Macarons and Scorpions

Taking a little break here from usually having to post my own work, today I’m going to let out a sigh of relief and post some works of other people. I took a quick trip overseas for a couple days around my birthday this month (2 days, 1 day each in Paris & London) to see my parents in London for dinner (haven’t seen them for a while, they’ve been traveling) but after my parents and I split, I ventured out and peeked into some stores. I was curious to see what foods were available and how things were packaged and presented. Though I wish I had some extra time to venture out to DSM this trip was not only abrupt but very food centered. I was keen on bringing back snacks I can’t find here in the US (Fauchon store midtown closed soon after it opened) ….though I had a great meal at Yauatcha (one of Alan Yau’s successful chinese restaurant ventures, next to Wagamama which is another popular noodle chain in London)… I can’t bring back the deliciousness from that restaurant with me. I tried taking pictures at Yauatcha but they have a very strict no picture taking policy which was totally confusing because I always check flickr if there are images from the restaurant…??..anyway they said no..sucks being a commoner. I was secretly happy about this, I’m really annoying when I take food shots and I can’t enjoy my food at restaurants if I know I’m taking pictures (too damn anal!)…the dinner becomes like work. I highly recommend Yauatcha for anyone who lives in London because they make the thinnest peking duck wrappers I’ve tasted (not an expert restaurant-wise in London so I may be totally wrong but around here they don’t make them THAT thin.)

Also, this post has quite a lot of animated GIFS. I had so many pictures that I thought it’d be best to make half of them into animated gifs. I’m a sucker for never-ending posts and I really should learn how to EDIT photos… for now these animated gifs will do. This page may give you eye-related seizures, view with caution, don’t forget to watch out for the animated gifs.

Ah! cute choco-pops with cutesy little drawings on them. I picked this one up from Selfridges in their boutique-y food section.
chocopop

Assorted mustards from Fauchon, my favorite was the herbes de provence. << pretentious sounding I know but what else would you call it. Herbaceous? Dunno..next!
mustards
Always looking at packaging as if its really that important (the way it tastes is far more important) but if the packaging is good too it gets me even more excited about the product. This one’s got a more traditional and more old fashioned vibe..I love the bright stickers and the drawing that goes with the description of the flavored mustards.
mustard

An animated gif below. The quality of the photos changed when I animated them in photoshop. Not a photoshop expert but this will have to do. The mustard was extra tasty slathered on chewy ciabatta with breseola. My love for cold cuts and cured meats makes me so un-feminine.
mustard

Fauchon was the main place I went to for snacks in Paris (the line went down the block) and they have the best little snacks and hors d’hoeuvres. Here is another shot of their branding details. There are so many great brands today, but the food brands that have a slight advantage over new ones is the history behind them. Same goes for fashion brands like Chanel, no new brand will be able to compete with the history behind what the Chanel logo represents. Like the humble origins of “Chanel” (most of you already know she was an orphan so I won’t even get into these cliched details) Auguste Fauchon started out as a street vendor. This just proves luxury has NOTHING to do with where you came from or what kind of family you were born into.

fauchon-depuis

Though I wish I could have gotten some more (I don’t like to travel so I should have gotten more) here are some of my favorite snacks from Fauchon! The mini crepes are just amazing. Kind of like Cheez-its but … on crack… or as INA GARTEN says, “with the volume turned up” …

fauchon-snacks

My favorite crepe flavor, Roquefort. (Same thing as bleu cheese, basically)
roquefort

The salty crackers are best served with a very cold and dry beer, Duvel is one of my favorite Belgium brews.

beer-crackers

I also picked up this key/bottle opener from Selfridges . Would make a good pendant, perfect for happy hour. It works very well too.
(gif below)
beeropen

Another snack I picked up was their Gouda Cheese + Herbes de Provence Batonnets, they’re basically the same as cheese sticks here in the US. From the layers of this shot, you can see the texture is almost like a hardened croissant…I still love cheese sticks here too.

biscuit

Roquefort mini crepes, the exterior is very crispy and light and inside Roquefort flavored creme. Roquefort tastes a lot like bleu cheese, right?
crepeinside

I also picked up a very small jar of Foie Gras from Fauchon (one of my favorite foods). I love it served with toasted bread, or just out of the jar!
foiegras

I found this clever little balsamic tasting package in the artisanal foods section of Selfridges. Its a varietal presentation with four different aged Balsamic vinegars, the whole package is very small 100% transparent integrating the contents within as part of the “package design”.
balsamicpackage
balsamic-tasting

What I love most is how these are so tiny, and the packaging makes it look like nail polish.
balsamicmanicure

This is the only food package that incorporates time, each bottle is stamped with the number of years its been aged.
balsamic-aging

