Archive | May, 2011

Roland Garros

26 May

One of four major tennis championships, the French Open is held at Roland Garros in the city of Paris late May, when the weather can wreak havoc on the players, matches, and spectators.  Luckily, we had another bright sunny day this past Tuesday, allowing for an extremely enjoyable day watching a slew of tennis matches with my parents.  The championship is played on red clay, which slows the ball down, allowing for lengthy rallies and exciting tennis.  There are about 20 courts, including large grandstands and tiny park-like courts.  We got a chance to see England’s best talent, Andy Murray, destroy an out of shape no-name Frenchmen. 

We then sat down at a random court to see a Spaniard and Colombian kill it in a battle of clay court specialists.  We sat in row 2, spitting distance to the players, and directly behind either the Spaniard’s coach, friend, or family member.  After the Spaniard won the first set, they screamed at each other, Corazon!  It was pretty entertaining. These guys completely demolish the ball and are in absolute dominant shape. 

Superstar Rafael Nadal played on center court, but unfortunately we didn’t have the right tickets to see him live.  The next best thing was to sit down and watch him on the big screen.

We ended the day cheering on American teenage sensation Ryan Harrison.  Unfortunately, after winning set #2 and showing potential to upset Sweden’s Robin Soderling, he lost in four sets.  The kid certainly had the crowd behind him, which was surprising…although everyone roots for the underdog, correct?  Overall, it was a fantastic day and Roland Garros 2011 will be remembered as a highlight in our yearlong adventure in France.

Three’s company

23 May

Saturday we took a stroll through the third arrondissement to Au Levain de Marais. Chris went for a ham sandwich and financier; I went straight for dessert and opted for a lemon tart. This bakery has a prime location a block away from Place des Vosges so we walked around the corner to the park to enjoy our treats. Place des Vosges is the park in Paris to see and be seen. You’ll find everything from old Italian men sunning themselves in their boxer briefs to Americans having one too many glasses of French wine and falling into the fountain. Not lying, I’ve seen both of these things happen in this park. This time though, I got lost in my lemon tart.

Maman and Papa Deutsch are in the house! We are hitting up the French Open tomorrow…hoping to see Rafael Nadal on the clay. It is my first time seeing professional tennis in person and I can’t wait. We’ll update on that later this week.

Testing

20 May

Continued improvement here at the House of Bread.  That bakery apprenticeship, which has ended, sure paid off.

Hmmm…what goes well with bread, other than everything!?  Caprese salad. We do eat vegetables!

Vandermeersch

16 May

All the way out in the 12th arrondissement, a mere 27 metro stops away, we checked off what I hope to be our farthest destination on our bakery tour. Thankfully, Vandermeersch was worth the trip! Although I’m not sure I’ll willingly trek all the way out there again just for breakfast. We traveled there on Saturday morning because we had read about their weekend-only kouglof special. Kouglof is a breakfast bread/cake made with brioche dough that is native to Alsace, the eastern region of France that borders Germany and Switzerland. Fruits, nuts and Kirsch is added to the brioche dough and it is made in a bundt cake form. Ours had golden raisins and almonds, and it was perfection! We rounded out our visit with a baguette and a croissant, which were both very good, but the kouglof was definitely THE reason to visit Vandermeersch.

A bread celebration

13 May

La Fete du Pain, or celebration of bread, is held annually in May to celebrate the tradition of French bread.  Paris’ City Hall erects a humongous bakery under a tent in the square facing Notre Dame and brings together bakers, students, kids, and inevitably tourists to celebrate bread.  Amy and I stopped in twice this week to check out the scene.  The bakers were in great spirits, showing the crowd how croissants are made and answering any questions asked.  There was a strong sense of camaraderie within the bakers and they all seemed to have known each other for ages. 

Kids were given a chance to form their own baguettes, and although it proved to be a difficult task, it was cute seeing them decked out in plastic aprons and little paper hats.  Another side of the tent gave us the opportunity to see a more serious atmosphere with select professionals competing for a spot to represent France at the World Baking competition.  They churned out some exquisite looking bread and pastries. 

We tried to sneak into the reception area for a glass of champagne, but the area was quickly roped off, putting an end to our fooling around.  We settled for a tartine of nutella!

Tourist season

7 May

The Fuller Family hit up Paris last week for the first time keeping us very busy, hence the lack of blog posts. For seven mostly fun-filled days we traversed all over the city, cameras and maps in hand, taking in all the hot-spots. Back spasms and aching feet were no excuse; we saw it all! Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, Montmartre, la Tour Eiffel, le Louvre, le Marais, la Seine by boat, Champs-Elysees, Arch de Triomphe…the list goes on. I’ll have to post photos of the tour later.  Since I was the guide, I did very little picture taking myself.

In their absence, Chris and I got right back on track with our bakery tour yesterday. We visited L’Autre Boulange (The Other Bakery) in the 11th arrondissement and were pleasantly surprised by this adorable, mom and pop home-made style bakery. Although we appreciate the precise skills needed to make artistic pastries, sometimes there is nothing more appealing than items that are very obviously made by a person who strives more for taste and fresh ingredients. We purchased a small tarte-tatin (apple tart), an assortment of cookies and a traditional baguette of course. I was a big fan of the butter cookies which ranged in flavors from lemon to ginger and chocolate-hazelnut, and they reminded us a lot of the “punitions” we bought at Poilane on our very first bakery tour back in January.