The Lost Art of Tourage


The truly artisanal way of crafting pastries in France is sadly being left behind.

The truly artisanal way of crafting pastries in France is sadly being lost.

Imagine, if you will, a huge library, full of books of every size, style and description. Hidden in this vast place of books, is a thin rather nondescript volume, squeezed between its brothers. Unseen. This is artisan-made Viennoiserie ~ in particular, the wizardry of croissant making. It represents a bookmark in time: a culinary expression of French culture quickly becoming compromised by the inevitability of change. It is surrounded, nearly obliterated, by all kinds of volumes about other food stuffs; so easily overlooked. It is in fact, entirely missed by many because most people including the ‘experts’ don’t know what they don’t know ~ what magic that beautiful tiny missive contains.

Sadly, this story may soon be told no longer. [Keep reading…]

About Butter

Butter is Back
A butter blog post finally as promised! I can’t believe I’ve been meaning to write on the subject of butter for nearly four years! Then, I was always trying to tell people that butter is good for you. Some were with me, some weren’t. They bought our pastries in either case thankfully. What a different post it would’ve been though if I had written it then vs now. Now that apparently “butter is back.”

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A Lament for the Loss of Good Pastry…Guest Post by a Pair of Pascal’s Pastrylovers

“Oh our suffering tastebuds…!! A Lament from D’Arcy and Lisa

It is Tuesday afternoon in Calgary, and we are enjoying a glass of Crémant de Bourgogne and a plate of chouquettes. Having recently returned from our beloved Paris, we are sorely missing French…everything. Of course, when our withdrawals start, we do what level-headed pastry lovers do: we head to Pascal’s Patisserie. Our faith in quality and perfection is restored with the exquisite pastries, or as we call them, works of art handmade by Pascal. In the past, we’ve reminisced with Lison about our trips to France, and how much we miss the food, especially the croissants and pain aux raisins.

Pascal's classic croissants ~ our signature pastry.

Pascal’s classic croissants ~ our signature pastry.

If you haven't had a Pascal's croissant...

If you haven’t had a Pascal’s croissant…

Today, we lamented together about the dying art form of fine pastry making. In Paris, where we go at least once a year, we noticed pastry standards falling. The croissants we tried from authentic French artisanal patisseries have become, well, North American in quality. They are large, with a cake-like interior, and no ‘snap.’

While there, we tried several bakeries, many of which we’ve frequented on previous trips, and found, without exception, a change in quality, taste and beauty in their pastries. As our visit was winding down, over yet another large, dense pastry, my husband said to me: “We need to get home, and have some real pastry; we need to go to Pascal’s!” And we did.

Their little works of art are simply the best, and we know our pastry. They are worth every penny and are truly a treat – far superior to any we had in France this year. We are so sorry to see this skill and art form disappear, only to be replaced by mass produced industrial products, the quality of which is undeniably second rate. We’ve come to appreciate the quality of these local Calgary pastries even more and hope they stay and create here for ever.”

Sincerely, D’Arcy and Lisa

4 Reasons I’m a Twitter Quitter

I'm done being a Twit.

“I’ll have what she’s having.” That iconic line from the 80s film “When Harry Met Sally” summed up the Twitter attraction for me. When Twitter first came out I was completely enchanted. It was like the possibility of infinite worldwide pen pals; you could interchange with anyone from anywhere any time. I was completely seduced by the opportunity to engage the medium as free publicity for our small business. Irresistible! So as our business’s storyteller, I jumped in enthusiastically. But I’ve now nearly been off Twitter as long as I was on it. So why did I abandon Twitter? [Keep reading…]

6 Things a Dog Can Teach You About Running Your Small Business

I adore dogs: big, small, pretty, goofy – love them all. Rescue dogs are pretty special as I think they’ve even more room in their heart to love you as a way of thanking you for saving their lives. I think the rescuer ends up feeling equally saved. I love dogs so much, I don’t have one as I believe dogs prefer back yards and people with time to spend with them which I’m in short supply of both at the moment. But not having a dog hasn’t stopped me from learning from one. Here are six things dogs have taught me about entrepreneurship. Because like running a business is so easy, a dog can do it.

Old photo of French dogs delivering bread in southern France, circa 1915. Sadly posted in a window of a French boulangerie that had closed. In some places in France, like everywhere, the small artisan has been replaced by the big guy. I would so buy my bread from a dog delivery system, wouldn't you?

Old photo of dogs delivering bread in France, 1915.

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