Dessert for Dinner at Amour Wine Bistro

 Yay, so excited to post this! Press release of our collaboration with Amour Wine Bistro! 

Veronica of Petites Bouchรฉes and Paul of Amour Wine Bistro invite you to treat yourself to Richmond’s most unique dinner experience at Amour Wine Bistro in Carytown. Enjoy a series of savory and classic French desserts topped off with a dark chocolate surprise. Veronica and Paul came up with this exclusive dinner to share their passion about French desserts. To enhance your experience, this memorable meal can be paired with wine.
www.amourwinebistro.com/dessertsdinner.html
Wednesday, September 12th at 7:00pm $44, additional $29 with wine pairing

Amour Wine Bistro
3129 West Cary Street
Richmond, Va 23221
Phone 804-353-4020
reserve@amourwb.com

Chocolate Trail 2012 at Harbour City, HK

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A giant macaron piรจce montรฉe

 ”Hungry” Hubby and I wanted to go to Paris this year mainly for me to do more research on pastry trends. However, we knew that it was more important  for me to visit my mom in the Philippines. She will be 85 years old this April and her memory is not what it used to be, so I didn’t want to pass any opportunity to see her while she still knew who I was.

Our flight on Cathay Pacific to the Philippines goes via Hong Kong and there was no extra charge for a longer stopover on the way back. HH has never been to HK and he was hesitant until I told him that there was a bronze statue of Bruce Lee in Harbour City.

It turns out, our timing was perfect. It was the Chocolate Trail exhibition at Harbour City, well-known chocolatiers from La Maison du Chocolate to new-to-me Paul Lafayet were showcasing their pastry.

Imagine my glee when I spied this giant macaron upon stepping out of my hotel (which was inside the mall).

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Big mac
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My first stop, La Maison Du chocolat

Booths like the above were scattered along the chocolate trail. All you had to do was follow the trail of picture-perfect pastry. Like below.

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like the cream puff above or the eclair below. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Sitting on a big eclair

And macarons like this were scattered everywhere.

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The main pavillon:

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I was also lucky to come by a demo by Paul Lafayet about putting together a macaron piece montee.

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Macarons were expensive. This half-dozen box from La Maison du Chocolate was HK$150 which was almost US$20. We were disappointed in the flavor, the chocolate filling was okay but the shell was almost non-existent.

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The best macarons we tried were from Paul Lafayet. Since there was quite a few of us in our group we were able to sample more of the flavors. My favorite was the Bailey’s and the Passion Fruit. They were $HK 15 each, $USD 2 were about 1.25 inch diameter.

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L-R: Baileys, Coffee, Chocolate
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Pistachio, chocolate, Passion Fruit, Mandarin Orange

and a lot more…

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Paul Lafayet Macarons

I also sampled macarons from Jean-Paul Hevin. They were a whopping HK$ 25, US$ 3.30 each and was a bit bigger than most macarons at 1.5 inches. They tasted okay but not as good as Paul Lafayet’s.

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Jean-Paul Hevin macarons

Other pastries of note. Creme Brulee and strawberry tart, also from Paul Lafayet.

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We also made the trek (okay, the train) from Kowloon to Hong Kong in search of Tai Cheong bakery (Lyndhurst terrace) egg tarts. I almost gave up when I saw the uphill road I had to take.

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The road to egg tarts

But I thought I was already here. I braved a packed train and after a little more hike up this trail could justify eating two egg tarts.

The trek was not in vain. Fresh, hot egg tarts out the oven.

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As I was enjoying a freshly-baked egg tart I was contemplating my next stop: Chickalicious cupcake outpost, Kisses.

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Espresso, Matcha, Triple chocolate and Ferrero Rocher

I love their cupcakes, the frosting was just right and was not sweet at all! I wish cupcakes in Richmond would follow suit.

On my last day in HK, I discovered this giant structure. I’m not sure what pastry it represents, but I just have to have my picture taken with it.

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Happy New Year !!!

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Macaron Tower

Wishing everyone a happy and prosperous 2012! Last year was definitely the year of the macarons for me, hoping this year would be just as good. ๐Ÿ™‚

I know I have not been blogging for a while and not sure if I will be consistent in the future. The problem with me is, is that words are hard to come by if the subject does not inspire me. I do not want to write a post just because I need to keep a quota of 2 a week. The problem with that is, when I do feel inspired I end up with a very long post. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll definitely start blogging more about local food here in Richmond, a ton of new restaurants opened last year. Whether they are just an iteration of each other with the same old RVA cuisine remains to be seen. 

I’m also in the quest for the perfect “adobo” – this is not the spice that I am talking about but the national Filipino dish – a stew (or braise) of soy, vinegar and garlic. There are different variations: the tostado (fried or dry) and the masarsa (saucey) and many in between. My brother was able to get me a cookbook devoted to this one subject. ๐Ÿ™‚

On the Petites Bouchees business front. I am working on some new items. I have started with pies and tarts last year and though they have been moderately successful, the macarons took over until I’ve decided to devote 99% of the time to them towards the last quarter. 

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macaron ice cream sandwich

I’ve also worked on my first macaron tower for a company event.

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macaron tower
 
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Company event

I also made the verrines and tarts for this sweet dessert spread.

