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Mori Yoshida

Mori Yoshida came up on my radar earlier this year, when I was researching this year’s crop of galette des rois but didn’t quite make the cut (it was a tough decision!). Its location is really not far from where we live, yet somehow I am only stepping into its door recently. With friends are coming over for dinner, I wanted to share some treats with them, plus I feel less guilty about picking up 5-6 different items in one go ;)

Mori Yoshida

Mori Yoshida

Helmed by a young Japanese pastry chef which gave its shop his name, its sleek interior the image of perfect Japanese minimalism, its space clean and airy, and of course, its display shelves hunger-provoking. I admit, I walked in with some expectation of Japanese flavours (think matcha, yuzu, azuki) in his pastries but lo and behold, French classics and fruity creations reign the day.

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13… A Baker’s Dozen

The trouble with Paris is there are way too many delicious spots for me to make the round. Each week I add yet another couple of places to try to my ever-growing list, so there’s never any moment where I thought “I have nowhere else new to check out anymore”. If anything, I wish I have a bigger eating out budget…

13 A Baker's Dozen

13 A Baker's Dozen

13 A Baker’s Dozen is a charming spot which has been hiding not-so-quietly in the Cour des Saints Pères. After being there with C recently, I can attest that while the high praises raised expectations, Laurel and her team surpassed them. Very easily at that too. A warm welcome greeted us to this packed dining room on a Saturday afternoon, and looking around, my stomach started to grumble and I couldn’t wait to dig into the “Fancy Brunch” I’ve been eyeing.

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We came, we ate, we went home happy

Growing up, prowling the pasar malam at least once a week for food was pretty much a given. Cheap yet delicious street food easily attracted the throng, and at some stalls, show up late and you can forget about tasting their goods. I miss the hustle and bustle of food preparation by the street, the perfection achieved by stall owners who have run their business for (often) decades. I also often chide my younger self for taking such wonderful thing for granted.

Le Food Market

Le Food Market

With the advent of globalisation, food truck and street food have arrived in Paris, although often with a price tag that had me mentally calculating how much more food I could buy at the same value and I’m not even taking into account currency exchange – just the figure! On the other hand, the joy that I get from reliving my childhood habit is kinda priceless, so who cares if I’m not one of the cool kids and I pay a wee bit more? Luckily, Le Food Market came along.

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SAaM: gua bao with a twist

My memory of large banquet dinners while growing up: they were noisy affairs, with a menu that was pretty much the same from one dinner to another, in large multi-purpose halls that were too stuffy for a crowd of several hundred, most of whom I did not know nor recognise but they’d all inevitably identified me as my great-grandparents’ great-granddaughter, or my grandparents’ granddaughter. (Ah yes, I was never my own person back then…) One of the messier dish to eat would be braised pig’s trotter, served with pacman-like buns on the side, and we were supposed to make our own bun sandwiches by stuffing the braised meat – or fat, if you were too slow on the uptake – then chomped away.

SAaM buns

SAaM buns

It was an upgraded version of these gua bao which awaited us at SAaM when my friends and I popped over recently for a food- and gab-fest. Five versions of buns were served in this small but quaint eatery, not overly crowded for a Saturday lunch, with four staff holding the fort between the front house and the open kitchen. Each has been given a Korean twist, although still as messy to eat as I remember from all the years gone by. ;)

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Hero: Korean fried chicken and cocktails

The mercury climbed past 33°C and the air was still. If I could have gone to work in tank top and shorts, I would have – hey, we don’t have air-conditioning in the office – but since that wasn’t an option, a summer frock was my best bet although it may have pushed the limit on “workplace-appropriate attire”… ;)

Hero Paris

Hero Paris

I was out with Vivian and her friend, B, for a catch-up session and to check out Hero, a recent addition to the dining scene in Paris. The restaurant was not as busy as we thought it’d be, but in that heat, most people were probably (illegally) dipping their feet in one of the many fountains around the city. That, and I guess quite a few people would have also left for the summer vacation?

