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Patisseries in Paris


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I'm writing a story for a British weekend supplement on the close relationship between patisserie and fashion in Paris (happy me!) If anyone felt inclined to share their thoughts on the subject here I would be really thrilled.

Pierre Herme, Laduree, Delicabar and Fauchon seem to me to be the main 'culprits'. I love the fact that Pierre Herme talks about 'haute patisserie' - and that he launched his autumn/winter collection on Tokyo. And that the new CEO was interviewed in the Herald Trib a while back talking about wanting to make their eclairs as 'iconic' as a Chanel tweed suit or a Fendi 'baguette' bag. But I'm sure there are others, and I'd like to look at smaller/lesser known 'boutique' outfits like Sadaharu Aoki.

The other thing I love is how these Patisseries are treating their window displays like jeweller's shop fronts - treating their patisserie with the same degree of respect as you might a diamond necklace.

I'm also looking for examples of 'iconic' cakes from these trendy 'new' patissiers - like Herme's Isphahan or the things Aoki is doing with green tea. 'Macarons' are obviously at the centre of this discussion ( I noticed the perfumers Iunx on rue de l'universite are even doing macarons now which are inspired by their fragrances...) but I'd like to broaden it out to include other 'hyper Parisian' things too. Is anyone doing weird and wonderful things with the 'croquembouche' for example? (I believe this was originally a Careme invention, and so would be a nice link with the past and suggests that patisserie has always had a history of high fashion, of breaking boundaries and taking things to extremes.)

I think it's a fascinating subject and will update this with further findings as I go along if people are interested!

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This topic reminds me of a newcomer on the scene, Patrick Roger. We had passed his shop every day on Blvd St Germain in the Odéon area, his work is a lot of fun and quite artistic and resembles high fashion!

Here is the web sit, the best creations are the almond pastes, be sure to have a look at those:


My mouth is watering...

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I probably shouldn't really be posting findings at this stage since I'm in that neurotic pre-getting-down-to-writing point where I'm not really sure what I'm thinking anymore. If you know what I mean. (Maybe it's just me that suffers from this.)

Anyway MobyP suggested I look at Louisa Chu's blog /www.movable-feast.com/ which was of course fascinating and totally distracting. She wrote about a patissier she discovered in the rue Mouffetard in the summer called Xavier le Quéré, who I thought I'd take a look at. It's a very nice set up and the sales people front of house were charming and intelligent and very happy to make thoughtful recommendations.

At this point I was hoping to drag some pictures from his website onto this page, of the Carré Blanc les Pieds-aux-Mures and the Paris Brest which I took home with me. But don't know how to do it...

Does this work?


probably not...

Anyway the CBlPaM was great; a cube of 'fromage blanc citronné' - not sure what exactly 'fromage blanc' is. A sort of fluffy, not too rich, crumbly in texture kind of soft cheese... I'm sure there's a regular English name for it. Underneath nestled a pile of plump, perfectly ripe blackberries, neither too sweet nor too tart, the sort you rarely find in hedgerows because others/birds have got to them first or there hasn't been enough rain. They tasted of autumn. A smidgeon of red fruit jam glued them to a thin vanilla macaron base. There was a tiny mint leaf tucked in amongst all this. It was one of those wonderful moments like hearing a beautiful chord for the first time, a revelation that makes perfect sense, with nothing unnecessary or lacking. That was before I got to the mint leaf where I started going cross-eyed. But anyone who takes such care over the selection of blackberries alone deserves some kind of a medal.

The Paris Brest was a bit of a let-down after that. It was perfectly decent - and not as cloyingly rich as they can be, but it didn't make my toes curl with same degree of pleasure.

Anyway you can check out his website which is www.xavierlequere.com.

Menton1 - thank you very much for the tip-off on Patrick Roger - I love all the crazy sculptures on his website! I definitely want to check his shop out although for this piece I have to focus more on 'cakes'... I like the word 'cake', but it's not really appropriate when discussing patisserie, is it?!...

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The fashion designer Sonyia Rykiel is well known as a chocolate lover. At Christian Constant's shop, 37 Rue d'Assas, he has a bannana & chocolate pastry named after her.

Seems like I also read that she has collaborated in some way with Robert Linxe in the design of his shops or the packaging of his products. Linxe (la Maison du Chocolat) as with Christian Constant, produces exceptional pastry in addition to chocolate.

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42390 - thank you for the Sonia Rykiel / Christian Constant tip off - genius! I knew she was a bit of a foodie (in fact interviewed her recently, but a fashion interview, not food...) however didn't know about the Christian Constant cake. Mmmm. Just spoke to his very charming assistant. Going to check out that cake right NOW. She's also done a collaboration with Laduree with her distinctive drawings on the packaging.

