Pendaison de Crémaillère (Housewarming)

We moved this past weekend. By taxi. With all of our worldly possessions packed in two suitcases and a series of plastic bags, we bid farewell to the calm of the 16ème in exchange for the bustle of the 11ème. In an instant, my view of Paris shifted 180 degrees.

The well-coiffed Parisienne matrons with their yappy leashed companions have been replaced with chic twenty- and thirty-somethings walking arm-in-arm, the traditional French brasseries with trendy world cuisine, and the impeccably maintained residences with the occasional graffiti-decorated door. And I couldn't be more pleased.

As always, I turned to food to mark the occasion, with a housewarming gift to us from us. You can eye something forever, waiting for someone else to notice and make it yours, or you can go out and treat yourself.

R: Chocolates from Régis?! You shouldn't have!

S: Really, it's my pleasure. What a lovely studio apartment we have. And Parmentier, un quartier très sympa.

Stepping into the shop, I was careful to avoid eye contact with the shiny cellophane bags of chocolate-covered caramels, orangettes and pâtes des fruits, and instead strode purposefully toward the glass confections counter.

"Are they a gift," asked the woman behind the counter, "or are they simply for tasting?" Flushing slightly, I confirmed that we had no intention of sharing. Smiling, she diplomatically recommended the 250-gram Régis bag as the value-maximizing alternative.

"Un mélange, s'il vous plaît." Tumbling into the bag, one after the other, the flash of silver tongs on bite-size morsels of dark and milk chocolate filled with rich ganache, crunchy butter toffee, soft caramel, smooth pastes, and nutty bits of almond, peanut, hazelnut and pistachio. Around 30 confections in total, not counting the two samples (of our choice, I might add) that we were offered after showing interest in making a purchase.

The important question I'm left with, of course, is how big a box do you need to buy to score those free samples?

Régis Chocolatier
89 rue de Passy
16ème arrondissement

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