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A taste of Singapore, in Paris

Something caught my eye when I clicked through this week’s Paris event listing. Did it say there’s a small Singaporean street food market at the Berges de Seine for a few days? I immediately forwarded the article to Wee Ling and managed to persuade F that we should check it out. He agreed. *Happy dance*

Saveurs de Singapour

Saveurs de Singapour

I arrived just ahead of my meeting time with F, so I scoped around to see what’s there. A tent from which you get your food vouchers from – purchase strictly by cash so find an ATM beforehand! – followed by a few tents where food were served from, and a large tent as “main kitchen” I guess. And I spotted signs reading “satay”, “chicken rice”, “bak kut teh”, “Indian mee goreng” and “bandung/chendol”. Starting to get hungry!

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Delicious Danish eats

You know we’ve got to talk about Danish food at some point, no?

Much as I wish I could report back on an experience chez Noma, that did not happen because it’s so freaking difficult to get a table, not to mention the risk of going into an overdraft given how puny my salary is by comparison to the living standard in Denmark. But, there were plenty of delicious things to eat at more wallet-friendly prices *phew*

Danish cuisine

Danish cuisine

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Siseng

It appears I’ve been flitting in and out several “hip” eating places lately, and Siseng Asian Food Bar is one of them. Each time, I feel just as awkward as ever besides the stylish folks (although I do question the decision of a man stepping in with a bathrobe from a hotel as his coat – F was there too so he can attest to this!) until the food was set in front of me. Then, all else was forgotten and my taste-buds got to monopolise my thoughts.

Siseng

Siseng

After New York, London and Hong Kong, bao burger has landed in Paris, thanks to Siseng. White, pillowy steamed buns replace the traditional sesame burger buns, and two different versions are available: bao burger kaï – marinated chicken burger with coleslaw, red pepper confit and a sauce of basil and coconut milk, or bao burger 5 épices – 5 spiced-marinated beef steak with rocket, spinach, onion confit, onion rings and a sauce of caramelised tamarind. They were juicy and the Asian-fusion flavour combination hit the right spots for me personally. The mid-week lunch menu comes with a serving of sweet potato fries, which makes a nice change from the usual french fries, and housedrink of the day for €15.

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Ellsworth

It seems la rentrée is not the only time of the year when we ponder which among the many new restaurants to eat in; there has been a spate of openings of late and by the Palais Royal, Ellsworth popped up on the ground floor of a building that’s currently under works (I thought I’ve got the address wrong when I first noticed the scaffolds) just steps away from its sister restaurant, Verjus, and helmed by Hannah Kowalenko, formerly a sous-chef at the latter.

Ellsworth

It was A’s birthday and as a treat, together with a couple of friends, we headed over for a celebratory lunch. The menu was small (just what I like in places I eat) with three options per course, and priced at an affordable €18 for 2-course and €24 for 3-course meal. FYI, in the evening, Ellsworth transforms into a tapas place with small plates to share, and come Sunday, there’s even brunch to be had. Could this be some kind of square peg for the city?

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Randomly: Food

Eat in, eat out, does it matter which? Sure, I haven’t been cooking nor baking as much at home lately, and the next couple of months will unlikely to see an increase in kitchen-y activities for me as we have a good few trips coming around. And when I do, things are kept easy and simple, leaving the fancier stuff to the professionals and all I need to do is order them. ;)

Food

Food

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Chocolate chips and sweet wine cake

We opened a bottle of Banyuls a few weeks ago and somehow still haven’t got round to finishing it up. Well, it can’t – and shouldn’t – sit in the fridge forever, so after rooting around the kitchen, I decided to whip up a batch of chocolate chips and sweet wine cake. It didn’t came out quite right though, so a second batch was prepared along with some ingredient adjustments. Edible, getting there. Third time was a charm, and hey, no sweet wine left! (And not enough self-raising flour either so I improvised with plain flour and baking powder mix.)

