It's the first official Valentine's Day that my Papa will be retired from his career as a chef patissier-chocolatier. Even though he has been keeping himself busy by cutting down a 30 foot fig tree in my parents courtyard, I can tell he is missing making chocolates...a little. Tonight as Mama is preparing dinner and I am picking my brain about what to blog about, I realized my answer was right in front of me wearing a wool beenie, red vest and glasses. My Papa!
For years, people have asked him for recipes or if they could apprentice under him, but he "never had the time". I asked him if he could give me a simple chocolate recipe I could translate and put on my blog, but when he pulled out his recipe book, my post subject took a turn from the recipe to the recipe book. His recipe book, now bound together with tape, dates back to his apprenticeship in France from 1962-1965. The recipes are written in French, using grams and include no directions, which is why it is practically impossible for him to give out a recipe, not to mention that most of his directions are "stir until it feels right" or "heat until the right temperature". His recipe book includes sections on Petits Gâteaux, Chocolats, Petits Fours, Entremets, Pâtes and the letters of the old English script used to write on cakes. It has travelled with him from France to Switzerland to London to America and finally back to France. It has opened two restaurants, a pastry shop and a chocolate shop, always assuring the best quality. This precious recipe book of Papa's is more than a book, it's a bible, a history and a friend.
P.S. I promise to prepare, translate and post a recipe one day soon!