Sunday, 31 May 2009

Strawberry Fields

wild strawberry plants with strawberriesSome of you might remember that at the "Flowers & Flavours" country show a little while back, we bought a few strawberry plants.

We don't have particularly green fingers. In fact our track record for anything plant-related is pretty poor. It's not our fault. It's because of the snails, and the birds, and next door's cat and global warming and...well, okay, it's a little bit our fault...

We already had some wild strawberry plants which we picked in the grounds of the chateau of Chantilly a couple of years back and they've just started to yield their first tiny fruit too. This year, the five tiny plants we brought back have become a carpet of green and red and today we picked enough strawberries to make, well, a bowlful of strawberries!

wild strawberries
And it's been with lots of excitement that we've watched the strawberry plants bought from the show flourish on the window sill!

From a few floppy leaves grew the pretty, white strawberry blossom which slowly metamorphosed into tiny, yellow balls which in turn have started to become large delicious fruit...

Fresh homegrown strawberries
Woohoo!! Beats the heck out of the tasteless rubbish on offer in the local supermarket!

So, perhaps inspired by the sun and the taste of homegrown fruit, the latest miniatures on Etsy have a distinct red fruit feel to them!

Miniature Cake - Summertime Chocolate Gateau with Red Fruit Decoration
Chocolate gateau with red fruit

Summertime Red Fruit Charlotte
Red fruit charlotte


Gotta go, next door's cat has just.....ewwww!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, 29 May 2009

Friday Flashback - August 2003

With more and more people getting into making and collecting miniature food over the last couple of years, many of you will have missed out on the humble beginnings of Emmaflam & Miniman on the internet - a time when blogs were unheard of, there was no Facebook-ing, no Flickr-ing and in order to twitter you needed a beak...

So we thought we'd offer you a regular glimpse into our archive of many thousands of photos and share with you some pieces from our past work.

We're calling it the "Friday Flashback"!

Being the first Flashback, we thought we'd start at the very beginning, apparently it's a very good place to start...

2003 - and we've known each other for....oh, about five minutes. We decide to try selling some pieces on eBay - all made by Emmaflam in France and posted over to Miniman who still lives in England and already sells miniatures on eBay.

Below is a selection from that very first series of listings. Apologies for the mediocre quality of the photos, but digital cameras at the time weren't as sophisticated as today's multi-megapixelled models...

miniature chocolates, some topped with coffee grains, pistachio, sugared violets and some wrapped in foil
Of course there were miniature chocolates, some topped with coffee grains, pistachio, sugared violets and some wrapped in foil.

Emmaflam and Miniman - Handmade tea set with hand painted teapot, croissants, pain aux raisins and hand made wooden tray
This tea tray set with teapot, croissants and pain aux raisins was entirely hand made. The trays available commercially at the time were way too "chunky" so it had to be done with squidgy balsa!

Emmaflam and Miniman - Paris Miniatures - Handmade miniature pizza
The pizza already looked good enough to eat!

Miniature crepes - Emmaflam and Miniman - Paris Miniatures
Coming from France, super fine miniature crêpes were almost a certainty!

Miniature platter of charcuterie - Emmaflam & Miniman - Paris Miniatures
A platter of charcuterie...complete with pickles (caraway seeds painted green, no less!)

A pair of miniature burger meals with fries and salad - Paris Miniatures, Emmaflam and Miniman
A pair of burger meals with fries and salad...had to be served on paper plates because that's all we could afford at the time! Still, it did give a "picnic" feel to them...

A miniature strung roast beef joint with baby carrots, peas, new potatoes - Paris Miniatures, Emmaflam and Miniman
A strung roast beef joint with baby carrots, peas (hand rolled from Fimo one-by-one) and new potatoes.


Shortly after that, Miniman moved to France and although we did a couple of miniature shows in Paris in between, it wasn't until 2005 that we would offer our next items for sale on the Internet.

