The City of Sweets
With less than 48 hours in Paris (on this particular trip), I was definitely going to have to come up with a strategy. One can only taste so much and visit so many different patisseries in such a short period of time. Forget restaurants and my long list of new places to try. For this quick trip to the City of Lights – or for me, the City of Sweets – I’d concentrate on just that. Sweets. I wouldn’t even look at my notes and highlighted addresses, recommendations from friends or newspaper cutouts. Not this time at least. No, for this trip it was about my all time favorites, always there. And just a few days after the end of August, I knew everyone would be open again.
After yesterday’s tale of my cherished palmier, here are three more spots I was sure not to miss:
Ladurée. Mais bien sûr. It’s always fun to see their beautifully decorated windows and the new packaging designs, which change with the seasons or reflect a current trend, yet are always colorful and attractive. A few macarons in a sachet were all I needed. I gave a little nod to the mini kugelhopf in the display case, made with orange flower water and just divine (but more on that another time!). Whatever the seasonal specialty, my assortment will always include a caramel macaron made with salted butter and a vanilla macaron. This time I also tried mint, which tasted fresh from the garden, and a new flavor, cédrat, which translates to citron in English (not to be confused with citron in French, which means lemon in English!). This lemon-like plant might be better known in its preserved rather than in its natural form, and is often seen in liquors too. Light green in color, this was a light and airy macaron, with not too much acidity – an excellent change from my usual flavors.
Speaking of usual flavors, I always go to Pierre Hermé, to see what UNusual flavor he has at the moment. Past experiences have had me tasting macarons with all sorts of ingredients from white truffles and foie gras to olive oil. This time it was the color that caught my eye: a beautiful macaron named Montebello, which was introduced the end of April.
A bright pink macaron half on top, a pale green pistachio bottom, pistachio cream holding the two together, and a surprise dot of raspberry jam in the middle. It was not only beautiful, but delicious. A cannelé for the road and a few chocolates too, and I was on my way…. to my next destination.
I kept on the chocolate theme, and stopped in a chocolate shop I discovered many years ago when working with Mort Rosenblum on his book, Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light. Michel Chaudun’s chocolate boutique could easily be mistaken by passersby for a high-end jewelry store. It’s a small gem of a shop, filled with Chaudun’s handmade chocolate sculptures, ranging from animals and accessories to an unbelievable replica of sausages, as well as an exquisite display of small chocolates and his signature yellow boxes of pavés (pure ganache cubes). A very friendly woman helped me pick out an assortment of chocolates and a bar made with coffee beans – all of which was supposed to make the train ride home with me. Suffice it to say, it didn’t quite last that long.
Next time, I’m getting a Vélib’ (bikes available all over Paris) – imagine how much more I could have tasted in the same time!
16 rue Royale, Paris 8ème, +184.108.40.206.21.79.
75 avenue des Champs Elysées, Paris 8ème, +220.127.116.11.08.75
21 rue Bonaparte, Paris 6ème, +33.1.44.07.64.87
(at Printemps) 62 boulevard Haussmann, Paris 9ème, +18.104.22.168.40.10
72 rue Bonaparte, Paris 6ème, +22.214.171.124.47.77
185 rue de Vaugirard, Paris 15ème, +126.96.36.199.89.96
149 rue de l?Université, Paris 7ème, +188.8.131.52.74.40