Friday, May 28, 2010

Art Home - 'Arôme'

On Stefan's actual birthday we wandered around the city beginning our day at the Fête du pain 2010, which is a bread festival in front for the Notre-Dame. This year's theme was focused on the Pays Basque region, where the Pyrenees mountains are and where my family's two dogs are from.

After having a lazy morning and sampling some Pays Basque specialities our real adventure began - complete with a walk across the city.

Stefan's first big clue was that we were going to be heading towards the Eiffel Tower. I let him lead the way and watched as he tried to guess what we'd be doing.

The clue photo was of taiyaki (from our visit to Japan) and said 'learn something new in a place with a view'. It was kind of funny as we walked up the steps next to the Palais de Tokyo and he saw a sign with the name on it, but he still wasn't sure just what we were doing.

The first guess after he discovered it was an art museum was that we'd be making some kind of art, which knowing me isn't too far off.

The Palais opens promptly at noon, so we waited outside admiring random details, like the Michael Jackson tribute, until they opened the big rounded bronze doors.

I met with a woman who asked if we were there for the 'workshop', which still left him clueless.

We walked up the steps to a large open area and his next question was 'Are we doing some kind of roofing?', because it did look a bit like a construction site.

We followed the group through the doorway into a brightly lit room with state of the art everything. It was then that everything clicked - we were attending a cooking course in the most unlikely of places. He was handed his apron and told to scrub up and then we got to work.

A wonderful man named René took us under his wing. We were the only foreigners there and unfortunately neither of our French is up to par with hearing, comprehending, and putting things into practice.

Everyone whipped out notebooks and began fervently scribbling down everything the chef said in hopes to replicate things at home. I just took photos of their recipes and hoped I'd be able to figure it out as they day went on.

The groups were split into 3 areas: meat, vegetables, and pastry. I'm pretty sure everyone shuffled around making sure we ended up at the pastry station, which is probably the most fail proof. It also happened to be what we were both most interested in, so it was a win win.

Our chef for the day really reminded me of an auburn haired version of the character Colette in the movie Ratatouille. I think it was a combination of her mannerisms, accent, and the way she scolded me when I went a little too far in browning butter.

Let's just say I won't soon forget butter should be browned to 135˚C and not 5˚C more. Oops.. I was impressed that she was so good that she could tell by sight, because there was no thermometer around.

As for what was around, let me just say we were definitely dealing with professional equipment. The ranges on the stove tops were out of this world and all were touch screens. I guess knobs are so 2000.

René, Olivier, Stefan, and I all got to creating basil financier cakes, glazed strawberries, and white chocolate ice cream. I'm pretty certain I need one of these ice cream makers now.

Once things were nearing completion it was time to get on doing the dishes. Stefan was near the sink when they started piling up, so I joined him in attempts to do something useful. One woman asked if he was married when she saw him washing away. He remarked he didn't anticipate he'd be doing dishes on his birthday. We all got a good laugh out of things.

Finally everyone's hard work paid off and it was time to enjoy a delicious lunch complete with wine. As we were plating up the desserts someone stuck a candle into Stefan's and we all sang Happy Birthday - once in French and once in English. I think if Olivier had his way he would have done another rendition.

The Electrolux Art Home 'Arôme' cooking course is open until December 2010, although that may change. Theoretically it will then travel to another city. Each class accommodates 12 people and reservations open at 10am one month prior.

That wasn't the end of the celebrations. I still have a few more exciting things from our trip to Paris, so stayed tuned for those!


Aisling said...

The food looks delicious and the day looks like a lot of fun.

Jessica {lovely jubbly london} said...

how fun and unique! Everything looks delicious too.

JoernandAllison said...

What an amazing experience! And that you tackled a cooking class in French- that is so cool! I'm sure you learned quite a bit. Again, hats off to you. So much fun!

Emily said...

It was definitely great - I definitely recommend checking it out if you go to Paris.

HaveShoesWillTravel said...

How fun!

ashley said...

the scavenger hunt idea is TOO cute! this looks like such a fun way to celebrate. Would love to check it out on my next visit! so glad I found your blog, so many lovely posts here!

Emily said...

Thanks so much Ashley! We definitely had a great time. Hopefully I can think of something fun to do next year, too.