{Paris 5.8: Afternoon runs in the Parc du la Vilette and learning the Art of French Cooking}

There’s nothing better than waking up to the scent of intoxicating buttery viennoiseries wafting from the boulangeries in the morning.

A swirling golden staircase of flaky pastry studded with plump raisins.

I’ve been enjoying the occasional run to the Parc du la Vilette from my home base in the Canal Saint Martin. A beautiful modern landscaped park built over the site of a former slaughterhouses of La Villette. The park comes to life in the summer with concerts and open air film festivals and the cinema promenade winds around past ten futuristic themed gardens.

The park is home to the Cite des Sciences et de l’industrie which looks like something out of a 90’s sci-fi movie.

The coolest part of the building is the awesome geode planetarium which houses a 4,000 square foot screen inside. From the outside its mirrors reflects the surroundings and chimes soothing sounds, like a futuristic bell tower.

I’ve also started my cooking classes in Paris. Here’s a shot of the ceiling in the kitchen.

We made boulangerie worthy baguette traditionelle.

Golden crusty exterior..

And a springy fluffy interior. Check out all those air pockets! The key is to handle the dough very gently and as little as possible after it has risen.

We baked the most buttery and decadent braided brioche infused with orange zest and vanilla bean flecked with mini dark chocolate chips and topped with crunchy pearl sugar (the sugar used to decorate chouquettes).

And a glistening rum soaked raisin brioche round.

Finally, a sundried tomato fougasse scented with herbs de provence with a texture reminiscent of a foccacia. The perfect sandwich or dipping bread in a good quality olive oil and balsamic..Yum..

My most interesting class so far was definitely the meal we prepared utilizing techniques in Molecular Gastronomy.

We sipped on sidecar cocktails topped with Picon foam (a caramel coloured orange bitters) which was made in a fancy CO2 charged culinary whipper.

Here is my ‘ravioli’ with a freshly pressed carrot juice skin and filled with a creamy cauliflower puree.

Herb crusted pork tenderloin atop a puy lentil puree with a side of fresh apple foam.

We also made an unpictured deconstructed poached egg paired with a truffle scented mushroom veloute decorated with a crisp parsley chip. And for dessert…fresh mint caviar balls made through the process of spherification.

To go atop a rich yet airy dark chocolate mousse served up in a pretty oval verrine.

Next up..Advanced French Desserts..A gorgeous sheet of golden puff pastry with a caramelized sugar crust..

Cut into evenly shaped rectangles stacked up between layers of rich and silky praline creme patissiere (or as the chef liked to refer to as “pcp” cause its super addictive) to create a millefeuille.

Look at all those crisp golden layers and butter and pastry. That’s what gives you that shattering effect when you bite into it.  I ravenously consumed this beauty shortly after I photographed it.

We made a classic Paris Brest which is composed of a round of piped pate a choux topped with pearl sugar and slivered almonds..

Baked up in the oven, they kind of look like bagels, but are feather light.

Cut in half and piped with a creme patissiere au cafe. This thing was like the size of my head when it was complete. A heavy weight champion in the calorie department.

We whipped up the creamiest and smoothest chocolate ice cream I’ve ever tasted. Infused with gianduja, a sweet chocolate containing 30% hazelnut paste originating from Turin, Italy.

And last but not least, an elegant Fraisier – a two layer genoise sponge cake soaked with kirsch and strawberry simple syrup, enrobed in a soft creme legere vanille and decorated with halved strawberries along the bottom edge.

Finished off with a layer of shiny strawberry gelatin made with the leftover macerated strawberry juice.

Did I mention that we all got to take all these goodies home with us. My little Paris apartment fridge is overflowing with decadent treats..Not that I’m complaining 🙂

4 Responses to “{Paris 5.8: Afternoon runs in the Parc du la Vilette and learning the Art of French Cooking}”
  1. Mallory says:

    I cannot even begin to describe how jealous I am that you are taking cooking classes in PARIS! You should come back to Calgary and open up a patisserie with all of your new skills!

  2. Laina says:

    Hello! My fiance and I are planning a Paris honeymoon next year – can I ask where you found your accommodation? We’re looking to be there for about 3 weeks or so. Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Laina, I found my place on flipkey, its great because there are guest reviews and there are usually pretty comprehensive photos! Apartment is definitely the way to go, i loved buying my own food at the market and prepping at home, saves money and the quality of the food at the market is like no other.

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