Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Patrick Roger's "Chocolate Mine", Maille Mustard Boutique and "The Queen of Versailles"


Since Stéphane is traveling for work this week, I thought that I would get up to a bit of monkey business - Parisian style. My first stop was Patrick Roger's newly opened boutique on the Place de la Madeleine, where chocolate monkeys with cheeky grins attract the attention of passersby. Described as a "chocolate mine" by Roger, who holds the title Meilleur Ouvrier de France, I had hoped to be able to visit all three floors. At the moment, however, visitors are restricted to the ground floor where the chocolatier's marvelous gourmet creations are available for purchase.

After selecting some cubes filled with nougatine praline and a couple caramelized almond and orange clusters, I asked the cashier when it would be possible to see the artist's incredible chocolate sculptures that I had heard were lurking in a simulated "chocolate eco-system" on the second floor and in the basement. Even though her answer was rather vague, I wasn't overly disappointed by my visit because I had the opportunity to take a photo of Patrick Roger, who's the equivalent of a rock star for chocoholics. Standing in front of clusters of aluminium cylinders that give the boutique the feel of a large beehive, Roger has every reason to grin. The store's design conveys his concern for the planet's well-being while providing a magnificent showcase for his chocolate art.

Please click here to see a post with photos of another one of Roger's amazing creations - a one ton chocolate gorilla!

Patrick Roger
3, place de la Madeleine
75008 Paris


Crossing the Rue Royale, I walked the short distance to the Maille mustard boutique to refill our clay pots with fresh mustard, on tap. While waiting in line, I sampled a seasonal mustard made with honey and Modena Balsamic vinegar and eavesdropped on the excited American tourists who were exclaiming over the wide range of enticing flavors. Grilled onion and wild thyme. Gingerbread and chestnut honey. Oyster and chanterelle mustard. They all sound a lot more appealing than the French's yellow mustard that I used to slather on my hotdogs when I was a kid. With an assortment of gift boxes and mustard accessories, the Maille boutique is one of my favorite places to take visitors who want to take something typically French back home with them.

Maille Mustard Boutique
6 Place de la Madeleine
75008 Paris

As anyone whose spouse travels on a regular basis knows, evenings are usually the loneliest periods of the day. It's when you need a distraction, something like Downton Abbey (Season Three). The only problem with that scenario is that I had rather stupidly agreed to wait until Stephane returned home to watch the next episode. Popping one of Patrick Roger's chocolates in my mouth, I tried to recall if there were any loopholes that would allow me to escape into the world of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants. Unable to think of a thing, I was pleased to see that "The Queen of Versailles" is available on itunes because I've been wanting to watch this documentary ever since a friend told me about it. This riches to rags story about the billionaire family who set out to build a 90,000 square foot mansion inspired by Versailles made me think of the excesses of the French court and proved to be a very entertaining way to end my day. It's also a very good reminder that it's important not to live beyond our means. After all, does a private home really need 10 kitchens, a full-sized baseball field and $5 million worth of marble imported from China?

Another movie that I would highly recommend is Argo, Ben Affleck's latest thriller about the rescue of six American diplomats during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. Even though I knew the ending, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.

25 comments:

  1. You might have encountered me at Maille, It is one of my favorite places to shop!

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    1. I wish that I would have encountered you there, Thérèse! I had a good time chatting with some American women who sampled the truffle mustard on tap for the first time.

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  2. Wow! I'm ultra impressed that you managed a photo of Patrick Roger, even if you didn't (yet) get to the second floor. :) He has a store out here and his staff are always incredibly accommodating about taking photos.

    I'm thinking along with the ladies of Paris, you need to make an outing out on the RER to explore the streets of Saint Germain en Laye.

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    1. An outing to Saint Germain en Laye is an excellent idea! Just let us know when you can spare a bit of time. I've been hoping for an opportunity to hear about how your project is progressing.

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  3. You really have a way of making me hungry!

    I think I've seen that chocolate gorilla, or a version of it. I was blown away. Love it!

    Thanks for sharing your adventures!

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    1. You probably saw the chocolate gorilla when it was at Patrick Roger's store on Boulevard Saint-Germain. I thought of you the other night when my friend and I stopped in your favorite cafe near Odeon. It was right after we saw "Argo".

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  4. Her boobs like they cost enough to bankrupt a family!!!

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    1. Hahaha, very true!

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    2. Those and her constant quest to stay young! That's what happens when you marry a man who tells you that he's going to trade you in for two 20-year olds as soon as you turn 40.

