27 December 2010

Backtracking through our French Christmas (1)

I'll start with a couple of other excursions, one to Olivier Bajard, the chocolatier who has a shop and school outside Perpignan, and the other into the city proper.

Many temptations at Monsieur Bajard's, but we limited ourselves to a small box of chocolates and a jar of hazelnut caramel sauce. Next Christmas, after being seduced by the candied orange inside Heston Blumenthal's pudding, we'll take a closer look at all the glacéed fruits. I've always figured they'd be soft and too sweet rather than sticky, chewy, and flavorful like HB's.

Perpignan disappoints on a smaller scale than Oxford Street when it comes to municipal decorations, but this tree in the window of the VIP restaurant (fully booked, so we couldn't eat there -- now have their card, so next time we'll plan in advance) was worthy of Selfridge's.

Since there was no room at the inn -- very Christmassy -- we made a beeline for our favorite Perpignan restaurant, YY. Michael had scallops on a pumpkin mousse and I had hake with risotto.

Le Plaisir, very good red from Mas Amiel; picked up another bottle
later at new Monoprix next to Galeries Lafayette

For almost ten years I've been looking for the thick glass slabs, like ice, on which I was served a selection of sorbets at a restaurant in Collioure. YY's presentation isn't quite as dramatic, but would be far easier to duplicate. Flavors are mango, lemon, and blood orange.

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