Paris, je t'aime!!
Soooo, as some of you may already know (if you follow my Instagram page and my stories), last weekend I was in Paris, a city that I absolutely love! France has a special little place in my heart because since I was a child I've been surrounded by that culture (I studied in a French school for more than 10 years and again now I am at Le Cordon Bleu, which is actually French!).
That's why even if I've been in Paris so many times, every time it's like the first one. That city has something magic, romantic... I can't say what it is. Maybe one day I will spend some times there for living, who knows...
Anyway, as you all know the French are probably one of the best for what concerns cuisine and pâtisserie. So how could I not eat sweets while I was in Paris?? It's absolutely impossible.
After trying the most renowned ones, such as "L'Eclair de Génie" of Christophe Adam, "La Pâtisserie des Reves" of Philippe Conticini and Thierry Teyssier, Pierre Hermé... This time I was looking for something else... Maybe more artisanal but utterly delicious. I had some suggestions from Chef O. of LCB and from some of my gourmet friends... Then I just let myself getting lost to see what I could find.
So here are my 5 must-try for you to find the pâtisserie of your dreams in the city that does them best:
1. Bontemps: 57, rue de Bretagne - 75003 Paris
This place was a marvellous surprise.
I loved everything of it, from the beautiful tiled floor (I have a thing with floors) and pattern on the walls to their delicious little pastries. Everything in this shop is taken care of down to the finest details. The decor is very elegant: lamps, fresh flowers, beautiful porcelains... It looks simply perfect!
Cakes are showcase in a cute blue cabinet (like the ones we used to play with the dolls when we were children), in bell jars and cake stands.
Owners are two sisters, I met one of them who told me that every pastries is freshly handmade each morning by her sister and that they choose to focus on simple products (all their treats are mini biscuits pate sablé based, covered with different flavored cream or a ganache, topped with fresh fruits or chopped nuts; plus the tarts) but beautiful to look at because the visual is fundamental when buying pastries.
How can I not agree with that? I tried their best seller: sablé Gianduja with Piedmont hazelnuts (I am Italian after all)... The crumbly texture of the biscuit and the delicate cream were really worth it! I can't deny the fact that I would have tried all of them, also because of the size (litterally bite-sized) so when you try one it is really difficult to stop!
I think that if you go to Paris you really need to stop by Bontemps, because this little lovely shop is a feast for the eyes and for the palate!!
2. Yann Couvreur: 137, avenue Parmentier - 75010 Paris
The first impression I had when I stepped into this pâtisserie, was like being in a forest or anyway into the nature. Maybe because of the decorative plants, or the wooden floor or maybe because of the logo (a fox)... Thing is that actually in this patisserie everything is artisanal and products are made with no colorants or additifs at all. So they are "healthy", I mean even if we are talking about sweets, these are good ones!! It's remarkable, isn't it?
First things first, on the left, you will find viennoiseries including the chef’s rolled brioches. Then your eyes are abducted by the amazing pastries and cakes, not to mention the signature dessert. The choice was pretty difficult! I had to choose between: figs tarts with walnuts and shiso; 3 kind of éclairs (which are made in an uncommon shape) such as chocolate - tonka bean, mok'anis, caramel; baba mirabelle; merveille (praliné, fleur de sel and hazelnuts); meringue and green lemon tart; caraibe (milk chocolate and coconut)... OMG! All the pastries were very sophisticated and mouth-watering.
So in the end, because I am Italian (again), I couldn't avoid the choice of the babà mirabelle and, because I love the praliné, the merveille one. I must say that despite my roots, the entremet "merveille" was a real bomb! I appreciated the different textures and the "surprise" you find in the very inside (I can't tell you what it is otherwise you won't experience the tasting as I did!).
Also this shop is a must try if you are spending few days in Paris.
3. Maison de la Chantilly: 47, rue Cler - 75007 Paris
A symbol of the French art of living, the reputation of the Chantilly cream has gone beyond the french borders over the centuries to conquer gourmets from around the world. Victim of its success, it was imitated, sometimes diverted, and gradually moved away from its traditional recipe.
Today, the "Maison de la Chantilly" restores its originality to the authentic Chantilly cream and rediscovers the unique taste of this emblematic "dish" of the French culinary heritage. This place is "the place to be" for a real fan of the Chantilly cream (like I am), which is the base for all the desserts you can find in the shop (actually you can also just buy your pot of cream!).
