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January 21, 2010
I hope you'll consider this a better-late-than-never post. It's almost a month after Christmas and a few weeks after my return from France, yet somehow I just didn't find time to post much from that trip. So, even though it's tardy and we're already tired of winter and dreaming of spring, here are a few highlights.
Michael and I spent three days at Olivier Roellinger's Chateau Richeux in Cancale and, during our stay, revisited the walled town of St. Malo and, of course, the Bordier butter shop. These days, I can buy Bordier butter around the corner from my apartment in Paris (La Cremerie on rue des Quatres Vents always has a selection, as does Fromagerie Sanders in the covered Marche St-Germain), but it's irresistible not to visit the source. And this year there was a surprise at the source: caramel-chip cookies made by La Maison du Biscuit with Bordier butter. Trust me when I say that this is the proverbial marriage made in heaven.
First a word about La Maison du Biscuit. I learned about them a few years ago at the Paris Agricultural Fair. Their booth was close to the entrance and I stopped by because, even though it was clear that their cookies were commercial, they looked so very good. And they were good. All of their cookies are made with butter and while all of those that I sampled were delicious, the financiers and the palets normands were particularly good. So good, that after we bought a couple of boxes, we started ordering them online to be delivered to Paris at the start of our stays. Since then I've discovered that I'm not the only one who admires their cookies -- mention their name to Fench cookie-lovers and they'll all remark on the financiers. The caramel cookies are new, and while the ones made with Bordier butter are only available at the Bordier shop, I see that you can order the cookies made with 'regular' butter from La Maison du Biscuit online (from France).
Because I was able to find eclats de caramel d'Isigny au beurre sale au sel de Guerande (caramel pieces/chips made with creme fraiche from Isigny and salt from Guerande) at G.Detou in Paris, and because Bordier butter was at hand, I made my own caramel cookies at my own maison du biscuit -- my Paris apartment. I used my recipe for sables (page 131 of Baking From My Home to Yours), substituting salt butter for unsalted and adding 1/2 cup of the caramel bits (which I chopped). I know the bits are hard to find here, but I was thinking that maybe HeathBar Brickle bits might work.
Here's caramel in another guise. This was the dessert special one night at Yves Camdeborde's Le Comptoir, one of my favorite bistros in Paris. It was billed as a Club Sandwich au Caramel and featured very thin layers of sponge cake spread with chocolate ganache and served with caramel ice cream. And yes, it was as good as it looks and sounds.
And now, in no particular order, here are a few of things that I loved from our time in Brittany.
A crepe spread with Bordier seaweed butter from Breizh Cafe on the water in Cancale. (You can also get these crepes at the Breizh Cafe in Paris.) This is the butter that Kerrin Rousset and Pierre Herme both suggested I use to make seaweed pinwheels -- if only it were available in New York City.
Here's the cheese plate (sorry for the fuzzy picture) served at Olivier Roellinger's seafood restaurant, Le Coquillage. Roellinger has a passion for spices and he pairs each cheese with a spiced jam, chutney, syrup or vinegar. There are purists who say you should never have anything with cheese except bread, but my guess is that haven't been treated to Roellinger's matches. I'd call them inspired.
And while I'm dreaming about our time at Olivier Roellinger's, I want to show you this incredible 'room service' dinner. We stayed at Chateau Richeux for New Year's (the first year in more than a dozen that we didn't stay home in Paris and make dinner for friends) and, when I called to reserve our room, I'd been told that while the chateau was full, the restaurant would be closed. However, if we wanted to have dinner in our room, the kitchen would happily prepare a tray for us. Well, here's one of the three trays that were delivered. Starting with the covered bowl -- sorry I didn't think to remove the lid -- and going clockwise, there were potatoes from the Roellinger garden mixed with haddock; small bowls of white bean soup; teeny shrimp to eat like popcorn; lobster with mango; langoustines, fabulous langoustines, perfectly cooked langoustines to eat messily and dip in mayonnaise; petals of scallops with ginger; cocoa-nib coated foie gras; smoked salmon; and an amazing crab with coconut, coconut milk and lemongrass. Not seen: the cheese tray.
Here seen, the dessert tray with the most perfect marshmallows I've had in a long time and the loveliest wine-poached pears, both so nice after our meal. Not that we didn't take a nibble of everything else ...
Finally, this picture taken in the center of St. Malo, which I'm posting not so that you can see me pretending to be Santa, but so you can see what Santa is carrying in his sack: Not toys and iPhones, but food of all kinds. Ah, the French ...