I've also been coming across a chap called Marc Bretillot who sounds intriguing, a professor at ESAD in Reims, the Ecole Superieure d'Art et de Design. I think Louisa Chu also mentions him on her blog. He did some interesting things with the Grande Epicerie last year.

TarteTatin - actually I dream of tarte tatin... I'm going to have to investigate Fromage Blanc further - it was really delicious and just right amount of 'cheesiness' without being too 'cheesy'.

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Take a look at Arnaud Larher's site. He seems to be a promising pastry chef. He has been elected as the best pastry chef by Champérard & confédération de la pâtisserie in 2000. He does some traditional stuff, but specializes also in creations with chocolate. His shop is in Montmartre, 53 r Caulaincourt 75018 Paris.

Edited by naf (log)
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Druckenbrodt and Moby - thanks very much. And sorry about the distraction - as a writer the last thing you need is another reason to procrastinate. :wink: To help keep you focused, here are the links to my posts about Xavier Le Quere and Marc Bretillot respectively:

Let Them Eat Cake - at Xavier Le Quere

Food + Design

Have you seen Dorie Greenspan's article on Pierre Herme in the current issue (October 2005) of Food Arts? Ted started a thread in the Pastry/Baking forum here.

Regarding fromage blanc - they must have drained it at Xavier Le Quere to achieve that texture. Normally it's like a less acidic yogurt. You can find it in any supermarket in France - in varying qualities of course - for the best quality go to any good cheese store.

Marc Bretillot helped create the vertical millefeuille at La Grande Epicerie - not quite iconic but it did get a fair amount of press.

The croquembouche is not the new macaron - though I personally would love that. It's typically made to order for special occasions - it does not conserve well which is concern for pastry shop sales.

Edited by Louisa Chu (log)
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Louisa - thank you for the feedback and the blog links. No: useful, educational distraction is ALWAYS good, so don't apologise! I always find the best discoveries come from grazing off on tangents, while the best ideas come when I'm out jogging, mentally digesting the tangents I've been nibbling on.

The draining of the fromage blanc makes sense now you mention it - isn't fromage blanc normally like/the same thing as fromage frais? There was something a bit like Shrikhand about it (one of my favourite things in the entire world, especially when eaten with drippingly ripe mangos), although obviously nothing remotely like Shrikhand. But with that mildly cheesy taste and buttery richness. I really urge you to try that cake if you're passing there again. It was sublime.

Vertical millefeuille at the Grande Epicerie... will have to look into that. Sounds fantastic. I tried getting info out of one of the Grande Epicerie PRs on stuff they'd been doing but she sounded like she was about 12 and was completely uninterested in helping generate any pr for her employers. I get annoyed with crap PRs. Having done the job myself for many many years I know that journos are always bitching about them and making out they're idiots, when most of them aren't, and work extremely hard in a thankless job. So when you come across ones who live up to the reputation you feel like they're really letting the sister- (and occasional brother-) hood down.

I think Fauchon are trying to make their eclairs and madeleines 'the new macarons'. I really like what they're trying to do, encouraging their patissiers to come up with fun and interesting things. Some might argue they're chasing trendiness at the expense of quality but that doesn't seem to be the case as far as I can tell...

There's a really nutty kitschy Mathew Barneyesque croquembouche display in a Dalloyau window on the rue due Colisee off the Champs Elysees. I think this must be the Dalloyau head office or a show room or something along those lines - doesn't appear to be a shop and isn't listed in the phone book either. I cycle past it occasionally and the first time had to do a double take. There's spun sugar, pink icing and giant poppy stuff going on. I love the way it's presented too, just two of these towers on pedestals, with a white curtain behind, like a stage! Only in Paris. (Or perhaps Las Vegas?)

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meant to also say thank you for letting me know about Larher, naf. What a great looking site! Definitely another one I need to check out... He also looks really cute with his smiley face. Ooh, just found a page featuring one of his creations in the September issue of 'Le Journal du Patissier'. Yup, he's definitely hot.

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  • 2 weeks later...
meant to also say thank you for letting me know about Larher, naf.  What a great looking site! Definitely another one I need to check out... He also looks really cute with his smiley face.  Ooh, just found a page featuring one of his creations in the September issue of 'Le Journal du Patissier'.  Yup, he's definitely hot.

If you go, get his specialty - a kouign-Amam; a Breton coronary bomb (used to be available only on weekends but now he seems to carry them all the time); Larher is from there; also the tartes are great.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Thank you for the update on the Pierre Herme website naf, and for the recommendation on the 'Breton coronary bomb' John Talbott.

