pastry shops every day. But that's not true at all. I do many things every day, mostly toiling in the library over my stupid presentation about shiite factions in the arab world, or the construction of the European Union during the Mitterrand-Kohl years, or preparing for my economics test on the Heckscher-Ohlin Model of international trade. It's just that my university happens to be near a lot of pastry shops. And so does my apartment. And my bus route between the two is similarly well-placed. So I manage to find the time to try out a lot of fabulous places.

These macarons are from Gregory Renard, near the Eiffel Tower on Rue St Dominique. And they are fabulous. I especially recommend the nougat macaron and the chocolat sel macaron. The shop is something in itself - a tiny, cramped, Willy Wonka's factory with chocolates and macarons and sweets spilling out everywhere. These macarons are much smaller than the usual minis, which means you can try out more flavours. And they're very well priced - cheaper than competitors like Lauduree and Gerard Mulot, and infinitely better.

In fact, I feel like I need to admit now that I was very disappointed with Lauduree. I have no desire to go back and experience the tacky decor to the dry, crumbly macarons again. But I can't wait to go back to Gregory Renard.

mercredi 29 octobre 2008

La Pompadour in Paris

Sometimes the best desserts don't come from the pastry magicians lauded all over france (though I love them dearly). Sometimes all you want is a buttery-crisp apple tarte fine wrapped in butchers paper from your local bakery.

Mine is La Pompadour, on Rue de la Pompe in the 16th. They don't have a grand history or fancy appointments, they sell salads in ugly plastic containers, and they have a Haribo sweets pick and mix in the corner (I've never seen anyone use it.) But they do make all their own breads, pastries and tarts from scratch, allowing them to sport the label "Artisan Boulanger".

And they are responsible for this fantastic apple tart. I am responsible for the bite mark. (See, I contributed in a constructive way to the photograph).

mardi 28 octobre 2008

Jeff de Bruges in Paris

Yesterday I decided to try out Jeff de Bruges, a chocolatier with branches all around Paris. I had never heard him mentioned by Clotilde or David so I was wary, despite many online forum members rejoicing in him. In the end, the results were mixed. It started off so well though! My first taste was their fabulous apricot ganache - it ranks up there with the lemon ganache at Patrick Roger. It's really apricotty and smooth.

But then I tried their new tarte tatin apple flavour, and it was blatantly made with a synthetic apple flavouring! So was the pear truffle. They both reminded me of the time back in the day when our IB chemistry class made esthers. They were beyond disappointing. They verged on being outright bad.

Slightly better, but also very uni-dimensional, was the orange chocolate truffle. I tried the "euro" caramel which was a little too sweet for me. I suspect that Jeff de Bruges takes more than the occasional shortcut with their flavours.

Their gianduja was very good, although gianduja is pretty hard to screw up. I also had a dark chocolate caramel that was very woody and dense, and very interesting - I've never had such a dark flavour in a caramel. I finished up with the caramel truffle and the truffle nature, and both were very good, though not as good as La Maison du Chocolat's truffles.

The only real standout was the apricot though. I'd like to go back to get it again, since this shop is much cheaper than the higher tier chocolatiers. But, as usual, nine times out of ten you get what you pay for. The apricot ganache is that lucky one time exception. But definitely give all his other fruit-based flavours a miss.

lundi 27 octobre 2008

Pea, Mint and White Bean Soup

I love pea and mint soup, and white beans add not only protein but also a subtle, brothy flavour, so I thought combining them might work well. This is my recipe, which I formulated after reading about twelve different recipes for pea and mint soup until I had the general idea, and then forging ahead on my own.

2-3 cups of cooked white beans
3 cups frozen peas
Vegetable stock as needed
Chopped mint to taste - at least half a cup
1/2 a cup of greek yoghurt

1. The white beans need to be boiled until tender. In the pot and water in which you cooked the white beans, add the frozen peas and enough stock to cover. It's important to conserve the white bean water because it has a lovely subtle flavour. Add a little mint now just to get it going. Bring to the boil and simmer until the peas are tender but not mushy.

2. Remove from heat and let cool for a while, so that you don't overheat your blender when you blend it. Puree with a hand blender until smooth, adding more stock if you want it to be thinner. Obviously this will work in a traditional blender too.

