Oriol Balaguer, Confectionery, Sarrià – Sant Gervasi

oriol balaguerAfter this post, I am going to make it my mission to keep the blog Adrià free for a while.  But for now, let’s talk about Oriol Balaguer.  Born to a chocolatier father and graduating to the famed kitchens of El Bulli before being named (at the tender young age of 23) Best Artisan Confectioner in Spain.  My 4-year-old daughter and I are here today with a view to getting our hands on the chocolate cake in eight chocolate textures. 8 textures chocolate cakeThe store is elegant, the thick tinted glass, the brushed aluminum frames- it’s more Balenciaga then Confectioner.  And that is the point, as we are about to pay €35 for a very petite, very shiny cake.   Read more of this post

Chocolate Mousse


Once upon a time I lived in Paris.

First in a rented room in a grand apartment on Avenue George V,  just off the Champs-Élysées. I rented it from a skint Duke and Duchess (explaining why they would rent a room to a student).  The duchess was a tough humorless woman, who didn’t allow me to use the lavatory after 10pm (the noise of the flush disturbed her sleep) and kept a tight rein on her husband and son.  The Duke on the other hand was wonderful and mischievous.  Whenever he would hear the telltale rustling of a plastic bag, heralding the arrival of my Lebanese takeaway from Al Diwan, he would make up an excuse to talk to me and linger so long that I would invite him to share my food.  He would sit cross-legged on the floor in his suit, knees jutting ridiculously high.  Afterwards, we would both light a cigarette until the Duchess smelled smoke and stormed into the room, whereby I would cover for him and apologise for my disgusting smoking habit.

Then, when I turned 18, I shared a flat with a tall, beautiful Russian / American girl at La Motte-Picquet Grenelle, (making me by default, the short, funny one, a comparison I did not enjoy).  We lived over a cheese shop, which I would visit every morning, asking, “Which of these cheeses, besides the brie, would also be good for breakfast? “None!” The horrified  shop assistant would say,  as if I had said something unspeakable. I guess by their standards I had.

Then I found Giulia, or she found me.  I never used to do my French homework (well, I never used to do any of my homework).  Teachers would smell my indolence and swiftly pick me to answer a question.  I squirmed around in my chair just long enough for Giulia to offer hers, neatly written out, with the right bits highlighted in helpful colours.

We moved into, a gorgeous and tiny one bedroom in Montparnasse.  In this flat, the two of us became known as the feeders of our University, holding frequent dinner parties.  When I was in charge, I would make things like tacos with the seasoning that comes in the box and the salsa that comes in the jar.

Sophisticated, I was not.

Giulia on the other hand,  could roast a turkey, make stuffing and chocolate mousse.  She may as well have pulled a rabbit out of her nostril, I was exceedingly impressed. Read more of this post

Christmas Cookie 2: Chocolate Shortbread Nuggets

It’s becoming fairly obvious to me why countries such as Germany, Sweden, Austria and Switzerland excel at all things Christmas related.  What else is there to do in sub-zero weather? Read more of this post

Grasshoppers – Chocolate mint brownies

Millionaire bars are excellent but I think I may have just found something that tops them! Read more of this post

Chocolate Velvet Cake – The Art & Soul of Baking

I am starting to teeter precariously on the precipice of being rotund.  I used to be one of those annoying people that was always shooting my mouth off about how if you exercise and eat moderately healthy you can stay thin.  How I love fat!  I love butter!  I pity the fools who go for low fat options.

It was just a matter of time before the Universe gave me a good back hand across the face.  You think the Universe doesn’t have time for you?  You’re wrong!  How do I know? Read more of this post

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