Fools do rush in…

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With the best intentions of updating my blog regularly while I was in France, it just did not happen 🙂  But now I am back home and sorting my photos of the eclairs I did try on my French sojourn.

In typical fashion when there are eclairs nearby, I moved quickly on my arrival in France. The setting of my first éclair, was a small park where I sat in the (low UV) sun and ate lunch, with the éclair tucked away for dessert.  This park was a little scant in the inspiration department for a photo background, so I had to settle for where I was sitting which faced a children’s green frog toy.  Admittedly, this is not my best shot.  And it was a precursor for what lay ahead.

Things took a nose dive when I started eating the éclair. I was not rewarded with the smooth, creamy crème pâtissière that I have come to love, encased in light and sweet choux, rather a stodgy choux with what seemed like ‘Yogo’ dessert filling.  That’ll teach me to rush for the first éclair I see!

Well, this was day 1 after all, so I reassured myself that I had much more time to find eclairs…and that I did 🙂  This day was still lovely though, with a quick stroll on the way home to a lovely park. Ahhh, France in spring time.

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From France, for choux…

Aix en ProvenceFriends. They are the people you can rely on to be brutally honest, listen to you ramble about nothing for hours, laugh with you until you cry, and so it would seem, sample éclairs in France in your absence. This friend is one of the best kind. And this is my friend, Samantha. During her visit last week to see her family in the south of France, Samantha bravely checked out the éclair scene and provided me with the following report (merci Sam)…with an interesting and slightly shocking ending

Well Aix-en-Provence proved to be a minefield of hidden gems, in the form of delicious French patisseries. Here was cake heaven! Having ‘popped my head’ into every sweet smelling boulangerie and patisserie we passed on the narrow cobbled streets, I finally gave into the smell of freshly baked baguettes & brioche and fell victim to the mini sized patisseries on display. As is always the case when in France, the array of choice makes it impossible to decide which treat to opt for, therefore I was obliged to buy 15 mini patisseries in order to not leave any feeling left behind (disappointingly they did have to be shared at a family gathering).

At this point I spotted a couple of ‘baby’ chocolate éclairs looking rather lonely. As a favour to my good friend Hayley, I just had to have them! My sister kindly assisted me in this important quest and also opted to have one. It was definitely, as the French would say, très bon! Nice light choux pastry, filled with chocolate yumminess. In fact I’d have been quite happy if it had been filled with more crème pâtissière.

All in all it was a good éclair and frankly it’s life span was pretty short. However, (never thought I’d admit this) I still find it hard to top Hobart’s Jean Pascal version

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La Cuisine Paris share home cook pastry creations…including mine!

In the lead up to Bastille Day, La Cuisine have uploaded a number of their graduates home cooking snaps to their Facebook page. The éclairs I made a few weeks ago are included, alongside some very strong competition!

Here I was thinking my éclairs looked OK (of course with room for improvement), but compared to some of the other creations, they look a little drab. Macarons seem to be the most popular ‘re-create at home’ choice. I will stick with my éclairs.

Check out the La Cuisine Facebook page via the link below…it should open with my éclairs (as a baseline for all the other yummy treats)

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Ending with a classic…chocolat!

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It seems that even after all of the delicious éclairs I have sampled over the past 5 weeks, my favorite is still chocolate. While the pictured Chocolat Grand Cru, was not my pick of the chocolate éclairs, it was certainly a contender. Tasting very much like the hot chocolate at Jacques Genin, the cream filling was a winner. But I must say, for the beauty of L’Eclair de Genie’s creations, I find they taste a bit ‘factory floor’. They are lovely, don’t get me wrong, but after a few (I must have tried 7 or 8), they get a bit boring. Paris, thanks. It was a blast and I look forward to returning to continue the search. Now to get home to an éclair free zone. Phew!

The final countdown…and my ‘open plan’ éclair

ImageAfter mentioning earlier that I should pace myself, guess what I did? Went out on bought two éclairs! I only meant to get one…but temptation was too much. I have no self-control. 

Mix Noisette was a buttery, nutty, sweet concoction, with popping candy again featuring. I really do not think popping candy has any place on an éclair.  But maybe that’s just me. It was nice but I am not sure the gorging-like manner it was consumed in really did it justice.

One more to go before airport time…and doubt éclairs will be served in flight.

Today’s mantra…

ImageThis morning while feeling daunted about packing to go home, I received some words of wisdom. Barb emailed me and said, “Keep calm and eat an éclair”. Sound advice. And I think an éclair might help boost my wavering happiness levels today.

This has been an adventure that I do not want to end. There have been ups and downs, but I wouldn’t change a thing. The only thing I will do differently next time I am in France is to pace myself with éclair consumption.  I think I overindulged too early in my holiday and am now limping over the finish line.

Now, to get myself to a patisserie…