I am a true Francophile. I minored in French at College. The fact that I am in food now
has actually given me the chance to use more of my French than I ever thought I would.
Although I’m not terribly conversant in it anymore I can read it pretty well. So, I have an
ever-expanding library of french cookery books. In fact one walk-in closet of ours is our
home grown library, complete with wall to wall shelves. Alex has a trove of art history
books, and I have the books on cooking.
On our recent vacation to Paris I managed to drop a few dollars on Philippe Conticini’s
livre de la cuisine, Sensations. M. Conticini is the chef/owner of La Patisserie des
rêves, a beautiful little jewel box of a store. The center of the shop is taken over by a
huge round table that has refrigerated little pads. Each individual pad is covered with a
bell jar and these, in turn, are attached to a counterweight system so that when you lift
the bell jar from the pad it is suspended in mid-air while you take your pastry off the
cooled pad. Pretty ingenious and quite beautiful.
It was here that I bought the book. And I’m glad I did. I have many French Patisserie
books but his I think will rank right up toward the top.
It’s weird, I don’t really use these books for their recipes. i have my own cache of those.
Enough so that I think I could write my own cookbook. No, I use these books as
reference. To keep me up to date, if you will. And, if nothing else, the photos in these
books are awesome. Especially this one by Conticini. You can really catch the essence
of the food in these mouth-watering photos. Pretty nice. Here are a couple pics of
some of the Pastry items from France.
You’ll have to pardon the not so great shape some of them are in. I had to make my
way to many shops in on afternoon. By the time I got back to the hotel they had been
batted around quite a bit.
In total we tasted items from Pierre Herme, Pain et Sucre, Hugo et Victor, La Patisserie
des rêves and Patrick Roger (chocolatier), and Aoki (a Japanese pastry chef making
quite a splash in Paris).
Next our culinary trip of Paris.