post63 // where to eat croissants in paris (+video!!)

you’ve asked and i’ve answered! after my last episode of foodstuffs presents here in paris, i asked viewers what they’d like to see more of. requests for croissants came knocking on my inbox, one after another. so here we are! i took the subway on over to east paris — home to the very trendy and bustling “le marais” and bastille neighborhoods — to check out two of the most well-known bakeries in paris.

ride along with me to see which croissant wins out and what bakery you should bookmark for your next trip to paris.

  1. blé sucré (11th arr, bastille) 7 Rue Antoine Vollon, 75012 Paris, open 7am-730pm tuesday-sunday
  2. du pain et des idées (in between 10th and 3rd arr, république) 34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris, open 645am-8pm weekdays only

blé sucré’s croissant (left), du pain et des idées (right)


blé sucré’s croissant, exterior


blé sucré’s croissant, interior


du pain et des idées’ croissant, exterior


du pain et des idées’ croissant, interior


blé sucré’s croissant (top), du pain et des idées (bottom)

and in this week’s non-croissant related stuff!

current inspo: this hedgehog

my host family showed me the intro to a classic french film with uncanny resemblance to la la land. what do you think?

a great read on new york city restauranteurs

photography and videography by catherine o’donnell/foodstuffs

post61 // open this valentine! (psssst, it’s filled with chocolate)


heavenly chocolate cake douceur chocolat

hellooooo! greetings from my chocolate-filled valentine! since i’m far away from many friends and loved ones on this valentine’s day 2018, i’ve decided to send you a virtual valentine with chocolate creations like the stuff of dreams.

this valentine’s day landed perfectly in the middle of my pastry trimester, which is focused on chocolate work. well done, le cordon bleu scheduling! from chocolate glazes to tempered chocolate to chocolate mousse to chocolate crunch, i’ve been working with a lot (!!) of chocolate this trimester. talk about keeping my uniform supremely white while doing it — the toughest job of them all.

below you can find four chocolately creations that i’ve made in my pastry classes. i’ve listed their core components so that you (yes, you!) can go and make one for yourself!

dark chocolate choux pastry choux au chocolat noir 



this chocolate choux pastry is filled with chocolate pastry cream and a crispy praline insert. outside, you see a chocolate crunch topping, finished with a dark chocolate glaze.

to get started, check out this recipe for chocolate choux pastry. you’ll quickly see how easy it is!

chocolates (muscadine, praline) chocolats (muscadine, praliné)


these two types of chocolates are called pralines (the square) and muscadines (the baton). the muscadine is filled with a creamy praline, chocolate, cointreau paste while the praline is filled with a simple chocolate and praline paste. i dipped both in tempered chocolate and rolled the muscadine in icing sugar directly after. to make the “professional” decoration on top, simply use a fork to lightly mark the chocolate 10-20 seconds after dipping, just before the chocolate has set.

don’t have space or a big marble slab to temper chocolate at home? follow this guide for a quick microwave-tempering! thermometer required.

heavenly chocolate cake douceur chocolat



this three-tier cake is quite the showstopper. the base is a hazelnut dacquoise filled with a praline crunch paste, topped with two layers of chocolate mousse and tempered chocolate rounds. the decoration on top was made with cookie cutters and tempered chocolate.

never heard of a dacquoise? it’s a cake base that’s very popular here in france, made from egg whites and nuts. bonus: it’s gluten free! start this cake by making your first dacquoise with food network’s recipe.

opera opéra


of all the pastries seen here, you may be most familiar with the opera cake, a parisian classic! this cake alternates between layers of biscuit sponge and coffee buttercream, with a layer of chocolate ganache smack in the middle. on top is a chocolate glaze and the traditional opera writing (my first attempt at writing on cakes!).

you might be able to find this one in a high-end french bakery. but if not, Joe Pastry blog has a great tutorial that matches the authenticity of my recipe from cordon bleu.

just in case you’re wondering

while i’d love to be sharing all my cordon bleu recipes with you, they’re under copywrite. *but* i look forward to testing many of them once i’m out of school and sharing renditions that can be cooked in your home oven. stay tuned on this for next year!

in this week’s other stuff !

