Sexy Glace Glazed ice cream at David Lebovitz signing

When David Lebovitz has a book signing, I’m lucky enough to be able to hop on a metro or Velib’ and go along and say hi. But I’ve now got all his books. And he’s signed them all. So should I really bother him this time? My heart flutters too much and I turn into an idiot in his presence however hard I try not to. He’s only (an inspirational) human.

This time he gave me a good enough reason though.

Ice cream. Or rather the Haute Couture of Paris ice cream he’d invited along.

Food trucks are still trending in Paris. And Henri Guittet at Glaces Glazed completely shakes up the idea of the classic British ice cream van.

But, there was no food truck in sight when I got to the venue. Henri had parked up on a table inside La Cuisine cooking school, which overlooks the Seine and is just behind Paris City Hall. Just as well as the temperature was half what it’d been the previous day and the sky had turned back to umbrella weather.

But that wasn’t going to stop me trying a little “Cococaine”, what Henri has called his coconut and Hyaganatsu sorbet. Hyaganatsu? Another Japanese citrus fruit somewhere in between a pomelo grapefruit and yuzu.
And a scoop of “Smoke on the Water”, really vanillery vanilla with hemp seed (a kind of nutty flavour that is now on the next bring back from England list).

And while delecting those I chatted with Henri (I did pop up to say hello to David and gibber a bit while he was packing up). I’d assumed that the name Glazed came from the French glacé which means iced but also glazed, or glace which if you speak a little French you might know is ice cream. But it turns out the play on words goes even further than that and back to fashion, as glacé is also the paper in glossy magazines.

And okay a scoop of “Pussy Griottes”, a cherry sorbet with blackcurrant pepper (no mistake), which is actually ground blackcurrant buds and has an almost umami taste, not at all sweet but not sour, nor tangy, the flavour of which has serious texture.

And stop. Although as someone always on the hunt for new and unusual flavours and combinations, I can see myself getting addicted. The ice cream or sorbet is not too sweet, but incredibly seductive. Henri speaks my language (and good English).

A little Black Sugar Sex Magic (dark chocolate sorbet with wasabi and ginger) was tempting but would have been taking things a little too far for me on a Sunday afternoon though.

If you like exclusive clubs you can sign up to be one of the privileged few to get one of the 250 keys released each quarter to have the right to 1/2 or a litre of ice cream/sorbet a month delivered to you and get to vote on new flavours amongst other privileges.

Glaces Glazed would not be out of place in a hot Paris jet set soirée “arrosée”, but rather than extinguish the heat, I reckon Henri’s ice creams would make it sizzle even more.

If you want to have it work its magic on you, you can find the Glaces Glazed truck behind the Publicis drugstore on the Champs Elysées this summer, or have a look at the website or Facebook page for outlets.




Grease with no burgers at Cinema Paradiso

France has definitely been having a bit of a thing about all things sterotypically American recently. Unlike America with France (too many beasties in mimolette, seriously?). We’ve got cupcakes in Paris. We’ve got burgers in Paris. We’ve got food trucks in Paris. And now an American drive in movie theater in Paris. Or at least a pop up one. Pop ups are trending in Paris now.

As soon as I read about the Cinema Paradiso Drive in at the Grand Palais I wanted to go. Grease was showing! Grease is probably my all-time favorite, life-shaping movie.

But I forgot to be in the right place at the right time online and missed out on a ticket. So I settled for signing up in case any more were put on sale. And bingo about ten days later, although it was like looking for a golden ticket in a Willie Wonka chocolate wrapper as it took 35 minutes of refreshing the saturated website to manage to snatch just one ticket. For a second showing at 11.45 pm. On a Thursday (work) night.

The Grand Palais in Paris is not a large palace in Paris. It’s rather a huge, beautiful greenhouse, being topped with with a big verriére, or glass roof, with art deco ironwork inside. It’s used for various temporary exhibitons or events, like art shows or catwalks.

But this time they put a diner in it. And not only a diner, a roller rink, a host of old and newer computer games, a nightclub and a drive in.

I’d been hoping to continue my non-meat burger testing at the Nouveau Palais diner but they didn’t have anything I could eat apart from a petit mac’n’cheese. They didn’t even have any fries, only chips and I don’t mean English chips, but American (which is also the French, which they pronounce “sheeps”, with the “s” for once).

I had better luck after queuing at the Omnivore stand for a salmon wrap.

And for dessert I queued for a frozen yogurt with toppings. Fruit, but Asian exotic fruits.

Queuing was the main activity apart from the video games through the decades or roller rink or visiting the display of junk food, all imported exclusive American products. It was rather like visiting a museum even though you could buy everything, but at 10 euros a box of cereal the displays were staying pretty intact.

