People ask me all the time if I have any intention of moving back to Canada. My prompt and concise reply is one that will never change. No.
We love living so close to London. There are endless things to do, and opportunities that we could never dream of back in Canada. I always use the fact that we could pop over to Paris for the weekend as an example of this. In reality we rarely do, but it’s aways nice to know the option is there if we want to.
I adore Paris, and my favourite time to visit is in August when the city is at it’s quietest. Although filled with tourists, the locals all leave the city to holiday in the South of France, so it’s a virtual ghost town in many places. If you do go in August you’ll find that many of the restaurants and shops will be closed, but those that are open are wonderful and extremely accommodating to tourists.
Last month we jumped on the Eurostar and headed to Paris for a few days to celebrate my birthday. We stayed in a beautiful suite at a fabulous little boutique hotel called the Rochester Champs-Elysees Hotel which is just a short walk away from the Champs-Elysees. Our room was stunning, and newly refurbished with a separate area for our son to sleep in. The breakfast selection was plentiful, and the outdoor terrace made the perfect spot to relax with a coffee and a guide book in the mornings before setting off to explore the city for the day.
Our favourite thing to do in Paris is to wander. In fact, we rarely ever buy metro tickets aside from those that get us to and from the Eurostar terminal. Other than that we walk the streets of Paris for 12+ hours a day exploring every little side street stumbling across stunning patisserie shops along the way. We used the step counter app in our iPhones to calculate that we walked an average of 14 miles per day, so stopping at numerous patisserie shops along the way was deemed quite acceptable by us, and a necessity to keep our energy up throughout the day.
From the rows of trees that line the Champs-Elysees, to the iconic Eiffel Tower, and the Parisian buildings that surround you, one thing’s for certain in Paris – you’ll never tire of the scenery.
The patisserie shops in Paris are absolutely amazing. Their windows are filled with the most beautiful and delicate pastries, it almost seems criminal to eat them. Almost. But not quite.
There’s no denying that Paris can be expensive. Dining out and snacking throughout the day can get rather expensive, so we always make a point of seeking out the small local supermarkets such as Monoprix to stock up on bottled water, raspberry LU Pim’s biscuits and individual pots of this chocolate mousse to enjoy either on the go, or back in our hotel room later in the evening.
The chocolate mousse in Paris is amazing. It’s so airy, rich and chocolately it’s like nothing I’d ever had before. The texture is almost gummy, but in a good way. I can’t keep track of the number of chocolate mousse pots we must have gone through during our trips to Paris throughout the years, but I knew I didn’t want to have to wait until our next trip to have it again. So when Expedia asked me to create a French recipe for their World on a Plate Challenge, I knew it just had to be chocolate mousse.
I set out to re-create that French chocolate mousse, and tried several different recipes and adaptations. In the end, I settled on a adapting Julia Child’s version of Chocolate Mousse, and the results were almost identical to the mousse we buy in Paris. It’s absolutely delicious, and I’m kicking myself for not making this sooner.
French Chocolate Mousse
- 6 oz (170g) 85% dark chocolate, chopped
- 6 oz (170g) salted butter, cut into chunks
- 1/4 cup (60ml) strong brewed coffee
- 4 egg yolks, from large eggs
- 2/3 cup (170g) caster sugar
- 1 Tbsp (30ml) rum
- 1 Tbsp (15ml) water
- 4 egg whites, from large eggs
- 1 Tbsp castor sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Create a double boiler out of a small saucepan filled with simmering water, and a medium bowl set over top. Place the chocolate, cubed butter and strong coffee in the bowl, and stir until melted and combined. Take the bowl off the heat, and let the chocolate cool slightly.
- Fill a large bowl with ice cold water and set aside. Place the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (170g) of sugar, rum, and the water in another medium bowl and set over the simmering water. Using an electric hand whisk, whisk the yolk mixture until it's thick and airy, 'like runny mayonnaise'.
- Remove the whipped yolk mixture from the heat, and place the bowl in the bowl of ice water. Gently whip until the yolk mixture is thick and cooled.
- Fold in the chocolate mixture from step 1 into the egg yolk mixture.
- Using a stand mixer or hand held whisk, whip the egg whites and salt in a clean bowl free from any grease, until soft peaks form. Sprinkle the tablespoon of sugar over the egg whites, and whip until stiff peaks form, and they're thick and shiny. Add in vanilla.
- Fold one third of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture, and then fold in the remaining whipped whites until just incorporated.
- Carefully pour the mousse into ramekins and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Need more chocolate inspiration? Follow my Chocolate Overload board on Pinterest for loads more ideas.
If you liked my chocolate mousse, you’ll love my other recipes below for more indulgent chocolate treats:
Ultra Thick and Creamy Cinnamon Spiced French Hot Chocolate
Triple Layer American Chocolate Mud Cake
The Best Boozy Black Forest Cake
Mini Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookies
Ooey Gooey Salted Caramel Brownies
Disclosure: I was commissioned to write this Chocolate Mousse recipe for the Expedia French World on a Plate challenge. It is independent from my personal trip to Paris and my hotel stay for which I paid for myself. All opinions are my own.