“Teatime in Paris: A Walk Through Easy French Pâtisserie Recipes” by Jill Colonna (2015) – book review

Well, what a turn out for the books!

Bit of a departure from the norm for me, but simply too good to resist…

Found myself by sheer coincidence in just the right place at the right time last week: took a little time out early afternoon to indulge in cakes and Prosecco (although the savoury pies and pots of tea are also to die for) in the glorious bakery and coffee shop “Treize” in the heart of Saint Germain des Prés in the 6th arrondissement, owned and run by the charming, convivial Laurel – and a Must See when you are visiting Paris or indeed a complete discovery if you are lucky enough to live here (oh, what bliss,  the carrot-cake and champagne for S’s birthday splash last month, indeed).

This culinary treasure is cleverly hidden down a beautiful courtyard in one of the loveliest parts of the city, and it’s worth calling to reserve a table to be sure of a spot, as the place is often chock-a-block – in no small part due to sparkling reviews like this one from Paris New York TV

NJH TreizeI am wandering off my bookish tracks… but bear with me, for there is a literary link. For my Prosecco-supping book-passionate pals S and D and I had also stumbled more by good luck than good management into a book-signing event for Jill Colonna’s follow-up to “Mad About Macarons”, as Waverley Books have just published “Teatime in Paris: A Walk Through Easy French Pâtisserie Recipes”. Featuring over 50 very sumptuous-looking cakes and pastries, this new book is a feast for the eyes.

As one who falls shy of tackling anything more ambitious than the occasional crêpe of a Sunday morning, just the mention of homemade chocolate éclairs and choux pastry, millefeuilles and (Heaven forbid the very idea) the unthinkably tricky macarons, leaves me in awe of anyone attempting such feats chez soi. The whole premise of Jill’s book is that it is possible to demystify the myths and take the intimidation factor out of home baking these French marvels. Her recipes are all clearly laid out by section, with step-by-step instructions that do indeed seem infinitely manageable, so there may be hope that I may finally surprise the Offspring by producing something home-baked before they give up all faith. Hoping to report back in due course that have indeed become a dab hand at G’s favourite, the Paris Brest with its mouth-watering toasted praline buttercream filling, “tantissimi auguri”, by the way!! – see page 171 and drool.

     

“Teatime in Paris” also contains a brilliant appendix, highlighting ‘favourite sweet walks in Paris’ and taking you by the hand along the Left and Right Banks and around the various gastronomic and gourmet streets, such as the rue Saint-Dominique in the 7th. Take a peek online too at the colourful and appetising website and blog Jill writes, which like the book is awash with food-related historical tales and enticing ideas of what and where to visit in the City of Lights. Actually, this pretty cookbook is as tempting as the recipes it describes, and suspect am going to earmark it as Gift of the Year for everyone I know who loves baking, eating and Paris (so that’s everyone) … Amazon.co.uk here I come, again…

RATING : 10/10

Images taken from here and here, here, here and here. Photo of NJH in “Treize”, credit to Inez Forbes, with thanks.
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13 Responses to “Teatime in Paris: A Walk Through Easy French Pâtisserie Recipes” by Jill Colonna (2015) – book review

  1. TimPa59 says:

    I think I know someone who might like this book! It looks very appetising!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. bookblog27 says:

    How delightful! and I now wish I’d picked up a copy there and then. You’re right, food, books and Paris … what’s not to like. I haven’t dabbled much with French pâtisseries as they always seem far too complicated and will never taste as good as those made by the experts (hundreds of exquisite pâtisseries peeking out from every other shop window in Paris – taunting, teasing and daring you to even try to replicate their perfection). However, I have (hmmm, hmmm), successfully made the Moelleux au Chocolate Coeur Fondant Caramel Salé from Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen. It was so good that I offered to marry it and bear its children. Look forward to at least trying my hand at some of Jill Colanna’s recipes and reading all about what makes Paris so sweet for her. D x

    Liked by 2 people

    • jill-colonna says:

      Bonjour Diana,
      I wish you had stayed too – perhaps we could have convinced you that certain French pastries are much easier to make than you think and their taste can also be just as delicious (salted caramel puffs, double chocolate tarts …) Let me know the next time you’re in Paris – it would be wonderful to meet up.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Diana, I was very tempted to get a copy for each of you there and then, I confess!! We too have Rachel K’s book and followed in her footsteps over the summer to revisit her haunts: the Marché d’Aligre and so on – the wine bar she raved about, Le Baron Rouge, was actually closed on the day, sadly. So next time you are over we will know where to rendez-vous… Off to hunt the Moelleux recipe down, posthaste. See you very soon, à la prochaine xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jill-colonna says:

    Nicola, I am bowled over by your review of Teatime. What a beautifully written write-up. Thank you so much. I am looking forward to hearing about your Italian friend making the Paris-Brests (who knows, she may also make the gluten-free macaron version too…) I do hope she wasn’t offended by my joke in her birthday copy, but I can never resist a good pun! A bientôt

    Liked by 1 person

  5. G – no pressure to extend your culinary prowess now then…!!!! Nicolaxx

    Like

  6. tomthesnail says:

    You had me at “cake and Prosecco” 😀 TTS x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Teatime in Paris! US Release and Online Book Tour | Mad about Macarons! Le Teatime Blog in Paris

  8. Jill – sorry to have missed Carol’s signing of the endpapers – another event called for, methinks, Nx

    Like

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