Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Laduree's Sucre

Laduree's Sucre

Sucre is a sweet "little gem" of a book. 
It's from my favorite Parisian Patisseire Laduree

I have a sweet spot for anything Laduree.  Laduree is always one of my first stops whenever I visit Paris. 

Sucre is a book to treasure.  It comes presented in a Laduree trademark pastel green box wrapped inside lavender tissue paper. The book's covering is a soft pastel green velvet with gilded pages. Oui, it's quite regal! 

Sucre is like a present when you open it for the first time.

My book was a present to myself for my birthday last month.  I found my copy at the charming San Francisco boutique, Nest.  You may be able to find it online or you may just have to hop a flight to Paris and pick one up!


Sucre in French translates to sugar in English. 

Sucre features 100 sweet recipes from Laduree Pastry Chef, Phillipe Andrieu.  The book was originally only available in French.  Merci Laduree for making it available in English!

Bilingual food and travel writer, Kerrin Rousset translated the book to English.  I wonder how long that actually took her?  You can read more about it on her blog

Sucre is filled with perfect photographs so sweetly styled.  They will certainly make you crave Laduree's  sweet pastries.  I'm not sure if I will actually ever try to "whip" up any of it's recipes.  In my opinion...the book is perfect "eye candy" just sitting on my cocktail table!

So here's a petite peak inside Sucre for you:

Pyramid of Macaroons

The book begins with the story of Laduree

In 1862 Louis Ernest Laduree opened his bakery in the heart of Paris at 16 rue Royal

You can still visit this original location today as well as other locations in Paris.  The first French macaron I ever had was at the Laduree salon on the Champs Elysees.  It was love at first bite!

Macaron Amande
(Almond Macaron)

What would a Laduree book be without their world famous macarons? 

 Luckily for us, the first section in the book is Les Macarons.   There are recipes for:  Macarons Amande, Chocolat, Citron and Framboise.  The latter three just so happen to be a few of my husband and my favorite flavors!

Cake au Citon
(Lemon Cake)

Laduree's Cake au Citron looks like a perfect tea cake to me! 

It features a lemon cake batter with a lemon syrup and lemon glaze over it.  I think this would be lovely to pair at tea time with Laduree's Earl Grey tea


I think Financiers are perfectly suited for a cup of tea!

I've made Financiers before.  They are similar to Madeleines.

These little tea cakes are called financiers because their traditional rectangular bar shape resemble little bars of gold!  Sur La Table now carries (online only) a mini financier mold made in France. 

So Treat Yourself!

This book makes a lovely present to yourself and anyone who loves:
 Laduree, Tea Time, Baking and French Sweet Treats. 

 I hope you treat yourself to Sucre!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

An Afternoon to Remember

 Tea Time with Amy

I spent an Afternoon to Remember last week with Amy Lawrence. 

Amy Lawrence is the owner of An Afternoon to Remember.  She formerly operated that popular tea room in Newcastle, CA and now specializes in selling her fine loose teas from her new home in Seattle.   Amy was back in Northern California for several special events...all tea related, of course.

I attended Amy's talk on the Health Benefits of Tea held at my favorite local antique store, The Antique Trove in Roseville, CA. 

 Amy Lawrence

Amy's talk on the Health Benefits of Tea was very informative.  She began by saying

"all tea is good for you!"

Amy's talk included not only the health benefits of tea but also a lesson on all the different types of teas.  All true tea must come from the Camellia Sinensis plant.  I was amazed to learn that there are over 3,000 teas in the world.  Looks like I have a lot more teas to try!

Amy was wonderful in giving valuable information on how to properly brew and steep the different types of teas.  I've been trying to drink more green tea these days and have found that sometimes my Sencha tea is a bit bitter.  Now I know why.  I was using boiling water and steeping it for 4 minutes.  Amy says green tea should be made with 180 degree water (not quite boiling) and only steep for 3 minutes.  I've been following Amy's advice now and my Sencha tea is no longer bitter.  Thank you, Amy!

Afternoon to Remember Teas

Amy loved having her tea room but she says now "she is really just into tea"! 

She is an avid tea drinker and personally enjoys exotic teas from around the world.  One of her favorite places to visit is Red Blossom in San Francisco where you can find a tea for $400.00 a pound!  While I have never had tea that expensive, I certainly agree that once you have enjoyed the finer teas in the world...there's no going back to tea bags!

When you have a chance, check out Amy's online store.  It's filled with over 120 fine loose teas.  I'm currently enjoying her Duchess Anna blend.  It smells divine and  this black tea is flavored with coconut creme, strawberry, kiwi and blue flowers. 

Amy says Creme Brule is her number one best seller.  Amy graciously gave me a 1 oz. bag of Creme Brule for one of my lucky readers to win.  To enter my little Afternoon to Remember contest, all you have to do is visit Amy's online store and make a comment on this blog post which two teas of Amy's you would love to try and why.  I'll put all the entrees in a teapot and select a winner on next Tuesday, January 25th. 

Only one entree please. The deadline for comments is Monday, January 24th and be sure that I can contact you via your comment or leave an email address in your comment. 

Tuesday 1/25/2011:  I have a winner....Congratulations to Annemieke for her lovely comment on Afternoon to Remember teas.  Your Creme Brule tea is on it's way to you!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Teapot Trivets

 Royal Winton Teapot & Trivet

I think every tea table should have a teapot trivet.  This is not just the tea lover in me speaking but the interior designer in me.  Did you know that heat and moisture can be most damaging to your beautiful wood dining table?  If you set a hot pot of tea directly on your wood table you could end up with white cloudy stains in your wood's finish.

So do yourself a favor and use a teapot trivet when serving a hot pot of tea!

I have a fondness for vintage china for my tea parties so I love sleuthing around antique shops for vintage teapot trivets.  Here are a few from my personal collection:

 Antique German Trivet

This pretty trivet is perfect for mixing & matching with all my floral patterns.

 Antique Spode Camilla-Blue Trivet

I'm a huge collector of Blue & White Spode.  This rare trivet is perfectly suited for any blue & white Spode teapot with a round base.

 Antique German Trivet

I love roses so this trivet is lovely with all my pretty rose teapots.

Do you use a teapot trivet? 
I would love to hear about your favorite ones!

(In the photos:  Royal Winton (new 1995) Old Cottage Teapot & Trivet, vintage German trivet, vintage Spode (older blue mark) Camilla Blue trivet, and vintage German trivet, unmarked.)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


 Teavana's Tea Wall

Once you discover the wonderful world of loose leaf teas...there's no going back to boring tea bags. 

I do admit, there are times when I'll grab a Yorkshire or PG Tips tea bag for a quick cuppa but I much prefer to drink loose leaf teas. 

A wonderful place to discover and try the world of loose tea is Teavana.  Perhaps you are lucky and have a Teavana at your local mall.  In my region, I have two Teavana locations in nearby malls.  I am really impressed with Teavana's premium tea selection and tea merchandise.

Tea Cart

At the Teavana store, you are always greeted by an adorable tea cart for complimentary tea tasting.  There are generally two different teas to sample.  I've never met a tea sample there that I didn't like!

I hope you are able to visit a Teavana location where you live.  If not, you can always peruse their wonderful web site and online store.  They also have a tea blog Heaven of Tea.

And, since it is the start of a new year...

A tea toast to drinking and discovering
the wonderful world of tea!