Where have I been, what have I been doing you might rightly ask. Trust me, I have not been slacking. I was doing that last fall. I was truly and profoundly into slacking and loving every second of it.
Definition: to become lazy or inefficient.
Undeniable, I was letting my work slide. Now I’m catching up with a frenzy: Interviews everyday, sometimes one in the morning, another in the afternoon. Then I transcribe my notes and try to decipher not only my handwriting, but also my particularly bizarre combination of French and English because all of the interviews are conducted in French and sometimes I can’t translate quickly enough so I just write a phonic French word.
Long story short, I’m working madly on my next book. I must say, it is so much fun. Take yesterday for example. I interviewed Pierre Hermé. If you don’t know of him, he’s the pastry chef whose name is synonymous with macarons. In France when one says, “Pierre Hermé” the word that follows is always “macarons.”
Last year he was named the World’s Best Pastry Chef by “the world’s 50 best restaurants.” I’m not exactly sure what the world’s 50 best restaurants are, but that’s not relevant for my purposes, still, it’s decidedly impressive. Even more impressive was his designation by Vanity Fair as the fourth most influential French person in the world in 2016.
During the interview one of Monsieur Hermé’s assistants appeared with a long, rectangular tray featuring 10 different macarons. I ate one. I wanted to eat 10. Alternatively I wanted to ask on leaving if I could simply empty the other nine into my bag. I didn’t and I didn’t. Regrets? I’ve had a few. . .
He is a darling man and I learned a great deal which I will eventually share with you.
The next time you’re in Paris you simply must partake. His cakes are also divine as are his chocolates. He told me that after years of fantasizing about the possibility and many experiments he finally created what he considers the best chocolate and vanilla cake he could ever imagine. “Because it is very, very vanilla and very, very chocolate,” he said. “It’s easy to make a chocolate cake, but vanilla is often banal, not vanilla enough. Finally this cake is.”
Here is a takeaway for you no matter where you live — and I’ve already taken it away: The tea he served. He ask what kind of tea I would like, which for some reason is always a complicated question for me so I asked him what he suggested would be the best choice to accompany his macarons, he said a green tea with vanilla.
It was so good. I’m hooked. Today I had another interview at the Lancaster hotel and when I was offered tea I responded, “Yes please green tea with vanilla.” I was told they did not have green tea with vanilla, but our charming waitress said she would see what they would say in the kitchen. She came back with a pot of green tea infusing with a vanilla pod.
It worked. I bought some vanilla pods. I highly recommend Pierre Hermé’s favorite tea.
Pictures from Pierre Hermé (the pix I took didn’t compare).