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Best Pastry Shops in the World?


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#1 jschyun

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Posted 26 August 2003 - 07:56 PM

I love French pastry because it's so damn good. But I have an open mind.

I haven't been keeping up with the latest lists, but someone has got to have printed out the best places in the world for pastry (pies, cakes, tarts, whatever).

My favorite is L'Aduree in Paris for their macarons (oh yes), damn good little cakes, lovely lemon curd tartlet. I had a wild strawberry tart but both times, the strawberries were a little old.

Second is Fauchon in Paris. Pate de fruits are awesome (fruit gems on steroids). They have a great little cakes section, that had a fabulous chocolate mousse in a molded chocolate shell. They had other stuff, but that stands out in my mind.

Haven't been to Dalloyau in Paris. I heard that was even better than L'Aduree.
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#2 Michael Laiskonis

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Posted 26 August 2003 - 09:29 PM

Are we limiting the field to just Paris, or beyond?

To Ladurée and Dalloyau, I might add Gerard Mulot (6th arrondisement) to that category- contemporary, yet classic, meaning that you are likely to find the usual suspects plus signature pastry that has made each of those shops famous or distinctive from one another.

Fauchon might be placed in the middle ground, progressive, but not exactly cutting edge. I was never lucky enough to see Fauchon while Pierre Herme was at the helm, but what I've seen over my visits within the last five years, I question whether his succesors have maintained what he started there. Beautiful stuff, but I can't really say. Also in this realm, I'd include Lenotre, whose newest (?) shop, about a year old, can be found on Rue Cler, in the 7th.

For my money, the most exciting pastry in Paris can be found at Peltier and Pierre Herme. Both Herme and Philippe Conticini offer signature lines, or 'collections', that might be seasonally inspired, conceptual or technical (in the case of Herme, he offers a seasonal rotation of desserts served in small glasses... perhaps influenced by Conticini), or simply modern interpretations of the classics (as Conticini does). Though sadly Korova is long gone (Herme provided desserts for the restaurant and an attached salon du thé), for some of the most progressive restaurant desserts in Paris, Michelin starred Petrossian, where both the savory and the sweet are orchestrated by Conticini as well, is a must. It just might make you rethink the whole notion of 'plated' desserts.

And though people seem to love it or hate it, a sentimental favorite of mine is Poujaran. Surely more of a boulangerie, as opposed to patisserie, Jean-Luc Poujauran was one of the first French bakers to go 'bio', and produces some of the best- rustic and simple- breads and pastries... think cannele, financier, pain au chocolat, etc.

I'd love to see some candidates outside of Paris, if anyone would care to share them!
Michael Laiskonis
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#3 Lesley C

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Posted 26 August 2003 - 10:16 PM

Patisserie Riederer in Aix-en-Provence owned by MOF extraordinaire Philippe Second is a great modern shop. Pascal Caffet used to have a pastry shop. You can see his stuff at www.pascal-caffet.com. Stohrer in Paris on the rue Montergeuil (sp?) is another of my favourites.

I would think a good place to start looking is the guide of the Relais Desserts (site: http://www.relais-de...ernational.com).

My big fantasy has always been to visit Demel in Vienna. I've heard it's disappointing but I'm sure I'd love it.

#4 Michael Laiskonis

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Posted 27 August 2003 - 12:57 AM

Pascal Caffet used to have a pastry shop...

I hadn't realized that Caffet is no longer open. What about his pal, Olivier Bajard, whose shop, I believe, is in La Moutonne-La Crau, near St. Tropez? Having seen his style and methods up close, I've long been curious about his offerings...

It would be interesting to open up the discussion to include shops that might reflect the recent pastry trends in Japan, where chefs have embraced the French model, yet applying their unique aesthetic and flavors. I can only testify as to what I've seen in the Japanese pastry magazines, but I've heard from more than one source that they just may be beating the French at their own game! Anyone intimate with the latest and best in Tokyo, Osaka, and elsewhere in Japan?
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#5 Lesley C

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Posted 27 August 2003 - 04:52 AM

Michael, sorry, I'm not sure if Caffet is closed. There's just nothing on his Web site about a shop.

