Paris, a (Sweet) City Tasting Tour
To get an idea of the grandeur of French gastronomy, trying stepping inside a large pastry shop in Paris: once you’ve seen that, your relationship with sweets will never be the same again, and the satisfied look you’ll see on the pastry chef’s face will confirm that for you.
Whilst in Europe the terribly French “macaron trend” had been considered finished once it conquered the world pastry panorama, you simply need to wander through the best patisseries in Paris and the most popular Parisian dessert houses to realize how far these sweet little creations go beyond a mere passing fad.
And of course it’s not the only one: Fine Dining Lovers takes you in search of the sweeter side of Paris, with an itinerary that includes the most famous and historic pastry shops in the city where you can sample the finest specialities of French pastry art. If you’re planning a trip to the French capital, get a pen and some paper.
Best Macaron in Paris
Macarons, we said: a trend that won’t end and, in fact, is being reinvented through new pairings of flavours and ingredients: It is no accident that one of the world’s most famous pastry chefs, Pierre Hermé, has created a macaron called “Infiniment Vanille”: the classic meringue shell enclosing a filling made using three of the world’s most precious types of vanilla - Tahiti, Mexico and Madagascar. “Imagine” on the other hand plays on contrasts with a Matcha green tea cream and a black sesame crust, and then there’s “Velouté ”, with yogurt and lime zest.
Equal fame has been earned by Jean Paul Hévin; everything he makes is of stellar quality. In addition to macarons, he is famous for his hot chocolate with raspberry coulis, to be enjoyed directly from the cup without using a spoon, which you’re not given so you won’t mix up the flavours and confuse the palate.
Eclairs, A grand classic now rediscovered
Along with the perhaps better-known macarons, French people have another great love in their sweet heart: éclairs, a grand classic now rediscovered. Imagine a little boat of soft beignet dough filled with fanciful, multi-coloured creams all dressed for spring: raspberry-flavoured, decorated with candied violets or with miniature cherubs or detailed with great works of art, like those made by Christophe Adam, the man behind Eclairs de Génie and former creative genius at Fauchon. He is the man who created the ultramodern éclairs in glossy and metallicised versions. In the Latin Quarter, Carl Marletti deserves to be on the highest level of the podium also for his meticulous take-away Packaging (considered collectors’ items), representing another trend among the big pastry shops. Those who enjoy fusion cuisine will appreciate the little Sadaharu Aoki pastry shop (among the various locations, we recommend the one on Rue de Vagirard), for their exquisite French-Japanese fusions. We close with Pradier which, aside from ranking first for chocolate éclairs according to the 2015 Le Figaro classification, features a tarte tatin that you must try.
Crepes and gelato anyone?
Crêpes remain one of the best-loved sweets, something the French pastry world is very proud of, especially in the more classical versions. At Ty Breiz you can choose between sweet and savoury (it’s called a “gallette” in that case), but the caramel crêpe with salted butter, and the crêpe with honey and lemon are addictive. There’s also the Valery crêpe with strawberries, cream and crème Chantilly, prepared by the owner of the Crêperie Bretonne.
And while in summer Parisians choose Berthillon, considered the best chocolate gelato (in all, they have 60 different flavours), another essential dessert is the tarte Tatin: one of the most interesting ones comes from Le Grenier, whose bread is recognised as the best in the city by le Parisienne.
We’ll close by mentioning a treat that we hope is not just a summer fad: the cornet of strawberries with the tip dipped in Godiva chocolate from Ladurée. Undoubtedly the most chic street food ever.