It was 17th of August 2003, my 30th birthday. I stepped off the Eurostar from England and into a world I could never possibly have imagined and would change my life irrevocably.
Paris, the city of my dreams.
I had fantasized about Paris and France since I was 13, studying French at high school. If you’ve never been out of Australia, nothing can prepare you for Paris. It’s beauty and history captivated me in every way. Every one of my five senses was in overload, visions of buildings older than time, hot bread baking on every corner, hearing the beautiful and romantic french language, and taste, oh, my giddy aunt, the flavours of Paris!
I spent days wandering through the endless halls of Le Louvre, seeing the Mona Lisa (it’s a lot smaller than you think), the real Venus de Milo, magnificent specimens of Renaissance art I’d only ever seen and read about in books, were all right there in front of me, so close I could reach out and touch them.
I stood in some of the most epic places in history, Le Place du Vieux-Marches, in Rouen where Joan of Arc was marched to her death, by being burnt alive at the stake for witchcraft in 1431; the Palais Garnier, where the Phantom of the Opera was born; the magnificent Sacre Coeur in the heart of Mont Martre; it was a feast for the soul.
France truly is a place of historical gluttony, where you can never truly get your fill of all the incredible places and personages of history, and imagine them happening right in front of your eyes.
Step forward 15 years, I haven’t returned to Paris, but it has long stayed with me.
It’s not something I try to think about often, my time living in London and travelling around Europe. It was such a magical 3 years of my life, which made returning home to Adelaide a challenge and I struggled to grasp the reality of returning to my “normal life” in more ways than I ever though possible.
Since that time, Iv’e always searched for that feeling of enchantment and magic I have only ever found walking the streets of Paris. I talk about my love of Paris often and will happily bore anyone to tears who’s brave enough to listen, with my stories of visiting the famous water lilies of Monet’s garden or seeing Napoleon’s tomb, or eating pancakes with Nutella on the Boulevard de Clichy, and watching the ladies of the night parade past Le Chat Noir. I didn’t think I’d ever feel whole again unless I returned to French soil (perhaps I was French in another life? I like to think so.)
That all changed when I was introduced to Cake by Jenna Marie by another creative soul who seemed to understand my longing (you know who you are!)
Hidden amongst the cubed, monotone buildings of semi-industrial Mawson Lakes, is a glass door. Opening that door, I was flooded with emotion as I was instantly transported back to the patisseries of Paris. Before me were rows of the most delicate pinks and purples, pale blues, and gold, it made my heart sing and I had to resist the urge to start speaking French. (My language skills have sadly waned in the years since I left.)
White, high backed chairs and the scent of roses and flowers, fill the small, but exquisitely decorated room. You could be forgiven for losing yourself for a few hours in the beautiful surroundings and imagine you are sitting in little cafe along the banks of the Seine. Jenna Marie has perfected a strawberry mousse so divine and light, I don’t even think I have words to describe how amazing it is.
And of course, true to my design, I wasn’t able to stop at just one. I had to try the hazelnut praline as well. And if I hadn’t been so full, I was going for the rose macarons, but even I have limits. It just gives me a reason to return, and return I must!
The memory of Paris is burnt into my being. It’s a part of who I am, and to know that I can walk through the glass doors into Cake by Jenna Marie and be instantly taken back in time, warms my soul. I can close the door to the outside world and imagine I’m back, sitting in a cafe on the Seine, sipping a cafe au lait and tasting the lightest, fluffiest mousse aux fraise and hazelnut dacquoise.
If you want to visit Paris and can’t afford the air fare, or you’re looking for that super special place to have a beautiful afternoon with your daughter, or even just to experience something you don’t get to every day, Jenna Marie has that special cake that will give you a flavour experience like no other. I want to share these beautiful places with the rest of South Australia. You may think Mawson Lakes is too far, but I urge you, no, implore you, take the time to come and visit Cake by Jenna Marie.