Paris: my foodie heaven

I have recently floated off cloud 9 which consisted of a week in pastry paradise. It was hands down, one of the best weeks of my life so far. For a very long time, I have been almost obsessed with Paris, for reasons fairly obvious, even having never been there. So, to actually be there and see the sights right in front of my eyes was pretty amazing for me. I had a little bit of a heart attack the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower!
Eiffel tower
Now, to the food. We were really lucky to have snatched up a great little studio apartment in the bustling neighbourhood of Bastille (for Melbourne people, this would probably be the equivalent of Fitzroy/Brunswick), which was just to the east of the city. We could not believe our luck when we realised the Bastille Market – one of the biggest foodie markets in Paris, was literally at the end of our street. Winner! We headed down on a sunny Sunday morning to find delights such as crêpes, baguettes, cheeses, fresh fruit and veg, fresh seafood, curries and souvenirs.
Bastille market
The great thing about Bastille is that it is out of the main toursity area of Paris. This means great local restaurants, bakeries/patisseries on nearly every corner, and super-friendly French people – something we were not expecting. We had been told by so many people that the French did not like tourists at all and were quite unwelcoming. These people obviously stayed in super touristy areas in the city that are overcrowded and full of horrible, overpriced restaurants. Out of every country we have visited so far (6), we found the French to be the friendliest, which was fantastic. Our local bakery, Maison Laudemaine Voltaire, was our go to each day. It had the best baguettes we had ever tasted, and some pretty amazing desserts and pastries, too.
4 cakes
Baguettes
Two places I just had to try in Paris were, of course, Pierre Herme and Laduree. If you are not familar, they are both extremely well known around the world for their macarons and pastries (Pierre Herme also has amazing chocolates). I can safely say that I had the best macarons in Paris, which really is not a surprise at all. For me, Pierre Herme won by a mile. We bought a box of 7 macarons (we couldn’t afford any more!), and we were both in heaven. The flavours we chose included Salted Butter Caramel, Chocolate Passionfruit, Citron Praline, Rose, Violet Yoghurt and Giandjua Chocolate. My favourite flavour was Violet Yoghurt, and I think it was because I was not expecting it – it was such an interesting flavour, but so delicious. I will definitely try to create this flavour when I get home!
Pierre Herme
Pierre Herme shop
In comparison to Pierre Herme, Laduree’s macarons were unfortunately a bit disappointing. The flavours were pretty standard, but the fillings were quite runny – they just didn’t have the same finesse (sounds wanky I know, lol) as Pierre Herme. The pastries on the other hand, were amazing. We got a Saint-Honore Pomme Facon Tatin – which was a bit of take on an apple tarte tatin. It had this amazing caramelised puff pastry with tiny choux filled with salted caramel, caramelised apples and caramel chatilly whipped cream. Wow! I also had something I had been wanting to try for a long time – Ispahan. Ispahan is a big macaron filled with rose cream, lychees and raspberries. It was delicious.
Laduree collage
Finally, I also had my first French onion soup experience. It was definitely as magical as I imagined it to be!! It was so yummy, and was complete with gruyere croutons. Another one to try when I come home!
Onion soup
So, that ends our foodie adventures in Paris. There is still so much I want to see and do, and so much more food I want to try. Lucky I’m going back next year 😀 Follow me on Instagram for more travel photos – GemmaAsh
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Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Tart

All I can say is YUM! And….omnomnomnomnomnom! Omnomnomnom. Omnom. Nom. Nom. This mouthwatering tart had been a work in progress inside my head for a while, and I wanted to make it for my birthday, as I LOVE LOVE LOVE anything with peanut butter. I was pretty happy with how it looked, even though the pastry was a little rustic looking. Okay, it was completely rustic looking. Plus, I forgot to put sugar in the pastry :/ oops! But it was still pretty awesome, even if I say so myself!
Instagram
I’m sure you can already tell, but this tart was super, super rich. Especially after the amazing slab of pork belly I had for my birthday dinner, it’s safe to say I was bursting by the end of it all! This tart was heaven for me, and will be for anyone else who loves the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. It was fairly simple to make, too. It just requires a bit of organising and beginning things the day before. You don’t have to make your own pastry if you don’t want to, either. There are some pretty good frozen pastries around that will still work really well 🙂 The shortcrust pastry recipe I used, I probably wouldn’t recommend. It was ok, but there are heaps of better ones out there. Have a look here to check them out.
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Peanut Butter ganache (adapted from Donna Hay):
  • 1 cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of smooth peanut butter
  • 120g butter, chopped and softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste/extract
  • 2/3 cup (80ml) cream, thickened
  • Pinch of salt

Place sugar peanut butter, butter and vanilla in a bowl, and beat until light and fluffy (on high for about 5 minutes). Add the cream slowly and beat for another 2 minutes. If not using straight away, cover and refrigerate.

Pastry

Chocolate Ganache:
  • 100g dark chocolate (I used Green and Black’s 70% cocoa), chopped
  • 1/3 cup heavy thickened cream
  • 2 tbs butter
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until melted. Place in bowl and let cool.
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Assembly:
Once the pastry has cooled completely, you can start assembling. Spoon the peanut butter ganache over the pastry and spread it out with a spoon so it is nice and even. Pour cooled chocolate ganache over the peanut butter ganache and gently spread out with a teaspoon, being careful not to blend the peanut butter with the chocolate – you want to create two definitive layers. Ideally, it is best to refrigerate the tart overnight, but if you’re using it sooner, try and refrigerate it for the maximum amount of time possible.
Sliced
You don’t have to decorate the tart if you do not want to, it would look great with nothing on top. I had heaps of leftover peanut butter ganache hence why I did all the piping on top. It probably made it that much richer, but it certainly photographed well, I think 🙂
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