Saturday 22 November 2008
Bliss is a feeling which can be difficult to genuinely grasp unless you’ve actually experienced it. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always seen myself as a happy girl. Always smiling, laughing and ready to face life with excitement.
However, I never really knew I could be happier. But now, after a month spent at Pascal Lac’s pâtisserie, I truly have the feeling I’ve found what makes my heart alive.
So far my apprentissage at Pâtisserie Lac has been the most life-altering experience I’ve ever had. This time, I’m not doing this just for school. I’m actually working days after days to become a pâtissier. Something I’ve been dreaming about for years – literally – but am now living.
And as you would expect, living a dream is… well, dreamy.
Pascal, which I now call patron, is one of the most passionate and talented pâtissier I was ever given the chance to work with. He imagines outstanding flavor and texture combinations, and uses the best ingredients available. And despite his overloaded schedule, he does put an apron on every morning to get all the entremets, tarts and petits-fours ready for the daily shop-refill: the livraison.
Passionate, talented and caring.
And it shows: the pâtisserie Lac probably is the best pâtisserie around the Côte.
They say you can’t judge a book from its cover; I say, on the other hand, you can judge a pâtisserie from its laboratoire – the hidden part of the iceberg: the place where all the luscious pastries are made.
Here, things couldn’t be any closer to perfect. In order to have plenty of room, Pascal decided to move the laboratoire from the usual shop-backside to the north-east suburbs of Nice. Sure, this means I get to host a daily forty-minute off-key singing driving party in my car – consider yourself lucky not to be invited! But it also means I get to work on my very own marbre. Picture two metres of stainless steel, just for me.
But trust me, I make a full use of those two metres. Especially from 5.50 to 7, at which point the refrigerated car hops to town to deliver the pastries.
Because you see, during this period of time, my role – and mission – is to produce the fraisiers (something you should be acquainted with if you’ve read my previous post). Le fraisier is a gâteau composed of two layers of syrup-drenched génoise, encasing a fluffly vanilla crème mousseline, and plenty of fresh and juicy strawberries.
Believe me, making eight fraisiers does take time. More time than I’m actually given. And there is a joke amongst the boys – who are so very adorable, by the way – and the Chef – whom, despite his actual name Stéphane, we all call Chef! – saying that we’ll never finish our shift on time (read, before one pm) if I make the fraisiers.
Quite luckily I got faster and better. My génoises now turn out perfect every time I get them out from the oven. My crème mousseline is glossy and feathery. And I love the draw the arabesques with my chocolate cornet on top of the pâte d’amandes disks.
Coming up next, she who almost enrolled in a pâtisserie rally.