3. Return the soup to the stove, and add the yoghurt, salt and pepper and mint to taste. In my opinion this much soup needs at least half a cup of chopped mint. I probably put in more like a cup. Similarly the seasoning here is extremely important. Peas are a vegetable that make their objections known if you underseason them, and they will make these objections known on your palate. If you taste the soup and it tastes anything short of incredible, add more salt and pepper.

4. Now that the soup tastes incredible, bring it back to a simmer, and then serve it hot in winter or cold in summer.

I don't think this kind of soup should be eaten with bread, because it clouds what should otherwise be a really clean flavour. But that's just me, I'm sure the rest of you aren't so bizaare in your soup beliefs.

(This recipe is my entry for this month's Legume Love Affair. Check out the details here, at this month's host blog When My Soup Came Alive.)

dimanche 26 octobre 2008

Cafe Louvre in Prague

I went to Café Louvre because I read on some dodgy online travel forum that it does the best hot chocolate in Prague.

Never let it be said that dodgy online travel forums are a waste of internets. This hot chocolate was fantastic – very thick and dark, but with a consistent and creamy texture, as opposed to a puddingy texture. It also doesn’t have a skin, which is what really sends it to the top of the list (er, the hot chocolate list. That I made. I should probably get out more.)

I ordered the Czech breakfast without the ham: orange juice, bread rolls, cheese platter, soft boiled egg, and apple cake. The Czechs clearly know how to do breakfast. This is what I would have for breakfast every day if I didn’t have to go to university and other stupid time-wasters like that. The edam cheese in particular was amazing, it was thinly sliced and had an almost smoky flavour. The apple cake had a poppy seed swirl in it, and it wasn’t too sweet – more like a thick, soft apple bread.

Apparently Einstein and Kafka came to the Café Louvre repeatedly. If that’s the case then I don’t understand why Kafka was so miserable all the time. Maybe he didn’t try the hot chocolate

samedi 25 octobre 2008

Making Dulce De Leche

Generally I like things I can taste as I'm going, I like being fast and loose with ingredients and I don't like to measure them. So Dulce de Leche is really pretty far outside my usual repertoire. But I love it, and since I needed to come up with a gluten free dessert for lunch with some friends, I decided now was the time to make it.

Most recipes online ask you to boil a can of condensed milk. However, I only have a microwave oven, and since I also have the will to live, that option was not open to me. I had a look around online and ended up getting a general feel for what was supposed to be going on. Here's how I did mine. This makes a very small batch, since I didnt want to have too much left over from dessert.

Pour 1 litre of full cream milk, 250 g of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt into a large, deep pot.

Stir constantly on a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Continuing to stir, turn the heat up to high and let the mixture boil so that it froths up. Then turn the heat down to a medium low. Most recipes say the mixture shoud be barely simmering, but I got very paranoid and turned it down a little too low - the mixture was only occasionally bubbling. That's why this batch took about 4 hours to reduce down to a consistency I liked. Apparently you can leave the mix alone, but I got up every 30 minutes or so to gently whisk it just to prevent a skin from forming (do you see what I mean about paranoid?)

About 3 hours in, the taste was similar to condensed milk, which worried me - the dulce de leche I remembered is in the same family of flavours as condensed milk, but it certainly isn't the same flavour. It seemed to have the same aftertaste too, and I hate bad aftertastes. But if you keep reducing it it will eventually lose this taste. You can add a pinch more salt if you're worried (I did and I liked it).

When the batch is the consistency you want - and remember it firms up quite a lot more when you cool it down - whisk it to make sure it is smooth and then pour it into containers to cool. When I took it off the heat the consisency was such that it would drip off a spoon slowly. After 5 hours of refrigeration, when I dug a spoon into the jar the shape of the dig stayed clean in the caramel.

I whisked a little cinnamon into half the batch and found that it worked very well with it. This is really easy to make - I think the most difficult part is not eating it all as soon as it's finished. I know I kept "checking the consistency" with a spoon throughout the day, and then - surprise! - I had a spoon with dulce de leche on it I just couldn't waste! At lunchtime we had it with vanilla ice cream and sauteed pears and it was great.

vendredi 24 octobre 2008

The best ice cream in Paris

I kept hearing that Berthillon was the best ice cream in Paris, so early on in my stay some friends and I decided to check it out. It certainly shouldn't be missed! In particular the Grand Marnier flavour, the chocolate and the pear were amazing. But the best ice cream in Paris? No, my friends. There is better.