One interesting note to finish on...maybe somebody saw some potential in what we were doing because one of the buyers from this series is still a regular customer to this day!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Stop Loaf-ing Around...

...and get over to Etsy!

miniature French baguette - Paris Miniatures - Emmaflam and Miniman
We've been really busy (between mouthfuls of caramel macaroons...!) trying to get some new miniatures ready for presentation on our Etsy store.

They'll be up a little later on. Here's a sneak peak at one of the items (and an explanation for the lame pun in the title of this post...)

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Caramel Macaroons

As we mentioned in Saturday's post, we'd planned on baking some more macaroons over the holiday weekend - real ones.

Being big fans of anything caramel (even old man's favourite Werther's Originals!), it didn't take long to decide on which flavour we'd be trying next - caramel au beurre salé or salted butter caramel.

Although a tad pale due to the lack of food colouring readily available here (we had to improvise mixing the colours that we were able to find), these babies turned out to be just as delicious as we had hoped. Good job too, because we have about 30 t0 "struggle" through!

So - another 1:1 / 1:12 photo opportunity beckons...

A miniature caramel cake with caramel macaroons placed alongside our pale homebaked versions!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Pretty Sweet - Eiffel Tower Sugar!

We were recently having a coffee in a Bistro where one of our friends works.  We loved the sugar sticks that accompanied each cup...!

Sugar in Eiffel Tower sachets served with a cup of coffeeSo we asked...and left a little while later with our pockets full of Eiffel Tower sugar sticks!

Various sachets of sugar in Eiffel Tower sachetsBut it does seem a shame to have them taking up space here.  We'll keep a few for sure, but the rest are yours!

So until we run out, all packages sent out will have a sweet little extra included!

Saturday, 23 May 2009

New Additions to Paris Miniatures Etsy Store...

Many of you will be enjoying a holiday weekend, so we'll not keep you long. 

Here's a glimpse at some of our new pieces that will be on Etsy very shortly...

Marie Antoinette, French Bread, Bonne Maman Cookies

Have a wonderful weekend - we're off to make some full size, real, edible (we hope!) macaroons.  Will post pics if they turn out OK... :)

Friday, 22 May 2009

The Best Worst Engagement Ring! *

Imagine the scene...

You've been waiting for months for a commitment from him and now here he is on bended knee with a tiny box in his hand...

Closed Red Ring BoxHe passes it to you.  The excitement mounts!  Is it...?'s a ring!

Half Open Red Ring BoxUmmm...but it's not exactly what you were expecting from him...

Handmade Dirty Plate Novelty Ring - Emmaflam and Miniman - Paris MiniaturesIn fact it's much better than you could have ever dreamt...!  

That "dirty plate" ring you saw on the internet!

Handmade Dirty Plate Novelty Ring - Emmaflam and Miniman - Paris MiniaturesNow you KNOW that he loves you!

* This is a work of fiction.  No real marriage proposals were made using this ring.  No animals were harmed either.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

1980s Apple Tart

Before the internet, if you wanted to make your own miniature food, you had to figure it out for yourself.

Worse for me, I was in a country where the hobby didn't really exist as it did in the UK or the US.  If I had been able to get hold of a miniature magazine, and if there had been a suitable tutorial inside, it would have been in a language that I couldn't easily read talking about supplies that I would never have been able to find!

One of the first pieces that I came up with after buying my first couple of blocks of polymer clay was a traditional tarte aux pommes or apple tart.

You can't imagine how happy I was to have found the idea of using a beer cap as a mold to make the pastry case!  Yes I know it was rather big for 12th scale so...

Miniature Apple Tart from 2009 and the 1980s
...these became my favourite pair of earrings!  Hey it was the 80s, so I could get away with wearing them!  Crazy teenager studying art in Paris - who was going to even notice?!

You'll all notice that the colours are off but did you notice the texturing?  No, because there wasn't any!

Miniature Apple Tart Earrings - Paris Miniatures
Fortunately with time, I've refined my apple tarts (and many other pieces) to a point where they won't look like freaks when placed in a 12th scale setting.  