a hot new restaurant i’ll be trying in paris this weekend. reviews have been a+++++

books as decor is popping up everywhere (even in my house here in paris!). definitely digging this style trend

wardrobe goals

andddd that’s all for this week, folks! wishing you a very lovely valentine’s day!💖



post60 // paris in white


square de la place du commerce, 7 january 1017 8:49am

as i sit here typing, more snow is falling in paris! given that this is a bit of a rarity here, i’ve decided to share some of my favorite images from the week. (all shot by me!)


rue des 4 frères peignot, 6 january 2017 7:06pm

according to my parisian family, there hasn’t been significant snow in paris in 3 years! i am truly lucky that the sky decided this was the year.


commerce metro, 7 january 2017 8:52am

to celebrate the occasion, i took to the streets wednesday morning and started photographing. the city was the quietest i’ve ever heard it, reminding me of new york city in the snow.


already, paris is beautiful. topped with a fluffy cushion of white, it’s just enchanting.


rue des presles, 7 january 2017 9:17am


avenue de suffren, 7 january 2017 9:20am

since i live close(ish) to the eiffel tower, i headed over to champ de mars, the huge green space in front of the tower, to get some images of the snow-crusted landmark.


champ de mars, 7 january 2017 9:24am

the snow had just stopped and it was early enough that the white blanket was still intact!


champ de mars, 7 january 2017 9:24am


champ de mars, 7 january 2017 9:31am

one of the best parts of this snowfall was watching other people experience it. i have classmates at school who walked through snow for the first time this week. as we butchered a chicken on wednesday in class, my friend saw his first snowflakes! talk about ideal 😜.


rue violet, 7 january 2017 9:02am

the toddlers from the preschool next to my house excitedly played in the snow all wednesday, most of them seeing snow for the first time! i dodged snowballs on the way home from school tuesday night.

the whole event has made me feel like a true kid, the way only snow can.


rue des entrepreneurs, 7 january 2017 9:57am

and i couldn’t resist a foodie pic in the snow. are we surprised??


rue de javel, 8 january 2017 2:54pm

to end: the less glamorous side of parisian snow. somehow, i still think it’s beautiful!

i’m currently working on a valentine’s day post that features many of the chocolates i’ve been making in pastry this trimester. tune into the blog this sunday for the feature!

happy weekend everyone. xx

all photography by catherine o’donnell/foodstuffs.

post57 // culinary school, first look

bonjour mes amis! [hello my friends!]


15th arrondissement, my neighborhood here

greetings from parisland, where i’m back again after a long american holiday! it feels wonderful and exciting to be back in this foreign city that feels every bit less foreign and more like home by the second.

tomorrow i head back to le cordon bleu where i’m enrolled in their grand diplôme program. this program runs for 9 months and upon completion, students receive superior certificates in both pastry and cuisine.

while home, i was asked the following questions countless times, #1: what is a typical day at cordon bleu? and #2 what is your favorite dish to make? so for this week’s post, i’m serving up answers on a hot plate for you! (just in case you didn’t get to hear them in person).



a day at cordon bleu

6am. wake up!!! most of my days begin with an early call time for class so i’m up and at ’em. to keep me full through the morning, i eat this muesli (a cereal-like breakfast made from rolled oats, grains, and dried fruits) almost every day. i do *sometimes* splurge for a croissant or pain aux raisins like the ones below…c’est la vie!


pain au chocolat, croissant, pain aux raisins

7am. en route to school! i chose to live with a french host family while staying here to help improve my french and lucky enough, they live within walking distance from the school. once i get into the institute, i put on my uniform: pants, chef’s jacket, neckerchief, and shoes (i use dansko’s).


crudités, mimosa hard boiled eggs

7:45am-11am. class starts! at school, there are two types of classes i can have: demonstrations or practicals. in demonstrations, i sit in a large lecture room where the chef prepares the dishes i’ll be making that day in practical class. while i receive the ingredient list, no recipe instructions are provided by the school so i take a bigillion notes during these demo classes to make sure i don’t miss a thing! at the end of each demonstration, team leaders (a sort of group captain for the week) passes around a tasting portion of the dish. above you can see my very first cuisine tasting at cordon blue, a crudité salad that employed many, many knife skills!

11am-11:45am. lunch! time to scarf something down that will hold me ’til half past six. i’m usually munching on something that i made in a practical class the day before.