There is a tiny shop about one eighth the size of Berthillon tucked away at 192 Rue de Grenelle. There is nowhere to sit - the store is essentially just a big ice cream counter and a big freezer full of cartons on the side. The whole thing has a very homey, casual feeling about it. Yes, this is the place I am telling you beats out the extravagant, luxurious, elegent Berthillon. This is Martine Lambert.

Martine Lambert makes the most amazing ice cream I have ever tasted. Her pistachio is the best pistachio I've ever had - the nuttiest, creamiet, most intense flavour you could imagine. It beats out the pisachio at Berthillon, Grom, Pozzetto, Amorino (all in Paris), Giolitti Gelato, Gelateria Del Teatro, Gelateria di San Crispino (Rome) and Vestri (Florence). My favourite pisatchio used to be Grom and Vestri's, but Martine Lambert is easily the champion.

Likewise, her caramel ice cream is the best caramel I've ever had - it tastes like putting an actual caramel in your mouth, but icey and creamy. The dark chocolate is apparently a sorbet, and it's really not very sweet, but the caramel is so sweet that these two flavours were made for each other.

Now, other places still have Martine beat on certain other flavours (the gianduja at Pozzetto, for example, is the reigning hazelnut-related champion for me, and Grom's chocolate would probably pip Martine's simply because it's a tad milkier). But Martine definitely whips Berthillon, elegence of the table settings be damned.

It's going into winter, so I'm getting to the point where I just look stupid walking the streets of Paris with an ice cream cone. But for Martine Lambert's icecream, I will do it gladly.

jeudi 23 octobre 2008

I love Eric Kayser

Everyone loves Eric Kayser and I am happy to count myself among his many fans. His traditions are excellent; just the right balance of chewy, soft mie and crispy (but not too crispy!) crust. I think the seed bread is also good but it's the baguette I keep going back for.

Kayser also makes some fabulous tarts and pastries. His mini-financiers are legendary! But last time I trotted down to his bakery in the 16th I discovered an underappreciated Kayser speciality - his chocolate hazelnut tart.

This tart is incredible. The density is perfect - really, absolutely perfect, which makes a nice change from the more airy, moussy densities favoured by some of the patisseries here. I like serious tarts that pose me a personal challenge when I take them out of the box. This one was a very enjoyable challenge, with a hazelnut praline base and a dark chocolate layer on the top. It was fabulous - and compared to what you'd pay for this kind of thing at other Parisien pastry shops, Kayser is really cheap.

Do you think it would be inappropriate to leave Kayser a love note on his website? I think it might be crossing some kind of baker-consumer relationship line. I better stick to my side of the counter. It's a good side to be on.

mardi 21 octobre 2008

Dinner tonight: Pim from ChezPim's greek eggplant tomato sauce

I have been wanting to make Pim's greek eggplant sauce for a while, but slender eggplants are a bit hard to come by in Paris supermarkets. So today when I saw the Franprix was carrying graffiti eggplants, which are in between the long thin asian ones and the big round western ones, I decided the time had come. It was also a happy coincidence that The Spice Cafe's monthly challenge involved making sauces with other bloggers' recipes. You can check out the details at Tangerine's Kitchen, the host blog, here.

The sauce turned out really amazing even though I made some major adjustments.

The first is that I added white beans to the sauce, because I have a little hang up about getting a good protein load (call it vegetarian paranoia). White beans are great with thyme and tomato so I figured it would work here - I added about three or four cups of cooked white beans, half kept whole and half pureed. The puree is a nice way to thicken the sauce quickly. I added the beans before I returned the eggplant rounds to the pan, to allow the beans to absorb more of the tomato flavour. I also used dried thyme instead of fresh thyme, which was a matter of necessity, and I'd love to try it with fresh thyme one day.

I think the trickiest part of the sauce is getting the eggplants right - I didn't use as much oil as Pim suggested because I forgot to check I had enough before I started, and wouldn't you know it, I'm actually running low on olive oil. So the eggplant tended to stick a bit (to be fair, Pim warns you about this.) But overall the recipe was pretty easy for me to execute even with my mind on my university assignment due the next day, and it tastes fantastic! The eggplant is really shown off in this dish - I don't think I've ever enjoyed the flavour of eggplant more, or appreciated how tender and almost sweet the flesh can be. I had this sauce on penne with some greek feta crumbled over the top.

