(1312-05-04) Croquembouche
Summary: Food arrangements are made for the upcoming debut fête of Ysabelet nó Glycine.
RL Date: May 4th, 2020
Related: The Debut
ysabelet audrialla 

Bakery — Market Promenade

L'Agnacites hold with the truism the expression of art through food is a holy calling, and such a shrine pays homage to the creative spark. Gourmands worship at a marble altar groaning under a sinful array of glistening pastries and thin cakes. Offerings stacked in neat rows behind glass gleam bright as a raj's jewels: ripe cranberries and pomegranate seeds under clear glaze, clouds of pearly cream, ruby strawberries and pale jade grapes. Pale gold custard tarts and honey-drenched buns sit next to delicate finger-cakes dusted in cocoa and curls of shaved chocolate. Fruits of the season laboriously contrived into visual illusions transform humble apples into ladies' purses with aid of crepes, or create the famed dome of Marsilikos from apricots and oranges.

Senses besieged from every direction find no relief. Colourful cream-filled macarons whet the visual appetite as the scent of fresh-baked breads stir out from the ovens from the pre-dawn hours until mid-afternoon. Seating is sparse, merely a few wooden benches to the front. The long, narrow shop is dominated by display cases and the odd bottle of fruit wine and sherry mounted upon a shelf for an afternoon aperitif. Plain white walls graced by sconces overflowing in seasonal flowers hardly detract from the baked goods for sale, and the narrow shopfront windows allow light to pour in.

It is rare that a novice gets to leave their salon, and if so, only while being looked after. And so it happens, that a young blonde woman enters the bakery, not on her own but in company. The blonde herself is, as so many d'Angelines, blessed with a certain angelic beauty, even if her hair is worked into a modest braid, and her gown is rather plain in cut, even if not in quality of fabric. A purple cloak sits on her shoulders, and the hood slips from her head in the moment the door falls shut behind her — closed gently by the guard in Glycine livery. A hand is placed on Ysabelet's shoulder, and it is that of her chaperone, a courtesan in her mid-twenties. "Good day," that same courtesan greets the baker. "Ysabelet here will be having her debut this Saturday, and the dowayne, Monsieur Bertrand, has sent us to make arrangements for some sweet treats for the occasion. I'm Brigitte nó Glycine. Monsieur Bertrand asked me to accompany Ysabelet here and to let her do the negotiations…" A test, perhaps?

The novice straightens once she is introduced, and lowers herself into a curtsey for the baker — common woman that she may be. "Mademoiselle…", Ysabelet addresses Audrialla. "I have heard so many marvellous things about you. Have you done any debuts before?" 'Done' probably meaning, 'catering at debuts' rather than 'attending debuts'."

Audrialla curtsies for novice and guardian in reply. "My lovely ladies, I am honored you would visit!" While she may be common born there's a trace of angelic heritage in her high cheekbones and warm smile. "To answer the question, I have. For Paris no Glycine and Annais and Lois no Coquelicot. It's been years since I have, though, to be honest."

"Oh! Paris? Is that true?" Ysabelet's eyes widen a little and there is a smile as she looks towards Brigitte. "Paris has promised to design an outfit for me… for the debut. Did you hear? He just finished his marque, Mademoiselle." At which her smile shifts a little and her blue eyes regard the baker with a hint of mischief, "So I take it as good fortune, and hope that I'll benefit similarly from what you can provide to add to the feast of my debut." She pauses. "That is, if you are willing to contribute… Umm… What would you suggest we could have?" It is the tragedy of a novice not to know what kinds of food will be expected at a debut.

Audrialla says, "Well, that all depends, my dear," as she goes behind the counter. "There are savory pastries, sweet pastries, cakes, eclairs, and show pieces." She beams a smile for the mess. "Excellent to hear. I'm so happy for him. Has it truly been so long. Sweet Companions… " Realizing she's babbling, she asks to clarify, "What is your theme for the debut?"

Ysabelet follows Audrialla to the counter and lets her eyes take in the delicious treats. "Yes. And isn't it generous of him, to create a design for me, for free?", the novice asks of the baker. "As for the theme… I have been trained in Bryony canon, so the theme will be gold and glitter and gambling. Games of cards and dice."

