Don’t you hate that after effect of vacation? You know what I mean; as you return to your normal routine, you become swept up and soon feel that you are dreaming you actually had a vacation at all even though it only ended a week prior? Fortunately for me though we are rolling into the school year, it seems to not be gobbling up all of the experience mentally and Paris lingers on in the Boulder Locavore household.
Despite beginning to turn attentions toward school year meal preparation, there were definite food moments from our few week stay in the City of Lights that clicked for a remake when back on home soil. When researching restaurants before going we neglected to factor in the timing of when we’d dine. We often found ourselves at an odd hour having done a few hours of walking and touring a museum and really needed to eat. As mentioned in my post featuring the French Ham and Cheese Omelet, we’d haphazardly review menus for gluten-free dining capability and collapse into sidewalk seats to enjoy some wine (mom and dad), Orangina (the tots) and some café fare.
We found some key dishes that were common on the café menus that we enjoyed fairly regularly. Ever since we arrived in Paris my daughter, who has taken four years of French, was keen to try Mousse au Chocolat (chocolate mousse). Ironically each café we visited over the first days had just run out or did not have it available.
On a balmy evening we stopped in to Le Troisième Chinon on the corners of Rue des Archives and Rue Rambateau near the National Archives, a mere few blocks from the apartment we were renting in Marais (4th arrondissement). The server was particularly jovial, the menu offering some different dishes than the stock café options we’d begun to see repeated often. The patrons were friendly and though we spoke English within our family dialogs, they seemed to appreciate our simple discussions in French with them. The café tables, lined up touching along the sidewalk, were full of neighborhood locals which is what we craved in renting an apartment.
It was the first evening that really felt like vacation to me as I soaked in the ambiance of the moment. Dessert rolled around and to our delight, they offered Mousse au Chocolat. My husband and I ordered Crème brûlée to share, another French classic which we had not yet tried in Paris. The server whisked out with two little pots of chocolate mousse for the kids.
Being one smitten with charming packaging I was immediately in love with the mousse being served in small Le Parfait French canning jars. They were chilled from being in the refrigerator and the most darling things ever. If that wasn’t enough, I had a bite and it was by far the most memorable dessert we enjoyed on our trip. Creamy, rich chocolate mousse, perfectly chilled and satisfying. I knew in that moment I had to have some of the jars AND would certainly be making the chocolate mousse at home. And though enjoying a pot of chocolate mousse at a café table on a balmy August night in Paris really can’t be topped, this dessert will not disappoint at your own dining table! It’s easy to make (you’ll be surprised at how easy) and is rich and luscious.
There is probably no other internationally French dessert than chocolate mousse, or Mousse au Chocolat. Richer in texture and flavor than a pudding, a little goes a long way. It is not difficult to make and elevates the dessert experience with the first spoonful!
- 6 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate, grated or finely chopped
- Unsalted Butter to grease jars or ramekins
- 4 Eggs, room temperature and separated*
- 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon Lemon Juice
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a metal heat-proof bowl placed over a saucepan of boiling water. Stir as chocolate is melting. Remove from heat when melted to cool slightly.
- Butter four 3-inch diameter ramekins or 7-8 ounce canning jars. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (hand mixer may also be used) beat egg whites on high until forthy; add the lemon juice.
- Continue to beat egg whites, slowly adding the granulated sugar a few tablespoons at a time (allow to mix in before adding more). Beat eggs until stiff but not dry.
- Stir egg yolks into the chocolate. Gently stir in a third of the egg white mixture into the chocolate.
- Combine the chocolate mixture into the bowl with the egg white mixture and gently mixture together completely.
- Spoon the mousse mixture into the prepared ramekins or jars and gently tap the containers on a countertop to release any bubbles.
- Cover and fully chill before serving.
*Though the eggs are combined with the warmed chocolate they are not fully cooked. I would recommend using pasteurized eggs which should remove any risk of Salmonella from eating raw eggs. The statistics on contracting Salmonella are pretty slight but of course follow your own judgment.
Recipe adapted from Jean-Georges: Cooking at Home with a Four Star Chef
The original inspiration from Le Troisième Chinon (iphonography):