But it's still difficult to find supplies here in France compared to what you lucky people in the UK and the US have at your finger tips...spent this morning searching in vain for basic white Fimo... :(

Miniature apple tart from Emmaflam and MinimanStill, it's worth struggling occasionally when the results are so appreciated!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

A Night At The Opéra

What would you wear?

We reckon these earrings featuring miniature versions of the classic Dalloyau "Opéra" cake would have to be pretty high on your list!

Handmade Opéra earrings by Paris Miniatures - Emmaflam & Miniman
Opéra earrings

With matching finger ring, of course...

Handmade Opéra finger ring by Paris Miniatures - Emmaflam & Miniman
Opéra Ring

You'll have to choose the dress though...!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

St Honoré: The Man, The Street, The Cake...

Engraving of St HonoréToday is the May 16th, the feast day of St Honoré - the patron saint of bakers, pâtissiers and confectioners. Sadly not a public holiday, but an excellent excuse to indulge in something sweet!

Not much is known about the man himself other than he was a bishop in the French town of Amiens around 600 - 660 and many miracles are reported to have occured during his life and even after his death (when his relics were supposedly used to invoke rain to end a drought). He was duly sainted.

Around 1200, a baker and follower of St Honoré donated some land to the city of Paris so that a chapel to honour the saint could be built. The chapel became one of the richest in Paris, and gave its name to Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.

Around 1400, the guild of bakers in Paris established this church as their meeting place, celebrating the feast of Saint Honoré on May 16 and spreading his cult.

In 1846 the famous St Honoré cake was created by pastry chef Chiboust whose bakery was in the Rue St Honoré. Whether it was named after the saint, the street or both is not known, but his creation of the crème Chiboust for this cake and the originality of the presentation assured that another classic Parisian pâtisserie had been born!

Countless variations of the St Honoré exist, some so wild that the only resemblance they have to the original is in name alone.

And you didn't think we'd let this opportunity go by without posting a photo of one these in miniature...?

I say one, I mean three...

Trio of miniature Saint Honoré cakes, classic, chocolate and cherry
Three miniature St Honoré Cakes - Classic, Chocolate and Cherry

Happy St Honoré!

Friday, 15 May 2009

"Cannes" I Tell You a Story About a Cake?

If you turn on the TV here in France, there's no escaping the fact that the Cannes film festival has just started.

It's wonderful seeing those archive images from past festivals and today it made us think about a cake (naturally!)

In particular, the Tarte Tropézienne. Although French pâtisserie seems to have a reputation for colour and delirious designs, this unremarkable looking pastry is unlikely to win any hearts for its looks alone.

Yet you're sure to find one in almost every bakery and supermarket in France. So how has this "Plain Jane" of a cake gone on to become such a superstar?

Miniature Tarte Tropézienne
Miniature Tarte Tropézienne

Until 1955 the cake had no name. Created by a Polish baker living in St Tropez since 1945, the cake was already popular with locals and so when the baker was hired to feed the cast and crew of "...and God Created Woman", he included it with his catering.

Each day, more and more of the cake was eaten and finally none other than Brigitte Bardot asked him what it was called. On confessing that it had no name, he asked the then unknown future starlet to name it for him. As they were filming in St Tropez she suggested the name "La Tarte de St Tropez" - to become the Tarte Tropézienne!

And just look at what it is made from...a large round brioche cut in half and filled with a crème pâtissière flavoured with orange flower water (fleur d'oranger) and kirsch. The top is sprinkled with crunchy "casson sugar". So lots of textures and divine flavours.

It's a delicious treat that has, despite its unremarkable appearance, has quite rightly earned its place amongst the classics of French pâtisserie.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

"Berried" in thought...

...gazes out of window lost in thought...

Rain, rain, go away...

Thought summer had arrived. Feeling sorry for all the tourists pouring into Paris right now...sure they're having a great time, but if only they had been here last week they would have enjoyed some beeyootiful weather...

