Thursday, December 01, 2005

Gifts from New York City


This is a much belated post about the wonderful treasures my mother brought back for me from her trip to New York. When my mom goes on her yearly sojourn to New York (yes, even mothers need vacations...especially mothers...especially MY mother) there are only two things I ask her to bring back: a box of chocolate truffles from La Maison du Chocolat and a bottle of Brunette from Le Pain Quotidien.

I first tried Maison truffles when I was in Amsterdam and my cousin had just come from Paris with the beautiful brown box (doesn't it look like leather?) in tow. It was love at first bite. We hoarded it greedily and savored each and every piece. When C came to visit we decided to spend a weekend in Paris and on the first morning, in a surprising stroke of serendipity, we stumbled upon one of their boutiques. Was that a breakfast to remember! Hot chocolate, pain au chocolat, and some truffles on the side for good measure. Criminal, I know, but I was in heaven! I bought two boxes of truffles for "take-away" and have been a convert ever since. These truffles are divine and, to me at least, well worth the hefty price tag and any sort of trouble I go through to procure them.


Brunette is a scrumptious hazelnut praline spread which is like Nutella without the chocolate, or peanut butter but with hazelnuts, or simply a little bit of spreadable nirvana. For kids from one to 101! Isn't that great? That covers us all don't you think? I have had it on bread, on cake, on a spoon, and even on Krispy Kremes (yikes!). Sweet hazelnut goodness...it spreads smooth, with just the tiniest bit of graininess so you know there are real hazelnuts in there. It is so rich that a little film of oil collects at the top if you leave it standing for a while...unlike the dry peanut butters I cannot abide by. Or am I just a sucker for all things calorific?

(note to self: would be great for those Donna Hay cupcakes...)

Le Pain Quotidien originated in Belgium and, as the names connotes, started with its traditional bread, then expanded to include other goodies. It's a great place to have breakfast, on their long communal, refectory-like tables. Order a basket of fresh bread and a cup of coffee and you have your pick of their delightful spreads and preserves in opened bottles, scattered on the table, with spoons already tucked invitingly inside.

Not pictured here, but just as appreciated, were: a microplane zester (yey!), French sea salt, The Arab Table by May Bsisu (it's on the sidebar), a food mill, OXO non-stick flexible turners in rainbow colors, and a collection of spice mixes.

Thanks Mom! :)

33 comments:

Mila Tan said...

What a great mom! Maybe she bought more stuff for your wedding that you don't know about!

Joe said...

Great lookin gifts! That spread sounds delicious!

Kai said...

I love hazelnut spreads! On ice cream! And crepes!

wysgal said...

Wow! My sister has lived in New York for years and all I've ever asked her to bring home for me are Krispy Kreme donuts and my books from Amazon. =)

The chocolates look sinfully delicious!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mila! She is a great mom :) Hmmm...maybe she did bring me some surprise!

Hi Joe! Very delicious :)

Hi Kai! Yes, crepes and ice cream...definitely! :)

Hi Wysgal! Wow, a constant NY source...lucky you :)

Oliver said...

Hi Joey, the packaging of the Maison du Chocolat truffles looks gorgeous - I bet they taste just as good :) PS: 'Got ourselves a microplane grater as well while we were visiting our friends abroad in September - would not want to live without it anymore...

katrina said...

I am, at this very moment, trying to think of who I know in NY who is coming home soon enough for me to get some Brunette spread on my tongue before I go mad with desire! Mind if I ask how much it is? I'd have to warn them if it's expensive, so they don't get shocked.

tara said...

What a lovely Mother! I recently purchased some of Williams-Sonoma's pecan praline butter and was looking for inspiration. Your suggestions sound fabulous!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Oliver! Yes, I love the packaging and they do taste just as good :) Have not used my microplane yet but can't wait to whip it out!

Hi Katrina! The Brunette is really good...don't know how much it costs (sorry!) and my mom doesn't remember, but I don't think it is expensive...it was the truffles that were kinda pricey :)

Hi Tara! Thanks for dropping by! That pecan praline butter sounds heavenly! I'm sure it will get along famously with the Donna Hay cupcakes :) And yes, mother is quite lovely :)

Mona said...

