This is for and about home cooks - the women all over the the world (and through the centuries) who put dinner on the table every night. They know how to cook quickly, easily, economically, healthily and satisfyingly whether for one or a dozen.

Part memoir, part diary of shopping, cooking, reading and thinking about putting supper on the table, by a former fashion/design writer/consultant whose secret love has always been food.  

 

Marvelous Merveilleux de Fred

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Dramatic interior

Dramatic interior

Exterior

Exterior

I have a voracious sweet tooth and in the years that I traveled frequently to Paris (yes, I know, lucky old me) I targeted as many of the city's truly sensational patisseries (Fauchon, La Patisserie des Reves, Angelinaas could possibly be squeezed into otherwise furiously packed days. 

But I never tasted a merveileux - possibly because, as I have discovered, it is a north of France specialty and the 5 (yes 5) Aux Merveilleux de Fred shops scattered throughout the best arrondissements in Paris  were off my hectic work track. 

But now there are 2 (yes 2) shops for this amazing delicacy in London, one opened last spring in South Kensington (how could I have missed it?) and a second just weeks ago in Battersea. 

Merveilleux vanilla cake

Merveilleux vanilla cake

Merveilleuc chocolate cake

Merveilleuc chocolate cake

Small cakes, each a mouthful or two

Small cakes, each a mouthful or two

The merveilleux story goes like this: meringues coated in whipped cream, they are a traditional recipe of the north of France and Flanders. Sometimes forgotten, they have been brought back to their former glory by Frederick (aka Fred) Vaucamps. He opened the first Aux Merveilleux de Fred shop in Lille in 1997, perfecting his own recipe - a melt-in-the-mouth meringue, like eating a cloud.

An airy brioche is the second key item to buy here - along with foil wrapped packets of thin waffles filled with pastry cream - again, like nothing I have tasted.  

Definitely a destination. 

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