Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
olivier

La Pâtisserie des Rêves par Philippe Conticini

Recommended Posts

So, Conticini opened his new shop rue du Bac to the public today.

Being close to the shop, I went around 1pm. Unfortunately it was too late as most of the individual cakes were already gone. I had already eaten anyway so I just got a tarte Tatin. It was perfectly delicious, with a very thick layer of very soft apples that almost melted in the mouth, placed on a fantastic and fresh puff pastry. They also give you a (relatively) big pot of whipped mascarpone which has hints of lemon and vanilla. Very good, once again.

As a Norman, I may prefer the tarte Tatin with more caramelized apples, but regardless on how it should be named, this first taste of Conticini's pastry was very promising. I'll go back later this week to sample a broader range of what he has to offer.

The shop in itself is quite original. No big display with cakes aligned next to each other. Instead, there's a round table in the center of the shop, and one sample of each cake is displayed under glass bells. The cakes are ordered to the staff, and then come directly out of the kitchen.

It's expensive, of course (it's Paris, its rue du Bac, it's a reknown chef) but not as much as I feared: around 4,5EUR-5EUR for individual ones and around 25EUR for what probably are 6-person cakes.

Conticini was actually here. He was delighted about how much he sold, and chatted with the customers.

I also took the leaflet with me, so if anyone wants to know what is offered at the shop, I can write the list down!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was there before you and got some cakes. Here are some pictures. The Paris Brest was pretty irresistible, and the tatin extremely impressive. The rest left me a tad disapointed, I hate to say. Let's try again in a few weeks.

Packaging was truly innovative -- with little bits holding the cake in the box.


Edited by julot-les-pinceaux (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, please do continue to post the apparent pleasures from this shop! Thank you for sharing the photos, they are much appreciated.

eta: correct typos


Edited by JeanneCake (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Love your photos. That éclair au chocolat is pretty strange looking, however. It looks like a thin roll of chocolate with a ham sandwich on a ficelle inside.

Of course, if you look at my signature photo, my millefeuille au chocolat (so named by my professor/chef at l'École Lenôtre) looks pretty strange also. I guess it's technically a deuxfeuille, since it's two discs of chocolate with a cream and raspberry filling.

Randy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was there before you and got some cakes. Here are some pictures. The Paris Brest was pretty irresistible, and the tatin extremely impressive. The rest left me a tad disapointed, I hate to say. Let's try again in a few weeks.

Packaging was truly innovative -- with little bits holding the cake in the box.

How did you feel about the kouign aman? What specifically left you disappointed?

I'm always on the look-out for good kouign aman, and though I don't have a trip to Paris coming up, I'm always doing research just in case!

I'm guessing their packaging is based on what Japanese places have been doing forever and a day--little bits of cardboard or rolled bits of stuff in the box to help prevent shifting?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How did you feel about the kouign aman? What specifically left you disappointed?

I'm always on the look-out for good kouign aman, and though I don't have a trip to Paris coming up, I'm always doing research just in case!

I'm guessing their packaging is based on what Japanese places have been doing forever and a day--little bits of cardboard or rolled bits of stuff in the box to help prevent shifting?

The items are held in place inside the box by small pink plastic skewers.

The kouign amann was merely a thick slice of brioche with a thin layer of caramelizing on both sides. Can hardly be called a kouign amann, at best a cute version for Parisians. As a matter of fact kouign amann is a genuinely Breton pastry which should not be sought in Paris, and this one confirms the rule.


Edited by Ptipois (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In fact, I just went back yesterday and could not help noticing that they heard our criticism about the non-crispy kouign-amann. It is now much, much better. In fact, it is now one of the best items in the shop, along with the Paris-Brest. I also tasted the Saint-Honoré, which was impressive -- and I have some new pics of it at picasaweb.google.fr/zejulot

That a Parisian Kouign-Amann has nothing to do with the Douardenez original is hardly questionable. But does it matter if the Parisian version is delicious and, actually, more Parisian? I even doubt that the Douardenez version would taste any good without the sea, the fishermen, etc (same way Parisian pastries taste stupid there).

Conticini today is kind of the opposite of Génin, a profoundly regressive approach to pastry, something along the lines of "snuggle, mummy". Calling it patisserie des rêves is actually not an emphasis -- it's a description of how that place addresses the most inconscious, basic parts of us. They could have called it "La Patisserie des psychanalystes" but maybe that would have been less attractive?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think they heard about the board discussion unless someone told them..Do you think Conticini would modify his recipe because of people talking about it here .. :hmmm:


Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I even doubt that the Douardenez version would taste any good without the sea, the fishermen, etc (same way Parisian pastries taste stupid there).