Audrialla claps twice in delight. "I love any excuse to coat things with gilding. So golden brown pastries with savory fillings, chocolate stamped coins, tarts with a touch of golf leaf atop, and a cake. Or would you prefer a croquembouche with spun sugar and honey?" She pulls a few samples out - chocolate Bonbons, a few small petit fours sampler with both sweet and more earthy pastries.

"Croquem…" She was about to repeat that word but somehow loses her way midway, brows lifting and her lips forming an 'O' of delighted surprise and astonishment. "Would that be possible? A croquembouche? Along with chocolate stamped coins? It will be a debut, not a dinner party at the ducal palace. Appetizers should be fine, but we don't want them to get fed and full and tired and lazy?" After all, there is that purpose to a debut, and its main focus is not eating. Ysabelet glances towards Brigitte as if seeking reassurance, before she sweeps her gaze back to Audrialla. "We will be expecting a party of twenty people. Invitations have gone out. How costly will this be? You must understand, while Monsieur Bertrand has entitled me to see to the arrangement, there are limits, dictated by the purse he gave me, and sense."

Audrialla says, "Small bite sizes then. Nothing heavy." She nods and grins a little, her smile bright. "A croquembouche is no problem. It makes a fine centerpiece, especially with the delicate weaves of sugar. And the profiteroles are light and airy so they won't weight anyone down. No one wants too full a stomach, as you said." The baker chuckles. "The cost depends on if you want actual gold leaf or not. It is edible, of course, and adds luster to any dish, but the purse, of course, is heavier."

"You are asking me whether I want gold leaf…?" Ysabelet looks torn for a moment, she blinks and then turns to look towards Brigitte. "What if… we say.. a few pieces of gold leaf on some of the croquembouche, not used in an inflationary manner, but… sparse. Could you make us a good price? Monsieur Bertrand mentioned to me the intention of perhaps holding another culinary event soon, at La Glycine? I am certain, he would be delighted if you prove to be forthcoming on the financial side?"

<FS3> Ysabelet rolls Economy: Good Success. (3 7 3 7 7 2 2)
<FS3> Ysabelet rolls Politics: Success. (8 2 5 4 5 1)
<FS3> Ysabelet rolls Persuasion: Success. (5 4 6 1 7 4 4)
<FS3> Audrialla rolls Haggling: Good Success. (7 8 4 7 1)

Audrialla names a price but is willing to negotiate, coming down a bit with the mention of the upcoming event. "A glimmer of gold, then, on a tower of croquembouche. Stamped coins in chocolate, and then finger foods of a light and airy nature. With twenty guests in mind. Yes?"

"Yes. About twenty," Ysabelet confirms, and while her voice remains soft and gentle, a faint tremble may be discernible for those with perceptive ears. "This sounds very nice and delightful, Mademoiselle." Even she acknowledges the kindness of the baker in going a bit down with the price, and it shows in the beaming smile. "Monsieur Bertrand said, I should pay you in advance…" At which, ironically enough, not Ysabelet produces the purse, but her chaperone Brigitte. And it will be the chaperone too, who will hand over the money to Audrialla Malet, not the slightly nervous novice — as if handing her those ducats might expose her to the danger of staining her. "We shall see you at La Glycine, this Saturday," Brigitte adds, "make sure to deliver the food at late afternoon…"

Audrialla says, "Is there a color the servants and novices in attendance will be wearing? I try to blend in with them as so not to disturb the guests. And it's an excuse for a new dress."

Audrialla accepts the coin with another curtesy.

<FS3> Audrialla rolls Fashion: Success. (2 1 5 1 3 4 7)

"Not exactly." Brigitte glances towards Ysabelet, and the novice shakes her head. "In case Monsieur Bertrand may change his mind on this, we will provide you with what is necessary, don't you worry. Ysabelet here will be dressed to stand out, of course."

"Thank you so much, Mademoiselle Audrialla," Ysabelet says to the baker. "I am already excited to see what you will come up with."

Audrialla says, "Then I shall use my good judgement. I am looking forward to the event. I feel it's my own way of serving Naamah. With tempting delights for her servants to enjoy. Companions bless, my dear. I shall be there well before the door opens to set up."

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