Thursday, January 31, 2013

Aux Merveilleux - Some Things Are Not Deep

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It's a shame I'm not really a foodie and I'm in the delicacies capital of the world.  Gustatory artisans have been perfecting their craft for centuries and I walk past them everyday...and instead grab a salad from Exki (an organic deli, the closest substitute to Wholefoods I could find).  To be honest, I can appreciate the attention to perfection and the gorgeous presentation, but, for example, I find the macarons from Laduree too sweet, I eat one or two small ones and I'm good for a while.  

But when I walked past this store in Rue Cler near where I live right now (LOVE living here), I was intrigued.  Truth time.  The huge chandelier lured me in.  I turned and walked towards the store with my arms out like Frankenstein...I was hypnotized by the sparkles!  BUT.  I walked in, saw the delicious confections, noticed they were NOT macarons and instead...meringues.  

Since I was a kid, I have loved meringues.  They are not really popular in the United States and the ones I've had there are pretty gross, but I grew up in Australia which is heavily influenced by British culture, and it really is prevalent in that system.  Australian meringues are super light, not crunchy but fluffy, not too sweet and just delicious.  Memories of school-girl Alexandra!

These ones were perfection.  They are made every 2-3 hours in the store and have different flavors, I just had to purchase a few (okay, I got one in every flavor...I can't suppress the inner me!!).  Here is the link to Aux Merveilleux's web-site, it really is just charming.  

Tiny but beautiful storefront.  Most specialty food stores in Paris are small-sized, not only out of necessity, but also because not much storage is necessary, everything is made fresh several times a day. 
That coat better be faux, lady!
Different flavors and sizes.  
Boxed up.  
The name of the store is Aux Merveilleux.  The female Merveilleux - with their male counterparts, the "Incroyables" - were the wealthy dandies who emerged after the Reign of Terror post-French Revolution (around 1795-1799).  Their silhouettes are above on the box.  They were nouveau riche, a lot of whom were profiteers from the civil unrest.  They loved ostentatious and revealing clothing, partying, and being scandalous; they became "fashionable" society and hugely influenced politics, fashion and culture of that time.

Some renderings of these characters:

Okay back to the present.  This is Aux Merveilleux's signature, meringue confection.  

Cut open.  I'm not a food photog, sorry.  I just cut it open and snapped the picture.

It was a win!  The outer, meringue crust is slightly hard, not too sweet, and inside, it is all fluffy and gooey, soft.  It is covered and filled with a light cream, and then topped with chocolate shavings.  I wish Willy Wonka perfected food-TV so I could share it with you.  It is so, so good, definitely a treat that actually could be a regular thing.  As I bit into this luxurious and delicious whipped up treat - something I ordinarily wouldn't be interested in -  I thought about the charming, frivolous, fun-loving Merveilleux and Incroyables...sometimes you don't overthink, you just go for the pretty, light, fun things and enjoy of the best parts of not being a law-firm lawyer any more?  Not being so freakin' serious and overthinking everything all the damn time.  I'm loving life again.  

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