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  5. Loved Argo. I thought I would have a heart attack from the suspense even though I knew how it would turn out.

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    1. I know! I kept telling myself to relax while watching the movie but there was no way. I only relaxed after the plane made it out of Iranian airspace. I went to see "Argo" with a Russian friend who was visiting from Switzerland. We had an interesting discussion about the way that the world has and hasn't changed since 1979.

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  6. Those different mustards sound delicious. And thanks for the heads up about The Queen of Versailles. I hadn't heard of that and it sounds fascinating. Oh to have that much money to fritter away on Chinese marble ... !

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    1. $5 million on marble - I can't even begin to imagine having that much money! But what surprised me the most is that I actually felt sorry for the "Queen" and her husband a couple of times because their priorities were all mixed up. Plus, they had obviously married each other for all the wrong reasons.

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  7. My mom and I have been wanting to go to the Maille mustard boutique for the past 3 years, just to see mustard coming out out on tap! She'll be here for the holidays, we might just have to finally do it! Gingerbread and chestnut honey mustard sounds incredible...and like you said, great gift idea!

    Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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    1. Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes, Mlle Ella! I hope that you had a very good holiday with Seb.

      That's wonderful news that your mom is going to be here for Christmas. She must be counting the days until she's in Paris with you. I don't know what the gingerbread and chestnut honey tastes like because it's not one of the ones that you can sample, but it sounds intriguing. They give you a booklet that tells you which mustards are good with which foods. Kind of like wine pairing!

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  8. My husband has been traveling a lot the past couple of weeks for work and I've been having some quality movie time as well. I've been dying to see Queen of Versailles as well so thank you so much for letting us know it's on itunes, I think that's what I'll be doing tonight :)

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    1. Your husband was away "tonight"? As in Thanksgiving? I hope that I misunderstood and that the two of you were together. It would be nice if we lived in the same part of France because I'm always looking for a movie buddy when my husband is traveling. I hope that you enjoyed "The Queen of Versailles". Even though I expected to dislike the "Queen" and "King" there was something so tragic about them that I couldn't help but feel sorry for the poor rich people.

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  9. I brought home the ginger bread and chestnut honey mustard for my Mother. She is looking forward to my return to bring back other unusual varieties. Cannot wait to visit Patrick Roger when nearby.

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    1. What did you think of the gingerbread and chestnut mustard? I can't quite imagine what it would taste like -- well, I can based on the name but I can't imagine the reality of it. It's really easy to visit Patrick Roger at the same time as Maille because it's just across the street. Maybe you'll be able to see more of the PR boutique in April than I was able to see.

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  10. I LOVED Argo too, and as you said, I was on the edge of my seat too. I didnt' quite know the ending, I suspected the ending, but the ending was still worth waiting for. So good. I'm also big on the Danish film A Royal Affair--beautiful period historical drama and a great film. Loved it, highly recommend.

    Stephane didn't take me to Patrick Roger when we went beret shopping that Saturday in September, how did we overlook this? We did make it to Maille, and frankly, it's too much for me. Mustard is mustard, when you start adding gingerbread and chestnut honey, well, you're just not mustard anymore. I guess it's just a Maille sauce then. I do love their mustards though, and the clay pots are great.

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    1. After watching Argo, I found the CIA report online. It was fascinating to read and also mentioned some of the changes that were made for the movie. "A Royal Affair" just opened in Paris. Thanks for telling me about it! I may wait to see it until after our daughter arrives next weekend because she loves historical dramas.

      Shame on Stephane! But in all seriousness, he probably would have taken you to the new Patrick Roger boutique had it been open in September. He has a weakness for chocolate, as you know (!), but it only opened last week.

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  11. That mustard is simply lovely, I can attest to that! :)

    PS made Amma's pecan pie for Thanksgiving today!

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    1. Sara told me! My mother would have been so pleased that a fellow Minnesotean made her pecan pie for Thanksgiving dinner in Boston! I wish that I could have had a slice. :)

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  12. Oooh - I did not know about Patrick Roger's new boutique on Place de la Madeleine! I will definitely make a stop when I return home. Thanks for the tip :)

    Best
    Milsters

    (www.littlepiecesoflight.com)

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  13. Ohh, thanks for letting me know the Queen of Versailles is on iTunes...I saw a documentary about the making of it this summer, and have always wanted to see the real thing.

    And as a side note....evenings can be a tough time for the traveling spouse as well - eating three meals out a day alone can definitely get old! :)

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