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Lèche-Vitrines – Window Shopping

From what I understand, lèche-vitrines literally means “to lick the window,” even though it is generally translated to mean “window shopping”.  I like “to lick the window” or “licking the window” better.  This is something we did quite a bit of while we were in France.  Whether it was in front of a pâtisserie, chocolatier, or a realty office (Jon’s always looking for property to purchase in France), we left many a window needing to be cleaned due to our nose prints being left on them.

It’s no secret that friends of mine and I have spent quite some time perfecting our French macaron baking skills. Therefore, every chance I get I am admiring and tasting these delectable little confections.  It is probably for the best that I have never kept count of how many I’ve eaten in a single day.

Once again, I was on a chocolate hunt for the best to be found in Paris.  Jon swears two years ago, I actually purchased the chocolate-covered frommage from Jean-Paul Hévin [1].  Of course, I don’t remember making such a purchase.  Or, was it that I just wanted to return for another taste of chèvre, Roquefort, or thyme-infused frommage, each enrobed in the finest of chocolates?  Then with Mother’s Day just around the corner (at that time), what would be more fitting for Mom then a stiletto made entirely of chocolate?

Fortunately, I didn’t have the same experience David Lebovitz had at Hévin back in 2006.  He was told by the salesperson that pictures could not be taken until after a purchase was made.  Not that I attempted to take any photos, but they were at least pleasant.  Maybe the marketing or HR department of Hévin  read David’s blog!

We were strolling along Rue Cler on a Thursday and just happened to receive a phone call from our friend Alison. She knew of my obsession with chocolate and directed us to our latest must-go-to destination near the Tour de Eiffel:   Michel Chaudun, 149 Rue de l’Université, (in the 7th).  What a delightful gentleman he is!  But, I was thinking to myself, it will be a very sad day when M. Chaudun retires.

He didn’t speak any English, but he was charming, engaging, and was delighted to share an assortment of chocolates with us.  I’m so glad Alison sent us his way, as his chocolates were as divine as his shop with its chocolate sculptures including a beautifully ornate Easter egg, replicas of a couple of sausages, and Nefertiti’s head in white chocolate.

If one is not up to cooking on a particular evening and you happen to live in nor are visiting Cannes, one’s choice of deli fare is far from mundane.  There are numerous, glorious options such as a roasted tomato tart, spicy roasted sardines, seafood pate in aspic, or a Salade Niçoise to go along with your vin de mason.

Also, from what I understand, very few folks in France bake desserts. Why would you with something like this raspberry tart ready to be plucked from this pastry window?  If you do ever have the urge to cook pastries, it’s amazing what is available in the supermarket:  items such as fresh (not frozen, mind you) all-butter puff pastry and tart crusts ready to be set on a pan or lined in a tart pan and baked.

Now that I’m looking through all my photos, I’m disappointed at the limited number that I actually took.  I suppose I was doing more window-licking then picture taking at the time.  There’s always next time though…