I chose #40 (40 years). The longer it sits, the sweeter the Balsamic tastes. Goes great with sliced tomato and watermelon, a dish constructed by Jose Andres (an Adria disciple) that was then presented by Giada DeLaurentiis on the food network. This one’s another animated gif.
watermelon

A major stop in Paris, yes its touristy but still worth it! Laduree, I’m obsessed with their shopping bags. They’re unique, because the depth of the bag is really long, almost equal to the width of the bag so it becomes like a square.

laduree-bag

laduree-packaging

ladureebx

(animated gif below)
macaroncookies

Another animated gif, its too easy to tell if a macaron is decent. If it crumbles to the touch, its a good one. You can tell the interior is extremely chewy/supple. The crust is very light and breaks easily.
purplemac

Another delicacy from Laduree, a red lip cake. Just a white chocolate shell.
redlips


lip-cake

Inside is a strawberry shortcake, but this one tasted kind of different from the other ones I had, in a good way. The cake was extremely dense and buttery.
shortcake

The Cherry box. Chocolate covered cherries with liquer.
ladureebox

(animated gif)
cherry

Another thing I have wanted to try was their facial products. I only picked up one cause I wasn’t sure what the quality is like. The creme is extremely dense and smells like macarons (sorta). I think I’m into it.
laduree-lotion

They are meticulous with their packaging and I appreciate it.
packaginglad

The patent shopper bag which was wrapped inside packaging featured above. No wonder why Japanese people are obsessed with Laduree, as they are obsessed with presentation + packaging as well.
ladure-bag

Cute to-go picnic package filled with ketchup, olive oil, freshly ground pepper, salt, and a tube of mustard. Silver mustard tube looks too industrial for food. From Sur Les Quais in Paris (animated gif below) but they stock it in the gourmet foods section of Harvey Nichols as well.
travel

This is also from Harvey Nichols, its a colorful Indian spice wheel for “Chickpea Curry”. I’m well aware that there are large indian communities in London and in the UK, I keep thinking of the movie “Bend it like Beckham” (this whole movie reminds me of my upbringing, what with the strict asian family thing and all) the packaging here is reflective of its culture. Each spice is like a pigment of color.
indianspices

In France they sell Nutella that comes in single serving packages. Functional for the subway/bus/plane.
nutella

Delicate chocolate box (very small, 2 by 2 in) from Selfridges in London, by the company “Artisan du Chocolat” have no idea if this is a reputable brand I just know that the chocolates are very tasty! This package below came with its own label made out of fabric! The effort!
chocolate

These are little “chocolate pearls” they have metallic dust on them. I like the salty caramel bite inside.
goldchoc

More from the Selfridges gourmet food counter, this “pearl dust” from the brand “EDIBLE”. Okay its gimmicky but I love the packaging.
pearldust

It says, to put it in Champagne, its supposed to “increase passion”. It didn’t get me worked up but maybe it only works for men.
pearldustexp

champagne
Once you put it in an alcoholic beverage it starts to bubble.
champange

Scorpion Vodka from the same brand, “EDIBLE” from the Selfridges gourmet foods section. I asked the sales associate if this stuff actually sells, he said they sell very well. Again anything scorpion related is supposed to make men “last longer”. Its popularly dubbed nature’s own viagra (or at least this is what it says on the bottle ). I’m single so I have no need for this.
scorpion-vodkaa

scorpion-vodka

Vodkalix. Vodka flavored scorpion pops. My pie pops look real pathetic right about now. This piece of edible art gives a slight nod to Damien Hirst’s animals floating in Formaldehyde… I actually finished this one. To my surprise this has 0% alcohol content which is why I’m confused about the name. I love the packaging though. Again, by the food company “Edible”. The scorpion tastes close to a dried squid/crab/shrimp, expect chewing on its exterior/claws/limbs too. It is a delicacy in China but not so much here in the US. This is as far as I’ll go in my quest to mimic Andrew Zimmern of “Bizarre foods“.
vodkalix

scorpionpop

The “edible” food packaging is really ‘futuristic’ ‘spacey’ and all that..just minimal, all white or transparent and scientific. This one’s a chocolate covered scorpion, I let my dad have this one.
choco-scorpion
chocolate-scorpion

I’m older than the swift/talented tween bloggers so I knew nothing about how to build animated gifs. Here was a site that really helped me, just follow it step by step, I’m sure there are better ways to do animated gifs but this was one way that worked if you were about to ask me “HOW DID YOU DO AN ANIMATED GIF?” in the comments section.
**VISIT HERE if you want to know more about the EDIBLE FOODS brand in the UK***
Also I haven’t been able to catch up on e-mails all weekend but if I haven’t gotten back to you I will get on it, not that I even get that many e-mails anyway…