Chocolate and wine cake

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La Chambre aux Oiseaux

A cosy canteen with a touch of vintage chic, that’s how I’d describe La Chambre aux Oiseaux. Upon S’s suggestion and initiative on making the reservation a couple of weeks in advance, we met on a slightly overcast Saturday afternoon for brunch in this café just off the Canal St Martin. They run two seatings for brunch, at 11.30am and at 1.30pm, and they were busy during both services. Clearly a favourite among many of the crowd of very fashionably dressed Parisians – yours truly not included given how carelessly my wardrobe is put together… – and for good reasons: the service is friendly, the food is delicious, and the ambiance is homey.

La chambre aux oiseaux

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Gwon’s Dining

For anyone looking for a good and classy Korean restaurant in Paris, with a menu that has more than bibimbap or garlicky fried chicken – don’t get me wrong, those are good Korean staple dishes, but don’t you want to try something new? – search no more. You should book a table at Gwon’s. It’s perfect for a date night. ;)

Gwong's

Gwong's

Truth be told, we’d meant to eat here for a while now. Located mere minutes walk from home, there was no good excuse not to, especially since each time we peered through their windows, the place was busy and filled with Korean diners. However, its upmarket setting means it carries a price tag that says “for a splurge”, so we’ve been saving it for an occasion which finally arrived: the completion of the Paris Semi Marathon.

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Planting herbs

When we moved last year, I had a wee shopping spree chez Ikea and apart from the bookshelf and dining table and chairs, I dropped a couple of herb kits into the basket too. I discovered the kits sitting sadly in one corner of my kitchen, forgotten, so I guess now is as good a time as ever to rescue them and fulfill their destiny.

Herb garden

Herb garden

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La Cuillière en Bois

We used to go to a particular crêperie at least once a month, and we brought just about every one of our visitors there, who loved it too. We were therefore fairly sad when the brother-and-sister team decided to sell their business. While we had been back there under the new ownership, things were just not the same anymore.

La Cuillière en Bois

La Cuillière en Bois

We started to test a few other crêperies near us but failed to find one that we really like. Incredulous, in a manner of speaking, since we lived near Montparnasse – the veritable neighbourhood filled with crêperies! We found some of the more famous ones served something very average, and horror, even pre-cooked galette. A crime, if you ask me.

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Food I’m missing

Barely back in Paris and I’m hankering for Malaysian food. Apparently a fortnight was hardly enough for me to eat to my heart’s content, and boy did I eat. Gone was the 3 meals per day “rule” which got easily doubled up when different people tried to feed me at different times of the day. Not only that, I wouldn’t even think about photographing the food but just grabbed the plate/bowl and started wolfing them down. The damage? Just under 3kg of weight gain… (eeep!)

Malaysian noms

Malaysian noms

From homemade favourites such as popiah, mee suah (longevity noodles in Chinese red wine – not shown), bak chang and assam laksa – made upon request; my aunt and grandaunts are simply awesome! – to eating out as well as trying to finish up Chinese New Year meals, it was a full-fledged makan-thon! My family was not the only people enthusiastic in feeding me, my close friends put in major contribution too! Had I remembered to photograph everything, this post is going to be very, very long indeed.

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Pâtisserie Myu Myu

It seems there was a silver lining afterall in finding the Pâtisserie de Choisy closed on a day when I really needed to buy some fresh Asian/Chinese pastries for G’s going-away do the next day. This ex-colleague of mine had just returned from a trip to Hong Kong and was pondering why there aren’t any dessert shop in Paris similar to those I recommended to him. He absolutely adored them.

Myu Myu durian cake

Myu Myu durian millefeuilles

In my attempt to hunt delicious alternatives, I stumbled upon Pâtisserie Myu Myu mere minutes walk away, tucked away in a small street off Avenue de Choisy among residential buildings and would easily go unnoticed. It also doubles up as a salon du thé for those wishing to stay there for a bit.