Best Croissant Ever (Pierre Herme in Paris)

Pierre Herme makes the best croissants on the face of the earth.

On Sunday morning I went to the boutique at 185 Rue Vaugirard to get some breakfast. Pierre Herme is one of the masters of innovative pastries and interesting flavour combinations. I don't think I'm in the "Pierre is the best pastry chef ever" camp yet, but I definitely give him the best croissant title. It was large, the pastry was perfectly buttery and flakey on the outside and moist on the inside. And since I had made the trip there I couldn't just leave with a croissant, right? Right. Unthinkable.The cannele, which is a sort of dense vanilla and rum cake with a thick, chewy outside, was also outstanding.

I had his caramel tarte for afternoon tea, since I couldn't resist picking it up while I was there. It was excellent, and it introduced me to the idea of a frothy caramel mousse, which took me a bite or two to get my head around. I suffered admirably through this trying experience.

I have to say though out of the three the croissant was the most surprisingly impressive. I still haven't tried the ispahan, the combination of rose, lychee and raspberry which made Pierre Herme so famous. I guess I have to go back next Sunday. Tough life.

lundi 20 octobre 2008

Sweet potato pikelets with spiced sauteed pears

My mother has been making sweet potato pikelets since I was a kid. Dusted with brown sugar and cinnamon, they're one of my favourite desserts or breakfasts. Sweet potato works so well with the cinnamon and the molassesy, dark sweetness of brown sugar. Although you couldn't really call them healthy with the amount of sugar I put on them, they do better than most desserts, and they far outstrip the humble plain pancake or pikelet in terms of taste anyway. I haven't seen my mom in eight months, and a week or so ago I decided I really needed these pikelets, so I skyped her ASAP for her recipe.

It's actually very easy - the recipe is loose and I made some modifications based on what I had on hand. The way I did it, a one-person serving is just 1 cup of mashed sweet potato, an egg, 2-3 tablespoons of flour, a pinch of baking powder and a pinch of salt. (If you wanted to serve these as a dessert to people with a serious sweet tooth you could add some brown sugar to the batter too.) I combine the egg with the sweet potato before adding the dry ingredients, then heat up a pan and make the pikelets. I like them done on a really hot pan so you get brown bits on the outside but the inside is still moist and dense. Dust them liberally with cinnamon and brown sugar - it is forbidden to eat theses any other way.

I had these with sauteed spiced pears on top. Sauteeing pears couldn't be easier, you just melt a little butter in a saucepan, add some brown sugar and stir until it's melted too, then throw in your peeled and sliced pears. I added the spices about midway through the sauteeing because I was using Babette's Seven Secrets mix of cardamom, coriander, anise, vanilla, szechuan pepper, tumeric and pepper and I didn't want it to burn. I'm pretty sure cinnamon would be fabulous too. Ideally the pear should be hard, which makes sauteed pears a good way to perk up fruit in winter (or when Franprix only has hard, lumpy pears, which is often). The pear I used was a little too close to ripe, but it held up well under sauteeing, and it was totally delicious anyway.

dimanche 19 octobre 2008

Babette's in Vienna

If you have been to Vienna and you didn’t go to Babette’s, it might be an idea to clear a space on your desk now. You’ll need somewhere to bang your own head when you finish reading this.

Two women run this cookbook shop, epicerie and restaurant and I don’t know which one is Babette. Maybe there is no Babette. All I know is that a girl who looked about 21 cooked me the most amazing meal in the open kitchen in the middle of the shop. The menu changes every day and has about six choices, and on the day I was there I chose spinach and ricotta poached gnocci with bleu d’auvergne, rocket, and stewed pear in seven spices. The gnocci wasn’t really gnocci – it was the only way the girl could think to explain it to me – it was a light, jiggly, eggy little dumpling shaped like a quenelle. All that for about 12 euros. I don’t think I’ve ever been more overjoyed to pay 12 euros for a meal in my life.

The spiced pears were so good that I ended up buying a tin of the spices she used, the Seven Secrets Mix. It turned out to be cardamom, coriander, anise, vanilla, szechuan pepper, tumeric and pepper. Since I got back to Paris I have already used it in chocolate fudge and sauteed pear and it worked really well - my next project is to add it to apple crumble.

