petite anglaise

March 23, 2005

gluttony vs willpower

Filed under: miam — petiteanglaise @ 3:40 pm

I bought three hens at lunchtime. Three milk chocolate hens, perched atop three chocolate wicker baskets, presumably filled with lots of little Easter goodies. I haven’t rattled them – in fact I barely dare approach the bag for fear of being overcome by a whiff of chocolate escaping from under the cellophane wrapping and succumbing to temptation. Which is why I am telling you there are THREE chickens. So that I can’t eat any of them between now and Easter Sunday. And if I mumble sheepishly upon arrival that one of said hens got smashed into smithereens when my hand luggage was scanned at the airport, DO NOT BELIEVE ME. Look for telltale signs of chocolate consumption around my and Tadpole’s mouths.

This is, after all, the same mummy who bought gingerbread pumpkins for her daughter and daughter’s playmates at Halloween and then ate all three in one sitting with a nice cup of tea. (In my defence, I thought the ginger flavour might be a bit too potent for 16 month old toddlers.) The same mummy who has bought a Lindt easter bunny, complete with red neck ribbon and dinging bell, with the last two Saturday’s groceries. At Tadpole’s insistence. And polished off each one, after allowing Tadpole to bite off the tips of their ears.

Sadly, the chocolatier I found within striking distance of my office only stocked traditional fare: eggs, chickens, bells, fish and rabbits. I was hoping to find at the very least a frog for him indoors, and some other more original gifts. A little forward planning probably wouldn’t have gone amiss, but somehow Easter has slunk up and pounced on me: the visit which seemed to be permanently several weeks away is now happening tomorrow. I winced at the price tags (yes, they do look home-made and artisanal, prettily wrapped in patterned cellphane with their yellow ribbons, but they also cost rather more than your average Dairy Milk egg.)

I have a vivid memory of a visit to a chocolatier in the rue de Courcelles (17th arrondissement) where I once shopped for Easter fare. I marvelled at the divine smell which permeated the tiny shop, wondering if it was possible to get a seratonin high from just breathing it in, and subsequently got chatting to the shopkeeper about how superior French easter chocolates were to the pre-packaged, supermarket-bought eggs I had known in the UK. The flattery paid off – it never hurts to pander a little to a French person’s innate superiority complex, I find – and the lady offered to show me behind the scenes, around the laboratoire du chocolat where her husband and son worked their cocoa magic. Oh the heavenly aroma which the vat of melted chocolate gave off as it waited to be poured into a multitude of different moulds.

Would Mademoiselle like to taste one of the little fishes?

Mademoiselle most certainly would. Mademoiselle would also like to know if it would be possible to ask for their son’s hand in marriage.

15 Comments

  1. The mere description of the aroma of chocolate in the shop sent me slinking off to the kitchen where I scoffed the last Flake Praline bar (why, oh why do Cadbury’s have to come up with ever more ingenious temptations?). I purchased a Crunchie egg for my son yesterday without succumbing to the urge to sweep the entire shelf’s worth into the trolley. I know British chocolate (which came close to suffering the ignominious fate of being labelled “vegelate” in the notorious directive) is rubbish by comparison to the French hand-made and Belgian varieties, but my tastebuds were conditioned to it from an early age…I hope you have a pleasant stay back home over the egg-rolling season.
    :smile:

    Comment by Chameleon — March 23, 2005 @ 5:44 pm

  2. Oooh I’d love to be going back to England this weekend, mainly because it cannot truly be Easter if I haven’t spent at least three evenings walking back and forth from sofa to cupboard containing secret stash of mini eggs. And I have none! Bring me back a suitcase full, would you?

    Comment by l'autre — March 23, 2005 @ 6:01 pm

  3. oh, how i have dreamed of being the chocolatiers’ son. how i have dreamed.

    nicely written!

    Comment by brando — March 23, 2005 @ 6:05 pm

  4. Mmmm, yes, first French Easter is putting a little strain on my tiny bank balance. So aesthetically pleasing, so stomach-grumbly good.