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Dining Izakaya – 6036

Last year, Chef Haruka Casters – formerly of Abri, where I had great meals with family and friends but a nightmare to get into nowadays – striked out on her own and opened up a small, 14-seats izakaya in Belleville. Its name 6036 represents the distance, in miles, separating Paris and Tokyo, but here, the two food cultures are closely wed to make an interesting Franco-Japanese meal, tapas style.

Izakaya 6036

Izakaya 6036

The menu here changes regularly but there are seemingly some staples (onigiri, cold cuts of Galice and Belotta, St Nectaire or Comté, macha crème brûlée), others rotated and appear every so often, and some depending on the season. A good mix, I would say, for a menu of approximately 10-12 items: 7-9 savoury, 1 cheese and 2 desserts. On the late November night we were there with a few friends, we tasted 10 of the 12 items possible, skipping out on the soup and the carbonara.

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Feasting on galettes des rois

January can only mean one thing in our household – it’s open season for galette des rois! It seems the limited time availability only fueled my hunger for more, so this addiction is unlikely to go away anytime soon. However, after two seasons of buying small/single portion galette des rois on a nearly daily basis, this year, a change of strategy. We would buy only at the weekends, and fancy galettes des rois are on the table. * happy dance *

Galette des rois

A whopping eight galettes des rois had came through our door so far. Well, we started early this year, over the New Year’s long weekend, before Epiphany officially kicked off. It made sense since C&M were staying with us and C loves them as much as I do! We’ve largely stuck to one galette des rois per weekend-day rule, except yesterday when we had a small tasting party with friends; three galettes des rois were served and today we’re having none. It was a “sacrifice” I’d gladly make because it’s a lot more fun to share them :)

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Neige d’Été

When I stumbled across an article recently that pointed to a new praiseworthy restaurant in my neighbourhood (mere 5 minutes walk from home is a bonus!) it’s a no-brainer that I should check it out. Taking advantage of the fact that we have visitors to entertain over the new year period, we need no further excuse to try snagging a table. What’s nice – for once, we were not working so we could even opt for the more budget-friendly lunch menu.

Neige d'Été

Neige d'Été

Neige d’Été (a somewhat whimsical “summer snow”) is discreetly located, with nary a sign pointing to its existence, until you’re right at the entrance and see the name palely etched across the glass of the door. Its interior – work of Japanese architect Shinku Noda – of minimalist features with shades of white is punctuated by occasional colours from the bouquet of fresh flower near the door and earthy tones of the settees. It felt a tad delicate to step in. Even the cutleries were hidden from sight – check the drawer in front of you but be careful not to spill everything onto your lap!

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How to gain a few kilos in a week

First, there were dim sums. Then, came desserts. There were even some street food/ snacks. But, as you may have guessed, I was not done with eating yet. I dare not step onto the weighing scale when I got home from Hong Kong, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I’d put on a few kilos; my jeans felt snugged… /whistles

Food in Hong Kong

Food in Hong Kong

For someone who is not big on biscuits and cookies, I had fun tasting a large range of goodies offered at Kee Wah Bakery and Koi Kei Bakery. There are multiple branches for each of these famous bakeries, with friendly staff that really want you to know how delicious their treats are and why you should buy a few more packet of everything. Guess who was the sucker who hand-carried boxes of delicate egg rolls back to Paris?

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Chinese desserts galore

One Chinese New Year many moons ago, I organised a dinner in Dublin for 35 friends and colleagues. In keeping with the theme of the meal – Chinese dishes which non-Chinese can’t find on their version of the menu (the restaurant owner was very nervous when he saw 35 non-Chinese walked in with me because I had pre-ordered some very traditional dishes!) – I had specially ordered red bean soup for dessert. The meal was a great success but I wish I could say the same about the dessert; a majority of the diners abandoned it after a spoonful or two, and proceeded to order frozen desserts available in just about every Chinese restaurants in Europe (you know which one I’m talking about, right?).

