Michael Paul fell in love with Paris long before he ever actually visited the French capital. Learning to waltz as a young teenager at his dance class to the whimsical strains of Cole Porter’s ‘I Love Paris’; this song became the soundtrack to his future love affairs, not only with his dance partners but also with the notion of Paris – the world’s most romantic city.
Later in life, he visited Paris for the first time and fell in love with the reality. Preferring to explore the city as a flaneur (man who saunters around observing society), sauntering through the fascinating Parisian streets and alleyways in search of adventure and creative stimulation he was soon lured by the legendary tea salons, patisseries and boulangeries offering a wealth of sweet delights.
In Sweet Paris, Michael describes the stories behind these mouth-watering creations, how they are made and his suggestions for where to find the best in Paris. He also includes a variety of recipes for both classic and modern indulgences such as mocha macarons, chocolate éclairs, madeleines and crème brulée. Featuring Michael’s trademark stunning photography throughout, Sweet Paris is a feast for both the eyes and the palate.
An excerpt… The Chocolate Capital of the World Riding the wave of a new style of sublime chocolate created by its exclusive avant-garde chocolatiers, Paris is now the world capital of all things cacao. No longer in the shadow of Belgium and Switzerland, French chocolates are perceived as exciting, dark, intense, cutting-edge and, dare I say it, almost healthy. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but it may have something to do with the fact that the French use less cream and sugar in their chocolates. True or false, nonetheless it’s a reputation that has stuck…
Paris’s new wave of stellar maîtres chocolatiers such as Patrick Roger, Pierre Hermé, Franck Kestener and Jacques Genin have shown scant regard for the classic approach, overtaking the more traditional yet nonetheless excellent artisanal makers such as Jean-Paul Hévin, Michel Cluizel, Christian Constant and Michel Chaudun…
The craze for chic chocolate shows no sign of letting up. New shops open every week in Paris’s posh arrondissements (administration districts). Allegedly there are more chocolate shops in the City of Light than in any other city in Europe – over 300 are listed in the phone directory. This proliferation includes the high-end maîtres chocolatiers, pâtissiers and gourmet food stores as well as popular chains such as La Maison du Chocolat, L’Atelier du Chocolat and literally hundreds of smaller independent chocolatiers and confiseurs. It all goes to underline that in a modern-day culture slavish to sweetness, Paris has earned the right to be crowned the chocolate capital of the world.
The more I roamed the streets, the greater my passion for the pastries, chocolates and desserts of Paris became. A new love affair had begun – a love of sweet Paris.
Recipes, images and excerpts reproduced with permission, from Sweet Paris. Author & Photographer – Michael Paul; Publisher – www.hardiegrant.co.uk