Still, I got a hankering for summer fruit...

Darn - it's in miniature. I can't eat it. Shame. Can I lick the screen? Yes. It'd be a bit weird though.

Nobody's looking...


Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Ladurée Goes All "Mickey Mouse"!

Side detail from the Mickey Mouse macaroon boxContinuing on from yesterday's post, we can show you today the main reason why we were so desperate to visit Ladurée on the Champs Elysées last week.

Of course there were some new flavours of macaroons to try, and there still remain many pastries that we haven't even tried (we will get round to it, but waistlines and wallets need to be cared for!).

But on this occasion we were on a mouse hunt...A Mickey Mouse hunt!

In collaboration with Disney Resort Paris, Ladurée have come up with an exclusive, limited edition macaroon presented in its own adorable little box.

Ladurée Mickey Mouse Macaroon BoxSealed with some Ladurée ribbon and adorned with the cutest image of Mickey, this Mickey Macaroon is available for just two months in just two restaurants inside the Disney Resort at Paris...and for just one week in the Champs Elysées boutique!

Close Up of Ladurée Mickey Mouse Macaroon BoxSo what is the Mickey Macaroon? Over to Ladurée:
"One single cake offers three colourful flavours – one fizzy chocolate ear, one vanilla ear, and a central raspberry-filled head."
A bit like this then...?!

The Ladurée Mickey Mouse MacaroonHonestly, it was deeeelicious! We started with the vanilla ear before moving on to the chocolate ear. That was fun - remember the candy that explodes and pops on your tongue? This choccie ear has some. There's no way to eat this without whizzing momentarily back to your childhood with an enormous grin on your face - or was it just us?!

Anyway, the blog is called "Paris MINIATURES" and this talk of Paris and macaroons is all very well and good, but you're probably wondering about the miniatures...

Well we couldn't let an occasion like this go by without celebrating it in typical Emmaflam & Miniman fashion...with a miniature version!

Miniature Mickey Macaroon by Emmaflam and Miniman shown on the full sized Ladurée boxAbove our miniature version is shown on the Limited Edition Mickey macaroon box and below on a portion of the ribbon.

Miniature Mickey Macaroon shown on Ladurée ribbonEnjoy! :)

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Springtime at Ladurée

Paris Metro Station SignIf you've been following this blog or happened to read our twitter updates last week, you would know that we recently made a trip into Paris to try out some new treats at Ladurée.

The anticipation started to mount with each step as we climbed from the metro station sortie. We were on the Champs Elysées...

It's a mini-dilemma - you have the impressive Arc de Triomphe behind you, and you know that even if you've seen it dozens of times before, you really shouldn't ignore it, but on the other hand, just a few hundred metres further down is our pâtisserie rendez-vous! And running backwards down the Champs is out of the question. Tant pis, the pastries won this time!

Ladurée is following a Chateau de Versailles theme for spring/summer 2009, and springtime had well and truly arrived at 75, AVENUE DES CHAMPS ELYSEES with the May Lace presentation of their "lily-of-the-valley" macaroon. This flavour of macaroon is only available during the month of May each year.

This year's box is gorgeous - they explain it best themselves...
"The box encasing the macaroons is clad with a delicate grey Chantilly lace on which the word May is written in gold-embossed lettering and decorated with small, white bells.

This ultra-feminine case pays tribute to Parisian couture."
Lily of the Valley macaroon window display at Ladurée on the Champs Elysées
Lovely! Don't you just love the way that the gold lettering of the "M" actually forms the leaves of the lily-of-the-valley?

Another element of the Chateau de Versailles theme was presented in an adjacent window.

Spring - Summer Collection 2009 Ladurée Chateau de Versailles window display
Again, we leave the description to those that know best - Ladurée!
"A romantic decoration made up of interlaced designs, medallions and flower bouquets with antiquated colours houses the new box of macaroons with various spring flavours and a definite boudoir feel."
The window display was decorated with sugared violets...