But hey, I needed something to occupy me, I got there at 8 and the film was due to start not for a few hours.

I’d hopped up some steps to get this photo of the first showing of the film:

And when I turned round everyone who’d been sat on those steps had got up to start queuing for the film. So my plans to sit on the steps with them turned into stand… in the queue with them. At 10.15 pm.

So we queued, and continued queueing. Then ooh, shuffling. To a holding area where we could see the end of the 1st showing, and then more stationary queuing.

And finally I could sit down.
The drive in was if you were lucky enough to nab a 80-euro pair of tickets to actually sit in a car.

Otherwise you got the chance to sit on one of the deckchairs or mattresses on the advertised “hill” aka the flat concrete floor in front of the screen.
Or as I chose, the front row of the sets of classic seats.

Grease is the film I must have seen a thousand times. It’s also had a certain influence on me. The clothes, like pencil or full skirts (minus poodles), the 50s style, cars, the boys… And yet I was really young when it came out. But I can sing along to the songs. I can recite a good part of the dialogue. I have spotted mistakes in the film (have you noticed in the diner when the waitress switches off the light? Her elbow hits the wall!) and that’s of sorts what I do for a living now (not in film). And I’ve spent most of my life flitting between being a good girl and wanting to be a bad girl and sometimes succeeding. And I had a pair of those skintight black satin jeans she wears at the end. At age 9. They had blue piping down the sides.

It was fun to see some people had come dressed for the occasion, and I was surprised by the age of everyone, a long way from being born when the film came out.

The film finally started at midnight. The scenes rolled quickly, and I had to fight not to sing out loud (because that would have ruined it for everybody). I’d also wondered if there might be a kind of Mamma Mia atmosphere. Just a little, with some doing the arm choreography in Greased Lightening (Super Eclair in French, as suprisingly éclair also in lightening in French).

Occasionally the Superclub made its presence felt (it had superceded the roller rink and was nothing to do with a supperclub as you might read as I did for a split second if you’re among the food obsessed, despite putting on Club sandwich with Miss Kitten (presumably the DJ) on June 20). You can imagine the acoustics and sound, and even though we watched the film with headphones, it came pumping through.

And then the final scene. Sandy gets her makeover to get her guy, although these days that would be frowned upon, even though Danny did try to change. And they fly off into the sunset.

Was it worth it, all the queuing to watch a film I’d seen a hundred times, at midnight in a greenhouse?
What a question.

Cinema Paradiso was on in Paris at the Grand Palais from June 10 to 21.







L’Atelier d l’Eclair

After macarons and cupcakes, and a tentative attempt by cake pops and whoopies to get in on the scene, is the regal eclair going to be next up on the podium?

Two eclair emporiums have opened in Paris, both pretty high-end.

In the one I visited first the eclairs have none of the fun pastel retro tones of the cupcake business. L’Atelier de l’Eclair is a large space showcasing laqueured jewels. And wow, you need some euros in your wallet.

The minis, called cocktail size are about as big as my index finger. At least you feel you can try different flavours but at just under 3 euros a choice it quickly adds up.

You can actually have a meal, with a savoury and a sweet eclair, but there weren’t any savouries that fit my eating choices so I went with the cocktails.

And if you choose to enjoy your eclairs sur place, there’s a comfy area à la Central Perk in Friends at the back which is good for taking your weight off your feet if you’ve been trampling the cobblestones from Opéra. You’ll hear reminds that the metros nearby though.

The rose eclair Is sublimly presented.
The mango passion fruit was high on mango and nice and tangy, rather like a sorbet but I didn’t feel the passion fruit coming through. Makes you want to scoff ten.

I wouldn’t say it’s a meal because you don’t necessarily feel like you eaten one. A good things as we talking about eclairs. So it’s more of a light lunch or luxury gouter (French afternoon snack). You can get a salad too though to round it out. As it was towards the end of the afternoon on a weekday and 25 degrees outside it was about right.

Next time I go back I’ll try and go at lunchtime.

L’Atelier de l’Eclair
16 rue Bachaumont
75002 Paris






Foodspotting in Paris at Le Pearl

Around La Rentrée I managed to have Twitter up (as I’m not permanently plugged in) when a tweet popped up from Lost in Cheeseland, otherwise known as Lindsey Tramuta. Meet-up … Foodspotting… Food and drink. Le Pearl. Click on link, click on will be participating and that’s how I came to walk into Le Pearl, a chic and bijou restaurant on rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud the other week.

The Foodspotting app

It was one of those things, do you do fashionably late (my usual form) or get there from the go. I went for not on the dot of 7 but not long after, once I figured out which direction was up to the Pearl from the Oberkampf metro station. (Even with Google maps you still have to know left from right when the street you want runs across the one you want.)

