New Paris Patisseries Proving Nobody Does Dessert Like the French
While the traditional Paris patisserie is doing just fine, thank you, a new batch of single-item specialists have arrived to disrupt the city’s confectionery landscape. Here is our pick of the finest.
Alexandra Marshall is a contributing editor and the Paris correspondent at Travel & Leisure. Food, design, architecture and fashion are her specialties, which means, living in Paris, that she is very busy. You can follow her on Twitter at @alexmabroad and on Instagram @alexandra3465.
L’éclair de Genie
Eclairs in France usually come in chocolate or coffee flavors, maybe caramel if you’re lucky, and they tend to occupy a less glamorous section of the pastry case. Not so at patissier Christophe Adam’s love song to the custard-filled treat. His five city boutiques offer them in small sizes to encourage sampling. They come in flavors such as orange kumquat, wild strawberry (stuffed with strawberry mascarpone) and the rotating grand cru chocolate éclair, made with astringent 68 percent Chuao chocolate from the Dominican Republic.
The Japanese are some of the world’s most respectful fans of French cooking. But at this modern store in the Mouffetard neighborhood, the French-inspired angel food cake gets a distinctly Japanese spin, with fanciful garnishes including yuzu and red fruits, chocolate-hazelnut, and matcha.
The Rue des Martyrs, in the 9th arrondissement, has launched numerous food trends over the years. Now the classic French madeleine, or almond cake, has been given a makeover at this sleek new boutique. Flavors range from fennel and blackcurrant to strawberry and basil—the latter topped with a cap of strawberry compote.
The humble profiterole—an ice cream sandwich made of pastry and drizzled with chocolate sauce—is a reliable dessert fallback almost anywhere in town. That didn’t stop celebrated pastry chef Philippe Urraca from upping the stakes at his pink Marais boutique, where he presents intriguing variations such as lemon meringue, salted caramel, and a blackcurrant-spiked Mont Blanc.
Swap out the ice cream in a profiterole for custard cream, and you’ve got the classic cream puff. At Popelini, these airy confections are given a twist with pistachio and cherries, raspberry-rose, and dark and milk chocolate cream fillings. Two cute boutiques serve the rue des Martyrs and Marais.
Jean Hwang Carrant
Lately, Parisian bakers have been trying their hand at American cookies—and failing. The problem is a lack of brown sugar, typically responsible for a cookie’s chewiness and depth of flavor. (French bakers also mostly undercook les cookies, resulting in pale, sad little pancakes.) Leave it to Jean Hwang Carrant, a U.S. transplant, to come up with the proper formula. Just off the rue Montorgeuil, her shop offers classics like chocolate chip and iced vanilla alongside flights of fancy like matcha oatmeal and the category-defying black sesame. Try whatever’s just come out of the oven.
Aux Merveilleux de Fred
Loosely translated as “Fred’s marvels,” the name of this establishment may sound like a bit of a boast. But “merveilleux” are actually a Belgian dessert: meringues joined by whipped cream, then coated in more whipped cream and chocolate shavings. The eponymous Fred, who now has shops in Paris, Brussels, Metz, London and very recently New York City, jazzes things up with varieties like the Sans-Culotte (caramel whipped cream and meringue crystals), the Incroyable (speculoos and white chocolate), and the Magnifique (praline with almond chips and caramelized hazelnuts).
Les Fees Patisseries
A creative range of cakes, from fruit to chocolate to maple and vanilla, are united by their tiny size in this girly Marais boutique, Summer 2015’s collection includes a gorgeous twist on the classic fraisier strawberry cake, with an almond biscuit, pralines, strawberry jam, cream and fruit—all in adorable miniature form.