Browsing Tag

Pierre Herme

Asia Food Hotels Travel

The Ritz Carlton Kyoto

Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo Marunouchi
Exploring Tokyo – Part One
Exploring Tokyo – Part Two
The Ritz Carlton Kyoto
Exploring Kyoto
Hiiragiya Ryokan – Kyoto
Souvenirs from Japan

We started our stay in Kyoto at the newly built (opened in 2014!) Ritz Carlton Kyoto. I was very interested to try out this hotel because it was, and still is, the only “Western” style luxury hotel in Kyoto (ryokans of course are another matter). I have to admit that I haven’t had the best experience with Ritz Carltons in the past few years, and will almost always choose a Four Seasons or Mandarin Oriental if I have the choice in any given location.

I am happy to report however, that the Ritz Carlton Kyoto ended up being one of my favorite city hotel stays, ever. It is such a beautiful property, and you can tell that an incredible amount of thought and attention to detail was put into it. Mr. Feather and I had such a great time here, and loved our stay. A warning – this is a picture heavy post!

When arriving at the hotel, we were immediately taken by how well it translated to its traditional surroundings in Kyoto. No tall modern skyscraper like structures here – very unobtrusive yet still elegant.

Ritz Carlton Kyoto Opening

We were greeted at reception and after a welcome drink, were walked up to our room to do check-in in the room. I loved the details on each of the doors  – there were thoughtful touches like this all over the hotel.

Ritz Carlton Kyoto Hallways

And then, our room. So pretty! And, quite a nice size! The couch was super comfortable to lounge on and the perfect place to perch while the other person hung out on the bed.

Ritz Carlton Kyoto Living Room

My favorite aspect of the room – the view. There was a gorgeous sitting area that looked out onto Kyoto’s Kamo River. Often we’d just sit and have tea and look out over the water and people watch. And then when we walked back to the hotels ourselves, we’d head down the same riverbanks!

I loved that there was an individually selected bonsai tree for each room, and it was switched out each day.

Ritz Carlton Kyoto Bedroom

Little details all throughout the bedroom/living space – individual robes which were hung in the closet, and Tivoli alarm clocks. I don’t know how many times I’ve entered beautiful, super expensive hotel rooms only to encounter cheapie and very old alarm clocks. No stone left unturned!

Ritz Carlton Kyoto Bedroom Details

There was also a lovely minibar area that not only had the ubiquitous Nespresso machine, but also a contraption for making the perfect tea via pod capsule. I had never seen this before, am I just behind on the times? Continue Reading

Europe Food Travel

A Quick Trip to Paris – Part Two

During this last trip to Paris, I decided to use my limited free time to just walk around and visit some of my favorite haunts in the city – no, not clothing stores – dessert shops! I consumed what was likely a highly irresponsible number of sweets during my stay and I can only hope that I managed to walk off some of the calories.

My first stop, literally hours after I arrived on the Eurostar? The fantastic Michel Chaudun.

Chaudun

Michel Chaudun

Michel Chaudun is my favorite destination for pure chocolate in Paris. Macarons, or cakes, or caramels, I might go somewhere else – but for chocolate, Chaudun in my opinion is king. He has his own shop – a small space on Rue Université, in the 7th.

Inside, were many lovely treats – including two chocolate handbags (yes that’s a Kelly in the back, complete with Hermes ribbon!).

Michel Chaudun bags

Rows and rows of chocolates and truffles…

MC chocolates

…and also some chocolate sausages! I’ve seen these in the store for years and always am tempted to bring one home, but am afraid of customs!

MC sausages

The number one item I recommend at Michel Chaudun are their chocolate “pave” boxes. These are incredible little morsels of chocolate that just melt in your mouth. Words really can’t describe them – they need to be eaten for one to fully understand the experience. I took home a very small box and ate it within a day. You can see the delicate size of the paves below (compare them with the toothpick).

Michel Chaudun Pave

However, I will say that the paves in my experience go bad quickly. I once bought a ~28 euro box and opened it two weeks later to find them covered in mold. So you should consume them within a week max of opening, and they should be kept in the fridge.

Luckily, Chaudun’s other offerings are a bit more hardy, so I bought a few bags of snacks to enjoy over the week, and a bag of almonds for Mr. Feather!

Michel Chaudun

One of my favorite treats in the world are orangettes – chocolate covered orange peels. I buy them wherever I find them, and I’m happy to report that Michel Chadun’s were excellent (as were his chocolate covered almonds).

Chaudun treats

The next sweets stop for was a new destination for me – Sadaharu Aoki, located in the 6th in St. Germain.