In conclusion, Babette's should be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

vendredi 17 octobre 2008

Antico Forno, and more importantly Brutti Ma Buoni, in Rome

I stumbled across Antico Forno, a small bakery near the Trevi fountain, completely by accident. On my way back from a phenomenal meal at l'Orso 80 (the New York Times steered me right on that one), I got distracted by the cookie displays and went inside. Having already consumed large amounts of gelati, I really wasn't planning on having dessert, but these cookies looked likely to haunt me forever if I didn't try at least one.

I approached the counter and asked "Parla inglese?", my most well-used italian phrase, and got the answer every lazy english-speaking tourist dreads: a very solemn shake of the head. Not to worry, I had also learned the phrase "I want..." for just this occasion.

"Verreo... una brutti ma buoni..." I started awkwardly. I was clearly already mangling the italian language, and then I realised I didn't know the italian word for "and". I sort of coughed, to indicate my sentence wasn't over, and then pointed to a green cookie studded with pistachios. I ate them in the street on my way back to the Trevi fountain. The pistachio cookie was good, but the brutti ma buoni was better. Although I have to admit at that point in my stay in Rome I was firmly in love with brutti ma buoni, a chewy, almondy, coconutty little knob of a thing. It also gets points for how appropriate its name is. It really is ugly, but boy is it good.

mardi 14 octobre 2008

Poilane in Paris

It took me a while to get around to trying Poilane's bread, but last week I discovered that they have a bakery pretty close to my apartment, so I didn't have an excuse not to go anymore. I'm such a sucker for the baguette de tradition francaise, and I live close enough to one of Kayser's bakeries to have small incentive to change my habits. But as soon as I walked in the door at Poilane I knew I'd be back.

For one thing, they had a basket of free cookies at the cash register. Free cookies are like magic hugs from the world (or, from bakers, really). These were crispy little golden discs called punitions. A punition is what shortbread comes out of the oven wishing it were. They are incredible.

But the bread is the main event, obviously - you only come to Poilane to get a big hunk of dense brown sourdough. That's probably a good thing since that's pretty much all they're selling (besides more of the cookies). They won't slice a quarter of a loaf, but it's not hard to slice once you get home, and it's cheap - 2.50 euros for about 500 grams, which lasted me five days.

I think it's at its best just with butter, although I did make some fabulous hummus and sauteed zucchini tartines with it last weekend. Damn this bread is so good.

lundi 13 octobre 2008

Vestri in Florence

Don’t go to Florence on a Monday. All the museums and galleries are closed, and the real tragedy is that Vivoli is closed. Vivoli was recommended to me by loads of stupid guidebooks and a close family friend. It’s supposed to be the greatest thing mankind can do with a cone. But like everything else in Florence, it’s closed on a Monday.

I was wandering the streets looking for an alternative source of gelati when I stumbled across Vestri. Vestri looked good – for one, it didn’t have its gelatis on display. The counter displays a dozen silver lids and the gelati stays hidden, just like at San Crispino in Rome and Grom in Paris. Those silver canisters are a very, very good sign in a gelataria.

I had the “giant” cup of chilli chocolate, chocolate, pistachio and straciatella. The pistachio was outstanding – it’s a mottled brown colour but don’t be fooled, it’s the best pistachio I’ve ever had (equal with Grom). Their chilli chocolate was the best I’ve ever had equal with none: the chocolate wasn't very dark, which worked surprisingly well. The girls next to me who could evidently read the Italian reviews stuck to the windows were discussing how Vestri is famous for the chilli chocolate.

They also make their own chocolates and assorted goodies in the back, but once you’ve had a “giant” cup of gelati, you’re pretty much out for the count.

dimanche 12 octobre 2008

Die, Suzie Homemaker

I know this chocolate fudge looks pretty Suzie Homemaker. My photography skills aren't helping either. And the basic recipe really is easy - it's condensed milk and melted dark chocolate combined in about a one to one ratio (measured in grams). First you melt the chocolate, either in the microwave, requiring obsessive checking and stirring, or on the stovetop in a bain marie, requiring obsessive set up and stirring. Then you add the condensed milk, combine pretty quickly as it starts to seize up fast, and pour it into a wide flat container so it can set in the fridge for 2 hours.

But this fudge can be amazing if you know how to work it. And though the fudge is going to reflect the quality of the chocolate you use, if you can only afford to use Nestle, you can still make yourself (and others) excited by this fudge. I know because I survive in France on a food budget calculated in Australian dollars. Ouch.