I recognised Lindsey immediately, not only because she has a hugely successful I-want-one-of-those inimitable kinds of blogs about her life in Paris, but because she wasted no time in coming over to say hello. Co-organiser Amy Cao from Foodspotting in New York unfortunately had to stay in New York.

Lindsey introduced me to Sion Dayson, writer by day and blogger by night, to whom she had entrusted the brief to write up the evening for Girl’s Guide to Paris. I knew that Sion writes the blog Paris Imperfect and was surprised she was surprised I knew. (I also pretty much recognized her from her photo on the will be attending list.)

The aim of the event was to introduce Paris to Foodspotting, which could be seen on a laptop on one of the tables.

Foodspotting .com and app with Lindsey’s pics from places in Paris

Foodspotting is a restaurant review app and website where you let the food do the talking. Snap what you chose at dinner, or lunch, breakfast and share. It has social network leanings so you can also follow people with the same tastes in food as you,or that have good taste in food, plus foods you like and places. Plus pretty amazing localization powers, bringing up dishes spotted at the restaurant on a corner a stone’s throw from my street when I got it going.

I’d downloaded the app on my wannabe iPhone but hadn’t familiarized myself too much with it (I never could understand why people would pay bundles for an iPod Touch with such a small amount of memory until I realized that you could write on it. But mine doesn’t have a camera which makes using Foodspotting a bit more complicated. Counting down to the next iPhone…).

It was a drift in, drift out kind of evening which wrapped up around 11 pm. Those who got there in the earlier part had their €9.50 plateau dégustation of mini hamburger plus cheese and fruit served in verrines, which disappeared later, with the elements served ‘en vrac’. As I don’t eat meat they kindly obliged with a mini tuna steak. It certainly gave you a taste of what the restaurant serves up usually. I’ll be back…

The pocket-handkerchief-sized restaurant must normally cater about 20-30 covers which shows that with a rolling service, improvisation was key. Glasses for wine and cocktails also went from glass to plastic. It also means the turnout must have been on a par with that indicated on the RSVP at about 45+.

For me not knowing anyone and being the almost only Brit (I did hear one guy with a matching accent as the evening was breaking up and he was leaving) it was fine. Perhaps if I had gone with people we might have just stayed in our corner and not spoken to anyone. The mingling idea of the evening certainly worked and other Paris bloggers I met included Kasia Dietz of the (must have) bags named after her, Stephanie who writes at La Belle in France and has managed to get back to Paris to study, and Jennifer of Jennyphoria.

The thing about not stopping chatting with people though is you forget to capture the evening on your wimpy camera so this is the only photo I got of the ambience in the end!

I was supposed to introduce myself to Cat Beurnier, the Paris-based cupcake baker behind Sugar Daze cupcakes who organizes the Paris Cupcake Camp (No. 2 coming up on October 2). I’d been drooling over her cupcakes from my desk all summer… But one minute she was there, the next she’d disappeared.

I’ll definitely get back to Le Pearl sooner than later as the Canard au Miel (honey duck) caught my eye and the Trés Café Gourmand (coffee with possibly lots of miniature desserts). And you definitely have to go to see the tug-on-a-rope hand-operated “elevator” used by staff to descend to the basement.

Look out for that and whatever else I come across at GourmandeAbroad on or the Foodspotting app.

Find Lindsey on Foodspotting at LostNCheeseland and her write up of the event.

Le Pearl
46, rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud
75011 Paris
01 48 07 48 98

Back to School Dinner: Harry Potter’s Treacle Tart

I have managed to get to 2011 without knowing what happened at the end of the Harry Potter saga. I still haven’t read any of the books, apart from the first chapter of the first book. Twice. To my niece and nephew when they were about 7 and 8. They are now 17 and 18…

I remember first hearing about Harry Potter back in 1997, on the radio and just off the ferry driving back to my parents for Christmas. The thing that struck me was JK Rowling apparently didn’t want to Harry Potter to be represented in any illustrations, so that people could imagine their own Harry. It didn’t take long for the marketing monster to take over and she gave in.

My 14-year-old (at the time) stepson (now a doctor of physics) was extremely impressed to learn that I went to a school that resembled Harry Potter’s in terms of organization, and bombarded me with all sorts of questions about it. Our houses were boring colors though and we played hockey rather than Quidditch. Or at least I tried. Friends generally wielded hockey sticks like golf clubs. I managed to die my hair green once (never try blue hair spray on blonde highlights…) We did not have butter beer either.