11:45am-3pm. class again! pastry instead of cuisine this time.



pastry demonstrations function the same as cuisine demonstrations and sometimes the chef will make a dish for fun on the side, like these heart macaroons! too sweet.



in this particular demonstration, the chef used macaroons from prior classes that week to model how much food coloring we should be putting in our meringue batters. super helpful! (see below to see how mine turned out.)

3:15pm-6:30pm. practical class! recognize the colorful vegetables below from the tasting dish earlier? this was my recreation of the chef’s crudité platter, complete with cabbage, radish, celery, carrots, tomatoes, and cucumber, all specified to different types of cuts. plus a deviled egg! my knife skills have been on a major learning curve since i step foot in this school.


crudités, mimosa hard boiled eggs

practical classes are different from demonstrations in that i show up in full uniform (apron, hat, and tea towel included), and cook for 2-3 hours. most chefs require dishes to be served on a hot plate within 2 1/2 hours of start time, leaving the final 30 minutes for cleaning. every student has their own workstation, oven, and stovetop, and is required to produce the same dish. it’s pretty intense! the stuff of tv shows.

looking back, the crudité platter was easy compared to some of these other dishes…


braised beef cheek with honey and lemon fondant carrots, pureed potatoes


salmon paupiettes, genevoise sauce, crunchy cabbage with ginger

you can see that the salmon paupiettes above have been broken into. in each cuisine practical, chef will taste my dish. this is the ultimate test! during tasting, chef will also take note of my personal hygiene (no apron stains!), how i operated throughout the practical, and how warm my plate is. fun fact: this salmon dish showed up on my final exam!

6:30pm-6:45pm. try and shovel dinner or a snack in before running to the next class!

6:45pm-10pm. pastry practical!


how’d i do on the macarons? judging from the chef’s macaron gradient, i could’ve used a bit less food coloring. and when piping the macarons out, it’s best not to flick the tip of your pastry bag too far upwards. that’s what makes these guys look a *little* busty.

pastry practicals are a bit different from cuisine as i’m usually on a clock with shorter sprints. for example, the dacquoise cake below required the meringue layers to be baked before i began assembling the buttercream filling or marzipan rose. in my practical for this cake, chef only allowed a specific time frame to bake the meringue layers. if my meringue hadn’t been piped within that time, you wouldn’t be seeing this pretty cake in pictures!


dacquoise meringue filled with praline buttercream, caramelized almonds, and topped with a marzipan rose

bringing me to the next difference between cuisine and pastry practicals: chefs typically do not taste student’s pastry dishes. why? in most of the pastries, a chef can determine whether an ingredient was missing just by looking at it.


dacquoise meringue filled with praline buttercream, caramelized almonds, and topped with a marzipan rose

10pm-11pm. get out of my uniform, and head home! after a long day like this, it typically takes me a couple hours to unwind. i head home and eat a late dinner, catch up on some texts, and get to sleep asap. there’s more work to be done in the morning!

my favorite dish to make

bread! i still can’t quit it. after spending the summer before culinary school rolling out baguettes and mixing sourdough starters, i feel even more connected to the bread products i make in school now. my first pain au chocolat was a big hit and i can’t wait to make more!


in the cuisine realm of things, i enjoy making quiches and stews. the most delicious dish i’ve made in school so far has to be the braised beef cheek dish. see the fancy portrait of that dish above, in contrast with the “how-i-eat-this-at-home” image below. (with a glass of vin rouge of course!)


braised beef cheek with honey and lemon fondant carrots, pureed potatoes

while every day at cordon bleu isn’t as jam-packed as the day i described above, that schedule is typical of at least half my week. on lighter days, i try my best to catch up on sleep, exercise, blogging, and exploring this city!

and because you made it so far in this article, here’s me (hairnet and all) at my final pastry practical in november! i guess sleep deprivation will make you think anything looks cute.


springtime charlotte with ladyfingers, almond bavarian cream, fruit mousse, and fresh berries

in this week’s other stuff:

to get back in the french spirit, i’ve got sidney bechet’s si tu vois ma mère on repeat. fun fact! it’s the opening song to midnight in paris.

speaking of food gradients, check out the queen: wright kitchen

west elm is getting trendier by the second

french soulcycle, my latest obsession