All you need is cinnamon and fresh ginger. You'll have to add the cinnamon to taste, but the ginger should generally be chopped up pretty fine as it is going to create a bit of moisture in the fudge even once it is set, and you don't want it to be too sticky. If you hate ginger, even the cinnamon on its own will taste great.

My favourite spice combination (so far) in fudge is actually Babette's Seven Secrets and cinnamon. I can't urge you to try this enough. That way if anyone ever asks you whether you think a mixture of cinnamon, pepper, vanilla, cardamom, coriander, anise, tumeric and szechuan pepper goes well with chocolate, you can tell them that it does. It really does. I like it both dusted on the outside - the spices have a yellowy tinge that looks great - or mixed in with the fudge itself.

I was concerned about how the spices would work with the chocolate, but it elevated the fudge beyond my expectations.

dimanche 5 octobre 2008

Monsieur Vuong’s in Berlin

If you are in Berlin and, like me, are stupid enough to visit the Holocaust Memorial at the end of a long day, then you know that dinner doesn’t seem quite as important as it did before you took that hour long audio tour. You also might need a hug. I travel without someone to hug, so I went to Monsieur Vuong’s.

M Vuong’s is a trendy restaurant in an arty neighbourhood, but the food took me right back to Hanoi. The wine glass is the only pretentious thing about the banana and coconut milk smoothie. And the funky architectural bowl is the only pretentious thing about the tofu, vegetable and noodle soup. The broth is a very pale yellow, but the ginger and lemongrass is intense. It’s the sort of clean, warm flavour that makes you want to inhale your bowl full of vegetables. I think I accidentally ate an entire slice of raw ginger without realising it but I didn’t even care.

There’s something embarrassingly curative about the funky atmosphere and food here. Hey, if Andrew on Top Chef can have a culinary boner, can’t I have a culinary hug? I think I'm allowed.

Demel’s in Vienna

Demel’s is an institution, sure, but damn those window displays are ugly. Who honestly wants to see papier mache mermaid breasts? I really, really don’t. I rushed inside to get a better look at their cake counter (and take a blurry photo).

Demel’s has a weird system that I only learned about from the older American guys behind me in the line for a table upstairs. At the cake cabinet you point to what you want and a woman writes it on a little ticket, which you then present to the server once you’re seated and have ordered a drink. I chose Anatorte because it looked the most likely to give me a heart attack, and I’m all about the heart attacks (I was on holiday, which was my excuse).

Anatorte is a dense chocolate cake with layers of chocolate and liquer crème, with a thick gianduja outer layer – I decided it can’t be called icing because it’s solid. At Demel’s the gianduja is thick and the cake has elaborate designs on top, which translates to more gianduja, and that was my primary concern.

I ordered a hot chocolate, and together this made for the closest I have been to actual chocolate overload in a long time. It was great. Because Demel’s was so busy I ended up sharing a table with the two American gentlemen (this often happens when you travel as a single and want to eat in fancy, popular places). Not only were they very interesting people who agreed that Vienna is a place where you feel instantly at home and comfortable, but they ended up paying for my Anatorte. I tried to refuse, but John waved me off with a friendly “I have a son in college, someone will treat him someday.”

I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work like that, but I was at that point in the chocolate consumption cycle where the world is a warm and happy place, so I agreed with him immediately. Then I drowned face-down in what remained of the spectacular hot chocolate.

Fruit probably wasn't the best choice for a first post, but it's too late now.

It's already freezing in Paris, but let's stay positive: the pears and nectarines are on special. And they are fabulous.

Pears annoy me because they look so ugly and hard sitting out in front of the shop. But you know that if you buy that stupid green lump it’s going to be a blushing yellow pear of ultimate perfection in two days. The fruiterer says this type of pear is called Le William, and that it’s eaten yellow and firm.

You can’t get this kind of produce in the supermarkets in Paris; you have to either go to markets, to Chinatown (where the fruit is always incredible) or to little fruit shops. I can only hike down to Chinatown once a week so I tend to go with the expensive little fruit shops. Really good fruit hits the pocketbook hard, especially since I live in the 16th – and I’m used to the much lower prices in Melbourne.

Even after months here, I still cover my eyes and let out a sad whining noise whenever I get close to the berry displays. I’m not paying 5 euros for a small handful of blueberries. But damn it, I’m tempted.