I've seen quite a few Japanese magazines. Yes there are some nice things in there, but beating the French at their own game? Hmm..not so sure. Why is everyone so intent on beating the French at their own game? If there is great pastry in Japan it is because of people like Pelletier, Herme, and Bau. Let's give the French credit for what they still master beyond all others, and that (in my books at least) is pastry.

#6 rgural

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Posted 27 August 2003 - 09:19 AM

I would second Michael's recommendations. Mulot is a busy, but still pleasant shop. I remember having an excellent simple chocolate tart the last time I was there. It was my favorite of the seven or eight I tried during an informal survey of Paris patisserie. They also have surprisingly good bread for a good patisserie.

In my limited experience I preferred Herme to Peltier, but both are well worth the visit. If I had to pick one place to go to I would probably pick Herme, because he's constantly introducing new things.

I'm surprised to hear that people hate Poujauran. Personally I prefer the pastry to the bread, but what's to hate? An added bonus is that his shop isn't far from Michel Chaudun an excellent chocolatier. In the same bakery pastry vein as Poujauran, Poilane offers a very simple rustic apple tart worth trying.

Roger

Edited by rgural, 27 August 2003 - 09:19 AM.


#7 Michael Laiskonis

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Posted 27 August 2003 - 09:58 AM

According to his site, Pascal Caffet does have a shop, in Troyes.

And perhaps Lesley is right, and I chose poor words to describe the buzz from Japan. How about "taking traditional French pastry in new directions"?! And of course, without really tasting, we can't hope to come to any stronger conclusions.
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#8 jschyun

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Posted 27 August 2003 - 12:01 PM

I think it's funny that the winner of the 2002 World Pastry Team Championship was Team USA, but when you look at the names of the winners, they are all French (Jean-Philippe Maury,Laurent Branlard,Jean-Claude Canestrier). Maury had won the event before as well. I've never had good pastries from a non-French shop, but like I said, I'm very open minded to the idea that they exist.

Are any of you located in Paris? I like to go periodically, and it would be a dream come true to walk the streets of Paris, looking at all the beautiful sights: the best pastry shops, chocolatiers, boulangeries...

I may be going to Tokyo in December, so I'll be doing the research for any fantastic pastry places. I'll tell you if I find anything unless someone beats me to it.
I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.
--NeroW

#9 Lesley C

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Posted 27 August 2003 - 12:30 PM

Isn't it also funny that the majority of top chefs in NYC are French as well. :rolleyes:

Thanks Michael for that page on the site about his store. I'm a big fan of Caffet. He has great taste. His year of MOF (1990) was a Grand Grand Cru.

#10 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 27 August 2003 - 06:35 PM

I attended a demo by Caffet (on sugar), how I wish I spoke French! I didn't know who Caffet was at the time but I knew he was important by how Pfeiffer acted with him.

I thought this was supprising, he told us about was how he learned air brush. When he was younger he used to paint snowboards....he had no experience-just got thrown into the job. I guess I always thought the great French chefs grew up in the industry and did nothing else.

Lesley I tried to follow your link but wasn't able to. If it's possible could you provide another one, please? I'd love to take a tour of these famous shops you all are speaking of.........but I'm not familar enough with French to find them on my own.

#11 tchorst

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Posted 27 August 2003 - 07:03 PM

Lesley had a couple of trailing characters on her link.... :rolleyes:

this works

real nice site BTW..


Tim Horst

Edited by tchorst, 27 August 2003 - 07:05 PM.

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#12 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 27 August 2003 - 08:58 PM

Thank-you

#13 KatieLoeb

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Posted 27 August 2003 - 09:24 PM

My big fantasy has always been to visit Demel in Vienna. I've heard it's disappointing but I'm sure I'd love it.


