Saturday, 17 August 2013

Meeting the French- Gerard Mulot

On our last trip to France we spent an amazing morning visiting a working boulangerie and learning how baguettes and croissants were made. We all loved it so much that this year we did another visit organised by the same company, Meeting the French.

This time we went to the 13th to visit Gerard Mulot and discover how to make macarons and chocolates. But first we ventured into the shop and saw all manner of deliciousness.

This one really caught my eye, but was to remain untasted
Couer Frivole
Biscuit chocolat-amandes punche cacao,
mousse chocolat noir, chocolat au lait

Culinary competitions in France often involve sculptures as a way
of showing off techniques and mastery of many processes.

Meeting the French send a translator/guide to meet you, and accompany the tour, they are always friendly and engaging. After donning our rather attractive protective gear we were ushered into the production areas. First stop for our group was the chocolate room- it smelt so amazing in there!

We learnt about the three main chocolate producing areas
Samples of chocolate!
The first of many...
We learnt how to make molded chocolates pretty
Demonstrating how to cut chocolates with the "guitar"

The chocolate covering machine

Another chocolatier practising techniques for a sculpture
 for a competition later in the year

After our time in the chocolate room, we moved through to the macaron room. Macarons have taken the world by storm in recent years, but they taste even better in France. They are a delicious mix of egg white, powdered egg white, almond meal and flavourings. 

At Gerard Mulot they finish the mix by hand which
gives the chef a  better feel
of the texture and helps ensure a lump-free mix
The regular shells are piped out of a
computer controlled machine to ensure perfect size

While the large sizes need to be hand piped
They're cooked for 14 minutes in an oven on a rotating shelf
Our visit helped confirm my decision not to try making macarons at home myself. I know some people have success with them as home cooks, but it's daunting to see how the professionals cook them, and how they make them so perfect. They can adjust the oven temperature by a single degree to allow for changes in the weather or humidity. I'd rather eat beautiful professionally made macarons on the rare occasion that I get near them than have my likely dodgy home made versions. I'll stick to the more forgiving madeleines.

They were making Ananas Gingembre (Pineapple Ginger) when we visited
They make the flavours from lighter to darker on a given day. Any misshapen shells are discarded.

But there were trays of deliciousness everywhere
And the samples kept coming! 
We ended up sampling four macarons- Nougat, Vanilla, Passionfruit and the Pineapple Ginger.

Of course we needed to buy some more to take home

And check out an ice-cream

I wasn't all that familiar with Gerard Mulot before our tour but am definitely a fan. He has several shops in Paris (we ended up visiting three of them), and offers sweet and savoury creations. His macarons turned out to be Master Wickers favourites this trip. His pineapple ginger macaron was certainly one of my favourite macarons, and a flavour that I would never have ordered left to my own devices, so I was very pleased to try it. I'm sure we'll do another Meeting the French tour on our next visit to Paris.

Saturday Snapshot is a wonderful weekly meme now hosted by WestMetroMommy

This post is linked to Weekend Cooking, a fabulous weekly meme at Beth Fish Reads.
My first Weekend Cooking post for some time.


ktford said...

delicious adventure...
thanks much for sharing :-)

skiourophile said...

I've added this company to my list for next time I'm in Paris - both tours sound wonderful. And those macarons sound even better!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Oh my! I suspected they had some helpful equipment. Wonderful to see the process.

I must share this as a Pinterest pin, Louise.

Brona said...

What a wonderful thing to do Louise. It looks interesting and tasty!

Susan Lindquist said...

Yum! You've had a tasty trip! Amazing the workmanship that goes into the candies and cookies, wines and breads, and all the beautiful food prepared, isn't it?

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Okay, now I'm drooling! Thanks for sharing these lovely goodies...and the tour.

And thanks for visiting my blog.

Anonymous said...

oh my! I was at France for a work thing and visited Paris over a weekend(just one weekend!). I had no time for any macaron-trail, gelato-trail or chocolate-trail I badly wanted to do:|
This post perfectly fits the bill and is being bookmarked, coz' I do plan on visiting Paris again :)

grammajudyb said...

I have never been to Paris, but my mouth is watering as I sit in Wyoming with my coffee. YUM!

Anonymous said...

What a brilliant idea! I never knew they conduct tours like this. These photos are precious memories and so beautiful. I'm sure the product of your labor is tasty too.

Ginx Craft said...

We also sampled some macaroons in France. I tried to make them once and failed miserably, but may give it another go. What we noticed was how the French wrap any purchases so beautifully, not just food.

Christine Harding said...

What a wonderful experience to see how the French make macaroons - I would love to do something like that. My snapshot is at

Irene said...

What a fabulous adventure, and so diet conscious. I think I gained 10 lbs. just reading this. I love macaroons and chocolate.

bermudaonion said...

That looks like an amazing tour! Just to be around that chocolate would be heavenly. There's nothing more beautiful than French chocolate.

Beth F said...

Wonderful tour. And I love it that you got to keep sampling!

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

I love taking food tours and this one looks fabulous; thanks for taking us along.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Louise,

Those chocolates look delicious, although for me they would have to be milk chocolate, as I just don't like dark chocolate. I know that the dark stuff is better for you and is a purer form of chocolate altogether, however I could quite become used to living without chocolate, if that was all that was on offer!

I love macaroons, so that would more than make up for the plain chocolate and would have been my samples of choice!

On a visit to Switzerland many years ago, we went on a trip to the Nestle chocolate factory. Although nothing like the intricacy and hand finishing involved at the Gerard Mulot establishment, it was nonetheless very interesting and there were plenty of free samples. Unfortunately, we picked the hottest day of the vacaton to take the trip and the temperatures were way up in the 90's. The factory was akin to a sweatshop and the smell slightly nauseating. Needless to say, the boxes of free samples were only good for the bin, after the two hour coach trip back to the hotel!!

I love Paris and am very jealous, as we haven't been able to go back for sometime now and probably never will!!


Jeanie said...

What a "delicious" post! This (macarons) is something I've always wanted to do -- to see how the pros to it is quite amazing! It's on my bucket list -- learning to make an amazing macaron. We'll see!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

An interesting visit and to get to see the masters at work is brilliant . My son is a chef and can make chocolates and Macarons ..His chocolates are out of this world ,, But he is not in Paris , so I still need to go :-) Thanks for sharing.

Paulita said...

The pictures and the descriptions are all fabulous. I'm ready for my tour now! Here’s my Dreaming of France meme

Joy said...

We would love that tour! We've become quite the supporter of a shop that opened up in St. Louis that makes macarons since we got back from Paris. I, too, would prefer to buy them for special occasions rather than make them at home.

Joy's Book Blog

Esme said...

I thought that meeting the french had really good tours-I had a flu bug the day I did my tour-GM is my favourite patisserie-I always bring home his croissants-in his store in the 6th which I think is the best you oftentimes see him milling about with the customers. He has an amazing cookbook (in French) of course that I purchased.

Maria said...

How mouth-watering! This is the kind of trip I'd so like to make one day!

Christine said...

What a fabulous thing to do while visiting France! Everything looks amazing and you learned so much, I'm sure! We recently visited Japan and took a small group Japanese cooking class in Kyoto.. it was fabulous. I'm going to be on the look out for something similar in every country I visit from now on.

westmetromommy said...

Mmmm....this post is absolutely delicious!