Title: Sweet Paris, a love affair with Parisian pastries, chocolates and desserts
Author: Michael Paul
Publisher: Hardie Grant
Style: Pastries, chocolate and other yummy French sweets
Rating: 4 stars
The subtitle of this book, ‘a love affair with Parisian pastries, chocolates and desserts’ is just gorgeous. I immediately fell in love with Michael Paul just a little bit, who is a warm and charismatic storyteller. Sweet Paris is part recipe book, part travel journal, as Michael takes you on a journey around the sweet highways and byways of Paris’ foodie scene. The photography, all taken by Michael himself, is breathtaking, and is enough to make a full person feel like they’re starving. The first recipe, in the chocolate section (be still my heart), is Parisian chocolate truffles – a wonderfully simple but delicious take on the classic truffle, made with double cream and vanilla pods.
The following chapter looks at macarons, the vogue foodie’s nibble of choice. Macarons are as rife in Paris as tourist berets, but for the best colourful little treats, Michael recommends a visit to Maison Pierre Hermé. There you will find ‘satisfyingly crisp yet moist macarons
fulled with succulent buttery ganaches and creams exquisitely flavoured to perfection’. Michael’s turn of phrase, combined the the beautiful images, is enough to make anyone start googling flights to Charles de Gaulles. He follows with a recipe for mocha macarons, which look beautiful.
As you go around Paris with Michael, exploring everything from cupcakes to meringues modernes, you get a wonderful view of Paris from his point of view. The recipes are dotted throughout (can’t wait to try the classic French chocolate éclairs!) but Sweet Paris is as much about Paris itself as it is about cooking. It’s part cook book, part travel guide, as Michael points you in the right direction for every possible Parisian delight, recommending tiny patisseries and well known spots for sampling the marvels of French sweets. It’s a beautiful hardback that would be at home on both your coffee table and your kitchen shelf, and I think it would be the most wonderful gift for the francophile in your life. I heartily enjoyed poring over it with a nice glass of French red.