Spring - Summer Collection 2009 Ladurée Chateau de Versailles window display
...and the motif on the box is stunning!

Spring - Summer Collection 2009 Ladurée Chateau de Versailles macaroon box
So with our mouths well and truly watering with anticipation, it was time to cross the threshold into pastry heaven...

The entrance to Ladurée on the Champs Elysées...which we'll post about very soon...!

Monday, 11 May 2009


The church on the opposite side of the square strikes four o'clock. Lunch is now only a delicious memory and the evening "dîner" still seems a long way off.

As usual around this time of day, something stirs deep within Miniman.

Without even lifting his head, the phrase tumbles from his mouth...

"Cup of tea...?"

Eh oui, there's no denying that after nearly 6 years of living in France, France has not yet removed that primordial English need for his afternoon cuppa.

It's a shame that he doesn't have any pastries to go with it...

Paris Miniatures - Miniature Pastries on Shabby Chic Stand presented on paper cupcake caseMiniature pastries shown on a tiny paper case

What about you? What would you really not be able to do without if you moved away from your country?

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Miniature Cappuccino and Homemade Cappuccino Macaroons

Following on from our first attempt at making our own delicious macaroons we decided to have another go...

This time, after much deliberation, we decided that because we enjoy making miniature cappuccinos, we'd try to make some cappuccino flavoured macaroons.

So here for the first time is the result of our real cooking and miniature cooking shown together!

Miniature Cappuccino made by Paris Miniatures - Emmaflam & Miniman showwn with our homemade cappuccino macaroons
Some of our miniature cappuccino sets shown with our homemade cappuccino macaroons

Pour les non-anglophones que l'odeur des macarons aurait attiré par ici, le petit secret, c'est un stick de cappuccino en poudre ajouté à la crème mousseline au café...

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Better Brie...with a Baguette!

So yesterday we showed the improved brie and it appears that it made one of you hungry and another beg for a baguette!

We like to please, so...ta-daaaah...!

Miniature Baguette filled with ham and brie cheese accompanied by a plate of brie with grapes

The perfect way to enjoy this deliciously creamy cheese - in a crusty baguette (with a glass of wine!).


Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Better Brie...

We recently decided that we weren't entirely happy with our cheese, more specifically our brie. So we decided to do something about it...

Here are three of the various attempts that we made...

Paris Miniatures - Brie, French Cheese
1, 2, 3...say "cheese!"

The first slice was cooked and then cut but no texturing was applied. Very basic.

The second was cooked, cut and the texturing was applied with a cutter afterwards - a slight improvement, but still lacking detail.

The third slice was cut, textured and re-sculpted before cooking and then, after cooking, was painted to give that distinctive white mould crust.

That's better!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Sunday Lunchtime Scene....But When?

Sunday lunchtime, generally a time when small town France is calm as everyone dines.

However this Sunday, being part of a long 1st of May holiday weekend, seemed extra calm. We had popped out to fetch a fresh baguette for lunch and as as we crossed the square, which we've done hundreds of times before, we were struck by the total silence. The absence of any cars or teenagers on mopeds seemed to accentuate the beauty of the square and for a brief moment, the impression that we were in a different time envelopped us.

A Small Town Square in France
This photo dates all the way back to...yesterday

Moments like these are pretty rare in today's busy mechanized world, and hopefully this photo taken during that brief moment of calm will help transport you to some distant time when the whinnying of a horse was about as riotous as it got...

Happy Bank Holiday!

I Just Wanna Be Your...Teddy Bear Cookie!

This weekend we've been working on some new ideas for miniature cookies but this time we wanted to avoid the use of punches and come up with something new.

So for followers of the blog, here's an exclusive peek of what we came up with ...cute huh?! Gotta love those chocolate eyes and noses!

Miniature Teddy Bear Cookies - Paris Miniatures, Emmaflam & Miniman
Tiny Teddy Bear Cookies