Category Archives: Food & Wine

French food & wine, cooking, some gastronomy, gourmandises, desserts, recipes, and favorite places in town. A table et bon appétit!

Ladurée’s Digital e-Commerce Revolution


“We are a 150-year-old brand and want to evolve and be a part of the change.”  says Ladurée.

With the current global pandemic Ladurée has had to adapt and temporarily close  its stores, according to local rules and have even started a Ladurée Relief Fund for US employees. Ladurée  has 8 locations across the United States, in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Miami, New York, and over 100 stores worldwide. 
 
 Ladurée is revolutionizing and refocusing their business with digital e-commerce making all their gourmet goods available online and shipped nationwide and worldwide. Most locations also offer a “to-go” menu with curbside pick up or delivery and  it has even launched the first Ladurée plant based or vegan macarons and goods at the Beverly Hills, California location with Chef Matthew Kenney.
 

In the mid 19th century, the “Macaron” took on  a Parisian flair as it is known today when an enterprising young baker, Pierre Desfontaines, an employee of the legendary Ladurée Maison in Paris, bakeshop and tea salon founded in 1862, thought of creating two Macarons with a sweet almond ganache cream filling sandwiched in between.

Just like fashion designers,  Ladurée has imagined new collections and desserts such as the Rose Religieuse, the Rose- Raspberry Saint-Honoré, the Liquorice Millefeuille and the Blackcurrant-Violet Macaron.

This year for the 2021 Epiphany Galette des Rois or King’s Cake, Ladurée presents its Signature Gourmet Galette:  crispy golden puff pastry, French-sourced almond and hazelnut cream filling with white chocolate shavings. Topped with a chocolate and caramelized hazelnut tuile.

 

You can still enjoy Ladurée and order online on laduree.us to be shipped anywhere in North America.

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Galette des Rois Tradition and Recipe


On January 6th all over France, we celebrate Epiphany Day 12 days after Christmas with La Galette des Rois which is reminiscent of the biblical Christian tradition of the three wise men’s journey or Les Trois Rois Mages bearing gifts of gold, myrrh, and incense following the birth of Jesus. The three wise men or Kings were called Balthazar, Gaspard, and Melchior who followed the star to find Jesus in the manger.  The galette follows the tradition of the Tirage des Rois or the drawing of the King. Inside the galette, there is a little trinket or a fève.  Custom has it that the youngest child would hide under the table blindfolded and designate each piece of galette to be served to the guests. Whoever got the piece of galette with the hidden fève would be crowned King or Queen for the day and wear the Couronne d’Or or golden crown.

The traditional fèves ( the trinket, figurine, or bean hidden inside the galette)  in France is quite impossible to accidentally swallow because it is big!  In France, there’s a new theme out each year ( one year there was even a Coca-Cola theme or Disneyland!) These little porcelain figurines are becoming quite collectibles and did you know that collecting these fèves is called: Favophilie?

La Galette des Rois is an anticipated treat and it is sold throughout the month of January in bakeries or supermarkets. There are few galette variations some with fruits, nuts, or no filling depending on the region but my ultimate favorite galette is the galette filled with almond paste, not to be confused with the Frangipane filling which is half crème d’amande and half crème pâtissière.  Depending on how rich you want your galette you can adapt the recipe check out La Galette des Rois – 3 Easy Recipes.

In the North of France in  Normandy, la Galette is made of pâte feuilletée or puff pastry stuffed with a dense, creamy almond cream and crème pâtissière called frangipane. (personally, I prefercrème d’amande or pâte d’amande” which is just blanched almonds in powder, butter, sugar & eggs). In the south of France, you’ll be eating a brioche-style cake covered with candied fruits called Gateau des Rois.

Happy Epiphany Day!  Bonne Fête des Rois!

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Les Escargots de Bourgogne


‘Burgundy snails’ this is Helix species of snail Roman snail

Il pleut il mouille c’est la fête à la grenouille but it’s also la chasse aux escargots! When it rains the frogs come out but it’s also open snail season especially after thunder or early morning dew.

« Quand l’orage gronde, l’escargot corne »When thunder roars, the snail horns come out!

In Languedoc, France it was a tradition to go snail picking after each rainfall where the snails would get stored in cages to fast for a few weeks before landing in the pan! Today this practice is regulated because the snail or gastropod became a protected species in 1979. Heliciculture, or snail farming is the process of farming or raising snails specifically for human consumption is estimated at 30 000 tons per year with up to 1000 tons produced by French heliciculteurs.

It was in 1814 that the snail became a delicacy when Talleyrand, the diplomatic head under Louis XVIII,requested that his chef nicknamed the King of Chefs and Chef of Kings Marie-Antoine Carême prepare a dinner in honor of the Tsar Alexander 1st of Russia. This is where the famous Escargots de Bourgogne à l’ail, et au persil was born! It has been since then an emblematic star recipe of French cuisine.

Today you don’t need to go snail picking, just make sure to purchase the best brand of Escargots de Bourgogne or Burgundy Snails in cans. You may also want to have the escargots plates with the tongs and of course the escargots shells for the authentic touch!

Making the famous Escargots de Bourgogne à l’ail, et au persil or Snails in Garlic–Herb Butter is pretty simple and you can find the recipe from Julia Child’s in “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”

Serves 4

1 cup softened unsalted butter

14 cup minced parsley

1 tbsp. white wine

1 tsp. cognac or French brandy

3 cloves minced garlic

1 minced shallot

salt & pepper to taste

24 extra-large snail shells

24 canned extra-large snails

and the French baguette for dipping into the beurre d’escargot!

  1. In a bowl, whisk together butter, parsley, wine, cognac, garlic, and shallots with a fork, salt & pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Heat oven to 400°
  3. Spoon about 12 tsp. of butter mixture into each snail shell, push snail into each shell and then fill shells with remaining butter mixture.
  4. Bake snail shells butter side up until butter sizzles, about 10–12 minutes.
  5. Serve snails with baguette to soak up the butter

Bon appétit!

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