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raspberry white chocolate cream verrines

In the middle of all these, I was able to take a class with the fastest rising-star of the cake world, Maggie Austin Cake who, luckily for me, is based out of DC. If you haven’t seen her jaw-dropping work, get over her website now and prepare to “ooh and ahh”. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is one of my roses from her fun class.

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la rose

And as always, I’ll still be making more macarons in different colors. I expect a bigger demand for them for the next few years. Why? Because Laduree opened in NY and has really elevated the macaron to a food-fashion accessory. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Colorful macarons

Bonne Annรฉe !!!

Get your Holiday orders in!

 Here are our Christmas offerings. A few of the 20-pc boxes are left so grab them while you can.

Pick-up dates, location and time:

Here are the final pick-up dates for the year:
December 21, 22, and 23 – Glen Allen location (for reserved orders only)
      11:00 am to 3:00 pm and then 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm
December 21 & 23Amour Wine Bistro ( for reserved gift box orders and last minute gift shoppers)
      Sidewalk sales – weather permitting otherwise we’ll be inside Amour
      11:00 am to 3:00 pm
We may also leave some boxes for sale there so if you decide last-minute macaron gifts, give us or Amour Wine Bistro owner, Paul Heitz a call for availability.
It is best to email your order to veronicaATpetitesboucheesDOTcom

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Gift Boxes

After that we’ll be closed from December 24th 2011 to February 29, 2012. No New Year’s Eve orders. Sorry. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Big pies, mini pies, pie pops!

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An all pie table

I was beyond delighted to be able to create this pie table for Elizabeth Howard’s {of the Cordial Cricket - an amazing stationery store!} sister’s wedding. The bride did not want a traditional wedding cake and instead, wanted an all-pie table. I think it was the month of June when I was developing some pie pops for another customer when I thought that it was time to add pies to the Petites Bouchees product list.

Having an all pie table booked was also one way to kickstart this sweet development into gear. Besides, before macarons, pie was my favorite thing. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, here were the pies that were made: blueberry, cherry, apple, sweet potato and pecan. There were three big pies: apple, cherry and pecan the last one being the cutting pie.

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pie line-up

I wouldn’t lie and say it was easy. Pies don’t have a long shelf-life and they are best eaten within two days or three (pecan can last a week). I worked 20 hours straight and the apple pie was even slightly warm when I delivered it to the wedding venue.

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pie pops
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more pie pops!

I wasn’t able to fit all of them on the table, luckily the staff at the Mill at Fine Creek was kind enough to refill.

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mini-cherry pies

The mini cherry pies were my favorite little ones to make.  I should just remember next time to assemble them first because when you’re tired and hungry, those lattices can get confusing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Petites Bouchรฉes in Carytown at Amour Wine Bistro

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Macarons for this Saturday

We are thrilled to announce that our macarons will be available this Saturday, September 10 from 2:30 to 5:00 pm at Amour Wine Bistro. You can now buy them individually and I will have many flavors available. I am thankful for this opportunity given to us by owner Paul Heitz an expert in French cuisine, pastry and wine pairings. I was never a fan of wine pairings but after sampling a cocoa sorbet paired with a wonderful dessert wine I am sold!

Which led me to an epiphany: when food is paired with a wine based on its own merit and not on the winery dictating it, the experience is so different.

We’ve been advised several times to sell our macarons in supermarkets and other coffee shops but we’ve dragged our feet on this. Why? It takes us time and effort to make them, we simply canโ€™t imagine our macarons in a grocery store or in the forgotten shelves of a gourmet shop without a trusted eye to keep watch over making sure that they don’t get crushed or mishandled.

Which is why when Paul offered us the use of his establishment to sell our beloved macarons, we were psyched! For one thing, his restaurant goes very well with the French theme of the macarons, secondly, Paul and I had a long conversation about quality: the quality of the ingredients and the care you give in creating something you are passionate about are a shared philosophy.

So check us out this Saturday at Amour wine bistro. The plan is every Saturday this September and depending on the reception we may plan to expand to other days and times in the coming months! Please check our Facebook page for updated dates and times.

A hodgepodge of sweets

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A very chocolate cake

Didn’t mean to be so quiet on this space the past couple of weeks. Sometimes when you get busy in the kitchen, sitting down to write a coherent post becomes impossible. My main focus the past few weeks was to miniaturize my pie recipes. Though the odd cake or cookie do get thrown in the mix.

So I’ll just let the pictures do the talking. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Surprisingly enough, no macaron experiments were done. However I did try out a graham cracker recipe. My purpose was not to sell graham crackers at Petites Bouchees but to use this as a base for my lemon or lime curd tarts. It’s wonderful to be able to control the taste of your graham crackers instead of simply relying on store-bought ones. 

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Graham Crackers

And the pies…

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Sour Cherry 3″ pielet
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Apple 3″ pielet
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Pecan Pie Pop

I think I’m on to something with the pecan pie pop. The higher crust ratio is the perfect foil for its butterscotch sweetness and the roasted pecans round up this miniature sweet. I could easily eat 2 of these and I never was a fan of pecan pie until now.

More chocolate. The mousse on this one is to die for. The cake roll itself needs some more tweaking. Hubby said that it needed more chocolate, though I think the mousse itself provided enough kick. 

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Chocolate roulade

Looking forward to more experiments next week. Hopefully this heat wave will pass so we can have weather more conducive to baking!