I can assure you that properly made kouign-amann tastes good wherever you take it, whereas thinking fondly of the Eiffel Tower when eating Conticini's version in Brittany won't help. Sea and fishermen are a somewhat farfetched way of trying to excuse his failed interpretation, which was structurally not a kouign-amann at all. If it has improved (as you say it has), it can only mean that the recipe has been changed.

I don't think they heard about the board discussion unless someone told them..Do you think Conticini would modify his recipe because of people talking about it here .. :hmmm:

What — you mean we're not actually the universal food trendsetters of the world? :rolleyes:


Edited by Ptipois (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I even doubt that the Douardenez version would taste any good without the sea, the fishermen, etc (same way Parisian pastries taste stupid there).

I can assure you that properly made kouign-amann tastes good wherever you take it, whereas thinking fondly of the Eiffel Tower when eating Conticini's version in Brittany won't help. Sea and fishermen are a somewhat farfetched way of trying to excuse his failed interpretation, which was structurally not a kouign-amann at all. If it has improved (as you say it has), it can only mean that the recipe has been changed.

I have to agree with Julot, at least in general. Food has an emotion and context that greatly affects its enjoyment. The old saying about a hot dog never tasting as good as it does with a ball game in front of it is a stereotypical example, but considering how awful ball park hot dogs used to be, a true one.

There is a wonderful coffee roaster in the mountain town of Twisp, WA. His product is better than 99% of the coffee I can find in Paris. The expresso roast and preparation as expresso are perfect. But when I ask for a café allongé, he cringes. His server calls it "coffee murder." And I have to admit, it just doesn't taste as "right" as a poorer quality coffee done allongé in a Paris café does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree with Julot, at least in general. Food has an emotion and context that greatly affects its enjoyment. The old saying about a hot dog never tasting as good as it does with a ball game in front of it is a stereotypical example, but considering how awful ball park hot dogs used to be, a true one.

There is a wonderful coffee roaster in the mountain town of Twisp, WA. His product is better than 99% of the coffee I can find in Paris. The expresso roast and preparation as expresso are perfect. But when I ask for a café allongé, he cringes. His server calls it "coffee murder." And I have to admit, it just doesn't taste as "right" as a poorer quality coffee done allongé in a Paris café does.

If it were so, I wonder why we should be dealing with food and recipes and commenting products and preparations here in the first place. This board should be devoted to travel and taste experiences in regard to the various settings, not to food itself.

Your coffee anecdote is very charming and we've all had experiences of the sort. It is, if I may add, an experience of the extreme since coffee in Paris is so terrible as a rule. But I believe it is off-topic regarding Conticini's kouign-amann version 1.0 (2.0 is out, about which I can say nothing until I taste it), which truly had nothing to do with what a kouign-amann essentially is, and adding seagulls and seamen singing shanties on top of the experience would not have made it a kouign-amann an ounce more.

There are such things as the romanticism of seaports and briny winds of Brittany, but I do not believe they would make me accept something that is not a kouign-amann, or gâteau breton, or properly made crêpe de sarrazin, as something that is. It is important in our activities to know whether we're dealing with food or dealing with poetry. The two can perfectly be joined, but when it comes to commenting food, they have to be dissociated. That is precisely what you are doing, in fact, when you are commenting that coffee. Julot's approach was the reverse — claiming that the appeal of an age-old recipe (and not just any recipe, kouign-amann, no less) could be entirely based on the romanticism of the setting. An idea which even he, I am sure, considers absurd deep down.

(Adding to that the fact that kouign-amann is not only made in Douarnenez but in all of Brittany, with various results, depending on the products and skills — though the seagulls and brine are always there, all around the long coastline.)

For one thing I am interested in how Conticini could structurally change the recipe in such a short time: did he decide to apply the proper multiple-layer treatment to the pastry, with butter and sugar between layers? For those elements were totally absent from the first version. Julot, if you have pictures of the new thing somewhere, would you please share? I can't locate it on your Picasa, there are two pictures of the cake but they look absolutely like the one we've experienced the first time.


Edited by Ptipois (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fresh_a, I don't know if Conticini reads eGullet. I didn't assume he did. The reason I think he heard our criticism is because I voiced it the second time I went. The other reason is that the KA was corrected exactly in the direction we suggested. In general, I share my criticism of them with people I respect, as I know precise and justified criticism is helpful for perfectionists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fresh_a, I don't know if Conticini reads eGullet. I didn't assume he did. The reason I think he heard our criticism is because I voiced it the second time I went. The other reason is that the KA was corrected exactly in the direction we suggested. In general, I share my criticism of them with people I respect, as I know precise and justified criticism is helpful for perfectionists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree with Julot, at least in general. Food has an emotion and context that greatly affects its enjoyment. The old saying about a hot dog never tasting as good as it does with a ball game in front of it is a stereotypical example, but considering how awful ball park hot dogs used to be, a true one.

