chocolate

(h)Eden(e) in Paris

I can't quite come to terms to the voluptuous beauty of Paris, how can it be so firm, just like a mother who wouldn't accept a "no" as an answer, yet so harmlessly heartbreaking from its roofs up until its roots, that is its islands to me. As a matter of fact the Romans, who won over the Gauls well over 2000 years ago, decided to provide them with the islands of Lutetia ('Île de la Cité and Île Saint Louis) in order for them to be near the water, thus control any forms of commerce. The Romans, on their side, would have kept what is today known as the left bank and that's where and how the Paris, as we know it today, was born. I personally have a soft spot for these 2 floating, somptuous islands in the middle of the city of lights. I love to walk around them, the cold yet gently dry breeze of Paris accompanying my errands. And I love to discover that a legacy is kept alive giving place to evolution even. I'm talking about the oldest Fromagerie in the very heart of Rue Saint Louis en l'Ile, precisely located at number 38. In a place that was once the beating heart and soul of artisanal old Paris, suddenly closed down for the passing away of its owner and cheesemonger charmer, two young entrepreneurs have taken over as of 3 years ago. Experts in the art of selecting epicerie fine, as people call it over here, these twenty something young merchants can suggest the finest food products available on the market. And if you fancy a wine or cheese lesson for that matter, then you're in for a ride, and a treat.

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That's how I came to know the most refinely delicious honey I ever came across. The name of the product alone, Hedene, rings a bell as to a few ethereal concepts: one linked with the first, most perfect garden as told by the Christian tradition and the other connected with hedonism, the argued capacity to live in strict connection to pleasure, as a good friend of Dorian Grey would suggest him at the beginning of the celebrated novel by Oscar Wilde. It appears, there's a honey to accompany any given moment of the day. The texture and smell would change and increase according to the time, season and occasion. Therefore, the acacia would be an interesting alternative to sugar in morning coffees or teas, while a taste of the pine tree would take you straight to a fable involving fairies and magic; to be honest though, the cream of the crop was the Miel Bourdaine, splendid for the festive season. I tasted it with a Comté cheese, which I've been told was produced in the Jura valley, east of France. This scrumptious cheese has been refined in the Charles Arnaud fruitière (a place where milk is processed into cheese).

If you thought that beautiful patterns were limited to textile only, think twice. This teeny tiny deli shop celebrates chocolate by providing the very well wrapped tastes of cocoa beans collected and produced in Saigon (Vietnam). I almost fainted when I had a first bite, luckily it was just before my movie night on my couch, hence I had an excuse I couldn't possibly drop to finish it. No wonder why Marou chocolate has gained many awards for its integrity, in workplace and taste buds alike.

With love, honey, chocolate and cheese,

Eleonora

WTF - Where's the Food?

There's nothing nicer than sitting down at brunch on a weekend to a table filled with handmade delicious goods. It's even nicer to extend this pleasure to the rest of the week by opening up little pots of heaven at one's need. Really, there's nothing worst than coming back to a sadly empty fridge on a post-work Monday night and shouting: WTF (Where's The Food?) foto-149

So I made myself a few pots of spreadable white chocolate, almonds & red-fruits cream , a perfect solution for midweek blues. And here is how I got started with this incredibly easy recipe:

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  Ingredients for 500 gr. of White & Red Harmony:

  • 170 gr. excellent white chocolate (the most exquisit quality you find, the better)
  • 100 ml. full double cream
  • 1 tiny pinch of salt
  • 125 gr. fresh blackberries
  • 125 gr. fresh raspberries
  • 150 gr. caster sugar
  • 50 gr. peeled almonds

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First thing first, you will need three saucepans for this recipe, so make sure you are equipped with them: one will be half filled with water to gently melt chocolate at baine marie mode. Once the chocolate has liquefied, add that bit of salt and white cream. Now, get those beutiful almonds (which are excellent to strenghten your immune system) and mince them with the help of an electric grinder, before inserting them into your white chocolate mixture. Let it all cool down in the fridge for 20 minutes.

In another saucepan, put the red-fruits fantasy, add the caster sugar and let it cook gently while crushing the fruits with the help of a wooden spoon for a few minutes. The reason why we're using caster sugar is simple: it mixes easily with the fruits, making the whole cooking process a lot quicker. Once this fruity pan comes to a boil, let it simmer for about 3 more minutes, then put it to rest in the fridge for 10 minutes.

At last, have ready a few marmalade pots, do make sure they're sterilized before use. Fill each one of them by alternating the white chocolate & almonds cream with the red fruits fantasy. Now your White & Red Harmonies are ready and you can store them in the fridge for about 15 days. You can enjoy this cream on a slice of bread. Or two. Or three, even.

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Have a wonderful week!

Eleonora

My tasty week...Singing in the rain

It rained cats and dogs here in Rome, for the entire week. Hence I've been "singing in the rain", as Gene Kelly would have rightly put it. And amazing flowers blossomed just right. I purchased a bunch of parfumed buds to use them in some recipes over the next days. SingingInTheRain

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1ZYhVpdXbQ

I was able to grasp a unique ray of light early yesterday afternoon, which gave my South Tyrol apples (which I talked about in a previous post) a glowing appeal.

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I'm trying to cleanse up my whole metabolysm by eating loads of seeds and veggies. Also Potassium Citrate tablets help. This fennel salad (pictured below) with parsley and almonds took no time at all to make and was incredibly delicious with its lemon and poppy-seeds vinaigrette.

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I couldn't maintain all my greens fresh for these long and rainy days if it wasn't thanks to the invaluable vacuum-sealing machine which keeps my food from going soft and soggy for over 5 days.

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I was lucky enough to enjoy a winter sea storm, which inevitably puts everything at its place, inside out. I couldn't refrain from purchasing a couple of tempting mullets. And then I asked myself: should I spoil their sparkling colour? No way! Still, I had to turn them into dinner...Therefore I cooked them plainly with extra virgin olive oil and let their gorgeous self be the protagonist of one of my clandestine dinners.

On the importance of chocolate. The picture of this handmade scrumptious cake talks for itself, and for all of our food cravings, which shall be indeed indulged during the coldest winter evenings.

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And, on this sweet note, I wish you all a wonderful weekend!

Eleonora