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Pâtisseries délicieuses …
Posted: May 14, 2012
Scoping through magazine articles awhile back, I am came across one with a pastry challenge…for anyone visiting Paris and I immediately thought of my friend Colleen, who authors this week’s blog.
Colleen Watson- Guest Blogger
She was headed off to Paris and I didn’t know if this Pastry challenge would be of interest, but she immediately was excited about the opportunity and the result….well read and find out…as Colleen accepts the Paris patisseries challenge. Take it away Colleen.....
Pâtisseries délicieuses …
I could be happy sitting in a café all day watching the Paris world pass by with only my drink order changing from café crème to a vin rouge.
But this trip, my good friend and frequent traveling companion, Mark Stine (yes, the very same blogger who generally graces this space) sent me a list of several of the top pâtisseries in Paris. I decided I was up for the challenge.
So, on one of the warmer days toward the end of my trip, I set out with my traveling companions to begin the adventure. From where we were staying near the Tour Eiffel, we decide to go to the furthest away and work our way back. We took the metro, conveniently located a couple of doors down from our hotel to the Métro République. We followed our Paris map a couple of short blocks south of the Pl. de la République off of the busy Bd du Temple to Jacques Genin.
Standing behind the glass cases, Arthur Dieupart motioned us over and gave us our first taste of the best chocolates in my memory. Smooth and creamy ganaches, we purchased several of the small lovely boxes, each holding nine squares of the most interesting flavors with herbs and spices (jasmine, ginger, mint, tea) and others equally interesting (grapefruit, rose). Even the more typical kind was not of a typical taste.
But, we did come for the pastries!
Jacques Genin has a delightfully inviting tea room on the other side of the circular stairs that lead to the loft kitchen where all the pastries, chocolates, jellys and caramels are made fresh each day … and throughout the day to replenish what has been sold. We decided on the Saint-Honoré, a surprise from the typical that featured a delectable, flaky pastry topped with vanilla whipped cream alongside three cream puffs of chocolate, caramel and vanilla. It was a perfect selection with the café crème (oh, and more chocolates).
Pulling ourselves away from the inviting ambience, friendly staff and delicious smells, we left to walk to the next shop on our list, Pâtisserie Pain de Sucre.
Located on rue Rambuteau, also in the Marais, just three blocks northeast of the Centre Pompidou, this shop is owned by Nathalie Robert and Didier Mathray. These two met each other at Pierre Gagnaire's three-Michelin-starred restaurant in the pastry kitchen, of course. They opened Pain de Sucre together and continue to work as a team, creating wonderfully fabulous confections.
The bright, well-appointed space is just what you’d imagine when thinking pâtisserie. As we enter the shop, the first things we notice are the cases filled with inviting pastries and macaroons. We quickly notice the ornate and amazingly fairy-tale ceiling perfectly suited to the space. The shop is busy with customers unable to make decisions because everything is so well presented and looks so inviting, concoctions so well appointed they looked like artwork. Even the marshmallows are tempting!
We move on toward our final stop of the day, La Pâtisserie des Rêves located in the posh 7th arrondisement and created by chefs Angelo Musa—a winner of the Pastry World Cup and a Meilleur Ouvrier de France—and Philippe Conticini, partnering with hotelier Thierry Teyssier. (They have another shop in the 16th arrondissement, 10-minutes from the Palais de Chaillot, which includes a salon de thé and an atelier des choux.)
We step into a small space crowded with late afternoon shoppers clearly picking up pastries for after dinner pleasures. Everything in the shop is artfully designed, from the color-coordinated walls, fixtures and packaging, to the interesting glass domes under which contain deliciously appealing delicacies.
True to their creativity, Phillipe Conticini’s Paris-Brest is different than most, with six small puffs of pastry (choux) nestled together in a circle, each containing rich chocolate-praline. The addition of the chocolate adds a wonderful flavor to the smooth crème and goes way beyond the typical. Definitely one to try!
And so, with a sugar over load and a desire for some substantive food, we walked back to our “neighborhood” and stopped at a corner bistro that offered us our customary glass of Bordeaux and the special of the evening, a fresh fish in … wait for it … puff pastry!
We woke up the next morning, our last day in Paris, and decided we couldn’t go home without at least a dozen more boxes of chocolates from Jacque Genin. We made our way over to the shop, which, on this day, was teaming with customers. By the end of it, we (and all the others) had nearly wiped them out. We met Jacques, a most sincere, warm and charming host, and had another pastry and café crème. This time, the lime … divine!!
......And so the Paris patisseries challenge was met by Colleen and her bonvivant friends…I however was a lucky recipient of one of the boxes of chocolates from Jacque Genin…two words...tres’ magnifique! I am not ashamed to say…I ate all of the chocolates in one afternoon...I did however recycle the cute chocolate tin and filled it with a necklace that I gave to my daughter. If you can’t make it to Paris anytime soon..may I recommend the internet..make a list of all of the pastry shops in your area..and spend an afternoon in Pastry pursuit! Bon appetit!
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