Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Travels, Valentine's, and Tarts!

The Garmons like to travel on the weekends, and I have just been so lucky to be invited each time!  This past Sunday, we went to Auvers-sur-Oise; just North/Northwest of Paris.  This little town was made famous because it was a little hang-out/escape from the city place of several artists (Van Gogh, Pissarro, etc.), but more notably, it is the place where Vincent Van Gogh killed himself.

Here we are walking up towards the church:

You may recognize this Van Gogh painting, and yes, it's the same church.

Here's a nice view of the rose window.

 I just love this view of the architecture:

A view from inside:

Van Gogh had admitted himself into an asylum in the south of France, but towards the end of his life, he moved to Auvers-sur-Oise to be near Dr. Gachet, recommended by a friend.  Van Gogh's last works of art are markedly more grey, dark, and agitated, mirroring not only his troubled mental state, but perhaps a slightly accurate view of the countryside there.  Here's a view up at the grey sky from a road walking up to the cemetery where Van Gogh is buried:

Apparently Van Gogh had had a different tomb stone, but vandals became such a problem that they replaced it with this small cement one.

I just love the idea of having plants grow over a person's grave--it's a little way to continue living on after death, in another organism.  How beautiful is that!

 There was also an Absinthe museum in the little town, but it was unfortunately closed for the winter season.

Here's another Van Gogh painting.  Look at it, and then at the following photo--it's the same stairway!

There's also a chateau in this town.  Here is a view of the gardens:

Now, I was all for seeing the chateau, because I think they're great and I love walking around inside and out.  But this was only a chateau on the outside--the inside was this stupid museum (and trust me, I'm not one to knock museums; I love them) that they had obviously spent a ton of money on.  But none of the actual inside of the chateau was preserved.  They tried to create this little "trip" through time in the 1800s, and talked about art and culture.  Okay so maybe it would have been cool if it had been advertised as a museum/video tour of the 1800s.  But as it was, we went to a chateau and bought tickets to go inside, and then were like what is this??  A simulated train ride with impressionist paintings flying by the "windows"? Weird.

Anyway, at least the outside was nice :)


Monday was great--we didn't have class until 2pm so I had all morning to run errands--and I signed the contract/lease for my apartment yay!  I officially have a place!  I have absolutely LOVED staying with the Garmons, but I'm sure they will enjoy having their beautiful place to themselves again before having more family visitors soon.

In class, we repeated several of last week's recipes to be sure that we could do them without so much supervision.  I think this is a great way to learn.  And I have noticed improvement in my work, so that is encouraging!

I didn't get out of class until about 8:15pm, and then was supposed to meet Ben for dinner.  We had some delicious sushi, which I haven't had since I left the US.  It was yummy, and I finished it off with some green tea ice cream!  We walked around for a while and then decided it was too cold for that so we stopped for some hot chocolate at my new favorite place (I need to look up what it's called because I forgot).

Anyway, it was a lovely evening, and when I returned to the Garmons, I found a little wrapped package on my bed.  It was these beautifully made chocolates from down the street that Marcie has seen me admire for a while.  She's so sweet!


Tuesday we made orange tarts!  Yummmm


And today, we made multi-fruit tarts, and chocolate tarts.

Here's my multi-fruit tart:

Here's Chef Averty decorating his chocolate tart.  See the large blob in the back?  That's a sheet of baked cocoa nibs, butter, and sugar that melt together to make a hard sheet that can be broken and used as decoration.  That's what he's placing around the top of his chocolate tart.

These are my petite chocolate tarts:

And this is Chef's multi-fruit tart.  Perfect, of course.


  1. I'm going to have to work on more interesting comments besides, "Yum." But really, yum. I bet your new apartment will smell like sweet pastries!
    Good work.

  2. OMG I want an orange tart now! Your pictures are fabulous!!!!

    Can't wait to hear more about your apartment. I am loving all your updates and your travels!!! AWESOME!!!