Asian desserts

Asian desserts

It is true that Chinese desserts are not very conventional by European/Western standards. Many are in the form of warm soup or custard, the ingredients often include beans or seeds or nuts, there are glutinous and/or jellied textures… I could go on, but that’s no reason to confine Chinese/”Asian” restaurants’ dessert menu to ice cream, frozen stuff, and at a push, banana/pineapple/apple fritters. If bubble tea and the chemically-induced flavours could gain popularity in the West, why not other desserts too?

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More dim sum, please

Even prior to landing in Hong Kong, I knew what I wanted to eat – dim sum! There are a few dim sum places in Paris, some better than others, but I miss those that I get in Asia which somehow always tastes better and comes in more variety. I know, this could just be the biased Asian in me speaking. ;)

Dim sum

Dim sum

Four of my six lunches in Hong Kong constituted of just dim sum. The first among them was at a small place called Ding Dim in the Central district, and we were so glad to dig in our food that not even a single photo was taken. Two of the next three dim sum restaurants I went to were noticeably packed with Asians and barely a couple of token Caucasians. If they were, I’d hazard there have been a lot of cart peeking and dish pointing instead of ordering, unless they are long term residents in Hong Kong. Fun times!

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Not your average traiteur: Jin Xin Lou

When I was a young visitor to Paris who barely spoke French donkey years ago, the first time I noticed the sign “traiteur” while walking around town, I wondered out loud “how could a Chinese takeaway be a traitor” (yes, it’s usually outside a Chinese restaurant/ takeaway that you’ll see the sign). My friend chuckled. “Nobody’s a ‘traitor’; the word traditionally stems from giving yourself a treat at home – i.e. dine in but don’t cook. However, today, it simply means a caterer or a takeaway.”

Anyway, I digress.

The recommendation of a friend of a friend brought us to my old neighbourhood of Cité U to check out a restaurant within a restaurant. Or more accurately, a French restaurant within a Chinese traiteur. Tucked away on a street at the edge of 13ème, bordering the 14ème and near the périph, you’d easily walk past without even noticing it. There’s not much to shout home about the decor and this is not a place for a romantic dinner à deux either. Yet, at 7.30pm, on a Saturday night when the streets were eerily quiet in this corner of the city, the place was bustling. If you had not made a reservation ahead, you’d be out of luck.

Jin Xin Lou

Jin Xin Lou

Once seated, ask for the French menu; a small and regularly changed, but not the single-menu variety (like many of the trendy new openings), there are 2-3 options per course. Seasonal ingredients were prominently featured. But, first thing first, a small basket of prawn crackers appeared at the table. I got munching away, and perhaps enjoying too many pieces of them, that F confiscated them away in case I ruined my appetite. As if! :p

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Weekend eats

I don’t do brunch on a regular basis. In fact, I even suck at sleeping in. Any random Saturday morning, by 11am – the time when most people (or hispters?) grab their first bites of the day – I would have done my grocery shopping, ran a load of laundry, and probably planning what to cook for lunch. Nowadays, I’m even throwing in a swimming date with a friend into the mix. And on Sunday morning? F is supposed to “encourage” me to take a long jog in nearby parks.

Weekend eats

Weekend eats

Going to brunch is still a special occasion to me, usually for a irregular catch-up gabfest with a friend. Or to hangout with a visitor. I don’t have a favourite place to brunch, but it does give me an excuse to try out different spots around town. Most recently, when SL was in town and we were meeting in the neighbourhood around Canal St Martin, she let me led her to Holybelly so I could finally check it out.

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Dining in Lu.C.C.A. – L’Imbuto

It is no secret that F and I like eating in single menu – or no menu, depending how you see it – restaurants. We like to be surprised with something different, something that pushes our (usual) palate boundary, and more importantly, something that the chef creates based on what’s fresh and in season from the market. Even better combination, for us, would be a meal that’s creative yet home-y at the same time.