Sadaharu Aoki

I was excited to try out Sadaharu Aoki because I love it when French pastries have a strong Asian influence – whether it’s in the fillings, or in the level of sweetness (usually less). Inside the shop were rows of rainbow colored pastries, with fillings ranging from traditional chocolate/vanilla, to plum, yuzu, and matcha. Continue Reading

Europe Travel

Paris – St. Germain, Hermes, L’Avant Comptoir

This is the third post in my 2013 trip series to Paris and Budapest. For the remainder of the series, please see below.

Paris – Hotel Esprit Saint Germain
Paris – The Marais, Le Bon Marche, Le Comptoir du Relais
Paris – St. Germain, Hermes, L’Avant Comptoir
Budapest – Four Seasons Gresham Palace
Budapest – Andrassy Avenue, Onyx
Budapest – Taste Hungary
Budapest- Christmas Markets, Bock Bistro

Today, I want to share with you some of our favorite spots and sights around the St. Germain area (as well as a quick detour over to the right bank for some rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré!) in a day to evening format. This is my last post on this 2013 Paris trip, and I hope you enjoy!

Each morning after breakfast, we would leave our lovely hotel for a walk around the neighborhood. There were so many great stores, wonderful cafes and restaurants, and beautiful buildings to see.

Paris Neighborhood

Right around the corner from our hotel (literally a five minute walk) was (in my opinion) the king of macarons, Pierre Herme. We dropped by several times during our brief stay. A new positive development that I noticed? The shop usually had free samples out!

Paris - Pierre Herme

Paris - Pierre Herme Treats

My #1 favorite flavor that I always have to get from Pierre Herme is the “Mogador” macaron – this is a year round classic, dark chocolate and passionfruit. Along with Mogador, I usually will choose a selection from the season. The most popular current season flavor seemed to be “Chocolate and Foie Gras” – almost everybody in line ordered a few while we were there. I got one too, just for fun, but for me it didn’t match up to some of my other favorite flavors.

Paris - Pierre Herme Foie Gras

Also very close to our hotel was a selection of great shops – Maje, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Taschen (to browse fun books), and more. My personal favorite was actually a shop called Liwan, maybe a one minute walk from our hotel.

Paris - Liwan

Liwan had a great selection of items from all over the world, hand selected by the very charming owner. Since we had just been in Bali and South Africa earlier in the year, it was fun to recognize some of the local items from those destinations, in this store in Paris!

Paris - Liwan Inside

After some time poking around the neighborhood, we would then have some lunch. I mentioned earlier that I love crepes, and another great crepe place we visited that was in our local neighborhood was Little Breizh.

Paris - Little Breizh

I would really recommend this restaurant if you are in the St. Germain area – especially for lunch! I think for something like 10 euro each, we each got to chose for ourselves one savory crepe, one sweet crepe, and a cup of either cider of apple juice. A yummy, filling meal and the cider was especially good.

Little Breizh

Little Breizh is quite cozy inside, so I’d recommend coming earlier for lunch (before 12), and the same applies for dinner. Continue Reading

Europe Food Travel

Sweets from Paris

In a transparent effort to gain further brownie points, my husband brought back some favorite sweets along with my Kelly when he returned from Paris. Below are three names that always bring joy: Pierre Herme, Laduree and Feodora.

Aren’t the boxes lovely? I love pretty packaging and containers and always keep them if I think I might have some ill defined use for them later – but now I probably have literally over twenty Laduree boxes in our apartment rattling around. Any suggestions for uses?

The goodies, unmasked. Pierre Herme is hands down my favorite macaron shop and I much prefer it to Laduree, which I know is blasphemy to some. Both are of course delicious but Herme just has more innovative flavors in my opinion. My favorites include Isaphan (rose, lychee and raspberry) Mogador (chocolate and passion fruit) and Mosaic (pistachio, cinnamon and cherries). Mogador is year round but the others are seasonal. That’s the only problem with Pierre Herme – they have a bunch of seasonal flavors which sometimes never come back. I spent an entire summer bothering the lone concession in Selfridges about a green tea matcha flavor I had a few years ago until they finally decided to dial up the Paris HQ, just to rid themselves of me. It wasn’t coming back that year 🙁

Finally, Feodora (the truffles to the right) is actually a German brand which can be found throughout Europe, and they make the most amazing egg liquor truffles for Easter – I am obsessed! It’s kind of like cookie dough batter that’s alcoholic on the inside, really dreamy. If you ever see these I’d encourage you to try them. I also have a soft spot for Feodora as one of their most popular and year round products are these chocolate cat tongues, which I find slightly eccentric.

Meow!

What are some of your favorite sweets to indulge in? And those who’ve had both – how do you weigh in on the Pierre Herme vs. Laduree debate?