Tags: Baking From My Home to Yours
, Bordier butter
, Breizh Cafe
, Kerrin Rousset
, La Maison du Biscuit
, Le Comptoir
, Pierre Herme
, St. Malo
Chefs, Restaurants and Shops
Restaurants, Chefs, & Artisans
| January 21, 2010 8:58 PM
That's my kind of Santa!
| January 21, 2010 9:00 PM
OMG - I read your post with interest because we just returned from Paris and Brittany (we stayed in Dinan) and then I did a double take at the end because I have the EXACT SAME picture of my husband - you can see it in this post:
We are still working our way through the salted butter caramels we bought when we were there as well as all the biscuits etc...
| January 21, 2010 10:19 PM
Oh, what a lovely post. So many treats to enjoy - the eclats de caramel look divine, a perfect combination of sweet, salt, chewy, the lacy galette, the princely (princessly?) room service and the gourmet santa. Thank you so much for sharing all of this.
| January 21, 2010 11:02 PM
I love reading your blogs no matter how long it's been since your last one! You truly live a blessed life. I dream of going to Paris one day and goring on all the French pastries made with French butter. But until then, I'll continue to live vicariously through you and your blog entries.
Picture at the end is too cute!
| January 21, 2010 11:57 PM
Those cookies look marvelous! Besides the Heath Bar bits, Heath makes Bits 'o' Brickle--no chocolate. Perhaps those would work--still not the same, I know, but I bet they'd taste great!
| January 22, 2010 1:59 AM
those biscuits!!! oh, how tempted am i to put an order in.
| January 22, 2010 2:07 AM
Nice, that is Santa in New Orleans; of course, the reindeers are alligators.
sugar plum fairy
| January 22, 2010 2:53 AM
Caramels,caramelts and cookies.....what sweet pictures and write ups...
| January 22, 2010 3:32 AM
Hello Dorie!I am so glad I was able to open your site this afternoon (finally)! I was so sad since December 'coz I was not able to read your latest posts. So I was surprised and happy to find that after installing Google Chrome I now can view again your blog! Keep on blogging! I love the way you write. I feel as if you are reliving your stories on food and other nice matters (heartwarming sometimes) beside me. Like your site I also visit David Lebovitz' website daily. I just love the way you write. I sometimes can almost taste the mouthwatering food you feature, as if I am also there with you cooking, tasting, travelling, because of (your love for) good food. :)
Kerrin @ MyKugelhopf
| January 22, 2010 5:17 AM
WOW! This has just moved up the list to one of my favorite posts of yours of all time. Because it's tout simplement overflowing with divine treats. And even has a bonus picture of you - a rare treat indeed! :)
I don't even know where I want to go first - back to Paris or to St Malo. And I certainly don't know what I want to taste first, so many phenomenal things here! Those caramel chip cookies made with beurre Bordier might be it though. Or wait, the Club Sandwich au Caramel, yes yes. Then again, a galette from Breizh CafÃ©, extra well done and drowning in one of Bordier's sublime butters, I could certainly go for that as well. Or....! :)
| January 22, 2010 6:57 AM
Thanks you all for your comments. As always, I love hearing from you.
Mardi, I took a look at your blog and saw the picture of your husband behind the St. Malo Santa. He looks like he's had experience doing this -- he managed to get his whole body hidden behind Santa! And he turned his head in the right direction! You can tell this was a first for me.
hhdonna -- thank you for recommending Heath Brickle Bits. I think they would be perfect -- chopped to make the pieces smaller -- and so I added them to the post.
| January 22, 2010 8:36 AM
That is such a cute photo! The last one..The others only help to reinforce my desire to visit..
| January 22, 2010 9:54 AM
I have been a fan for a long time, own three of your books and read every word on your blog. I tell you this out of kindness and nothing else...
When you start every post apologizing for not writing sooner and give excuses it makes the reader (me) feel like we are an imposition on your very busy life. No apologies are ever needed and you can always just pick up where you left off. We are always happy to hear from you, but even if you do not post, we are not insulted or offended.
| January 22, 2010 10:24 AM
Dorie, you didn't say if the caramel cookies you made were a success. I'm just wondering what you thought of them. I have some plugra burning a hole in my freezer and these sound pretty worthy. :)
| January 22, 2010 11:42 AM
Thanks for the post, which brought me back to our neighborhood (Le Comptoir) and to one of our favorite stops this summer, Cancale. Sadly needing to come home, we miss Paris and I love visiting with each of your posts. I am inspired to make some sables with your new suggestions.