You may have noticed the lack of planning to our Italian trip thus far, relying mainly on serendipitous wandering around town for sightseeing, food, and gelati. Apart from knowing where we would be sleeping on any particular night, everything could happen. L’Imbuto (i.e. The Funnel) was the sole restaurant that I’d pencilled onto our itinerary, having seen it mentioned in an article about Lucca and got me all curious.

L'Imbuto

L'Imbuto

It was a tough self-debate if we should seek out Cristiano Tomei’s contemporary restaurant, or head to one of the local favourites which serves more traditional fares. We eventually decided an evening of out-of-the-ordinary meal over two weeks of traditional Italian could be a good culinary break. Our B&B host did make us doubt our decision for a moment, with his constant mention of how “special” this restaurant is, according to his friends.

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Home-made soya milk

Growing up, buying and drinking soya milk is a simple thing. Soya milk is available fresh daily if anyone is inclined to drink it everyday, although we often ask the vendor to dial back on the amount of sugar syrup they add to the milk. Living abroad, it is no longer a staple for me because anything that I can find comes in a carton and lasts for months. These simply do not taste the same, and not for the better.

Home-made soya milk

Home-made soya milk

Even though I know making soya milk is not difficult, it can be rather time consuming. Because of the amount of effort required, it’ll end up being a big batch and then I’d run into the difficult of actually finishing everything within a short few days before they start to go off.

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Not hungry in Brest

When in Brittany, go to the crêperie. Actually, even if not in Brittany, if there is a good crêperie nearby, seriously, go. My favourite buckwheat galette is one filled with either andouille or andouillette (and we’re not talking about pork sausage here but good ol’ chitterlings!), preferably with an egg and mustard creme. This surprises quite a few people, especially concerned crêperie owners who wonder if I knew what I had ordered. They are usually happier with my sweet crêpe choice: salted butter caramel, with or without apple pieces.

Dining in Brest

Dining in Brest

Dining in Brest

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Wine and cheese tasting evening

As a newbie, I had much to learn at work. It is not unusual to see me still typing away or poring over documents at my desk when most of my colleagues leave for the day. I miss wandering the streets of Paris leisurely on my way home, since I’m cutting it pretty close nowadays to be back in time to prepare dinner. Well, a girl (and her partner) has got to eat, you know.

When I received an invitation from Imogen of Native Native a couple of weeks ago, asking if I would like to participate in a wine and cheese tasting evening that she was organising, my inner foodie wiggled a happy dance. “Oh yes, please!” (My inner busy bee did nag a little…)

Cheese tasting evening

Cheese tasting evening

Native Native aims to bring expat bloggers together for tailored events that introduce what’s new and innovative in France. For its June blogger event, it had partnered up with Les Nouveaux Fromagers and took us to the gorgeous tasting room of Ô-Chateau. F was just that bit envious when I told him about this tasting evening. I love cheeses and (certain) wines, but he’s an even bigger fan of these (proof: he’s 100% French) than me!

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Cook’n with Class

Thanks to a recent-ish Easter egg hunt over at Savoir Faire Paris, I won a spot on Cook’n with Class French desserts session. I duly made my way to Montmartre one Saturday afternoon, met three other fellow bakers (of which one was a fellow countryman – talk about a small world!) and started working under the guidance of Chef Pino, a wiry Italian with a passion for food, of course.

Cook'n with Class

Cook'n with Class

In the gleaming kitchen, we went through the work plan for the afternoon. In a short few hours, we were going to make five different classic French desserts – moelleux au chocolat, strawberry and chocolate roulade, crème brûlée, (reconstructed) tarte au citron and choux puffs – and in the order they were listed, due to some refrigeration time needed for some of these. Most of the ingredients were already weighed out and prepared ahead of the class, so we were able to efficiently churn out one dessert after another.

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