Les Halles

French for “the halls,” Les Halles refers to the open-air, central marketplace that once existed in Paris. If you travel beyond Paris, to Burgundy or Lyon or St. Jean de Luz, you’ll also find Les Halles, mini-me’s of the Parisian legend (now replaced by underground shopping). C’est dommage.

Les Halles, St. Jean de Luz

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Pierre Hermé

Last time in Paris, I made it a goal to sample as many different flavors and brands of macarons I could. This time around, I haven’t been so diligent. I blame it on the colder weather and earlier sunset (yes, mother nature), both of which make it more difficult to walk around the walkable city as much as I did in the summertime. Anyhoo, I made up for lost time today by paying Pierre Hermé a visit, namely the location at 72 Rue Bonaparte.


Coing (Quince) , Marron et Thé Vert (Chestnut and Green Tea), Chocolat et Gingembre Confit (Chocolate and Candied Ginger). The ginger confit packed a nice spice to pair with the dark chocolate. The others were neither memorable nor texturally pleasing.

Truffe Blanche

I liked this savory macaron and this is coming from a non-lover of truffle oil, having lived, eaten and breathed truffle oil every day for a year at O Ya. Oui, c’est possible to be all truffled-out.

Mille Feuille de Praliné

Every since we made the douceur last week, I’ve been craving praliné and feuilletine. Despite the sweetness of praliné, I can’t get enough of the nutty richness! I love the crunch so much I even bought a bag of feuilletine to bring home 🙂


Today in class, Chef Tranchant made macarons. He said, however, that we were not making them in class since they are for intermediate students who have better command of piping technique. Therefore, we made batons and palets aux raisins…womp womp….

Macarons de Tranchant

Macaron? No thanks. Buttercream? Pas de buttercream, s’il vous plâit. I suppose being an unenthused macaron consumer, I have set the bar super high for macarons to be worthwhile. Although I enjoyed watching Chef Tranchant make the mini-me sweet sliders, I was skeptical. Would it be as crunchy yet crumbly inside as the ones that wooed me from Sadaharu Aoki? Unfortunately, no. Some of the macarons were hollow in the ‘supposed-to-be-crunchy’ meringue top. Furthermore, the macarons stuck to my teeth. Ick! The greatest disappointment of an ill-made macaron. And I wasn’t just writing him off after one macaron, I had the decency to try all four or five different macarons and fillings, just to reassure myself that no way are macarons as easy to make as he made it appear.

Pierre Hermé

So since we had a break between classes, friends and I decided we wouldn’t let a few macarons ruin our day. I wanted to prove to myself that I cannot just blacklist an entire food item because of a few bad experiences. While I may not love a certain food (ahem, zuchini), I will still give it a try because I know it can be prepared in different ways, by different people and therefore my reaction to it may be different. Sound logical? Well, logic proved delicious in this case!


The chocolate and [moreso] the milk chocolate and passionfruit macarons from Pierre Hermé put my palate, stomach and mind at ease. The passionfruit was just delightful on such a hot day (and after all those,dare I call them, nasty aforementioned macarons). However, I don’t think I’ve ever craved a slider more than today. All that egg white and sugar makes me gaga for salt! So I picked up a baguette from Le Quartier du Pain and made a sandwich with the Prosciutto San Daniele, arugula, tomato, lemon and Parmigiano Reggiano in my refrigerator. No biggy.

Le Sandwich Traçoise

Oops. I may have finished the whole thing before returning to class and that may have induced some early stage of comatosity. Yet somehow, I was still able to create these bâtons chocolat-amandes:


I’m not sure that Chef Daniel Walter loved my jenga pieces. I mean, he asked for uniform bâtons and I figured, what better (or more fun or more creative or more kid-friendly) way to show congruity in my bâtons than in the form of Jenga? Ho hum…perhaps they don’t have Jenga in France?