Sinful Southern Sweets
| January 22, 2010 1:36 PM
The French certainly do know food. And that Santa has the right idea!! I'd prefer a bag full of French goodies over ipods and electronics anyday. Thanks for sharing all your fabulous snippets and making us all green with envy:)
Laura [What I Like]
| January 22, 2010 3:12 PM
OK, there are my plans for New Year's next year sorted...what an intoxicating display of food! And I will have to make sure to pick up some of those caramel chips next time I make my way to Paris...I can rarely turn down anything with "salted caramel" in the title.
| January 22, 2010 3:47 PM
Dorie, they say good things come to those that wait and your latest post definitely fits the bill! Thank you for sharing. What an amazing holiday you had. And I concur with everyone else's comments, you describe things so well that I can almost taste the wonderful treats you enjoyed. One of my favorites was the room service trays...now THAT is my kind of room service! How wonderful. I feel so lucky to be able to live vicariously through you. I will definitely try the cookies as well. Keep living your wonderful life and especially thankful that you share it with us. :)
| January 22, 2010 4:17 PM
Perhaps another cookbook is swirling around in your kitchen featuring the newly Americana revised cookies? I too would love to know of your impressions. I loved reading your posts and seeing all the photos of the food you two enjoyed. Your hard work pays off and I'm so glad it does so that all of us out here in blog land can enjoy your adventures and cook along with you.
| January 22, 2010 5:22 PM
always such great fun to travel again vicariously.thanks for the treats.
Charles G Thompson
| January 22, 2010 8:07 PM
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. There is really nothing quite like the holidays in Paris or in France for that matter. The food and the experiences all sound so wonderful. Thanks for sharing them.
replied to comment from Mama JJ
| January 23, 2010 3:22 PM
Lovely to read of your travels again, and Happy New Year, hpe it's a good one for you and yours.
| January 23, 2010 6:41 PM
So great to read more about your last trip to France! My husband Derek and I hope to visit Brittany one day. I did manage to make a trip to G.Detou (oh, a baker's dream!), stocked up on almond flour, cocoa nibs plus other goodies that ended up filling another whole luggage! Derek's new fav. is the caramel au beurre salÃ© et sel de guÃ©rande; I am trying hard to hide the box from him so I think caramel cookies will be excellent decoys!
Thanks for sharing, keep the wonderful posts coming and hope our paths will cross again....hopefully, in Paris!
P.S Tried Bordier butter for the first time at L'ArpÃ¨ge and loved it!
| January 24, 2010 5:03 PM
Oh my word, look at those photos! And that cheese plate...woooww...thanks for a mouth-watering start to my week, Dorie! :)
| January 24, 2010 7:27 PM
I smiled when I read the recipe for Caramel Butter cookies. I made a similar version here and use Heath Toffee bits as a sub. They are addictive.
Can anyone who lives in metropolitan NYC give me a name for delicious butter from any dairy/supplier. I gave up on Plugra as it is inconsistent. Any suggestions welcomed.
| January 24, 2010 7:40 PM
As always, such great comments -- thank you. It's so good to hear from you.
Stephanie, thank you for telling me that I don't have to apologize when I'm late posting or post only sporadically.
Sarah, yes, yes, yes, the caramel cookies were a success. My husband would say they were a big success.
AmyRuth, the "Americana" recipe for the caramel cookies is simple: It's my standard sable recipe (the one on page 131 of Baking From My Home to Yours), but I added 1/2 cup chopped caramel bits.
Anne, I don't know about wholesale suppliers for butter in NYC, but the butter that I think is remarkable comes from the Vermont Butter & Cheese Company and it's available throughout New York. It's made the way butter is made in France. In fact, the buttermaker learned her trade in Brittany. It's a high-butter fat (about 84%)European-style butter that bakes beautifully.
| January 25, 2010 9:20 AM
Sounds like a fabulous holiday! European butter makes everything taste so much better! The cookies look so delicious...Im tempted to see if anyone in the US carries them? If not...I suppose a trip to France would be warranted!
| January 25, 2010 4:53 PM
I expect I have sampled Bordier when I am in Paris, but next time I will know what I am eating. My husband always asks why I can't get butter as good as Paris. Now I can. Vermont Butter it is.
Over the holidays I served "the Cake that got me fired" at a party. For New Years, my friends demanded I make the same dessert again. What a winner!
| January 27, 2010 11:01 AM
OMG! YOU FIND THE MOST AMAZING FOODS OVER THERE, THAT'S IT....I'M GOING!
| January 28, 2010 2:05 AM
Club Sandwich au Caramel? Wow, sounds yummy! Brillian idea may I add.
| September 14, 2010 8:37 AM
Hummm!!!the cookies look so delicious,I think that the european flavours is missing me a lot.
| November 23, 2010 11:48 AM
Your post is a real test of willpower. Everything looks just incredibly beautiful, and all deserts must be insanely delicious. I dream about journey to France and now I know what is first to do there))) Thank you.
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