There is a wonderful coffee roaster in the mountain town of Twisp, WA. His product is better than 99% of the coffee I can find in Paris. The expresso roast and preparation as expresso are perfect. But when I ask for a café allongé, he cringes. His server calls it "coffee murder." And I have to admit, it just doesn't taste as "right" as a poorer quality coffee done allongé in a Paris café does.

If it were so, I wonder why we should be dealing with food and recipes and commenting products and preparations here in the first place. This board should be devoted to travel and taste experiences in regard to the various settings, not to food itself.

Your coffee anecdote is very charming and we've all had experiences of the sort. It is, if I may add, an experience of the extreme since coffee in Paris is so terrible as a rule. But I believe it is off-topic regarding Conticini's kouign-amann version 1.0 (2.0 is out, about which I can say nothing until I taste it), which truly had nothing to do with what a kouign-amann essentially is, and adding seagulls and seamen singing shanties on top of the experience would not have made it a kouign-amann an ounce more.

There are such things as the romanticism of seaports and briny winds of Brittany, but I do not believe they would make me accept something that is not a kouign-amann, or gâteau breton, or properly made crêpe de sarrazin, as something that is. It is important in our activities to know whether we're dealing with food or dealing with poetry. The two can perfectly be joined, but when it comes to commenting food, they have to be dissociated. That is precisely what you are doing, in fact, when you are commenting that coffee. Julot's approach was the reverse — claiming that the appeal of an age-old recipe (and not just any recipe, kouign-amann, no less) could be entirely based on the romanticism of the setting. An idea which even he, I am sure, considers absurd deep down.

(Adding to that the fact that kouign-amann is not only made in Douarnenez but in all of Brittany, with various results, depending on the products and skills — though the seagulls and brine are always there, all around the long coastline.)

For one thing I am interested in how Conticini could structurally change the recipe in such a short time: did he decide to apply the proper multiple-layer treatment to the pastry, with butter and sugar between layers? For those elements were totally absent from the first version. Julot, if you have pictures of the new thing somewhere, would you please share? I can't locate it on your Picasa, there are two pictures of the cake but they look absolutely like the one we've experienced the first time.

I don't have pictures of the cakes -- they didn't make it that long because they were excellent. I have pics of the Saint-Honoré, though, they are new.

Version 1 did have the proper layers. But it did not have the crisp and therefore was more of a brioche feuilletée than anything else. Version 2 has the crisp and more sugar and this creates the texture play caracteristic of the Kouign-Amann, along with the layers. It is still, in my opinion, a Parisian pastry, but this time it is delicious. Like the Paris-Brest, its main characteristic is that it is hard to stop eating it. By contrast, Génin's pastry provoke admiration and satisfaction with one bite. Conticini's appeal is different.

My point before was not about the seagulls (sorry I was not clear). It was about 1/the doubtful relevance of the notion of authenticity and 2/the importance of the environment. I still think that a proper breton Kouign-Amann is too buttery and too sugary to be considered a wonder in Paris, whereas it is fundamentally in accordance with the land of Finistère. The same is true about Comté, that does not TASTE the same in Paris and on site. Part of it is because of the effect of travel, but I do believe that the air and other environmental factors affect the overall taste experience and the ingredients, in a very physical manner. I was not going all Prousty and emotional. Like anything else, food has an environment and thrives in the right environment. The socalled authenticity is the opposite of that --e.g. if you do it exactly like it is in Beijing then it will be better, to take another example, than if you adapt to local ingredients and customs and taste.

I was not aware that Kouign-Aman was an age-old recipe. I thought it was an early 20th century invention, like, say, the Paris-Brest, from a patissier in Douardenez (Le Goffe I think?). You can find some all through Brittany for sure, but with significant variations and with more frequency in Finistère.


Edited by julot-les-pinceaux (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was not aware that Kouign-Aman was an age-old recipe. I thought it was an early 20th century invention, like, say, the Paris-Brest, from a patissier in Douardenez (Le Goffe I think?). You can find some all through Brittany for sure, but with significant variations and with more frequency in Finistère.

Kouign-amann was probably perfected by the Douarnenez pâtissier who helped its reputation to overpass the limits of the region. Besides, the early 20th century is not a recent time. But kouign-amann is based on older preparations whose traces may be found as early as the Arthurian epic Saga, where Vivian treats Merlin to a 'butter bread' ('bara amann') which sounds very close to the layered specialty. Which by the way is not based on brioche dough but on bread dough, and was originally a rather coarse, though butter-laden, pastry, which went into the bread oven at the end of the communal weekly baking time and was based on the dough scraps left from breadmaking. Given the scarcity of sugar in pre-19th century days, chances are this bread was high in butter but not very sweet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was not aware that Kouign-Aman was an age-old recipe. I thought it was an early 20th century invention, like, say, the Paris-Brest, from a patissier in Douardenez (Le Goffe I think?). You can find some all through Brittany for sure, but with significant variations and with more frequency in Finistère.