The shop is pretty small and it's more a take away than a sit-in place (there are just a couple of tables outside), everything is made and decorated - in a very clean and simple way - in white and pastel blue. The "menù" offers: simple pots/bottle of cream (as I said), pavlovas, choux, coffees and teas, mini cornets (ice creams are available only in the summer) all filled with the amazing cream. Almost everything is made up in the moment you ask for it, so for big orders I guess you have to book them in advance. For a Chantilly cream lover like me, this place is unique and absolutely a must try. I went there after lunch so I was kinda full but I had to try something. I took a mini cornet filled with chantilly and decorated with some fresh berries... So yummy!
I really recommend this place if you want to grab a quinck and gourmet snack to eat while walking in this charming city!
4. Blé Sucré: 7, rue Antoine Vollon - 75012 Paris
The first thing that amazed me when I walked in Blé Sucré was the marvellous smell. After having worked at luxury hotels such as "Le Bristol" and the "Plaza Athénée" in Paris, or the "Hotel Martinez" in Cannes, Fabrice Le Bourdat opened his own bakery/pastry shop in Paris and named it "Blé Sucré" (literally "sweet wheat").
Blé sucré was the first stop of my culinary tour for that day, so I went there to have a typical french breakfast with a friend that actually suggested it to me. Best choice ever! The morning pastries at Blé Sucré are a must: the pain au chocolat has been voted the best one in Paris... Unfortunately they were all gone when I arrived (they got new ones when I was leaving, uggh!), so I got myself a croissant (the dough is basically the same), a brioche and a cappuccino (of course!). Those are the morning pastries you want to experience when you come to France, the kind that will never taste as good anywhere else!
And while you are at Blé Sucré enjoying your morning pastry and thinking about all the other things you wish to try in the bakery, please do ask for one more thing: a bag of madeleines. Trust me, if there’s a place where you should buy some madeleines in Paris it's definitely there!
5. Fou de Pâtisserie: 45, Rue Montorgueil - 75002 Paris
Last but not least, my tour ended in this amazing concept store dedicated to pastry. Julie Mathieu and Muriel Tallandier, the founders of the magazine "Fou de Pâtisserie" have opened their first multi-chef pastry shop. The concept is to offer in a single place a selection of the best creations of French pastry Chefs. Ingenious! No need to go all over Paris to find the sweets of your favorite pastry chefs because in this cute small boutique shop they are all gathered and ready to be taken away. The hardest is... to choose!
It honestly took me 20 mins to pick what to buy because I had a choice over 11 amazing pastries (they change theme every month): mille-feuilles caramel (Hugues Pouget), la bianca (Christophe Appert), cheesecake (Jonathan Blot), baba au rhum (Cyril Lignac), monsieur chou (Hugues Pouget), l'éclair de saison (Carl Marletti), l'equinoxe (Cyril Lignac), tarte au citron (Nicolas Haelewyn), wedding cake (Jonathan Blot), éclair au chocolate (Carl Marletti), le lacté ( Nicolas Bacheyre)...
I wish I could have tried them all, but my choices were: the equinox of Cyril Lignac and the cheesecake of Jonathan Blot. Why?
The first one because I was too attracted by the unusual color (grey) chosen for the entremet and I was so curious to taste it. It was composed by a soft vanilla flavored cream, a crunchy spéculoos biscuit and the inside was filled with salted caramel butter... Absolutely to die for!!
The second one was a challenge. I do not like cheesecake in general but I saw that this one was made with ricotta - which I do love in cakes and pastries - plus I like the use of flowers to decorate sweets. I made a good choice: the ricotta mousse was incredibly delicious, perfectly combined with the hazelnut sablé base and the calamondin and black lemon confit.
So if you are in Paris but you don't have the time to visit all the best pastry shops, this one is a good compromise to try a range of treats made by the best pastry chefs of the city!
Dear readers, my list has come to an end... Even if I have to tell you that I had planned to visit another pâtisserie but I couldn't make it (it's "La Goutte d'Or"), maybe next time I will!
I hope you enjoyed my suggestions and hopefully you will be able to try some of these amazing places when you visit Paris!
Have a lovely weekend and remember: you can't buy happiness but you can buy a cake. And it's kinda the same thing!