Whenever we get back from a trip, I feel as though my senses are in high gear. I can see more clearly now. I think more clearly now. I feel excited most definitely, more, now. Every summer for many years, we have been visiting a small Mediterranean coastal town in Spain. Alicante glows brightly until almost 10 0’clock nightly, and it's always such a beautiful sky. It'sfilled with pinks and mauve, sunny golden hues, and peachy tones near sunset, as the sun fades from our view. This charming oceanside place always transports us to our memories of many years of fun past and gives us hope to uncover other close by areas we have yet to find, tucked away in tiny hill villages or up or down the dramatically gorgeous coastline.
This year, we had diversions to the magnificent Madrid, where we were satiated with a world class art museum, fine dining, and culture. My later side trip, I ventured solo to Paris, where I had lived at the end of my college. I met up with a friend who had just finished her pastry training at a top notch cooking school with her internship culminating at a five-star esteemed hotel. Because of this, we embarked on a sweet gastronomic patisserie tour of the city.
From Pierre Hermé, the impressive pastry chef-chocolatier, who trained at the age of 14 with the extraordinarily acclaimed Gaston Lenôtre, where luxury chocolates are richly displayed, and even more absolutely incredible to enjoy; on to Carl Marletti, where the world’s most perfect eclairs reside; to high tea at the Prince de Galles, with its stunning interiors of Art Deco delight, are surpassed by finely crafted, light as air, splendid madeleines of apricot and rosemary; to Mariage Frères and Ladurée, where one admires the array of beautifully displayed, and creatively designed packaging of unusual tea blends; to the infamous Salon de Tea, Dalloyau. Located by the Luxembourg Gardens, their tag line is the Inventor of French Taste, since 1682. Discovered by Louis XIV in 1682, history was made here as they created L’Opéra cake, which revolutionized French pastry. The tea service was impressive, the white china, glamorous but simple. The tea, spot on. Every course was perfectly sublime. These are quite the impressive bakers, each tremendously epicurean in their own way. But the pinnacle of our foodie adventures was our made to order Rubik’s Cube cake party! Created by the wildly talented, Cédric Grolet at the two star rated Michelin Restaurant Le Dali in the luxurious Le Meurice Hotel, this playful spin was quite the surprise! We discovered cake has been elevated to an art form here, in the hands of a master. Twenty seven individually enrobed cakes serve up moist morsels of Grolet’s special recipes, comprised of flowers and fruit. The avant-garde flavor pairings include apricot and rosemary and cherry and tarragon. Every mouthful was a different burst. This was patisserie at its finest. Cake and tea will never be the same for me. Another revolutionary moment, Marie-Antoinette would surely approve. Our tour included great artists, each designing and decorating their given product with the utmost of care. Service was at its finest, as expected. The finished product always delighted. I am very lucky to live these opportunities and am forever grateful to my dear friend for sharing these moments with me. Paris is always a good idea.
Travel teaches us so much about the world. There is opportunity at every little turn, far away places enrich us, as behind each facade, and inside the details, we experience the layers of history that engulf our senses. Returning to Palm Beach, what could be more apropos than combining all these delights into one inspiration? Let travel inspire your decor. Here is to sunset inspiration and macaron dreams.