Lesley:

If you're fortunate enough to be in Vienna to eat pastries then just go directly to the Hotel Sacher and sit in that lovely salon and be served like an aristocrat and have your cake and your schlag to top it too! It's just so damned civilized... :smile:

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#14 Michael Laiskonis

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Posted 27 August 2003 - 09:28 PM

Isn't it also funny that the majority of top chefs... are French...

The idea came to me earlier this week, of starting a thread asking that very question... why do French chefs come to the US (and the UK, Japan, etc.)? And what is it about the culinary culture of France where more importance is placed on chefs who run patisseries, and not those who work in restaurants? Don't respond here. I'll get to to opening a fresh topic soon...

We still haven't gotten many nominations for the world's best pastry shop...!
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#15 PastryLady

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Posted 28 August 2003 - 07:50 AM

I have been to some good ones, but can't say they are the best. The Furst Pastry Shop in Salzburg was really good! My favorite time was in Zurich they had the Altstad Fest (Old Town Festival), where they set up booths of all the shops in the area. They had phenomenal pastry shops in Zurich! My mouth is still watering and I got back over a month ago. :sad: What I loved about visiting Switzerland and Austria, was that all the pastry shops were wonderful! It is amazing how much crap gets pushed off to the consumer. If they only knew there was much better stuff out there!!!!

Edited by PastryLady, 28 August 2003 - 08:29 PM.

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#16 PastryLady

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Posted 28 August 2003 - 07:52 AM

I meant to say that the US "pastry" or bakeries consistently push off bad product and call it "pastry" only to lessen the importance and significance to this art we all love.
Debra Diller
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#17 jschyun

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Posted 28 August 2003 - 01:29 PM

Sen5es bakery, owned by Thomas Haas and located in Vancouver, Canada, had some very nice little cakes, like a stilton cheesecake with a "bruleed" top, financier(passion fruit), and a good chocolate mousse type cake with raspberry they called "crispy raspberry".

The quality is among the best I've had but the selection is so small, I don't know that it qualifies here.
I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.
--NeroW

#18 Lesley C

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Posted 28 August 2003 - 03:44 PM

Hate to rain on your parade jschyun, but Senses is nowhere near places like Herme and Mulot. I couldn't even order a birthday cake there without running into problems. :hmmm: I'd have no trouble saying there is no world-class pastry shop in Canada, certainly nothing to compare with the top level French patisseries.

#19 Explorer

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Posted 28 August 2003 - 04:44 PM

Correction jschyun on Senses and Thomas Haas. He doesn't own it; he's a consultant for them, and they sell his pastries in the Vancouver store. The selection is limited because he has a small operation there and he also does work for Diva and also makes/sells his own chocolates via his web site.
As an aside, I did enjoy Dalloyau and LeNotre and will definitely try the others mentioned in Paris.

Katie- Isn't the Sacher such a soothing and pristine experience? Although I was there many years ago, I almost remember it like yesterday.
"I hate people who are not serious about their meals." Oscar Wilde

#20 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 28 August 2003 - 08:41 PM

I'm not a world traveler so I have no reccomendations, but I second Lesleys veto of senses. I picked up a few items from them earilier this year while on vacation and got some less then fresh product. Their mousse cake when it came to room temp. turned to oozing liquid.

I thought their chocolates were much better then their pastry.

#21 Louisa Chu

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Posted 28 August 2003 - 09:51 PM

I love the whole packaging thing at Laduree but I'm not impressed by their quality. Tired fraises des bois does not surprise me - I've seen cracked macarons in their window! But I do love their packaging which - let's face it - is a big part of patisserie - or should be.

Fauchon - too old school for me.

Dalloyau I like - not a favourite - but old school with an open mind. But I have to say that Laduree - at the top of their game - is still better than Dalloyau. Dalloyau's just really more a general traiteur and doesn't quite hit the peaks the way a patisserie like Laduree does.

I don't like Mulot - the shop is unneccesarily chaotic - and way too much nappage I think. Just not worth the effort to me.

