First Week in Paris + Chocolate Rum Mousse Recipe

Paris: It’s what many call the city of lights, and from my 7th floor view (8th by American standards) overlooking the center of Montmartre, I can see why. I’ve been in Paris for a full week, which blows my mind. I started this adventure two and a half months ago, and with a swish of the hand of time, I’m on my final month in my final country in this tiny Parisian apartment with the tiniest of kitchens.

Chocolate Rum Mousse


Speaking of my apartment, as small as it may be, it’s perfectly situated in the 18th arrondissement on the 7th floor of a 100+ year old building overlooking Montmartre. From the front window I look down directly upon the Moulin Rouge, and from the rear is an unadulterated view of the Eiffel Tower. A 5 star view for a 130 square foot apartment:

My Parisian view from Montmartre - Moulin Rouge / Eiffel Tower

Parisian Kitchenette

But what is this? I don’t understand…

After living in the relatively small Bologna last month where I could walk from one end of the city to the other in less than 30 minutes, I’m trying to reacquaint myself with public transportation. For a germaphobe such as myself in a congested city like Paris, this is no easy task. Oh god, I can’t believe I just used the word “congested,” as if I couldn’t be any more disgusted by city life. Each time I step into an overcrowded metro cab wall-to-wall with riders covered in bacterium and fecal matter, I look at the cab handrail and think, “is this the one? Is this the handrail that’s going to give me hepatitis?” I want to put my hands in acid just thinking about it.


Yesterday I had my first cooking class at Cook’n with Class in learning to properly make various breads, including brioche, baguette and focaccia.  In Paris, with boulangeries located on practically every corner of every street, this seemed the place to learn the trade. I make bread at home, and it tastes pretty great, but the crumb is typically poor and the crust is about an inch thick, necessitating nothing short of a hacksaw and the strength of the Lord to break through it. I don’t have a hacksaw and I’m not religious, so you do the math.


Cook'n With Class, Paris France - Bread | Baguettes, Brioche, Focaccia


Amongst the usual hodgepodge of amazing French food to be found throughout Paris, I’ve been practicing in my two feet of kitchen which acts as my entire counter space, sink and stove. Sometimes when preparing the food without a cutting board, without a proper knife or any counter space to work I can’t help but be slightly upset that most urban crack houses have better kitchens than I do.


Coq au vin / Carrottes glacees

coq au vin flambee

Don’t flambee in teflon like I did. Big no no.


Luckily some recipes don’t require as much counter space as, oh, say, coq au vin avec carrottes glacées, which I prepared on the floor. This mousse recipe is adapted from Julia Child’s mousseline au chocolat, except I removed all mention of orange flavoring and orange peel and instead incorporated a higher concentration of alcohol via rum into the mixture. You can use Cointreau, brandy, whiskey, or almost any flavor of rum to flavor the mousse. If you prefer to not use alcohol, well, then I’m sorry for you because we can’t be friends.


Paris, France- Eiffel Tower

Taking pictures of yourself in a foreign country is how you let people know you’re alone and ready for rohypnol.


Adapted from Julia Child’s Mousseline Au Chocolat recipe

Chocolate Rum Mousse

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  • July 8, 2012 - 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Haha, I know exactly how you feel about the ‘self shot’ at a tourist attraction. I still haven’t managed to get any as I’m too embarrassed!

    May I ask, how was Cookn’ with Class? I’m signed up for the end of July and hoping it was worth the money I spent!

    Thanks for the recipe. I’ve been searching for desserts that don’t require an oven seeing as my kitchen doesn’t have one? So weird.

    • July 8, 2012 - 9:09 pm | Permalink

      Hi Rachel! I know your pain about not having an oven, mine doesn’t either, so I’m trying to be creative about my meals. Cook’n with Class was fun! It wasn’t as hands-on as I would have liked it to be, but with the amount of material we covered for the bread making course, it just wasn’t feasible within the time frame and space allotted. The instructors are very friendly, fun, and will provide you with a wealth of information. What class are you looking to take? I’m trying to get into one of their molecular gastronomy courses if I can.

      • July 8, 2012 - 9:33 pm | Permalink

        I signed up for the Morning Market Class as I really wanted learn about fresh, in season ingredients and watch how the French do business. I know its very serious for them!

        The molecular gastronomy class would be delicious! I’d also like to try the French dessert class to learn how to make pastry. I’m always afraid of making my own because it seems so easy to screw up.

  • kara
    July 9, 2012 - 4:57 pm | Permalink

    ha, i’d never seen your blog before but the promise of chocolate and rum, together, lured me in. you’re so funny! i really enjoyed your commentary, and i can’t wait to make the mousse!

  • July 10, 2012 - 3:07 am | Permalink

    My daughter mentioned your web site. She also warned me that you are quite a joker. I like your blog and I think it’s great that you’re in Europe and taking cooking classes. What a great idea. Have a great break and I’m glad you had a chance to meet Becca while in Paris.

  • October 13, 2012 - 1:11 am | Permalink

    This is a dessert my husband would love! Obviously because of the alcohol. Thanks for sharing this.

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