Wow, I live here and don't even get to enjoy la MdC or PainQ...maybe I should get in touch with your mom so I can accompany her on her next visit:) You're very lucky!

Lani said...

Great mom, indeed!

I love chocolates, too, can't live without it.

dexiejane said...

ooh nice goodies. do you think she'll adopt me? hehe :)

stef said...

oooh you lucky girl! the arab table is on my to-get list when i get back home. those goodies look sinful....drooling here....

stef said...

oooh you lucky girl! the arab table is on my to-get list when i get back home. those goodies look sinful....drooling here....

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mona! You should try them out :)

Hi Lani! Yes...what's life without chocolate? :)

Hi Dexie! Hehe, I thinks she has her hands full...hence the vacations :)

Hi Stef! Haven't tried anything yet but the recipes sound amazing...

angelika said...

Oh boy, where to find SUCH a Mom ??!! Unbelievable. But you seem to deserve it, I do not envy you at all ;-) Have a good time, big hug from angelika

Pille said...

Mmm - so I'm not the only one whose mum knows exactly what to include in a good foodie goodie bag:)
I bought some Turkish hazelnut paste the other day and made hazelnut cookies with them. Your pralinee spread sounds even yummier and I'd love to have some on my toast!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Angelika! Thanks for your nice words...I don't know how much I deserve it, but I do know I am very lucky :) Hugs!

Hi Pille! Oooh...Turkish hazelnut paste, sounds so interesting and yummy too :) Enjoy! (and yes, I I agree about your mom's goodie bag...saw it on your blog!)

Fanny said...

Yummy chocolates.
Sdly i only know one person that lives in NYC and i don't think he would send me chocolate truffles from la maison du chocolat. Maybe i could go to paris, it would be easier...

Lori said...

Joey, I had to laugh when you said "... all moms need a vacation, especially my mom..." Hahahah. I wonder if Boo will ever write that about me one day. :P

That Brunette spread sounds too good. Where can you get it in NYC?

paz said...

What a wonderful mom. I've never been to those places in the city, before....

Paz

sha said...

got no more mum to bring me things over but I have my sis in London to nag when I cant find this here and there in Athens or rather when I start craving things I love in UK.

I take the box you get the chocs haha.. I love packaging and cant remember when was the first time I have tasted maison chocolat...

Mona said...

ok, inspired by this post, went to my local mdc and bought some truffles for a host gift for a dinner party last night. they were a hit!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Fanny! At least you are in the same country :) Closer than me ;)

Hi Lori! Being a mom is a full time job...and a very important one at that. I don't have any kids but I have GREAT admiration for moms...they are on call 24/7 and have responsibilities greater than any CEO. I salute all of you! :) You can check out store locations for Le Pain Qutidien at www.lepainquotidien.com :)

Hi Paz! Thanks! She is really great :) You should try checking them out...yummy stuff :)

Hi Sha! Deal! You can have the box AND some of the chocs in exchange for a few tubs of Greek yogurt :)

Hi Mona! I'm so happy they were a success :) You are so lucky to have a "local mdc"!

mike mina said...

i remember receiving a box of "leftover" maison du choclat truffles a guest from NY "left" for me at the concierge when she checked-out. no matter what, they're really great!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mike! They are, aren't they? I really savor them and try to make them last...even if I know I should eat as much of it "fresh"! :)

LisaSD said...

That brunette sounds wonderful!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Lisa! Thanks for dropping by :) Brunette is quite wonderful in lots of ways, whether swirled into cupcake batter, spread on a slice of pound cake, or simply with toast :)

Randi said...

Do you have Oxo products where you live? They make some great stuff.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Randi! So far I haven't found any OXO products here :(

Tina Ledesma said...

Nice blog... it's funny that La Maison du Chocolat is actually one of our clients in my place of work. I have always enjoyed their products.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Tina! How lucky you are to have such a yummy client :)

Wendy @ Obesebaby said...

This is my new favourite now by the way ;)