Especially not with Pierre Herme about a 3 minute walk away.

LeNotre actually has a new cafe over on the Champs-Elysees - where their school is. The location on Rue Cler is very nice - they set up tables inside and out for the summer.

I adore both PH and Peltier. The former speaks more to my head while Conticini more to my soul. And there are two Peltier locations - both with salons de the.

And sorry, but I'm in the dislike Poujouran camp. He himself is a nice guy - and definitely a boulanger not a patissier - but his shopgirls have some serious problems.

I think for the best bio go to Kayser instead. He has an exclusively bio shop on Rue Monge - just a couple of doors down from the original Maison Kayser. From the latter, this summer I had his incredible grapefruit and almond tarte and his peach and hazelnut tarte - I cannot wait for the fig this fall. And he now does chocolate and pistachio financiers too.

The French-Japanese connection - don't forget PH himself has a shop and outlets there - and his new fall/winter collection is based on the idea of kawaii - the Japanese word/concept for cute. I had a chance to try the collection and it was all very mignon. The cutest things were the pH3 - 3 in a package - looked like little white chocolate ping-pong balls lined up in a row in clear plastic packaging - filled with 3 different flavours - lemon compote, crispy hazelnut praline; apricot compote, crispy pistachio praline; and caramelized baked apple, crispy hazelnut praline. The macaron flavour of the season - Macaron au Marron et The Vert Matcha - macaron biscuit with chestnuts, cream of candied chestnuts, and smooth cream with Matcha green tea. I'll list the whole new collection on the France board.

And then there's Aoki. I love the black sesame macarons and can't wait for the red bean Galettes des Rois.

Poilane - definitely a boulangerie - but agree on those apple tartelettes. How about the basket of free punitions on the counter? How many grams can I appropriately eat while waiting to pay? And I really love their Cuisine de Bar next door - a deal - 11.50 for a free salad, tartine, glass of wine or water, and coffee. Desserts extra.

As far as other great world pastries, I've had some amazing Chinese pastries of course - there are times when only an egg custard tart will do - I think the Kee Wah chain in the States is quite good.

And I nominate the Peltier in the 7th on Rue St. Dominique.

#22 Michael Laiskonis

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Posted 28 August 2003 - 10:43 PM

And I nominate the Peltier in the 7th on Rue St. Dominique.


Thanks, as always, for your local perspective, loufood. I remember the St. Dominique location from last summer... wasn't it the more scaled down of the two? It seemed to me the Rue de Sevres location of Peltier, steps away from the Vaneau metro stop, was the flagship...

And glad to hear the good review of Kayser; the original Rue Monge shop was on my list to visit last time, but I never made it. And lou, how did you know it was you I had in mind when writing that 'love-it-or-hate-it bit'?!

And lou, who is the chocolatier at south end of Rue Cler, on the main street (I forget the name, La Motte-Piquet, maybe?)... I want to say JP Hevin, right?

And not only does Herme have operations in Japan, but they were there long before the opening of his current shops in Paris! I haven't heard any news recently, but I do believe Peltier is now or will be appearing in Japan as well. Kayser has been there for awhile too.

I'm woefully behind on Herme's latest... thanks for the update!
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#23 Lesley C

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Posted 29 August 2003 - 06:10 AM

It is Hevin. It's definitely a chocolaterie, but he does sell pastries. I love Hevin, more so than Chaudun. As for Aoki, cute store, but so so small. Nice packaging as well, and very sweet salesgirls.

Lou, it's funny reading your comments. When I started as a pastry chef in 1988 I visited all those shops and my impressions were so different! Dalloyau was perfection and Laduree, only the Rue Royale location back then, was so boring and classic, but extremely classy. And Mulot was a find. I like Mulot's store; the chaos is so Parisian to me. Lucien Pelletier was still alive, and his pastry shop was la reference for many of us. He was much loved in pastry chefs circles, unlike LeNotre. Pelletier invented so many beautiful cakes! It was sad to see the store come apart after his death. All seems better now with Conticini, but I'm glad I got to see it as well during Pelletier's lifetime.

