Opsie…it’s been a while

‘Opsie…it’s been a while’ was originally published on bee-bakes.com, December 8, 2014

So it’s been a while since I last updated. I knew this would happen. I’m not one of these blog writers who can just pump out a few lines and be done with it. Once I start, it just all has to come out and keeps going…then I have to edit, then I don’t like the editing, then other people start editing and…well, you get the gist. However, I will do my best to update on the last month.

Now where did I leave off…oh wow, week four… Ok. So after week four came Week Five (of course)—Petite Fours. This included ridiculously large range of tiny tasty things like:

  • multiple macarons, with a multitude of flavours like lime and basil, salted caramel and raspberry and poppy. (None of the macarons failed even though everyone acts like they’re the killer bees of the patisserie world)
  • Tiny little tasty orange cakes and passion fruit cakes
  • Something called a ‘brownie’ that was nothing like any brownie I’ve met before. Some kind of chocolatey-nutty goodness wedged together with caramel goodness
  • Choux filled with delicious flavours
  • Financiers
  • Biscuit/cakes with mousse toppings
  • Sablé Breton biscuits topped with more flavours
  • Smiley biscuits joined with home-made ‘Nutella’
  • etc

Then came Week 6—Confectionery Week

This included:

  • Tempering chocolate (which nearly broke me) for bon bons with various fillings and toppings
  • Truffles
  • Pâte de fruits with real fruits. Sweet, but tasty
  • Praline Roses (yay! Go Lyon!)
  • Nougat (it literally broke my tooth and sent me to the village dentist)
  • Pâte de guimauve with aromas and with fruit purée (i.e. marshmallow which, in my opinion should not be piped)

Week 6 also included a trip out of the asylum, I mean school. We ventured down south to the HQ of Valrohna Chocolate, a famous chocolate brand here in France. There we visited the chocolate museum and learnt all about where chocolate comes from and the process from the growers to the consumer. We also took part in a chocolate tasting session and learnt all the lingo for describing the flavours. Think wine tasting, only with chocolate instead… Speaking of wine, after lunch at a quirky local restaurant, we ventured out into the pouring rain for a visit to the winery of M.Chapoutier, Tain-l’Hermitage. Unfortunately, due to the disastrous weather, we could only do the wine tasting session and browse the boutique before heading back to school—no visit to the vineyard. Although I’m not much of a drinker, the winery was lovely, the tasting interesting and I found out that they have several vineyards in Australia!

 Ice cream! My favourite thing!

So, next was Week 7 and ice cream. What we made:

  • Sorbets: citron (lemon), ananas (pineapple), fraise (strawberry), myrtilles (blueberry) and framboise (raspberry)
  • Glaces (ice cream): vanille, chocolat and noisette (hazelnut)
  • various cake and meringue inserts and more macarons (which also all worked)

What we did with them:

  • scooped out fruit and piped in sorbets for an interesting presentation
  • made Vacherin fraise-vanille (a strawberry and vanilla ice cream cake with meringue inserts and sides
  • made Velaya — with cassis (black currant) sorbet and a Verveine du Velay liqueur mousse for a local touch
  • then made Omelette norvégienne (aka Baked Alaska)
  • and Nougat glacé moderne. Nougat ice cream and raspberry sorbet with a cakey base and decorative pink macarons.

It just so happened that Nick was visiting at the end of the week, so of course, I cleaned out the freezer back at the apartment and fitted in as many ice cream cakes as I could!

Will catch up on more later—we had our mid-term exam today and it’s well past my sleeping time.