Graphic designer Susan Hochbaum has an impressive resumé of design credits ranging from 15 years with Pentagram to opening her own design business, with her work winning numerous accolades. In 2008, middle-aged, divorced and newly in love, she granted her self a sabbatical in Paris. With a creative eye and a taste for treats, before she knew it, everything in Paris started to look like dessert. PastryParis, her new book, shares those most important discoveries during this time. Susan was kind enough to answer a few very important questions below – like how many pastries were consumed in the making of the book – alongside some of these wonderful juxtapositions.
Mark your calendar for her Paris book signings October 20th at W.H. Smith and October 22 at the Salon du Chocolat. Click here to find see if there’s an event coming to a city near you. Thanks, Susan!
Moment when you realized that pastry + Paris was a reoccurring theme:
I can tell you the exact moment when the light bulb popped up over my head – it was while eating a Gerard Mulot cone-shaped pastry in the Place des Vosges while staring at a conical shaped topiary tree. From that moment on, I began to see pastries everywhere I looked. Once I started noticing, there was no stopping. I did this almost every day for an entire year and I was never bored; it was a treasure hunt for pleasure.
Estimated pastries consumed in the creation of this book:
I did eat every pastry in the book, and more. Most days I had the willpower to bring the pastry home, and Joel and I would share it after dinner, thus halving the calories. Still, I estimate the grand total of consumption to over 250. I should mention that I walked A LOT.
Favorite pastry juxtaposition:
I have two: the image on the cover (Religieuse and Invalides) and the St. Honoré and the Hervé L. Leroux white gown.
Favorite French pastry:
I have always loved chantilly and would eat an old shoe if it were covered in cream. One of my favorite pastries is the St. Honoré, named after the patron saint of bakers. It is heavenly. The combination of soft, fluffy cream against the delicate puff pastry with the slight crunch of caramel on the choux is truly a religious experience.
Pastry you crave most when not in France:
Pierre Hermé’s caramel macaron, and the chausson aux pommes from Patisserie des Reves.
Images courtesy of Susan Hochbaum / Pastry Paris