#24 Louisa Chu

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Posted 29 August 2003 - 06:50 AM

Michael, the Peltier on Rue de Sevres is the main shop but I like the one on Rue St. Dominique better - just a better feng shui on that corner to me. I'd forgotten about them in Japan - I think that's where they did their look first? I'll ask the Japanese girls at work.

Maison Kayser - the other locations are just as good - I usually go to the one on Commerce which is a lot closer to me - but the advantage for visitors is that the original on Rue Monge is just down from the bio one which does have seating out front in the summer. All really nice. I ordered big Tarte Monge for a birthday - red fruits with light almond cream in their hearty sweet pastry crust - and they were so generous. Packaged it really well and even included a separate box with chocolate deco - gratis! But come to think of it the MK on Convention does have a nice park across the street - and the Metro's right there too. Did not know he was in Japan too.

Have I been that vociferous on Poujauran?!

And yes, Lesley's the one who pointed out the obvious to me - that Jean-Paul Hevin's right there in front of my eyes! I'd missed it on my way to Ter when I first moved here. I should add that I think he makes hands down the best chocolate macarons in town. And he does some seasonal pastries too - I've forgotten - I'll check later. Ditto Lesley on Hevin v. Chaudun - not even close.

And yes, Aoki's tiny! But they do have a little counter with stools that will seat about 6.

Lesley, it's funny - I hadn't realised that I knew all these shops so well until this thread! I only started doing pastry in school last fall! From what I hear from my friend Alexandra who's a Dalloyau regular - I might even say addict - they really changed their focus just recently. Less so on the perfection - and more so on the upscale day to day - I'd guess she gets dinner from there most nights. But they are some dinners - they give you an Emile Henry dish to keep every time - she has a stack of them in her kitchen cabinets - always trying to pass them on to me! And Laduree - they're so after the Japanese market - so very kawaii - you want to get armfuls of bags filled with little boxes. And yes, I feel so lucky to be here during the era of Conticini and Herme.

Edited by loufood, 30 August 2003 - 04:05 AM.


#25 Lesley C

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Posted 29 August 2003 - 06:58 AM

Yes but Herme at Fauchon and Pelletier at the height of his powers seemed even more special to me. It was then that they were really breaking away from the old style. I found that more exciting. When Herme came out with his Cerise sur le Gateau cake with the custom made box, people were just swooning over the thing. Now I think a lot of the creative new stuff gets lost in the crowd. :sad:

#26 herbacidal

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Posted 29 August 2003 - 10:36 PM

He has an exclusively bio shop on Rue Monge

pardon the ignorance. what is "bio"?
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#27 Michael Laiskonis

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Posted 29 August 2003 - 11:32 PM

"Biodynamique." Similar to the organic, whole foods movement here in the US.
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#28 SanFran88

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Posted 30 August 2003 - 01:07 PM

Are there any "world class" pastry shops in the US (I ask this having no idea of the answer, but suspecting not)? If not, are there any in SF, NYC, Chicago, DC, LA, etc., that are doing very good, if not world class, work? Is it possible to do world class work in a pastry shop in the US?
Tony

#29 Lesley C

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Posted 30 August 2003 - 03:06 PM

That's a tough question but I would say yes.

When I was at Payard a few years back he was certainly falling into that world-class group. Don't know how things have changed for better or worse since.

However, I really have a tough time placing Payard in the American category. The guy is just so, so French. When I was at the his patisserie, he and a waiter were screaming insluts at each other across the shop. You just don't get more French than "Putain, ferme ta guele!" in my books, which is what they were screaming to each other.

I wonder, is there a world-class pastry shop where there is an emphasis on American-style pastries? I don't know. Curious though. Maybe someone should define "world class."

#30 SanFran88

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Posted 30 August 2003 - 03:41 PM

What about something like Citizen Cake in SF? I've only seen the work, I've never actually been there.
Tony