    If you’re looking for Easter Heaven, I highly recommend Aux Pipalottes Gourmandes, at 49 rue de Rochechouart, a kind of traiteur/deli/restaurant. HIGHLY worth the trip to the north, I take everyone there and they all exclaim “How French!” because it’s beautiful and cosy and tasty and friendly and packed with good things to eat.

    The lady who runs it will sit you down with a pot of tea and let you taste, and then charge you a fortune, but you don’t have to think about that until afterwards.

    Comment by EasyJetsetter — March 23, 2005 @ 6:06 pm

  5. I bought one of those Lindt goldwrapped bunnies with the bell on a red ribbon, for the young son of some people I was working with. Despite being twice at their house, I always forgot to take it with me, and so – alas – was forced to eat it myself.

    Comment by udge — March 23, 2005 @ 10:04 pm

  6. I can’t stop it – reading this post has sent me into such a foodlust that I think I have to go out and buy my OWN chocolate bunny.

    Comment by sammy — March 23, 2005 @ 10:10 pm

  7. I received a chocolate bunny yesterday as early Easter gift, but unfortunately was not of “French” quality. Anyhow, it satisfied a crave, and made me love him still a bit more.

    Comment by Cal — March 24, 2005 @ 4:38 am

  8. Our local chocolatier does frogs Petite, I’ll get you a couple and bring them to the next blogmeet!

    Comment by Antipo Déesse — March 24, 2005 @ 6:13 am

  9. By the way, you might want to show Tadpole this hilarious and very cute Easter Bunny link: http://www.grayace.com/dex/bunny.html

    Comment by Antipo Déesse — March 24, 2005 @ 6:14 am

  10. must’ve been chocolate vibes in the air yesterday, I blogged on the subject of easter chocolate too!! :D Congrats on your mention in expatica also! ;)

    Comment by Nathalie — March 24, 2005 @ 9:25 am

  11. For next time, perhaps. I have found a fantasticly original chocolatier in Paris for those looking for a different chocolate experience.

    Thierry Bonnet is a self-described ‘Fleuriste du Chocolat’. His cute shop can be found near Ecole Militaire, where he displays his ‘flowers’ made of chocoloate. Imagine a florist with wonderfully different flowers, diffent colours, shapes and all edible. He will make you a custom bouquet or you can select one of his pre-made arrangements.

    I bought one of his pre-arrangements for my parents last christmas, they loved it, but found it difficult to destroy the beauty of it by eating it!

    I am not on a commission (honestly), its just that is an amazing shop and is worth having a look… 49, av de la Bourdonnais, 75007 (http://www.lefleuristeduchocolat.fr/com)

    Comment by aEuropean — March 24, 2005 @ 9:45 am

  12. You should see the eggs Marks and Spencer are selling this year. £60 for a huge(but hollow) egg wrapped in polythene and £30 for a huge (but also hollow) rabbit. Its such a shame for us staff when one breaks and we have to eat it rather than send it back.

    Comment by Beckyjsbx — March 24, 2005 @ 10:42 am

  13. This is actually one time that I miss being on the border with Bruxelles. By golly, those Belgiums really do get it right with the chocolate… kicking french butts out of town with their concoctions. There’s some guy on Pyrenees whose chocolatier name is like…. de Bruxelles… Eddie de Bruxelles??? Well, anyways, I walked in there about a month ago and bought 5 champagne truffles, just for me.

    As for easter chocolate, honey, I started destroying hens about 3 weeks ago. Hence this week’s diet, which does NOT seem to be working, what with nutella jars and all.

    Comment by nardac — March 24, 2005 @ 11:31 am

  14. This post and the comments are breaking my little American heart. I thought I could be happy with my Reese’s Peanut Butter eggs, but they pale in comparison.

    Comment by Bluegrass Mama — March 24, 2005 @ 3:26 pm

  15. I know that place! Rue de Courcelles. I went by it practically every day on my way to work last year, and looked and smelled and pined… But I couldn’t justify paying that much for so little. It’s about five times the price of the adverage boulangerie/chocolaterie chocolate.

    Comment by chri — March 25, 2005 @ 4:12 am


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