French Elegance

What is elegance? The beauty in everyday life perhaps. This makes using the metro a bit more pleasant
What is elegance? Perhaps the beauty in everyday life. Art Nouveau makes using the metro in Paris a bit more pleasant

I usually pay specific or even exclusive attention to the coffee, tea and pastry consumed home or abroad. However while visiting Paris a few weeks ago I wanted to write about the feeling of being in Paris. Yes, the centre of the French capital does have a very distinctive feeling, which many Parisians  like to feed and cultivate. An important part of this Parisian feeling is elegance, which can be expressed either as a discrete, affordable elegance or ‘classic red nails and fur elegance’. I noticed the first type with my French aunt and cousin,who make the effort of thinking about their appearance without breaking the bank. This carefully selected look reappeared in the subway and the streets of central Paris.
When meeting elegant Parisians outside of their country they keep this attitude. While meeting a friend’s partner in Belgium I kept thinking: he talks and dresses differently – in a discrete way though, what’s different about this person? He’s a Parisian.
The examples mentioned above of course don’t apply to every single individual in the French capital. That would make things…perfect? I appreciate meeting people who still believe that how you present yourself does matter. That is not superficial, it makes our hectic lives a bit nicer.

Food

The following might not come as a great surprise to you but I’ll repeat it anyway : many French like to eat well! I’ll limit this article to desserts,you may want to read one of my previous blog posts ‘Angélique in Paris’ for some extra inspiration.
I was invited to a birthday party (actually crashed it,gently) where the invitees each brought a sweet or savoury dish. I was surprised to find that the French also eat savoury cake, which roughly has the same structure as sweet cake but with herbs, e.g. some olives but no sugar. There were two different types of moelleux (pronounced ‘mwa leu’) at the party. This type of dessert is made with lots of chocolate, it resembles the structure of a brownie on the outside, but it’s fluid on the inside. Sounds good doesn’t it?
My friend CN, who is a true dessert-expert and French sent me this recipe for massive chocolate mischief called ‘fondant’: not quite with fluid chocolate on the inside but sweet and sticky. (not to be confused with the fondant that is used to cover cakes and which exists in all colours of the rainbow)

“melt 150 g of dark chocolate with 80 g of butter ‘au bain marie’. Add 3 egg yolks to this mixture and stir well. Beat the remaining egg white separately until you obtain a firm mixture, then gently incorporate this into the chocolate mixture using a wooden spoon. Pour this mélange into a large mould and cover it with aluminium foil. Place in the oven: 180°C during 15 minutes.”

 

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