It seems to me that there's something of a Breton theme with Parisian patissiers (is this well-established & documented and am I the last to notice?) Is the caramel/fleur de sel combination also a Breton idea? Just curious.

While researching this I've also been noticing that there's a major love-in going on between the Parisians and the Japanese when it comes to cakes and chocolate which is probably worth a story in itself...

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It seems to me that there's something of a Breton theme with Parisian patissiers (is this well-established & documented and am I the last to notice?) Is the caramel/fleur de sel combination also a Breton idea?  Just curious.

While researching this I've also been noticing that there's a major love-in going on between the Parisians and the Japanese when it comes to cakes and chocolate which is probably worth a story in itself...

Unlike the rest of the French, the Bretons don't eat much cheese. Instead, they consume lots of butter and have traditionally salted their butter (with the extraordinary salt from Brittany) as well to preserve it better; and since their butter has less water and higher fat content, the salt retards spoilage a bit. Brittany is the only place in France I've ever been where it's de rigeur to serve butter with bread at the table (and not just with oysters).

A Breton caramel-maker, Henri LeRoux is credited for popularizing caramels with salted butter (his are the best, even though there are many others now) and people like Pierre Hermé have brilliantly picked up the idea of re-creating salted butter pastries from Brittany, such as Kouign Amann, as well as adding fleur de sel to chocolate too. You would never find a Kouign Amann like his in Brittany, but his are really good (except I don't like it when they put red berries in them, as they sometimes do.)

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  • 4 months later...

Just got back from two weeks in France. I didn't waste a single opportunity to eat dessert. Forgive me if I cannot remember a lot of the names.

Sadaharu Aoki:

Lemon mousse dome with crunchy praline filling.


Macha mousse dome with red bean paste.


Cassis. Chocolate sponge with blackcurrant and walnut.


A truly transcendent millefeuille. This is where Aoki really shines.


Laminated dough with macha and red bean paste; like a cinnamon roll.


Patrick Roger:

I was blown away by Roger. His bon bons are balanced exquisitely and made with any of his 25 single origin chocolates. Incredible.

Storefront in Sceaux, France.


A sculpture in his Paris shop.


And, of course, his bon bons.


Pierre Hermé:

Macarons. Pistache et Griottine, Huile D'olive and Plénitude (chocolate caramel).


Genoise with pineapple and caramelized fruits.


Ispahan Festival! Dirty marketing ploy? Sure. But trying the Ispahan in so many forms was still a lot of fun.



Pain de Sucre:

Recently opened by Didier Mathray and Nathalie Robert. Probably my favorite patisserie in the city.



Krac Krac. Pistachio/almond cream with grapefruit and crushed pistachios.


An amazing lemon tart. Something I almost always find cloying, this was incredibly light, with a filling that turned to liquid the instant it entered your mouth.


Formerly known as "Melange"

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Fantastic photos, Melange! I was not previously aware of any photos that may have been posted by you, but theses are up there in the pantheon of eGullet food photography. The desserts are simply beautiful. Unfortunately for me, I only have direct experience with Pierre Herme. It is great to see the work of some others presented so masterly. I look forward to more of this from you!

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Thanks for the praise, people! As to the Japan/France discussion, while I think my experience with only one Japanese patissier is too limiting to comment, I will say that Aoki's work is exceptionally light and very well balanced, while still being slightly too sweet. And Poppy, Pain de Sucre is about a block and a half east of the Pompidou on Rambuteau.

Formerly known as "Melange"

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As promised, here are the pics. Sorry for the reflexes, but it was hard to get it better.



This is the Rue de Vaugirard shop, designed by the french architect Christian Biecher


This is the good stuff :)




And these are some home-taken macaron pictures



from left to right, front to back :

Caramel à la Fleur de Sel

Huile d'Olive et Vanille

Plénitude (Chocolat et Caramel)

Mosaïc (macaron vanille, crème pistache à la cannelle, griottines)

Rose (macaron rose, crème aux pétales de rose)


Filipe A S

pastry student, food lover & food blogger

there's allways room for some more weight

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Beautiful pics melange (may i ask what Camera?)

I missed out on Pain de Sucre, moved b4 it opened, but looks seriously good(Like Ferber's pastry!!). Aoki was very good & the service was pleasant in an uderstated Japanese way(the carry out boxes are beautiful....details.) Marcolini & Hevin know what to do with chocolate..mmmm chocolate. I lived in the 14th, where amazing baguettes & yeasted sweet doughs were made by a fantastic boulanger( won best baguette in Paris in 2004) Seriously that bread was much greater than the sum of all it's parts. Thanks again for the photos :smile:

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