Kouign-amann was probably perfected by the Douarnenez pâtissier who helped its reputation to overpass the limits of the region. Besides, the early 20th century is not a recent time. But kouign-amann is based on older preparations whose traces may be found as early as the Arthurian epic Saga, where Vivian treats Merlin to a 'butter bread' ('bara amann') which sounds very close to the layered specialty. Which by the way is not based on brioche dough but on bread dough, and was originally a rather coarse, though butter-laden, pastry, which went into the bread oven at the end of the communal weekly baking time and was based on the dough scraps left from breadmaking. Given the scarcity of sugar in pre-19th century days, chances are this bread was high in butter but not very sweet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://www.dailymotion.com/relevance/search/Philippe+Conticini/video/x9hm3a_rencontre-avec-philippe-conticini_news

A Daily Motion interview ( in French) with the master.

Tastings also!

Below is a link to a Chocolate & Zucchini discussion on Chef Conticini's kouign amann from his last shop, "Exceptions Gourmandes".

http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2008/03/exceptions_gourmandes.php


2317/5000

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My point before was not about the seagulls (sorry I was not clear). It was about 1/the doubtful relevance of the notion of authenticity and 2/the importance of the environment. I still think that a proper breton Kouign-Amann is too buttery and too sugary to be considered a wonder in Paris, whereas it is fundamentally in accordance with the land of Finistère. The same is true about Comté, that does not TASTE the same in Paris and on site. Part of it is because of the effect of travel, but I do believe that the air and other environmental factors affect the overall taste experience and the ingredients, in a very physical manner. I was not going all Prousty and emotional. Like anything else, food has an environment and thrives in the right environment. The socalled authenticity is the opposite of that --e.g. if you do it exactly like it is in Beijing then it will be better, to take another example, than if you adapt to local ingredients and customs and taste.

Sorry I hadn't read that carefully. I still disagree.

There is no reason that a kouign-amann made according to the rules should be less enjoyable in Paris than in Brittany. I find that a very strange idea indeed. It is true to some extent that some dishes taste particularly good and "appropriate" in their original settings but that is by no means a general principle. And when it comes to a sturdy, easy-to-define preparation like kouign-amann I do not see the air and atmosphere and "accordance to the land of Finistère" factor being of much importance. At any rate that factor would be much too evanescent to justify the Conticini pastry being called a kouign-amann. Kouign-amann is not a Japanese haiku or a Zen koan, it is first and foremost a recipe and a distinctive pastry technique applied to optimal ingredients. There is no reason they couldn't be reproduced in Paris. Anyway the Conticini version did not reflect the impossibility to reproduce the "land of Finistère" mystery, maybe it would have if the recipe had been right - but failed. It only reflected the fact that the recipe was wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just got back from Paris and the Paris-Brest & Tarte Tatin were to die for. The store itself was very nice. I stood outside until they opened. Some things went quick, I passed by later in the day as my hotel was close. Sadly, we don't have anything close to pastries like this in New York. But that makes it even more precious to someone like me.

I'm recommending this place to everyone I meet that is traveling that way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After reading this whole post, especially the first, it made me think about the Tarte Tatin's that we've had in France (not just in Paris).

Excuse me, but shouldn't Tarte Tatin use a sweet sable for the pastry? Every time we get it in France, it seems to be made on a (very delicious) puff pastry.

But its not true Tarte Tatin. Otherwise, its just a nice carmelized apple tart on a nice puff pastry. No flipping of the tarte, not the same IMHO (in my humble opinion).


Philly Francophiles

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After reading this whole post, especially the first, it made me think about the Tarte Tatin's that we've had in France (not just in Paris).

Excuse me, but shouldn't Tarte Tatin use a sweet sable for the pastry? Every time we get it in France, it seems to be made on a (very delicious) puff pastry.

But its not true Tarte Tatin. Otherwise, its just a nice carmelized apple tart on a nice puff pastry. No flipping of the tarte, not the same IMHO (in my humble opinion).

I would think a Pâte Sablée is going to be too sweet for the already sweet filling, it is also usually a very short pastry so suits traditional tartlets made in tins better.

I believe the original recipe uses a Pâte Brisée (un-sweetened short crust), or a Pâte feuilleté, but probably a rough flaky pastry rather than refined puff. Looking through my cook books they seem to confirm that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...