Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Foodie update: Jacques Génin, Zen Zoo, La Petite Rose, Le Réfectoire

Been a bit slack with the foodie updates of late so have decided to lump them altogether which is a couple of weeks worth of eating! :)
Jacques Génin is a very well-regarded chocolatier here in Paris and up until recently, one had to make an appointment to buy his chocolates! This all changed at the end of 2008 when he finally decided to open a chocolaterie-salon du the in the 3rd. Having read an interview with him in "A Nous Paris" (freebie weekly magazine, published every Tuesday and found in metro stations) a few weeks ago, my friend and I decided to go and check out said chocolate shop. We were shocked to find our final destination was in the form of a chic, Zen-like boutique, a sharp contrast to the surrounding naff shops selling shiny suits and dodgy footwear.
After much pondering, we each plumped for a 9-piece chocolate box each (well, 2 boxes for me cos one was a present for my bro and Jools); I went the whole hog and splashed out on an additional bag of Jacques' famous mango and passion fruit caramels. The guy who served us was really nice and noticed that I was an aspiring pastry chef when I put down my recipe book to pay - he also generously gave us each a cardomom chocolate to try which was lovely. We were even privileged enough to see the great chocolate master himself.... serving tea and taking payments from customers, incredible!? All the chocs tasted lovely with more exotic flavours than  Jean-Paul Hévin.....as for the caramels, well worth forking out 18 yoyos for the bag of 15 beauties! :)

This weekend involved a couple of yummy lunches: the first was a re-visit to Zen Zoo on Saturday afternoon for a lovely lunch of jasmine-smoked chicken (with various sides) and a lychee and raspberry pannacotta (my friend went healthy and had a lovely steaming hot pot of all things tofu!)

The second was after a visit to the market at Bastille (large but nowhere near as nice as President Wilson) to a lovely little place called Le Réfectoire. The theme of this eatery is the French school dining room so imagine lots of rickety wooden tables and chairs, blackboards posting specials of the day, kiddies pictures on the walls plus a 1970s style clock which my friend was quite fond of!  Le Réfectoire offers a Sunday brunch for 20 yoyos which looked pretty good (gonna try that next time!) but we went for a couple of gargatuan mains including my smoked salmon and calamari salad. I could barely finish the beast which meant no room for a very tempting-sounding mango charlotte, a real bummer as we were after making charlottes this week :(

The patisserie of choice this weekend was La Petite Rose, a salon du the near Villiers metro which is owned by a Japanese lady. The shop is lovely and very cute, I plumped for a chocolate and raspberry concoction which looked nice but sadly, I don't have anything interesting to write about it apart from the fact that it was a giant lump of chocolate mousse. Am getting mucho fussy as the weeks go by when it comes to all thing pastry, oh dear! ;)

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