So I haven’t read the books but I have been to see all the annual Harry Potter films, with two very good friends I meet for dinner regularly. For Part 1 of the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, one of us was unavoidably detained though and couldn’t make it, so we decided to make a day of seeing Part 2. Part 1 on the small screen to catch up, lunch, then part 2 on the big screen. And I insisted on doing lunch for the interval.

As we’ve already gone back to school with Chicken Fricassée, the dessert needed to follow suit. Rice pudding is the first that came to mind is a smear of red on the top that could never be called jam. I never knew what it. It looked somehow spilt. Definitely odd and completely unappetizing. To this day I cannot stand rice pudding.

But if treacle tart was on the menu though, you had to scrabble to get a piece of. Usually square, with a criss-cross of pastry and pouring of thick yellow custard. Although I’d pass on the custard.

And guess what’s Harry Potter’s favorite dessert? Treacle tart! (thanks Wikipedia). It was therefore perfect for this pseudo school dinner dessert, and a Harry Potter marathon.

As an aside, treacle tart also features in another children’s film: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The child catcher uses the promise of free treacle tart to lure out the children. How I HATED the child catcher. Although a children’s film, I found Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to be one of the creepiest I’ve seen. I’d prefer to see Scream these days. Surprisingly It was written by Ian Fleming of James Bond fame, another descendant of my greatx4 grandfather.

I think JK Rowling did more than slightly better with Harry Potter. Having waited ten years, seen all the films and found out what happens at the end, I can now get on with reading the books, “replaying” the films in my imagination with all the details. Although I probably won’t be using my imagination much.

You maybe won’t hear from me for a while…

Treacle Tart

So treacle tart. What’s in it? Well not treacle, as such. But golden syrup. So why is it called treacle tart? Because golden syrup is a light treacle, others being dark treacle and molasses. It’s an inverted sugar syrup, produced when turning sugar cane into sugar. Corn syrup should be a good substitute.

This couldn’t be an easier recipe. Golden syrup, breadcrumbs, lemon juice and zest warmed and poured into a shortcrust pastry case.
As we’re back at school, I thought I’d use the shortcrust pastry recipe I learnt in school. I managed to learn some cooking basics in home economics classes. Although the kitchen resembled a laboratory.

Normally for basic shortcrust pastry the ratio is that the fat should be half the weight of the flour, as was my school recipe, which split the fat 50/50 of marg and lard. Lard being animal fat (and I’m not sure what I’d be looking for in French) I didn’t use it (but beware if you do ever see lard in French: it means bacon).
My pyrex tart tin is bigger than standard sizes, so I used the flour that was left in the bag – 240g – and unbelievably I had 120g of butter in the fridge.

It’s a similar method to the recent almond tart, in that you make up the pastry, chill it, roll it out, bake the case blind, prepare the filling and bake. But I realized that it’s way different, and the pastry for the Chez Panisse almond tart has a much higher butter content.

If you want to boost the gourmet factor when you serve it, sprinkle with vanilla sugar as Heston Blumenthal does.

Makes enough for a 9-10 inch/26-30cm tart tin. The smaller your tin, the more you’ll have for the criss-cross strips.

I also put in a sprinkling of vanilla powder found at Lakeland.

Serves 10 (or less if you make the portions bigger!)

For the pastry
– 240 g flour
– A pinch of (vanilla) salt
– 1 tbspn of sugar
– 120g chilled butter
– 4-5 tbspns water to bind

For the filling
– 454 g bottle of golden syrup (substitute corn syrup)
– 100g fresh breadcrumbs
– generous pinch ground ginger (optional)
– 1 lemon ( or 2 limes), zested and juiced

Making the pastry
1. Sieve the flour with the salt and sugar into a mixing bowl or food processor.
2. Cut the butter into small cubes and put it with the flour.
3. Rub in the butter or pulse in the food processor until it becomes like breadcrumbs.
4. Start mixing in the water.
5. When it begins to hold together finish mixing by hand, kneading until smooth.
6. Form into a flat disc, cover in plastic film and put in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
7. Heat the oven to 180°C.
8. Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll it out until it’s bigger than your tart tin.
9. Carefully place it over the tin and press to fit.
10. Reserve any excess to make strips over the top.
11. Bake blind for 15 minutes.

To make the filling
1. While the tart base is baking, put the golden syrup into a saucepan.
2. Zest the lemon or limes and add the zest to the syrup.
3. Juice the lemon or limes and add to the syrup.
4. Add the ground ginger if using
5. Heat the syrup for a few minutes.
6. Stir in the breadcrumbs.
7. Pour the syrup mixture into the tart tin. (If you have leftover pastry roll it out and cut into strips and place them to make diamonds across the top.)
8. Bake for 30 minutes or so.

Serve with custard or créme fraîche.