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Monthly Archives: February 2011

HERE’S AN UPDATE ON THE COOL NEW SPACE WE DESIGNED IN PARIS…A WINE BAR/RESTAURANT!  CHECK IT OUT…!

O Château / Wine Tasting and Wine Bar/ 68 rue Jean Jacques Rousseau 75001 Paris

O Château will open the doors of its new wine tasting, wine bar, and restaurant in the 1st arrondissement of Paris on Friday, 11 February 2011.

Since 2004, under the guidance of sommelier Olivier Magny, O Château has become a leading destination for private wine tastings and classes for Paris visitors and corporate clients.

The 3000 square ft space, designed by Hickey Shields Design, is housed within a 17th century hôtel particulier originally built for Madame de Pompadour. Two floors were completely renovated and redesigned in Hickey Shields’ eclectic style, taking special care to preserve and highlight the architectural elements that retain the spirit and history of the landmarked building.

The space is much more than a wine bar, and will feature private tastings, classes, special events as well as the bar featuring a thorough selection of French wines and a traditional menu. The different spaces are each multi-functional and include; the bar, an open kitchen, a private “vinothèque”, a lounge, a boutique/ wine store, and a cave/tasting room.

The bar is unique to Paris, both in form and in function. Inspired by classic hotel bars, the long, rounded bar was designed for a maximum of conviviality and exchange around the selection of over 250 French wine references and 32 Grands Crus served by the glass. The majority of seating is around the custom, Scandinavian green granite topped bar, allowing guests to mingle and interact comfortably.

A wine inspired color palette of gently muted burgundy and deep green blends subtly with the rich, wide plank hardwood floors, fine leather armchairs, custom leather barstools, and custom designed cocktail tables with stone inlay, all beneath stunning antique rosewood and brass chandeliers.

The vinothèque was designed in a distinctly anglo-saxon style, like a private library or a gentleman’s club. Custom built, floor to ceiling book cases on all four walls provide an elegant wine display and surround a high table fitted with high leather club chairs for private tastings and intimate gatherings.

The lower level features a lounge, a boutique/wine shop, and a large wine cellar-tasting room. The lounge is designed with relaxed, comfortable club seating, a luxurious leather banquette originally from the Plaza Hotel in Copenhagen, custom leather topped tables, and a vintage Bohemian coupe motif Fornasetti wallpaper. The boutique/wine store leads into the large tasting room in the original arched ceiling stone “Cave” dating to the 17th century. The stonework was carefully restored, and married with a daring, green octagonal tile floor with inset lighting. A custom built, trapezoidal tasting table with iconic mid century school chairs, each hand covered in fine top stitched leather, allows for tastings with up to 28 guests.

Throughout the space, Hickey Shields has employed a subtle mix of materials, fine leathers, elegant wall coverings, custom designed and modern pieces, classic club/study elements and carefully selected antiques. The daring touches of color and Fornasetti graphics add a contemporary backdrop to the classic furniture selection.

A lucid conversation late one evening turned to crêpes, crêpes suzette in fact, and  rush of childhood memories came back to me along with a terrible and obsessive need to eat a crêpe suzette wherever I could find  one.

My binge eventually took me to La Muette, to La Rotonde more precisely, which seems to be out of another era, or perhaps another planet, both in décor and clientele.

I will say that to date these were by far and wide, the absolute most perfect crêpes suzette I have ever eaten in my entire life, those of my mother included. (Luckily she doesn’t often read my blog)

After feasting on the most delicious crêpes suzette ever made,  which came to the table bubbling in a copper pan, I used a madeleine, served to me with my coffee, to soak up the  sugary orange butter leaving not one drop.

It doesn’t end there, dear readers. I remained unsatisfied, and wanted even more information. A quick google search turned up some fascinating facts which further confirm that these special little pancakes are sacred.  Apparently crêpes were consumed in Roman times during a decadent festival in February  (timely as usual) called Lupercalia.  This pagan bacchanalia was filled with wolf gods whippings wine and the vestal virgins made crêpes heralding the start of spring and fertility.  In the 5th century, the Pope did away with Lupercalia, and changed the feast into what is now known as the presentation of Jesus to the Temple and the  Purification of the Virgin Mary, Chandeleur, which incidentally is today, February 2nd.

The crêpe suzette owes its name to an accident, one involving the Prince of Wales, Edward VII and a clumsy waiter at the Café de Paris in Monte Carlo who, startled, spilled a grand marnier (another version says champagne) on the royal crêpe and played it off as purposeful to the delight of a sexy onlooker named…Suzette.

La veille de la Chandeleur…
L’hiver se passe ou prend rigueur
Si tu sais bien tenir ta poêle
À toi l’argent en quantité
Mais gare à la mauvaise étoile
Si tu mets ta crêpe à côté.

 

Les crêpes suzette de la Rotonde, Paris 16

 

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