” Sugar , ah honey, honey …..”
Picture this … A chilly winter morning in November ,sun’s rays hitting the ground at a shallow angle, cold winds swooping away the left over heat with them,earth furiously fighting against the wind and holding tight to its scanty warmth,blades of grass struggling to quench their thirst for sunlight,banks of Seine overflowing due to driving rain the night before , air still holding its morning mist,people curled up in scarfs and coats,children placing their fists to their mouths and puffing out into the cold air,a group of girls holding cups of hot chocolate , giggling and clicking pictures over the pedestrian bridge ,couples walking side by side holding hands whispering to each other,souvenir men rambling around with a bunch of Eiffel tower key chains dangling from the inside of their worn out overcoats ,trying to make a sale.Now add faint sounds of birds chirping in the background ,and a constant droning of words in incomprehensible languages that just sound gibberish.Amidst all the hustle bustle, I hovered around the base of Gustav Eiffel’s mighty creation for a bit and then made up my mind to leave.
I was strolling along the river with lingering feelings of my newly found romance ,inhaling fumes of cocoa from a distance,humming with every step I took,turning my head from time to time to get a final few glimpses of my lover,smiling to myself at the thought of our tryst,marveling at the moving clouds carefully pasted on the blue sky.They made her appear as though she was walking with me clutching my arm, not wanting me to leave her.The smell of hot chocolate grew intense and my hunger pangs even more with it.I raised my head and adjusted my eyes to focus on a man positioned behind a stand.I walked towards him.
” Tip skillet from side to side until batter covers bottom. Cook until the bottom is golden brown.Splatter a thin layer of chocolate hazelnut nutella spread and place banana slices right in the center… Tadaaaa !!!Presenting a lusciously sweet nutella-banane crepe 🙂 Light, tasty , simply delicious ! ”
With my first bite I knew that this truly amazing classic would be my staple for whole of next week 🙂 A crepe ,right after my 669 stepped tango rendezvous with Miss Eiffel , was just the perfect closing treat I could have asked for.I dabbed the chocolate from the corners of my mouth and made way to the metro station.Next stop , Champs-Elysées .
Hôtel National des Invalides , which contains Napoleon’s tomb is an unmissable monument when you get off Champs Elysees Clemenca metro station .I walked in its direction ,soaking in the winter sun and got fascinated by a French man roasting some sort of nuts at the corner of the crossing.I went up to him to get directions to Arc De Triomphe and also asked him if he would let me try one of those thingy-bobs.He agreed to it and showed me how to eat them.
So there I was holding coal roasted chestnuts ( Marron Chauds ),in a funneled newspaper , my fingertips blackened from peeling their skin, anticipating my first bite into the charred nugget.To be honest I didn’t quite get the taste and to that I said hmmm, ” Interesting…” and moved on to my long awaited walk across the ‘Avenues of Avenues ! Champs-Elysées ! :).
Champs-Elysées ! How do I put this one ? Hmmm, how about ‘NYC’s 5th avenue on Steroids’ ? 😛 Btw, only if one is a Parisian or speaks French can one pronounce ‘Champs-Elysées’ appropriately or maybe it’s just me not having my way with phonetics.I got it right after 4 days of persistent attempt.Well, now you know who is at fault 😛 Okay so, back to the story of Champs-Elysées. Laced with the world’s top brand show rooms as well as hub stores on both sides , Champs-Elysées is undoubtedly the grand daddy of the capitalist world but does it scream glory and grandeur ? Hmmm ,maybe , maybe not or let’s say I had a different image of it in my mind.I got my ornate architecture , manicured trees , impeccably clean walkways and all that covered but my eyes were looking for something more.Something more aristocratic, something more distinguished , something more noble.I guess my vision was colored by the movie ‘Gigi’ set in turn-of-the-20th century Paris.I yearned to see pear-shaped women in summer pastel gowns and fancy,floral hats with an umbrella in their hands and gentlemen wearing silk top hats and tuxedos with a flower pinned to it.Though all of this seemed slightly over the top , but I still expected Champs-Elysées to sprinkle a bit of its Parisian charm on me.Instead it was packed with tourists,cafes , restaurants, snazzy theaters (Yep! you guessed it right ‘Lido’ ( cabaret! wink wink! ) and ‘to-be-found-every-where’ stores.It was very commercial but then there was one thing , just that one thing that did it for me.That was when I saw Ladurée ! 😀
Yep ! Ladurée , the macaroon haven !From the 19th century-style interiors and service to the labyrinthine corridors that lead to the washrooms,this French tearoom had it all.Classic furniture ,dimmed out chandeliers, designed walls, marble flooring , granite pillars ,sweet temptations out for display waiting to be pointed out at and ordered.I think it was the whole set up that did the magic.The whole ‘freakin’ly awesome’ package.The macaroons and fusion tea held up to their reputation and Ladurée stole the show.Clean sweep !
Macaroons are small round meringue like cookies, stuffed with light cream.Not that I know anything about how they are made but after having one , I knew I was about to become a full blown macaroon addict and so I shamelessly did :). Champs-Elysées from going ‘Boo! Nayyy !!’ went to ‘Oh baby ,definitely yeah !’ 😀
Here’s to Ladurée …
You are my candy girl
And you got me wanting you
Honey, ah, sugar, sugar
You are my candy girl
And you got me wanting you ” !