Cupcakes and Cheesecake Too!
To wrap up the news on my most recent visit to Paris, I have to mention one more sweet spot. In the past week or so on this site, you’ve seen that in Paris you can find it all – in addition to all of the French gourmandises, there’s Swedish candy, British carrot cake and sticky toffee pudding, and now… American style cupcakes and cheesecake too!
Unfortunately, I left Paris too soon to take pictures of these colorful cupcakes. I happened to walk by Berko pre-cupcakes, on the very day it opened, October 25th. Seeing a bright, modern looking shop, counters lined with tarts, a display reminding my French husband of New York’s City Bakery, how could I not go in and find out more? It was early morning and Régis Clerc-Vincent was just setting up the tarts for the day. He was lining up the savory tarts – salmon and spinach, goat cheese and leek, bacon and onion, 3 cheese and nuts and tomato mozzarella, to name just a few. Individual tarts of a generous portion, they sell for 5 Euros each, yet are available in larger sizes, perfect to pick up for dinner after work. I inevitably drifted over to the other side where it was all about the sweet tarts! Lemon meringue, pecan pie, chocolate ganache, coffee cream, fruit crumbles and what might become his signature – cheesecake. The French go crazy over cheesecake! Régis was very proud to say that Berko’s is made with 100% Philadelphia cream cheese, apparently not the case at other patisseries. And he knows his cheesecake. The Berko shop may be new, but the company has been making tarts for 20 years, delivering to restaurants all over the city, including that cheesecake. Now they are available at his shop right near the Centre Pompidou, with a special addition close to Régis’ heart… the cupcake! When I told him I was from New York, the next word out of his mouth was “Magnolia!”
Régis just sent me some photos of his shop, now filled with pastel frosted cupcakes, some of which are sitting on his cherished cupcake tree that he got off Ebay. I even saw a picture of French actress Linh Dan Pham eating one. (She’s best known for starring alongside Catherine Deneuve in Oscar-winning film Indochine in 1992.) Of course I’ll be going back to Berko next time I am in Paris, if only to hold me off until my next visit to Magnolia Bakery in New York City.
And how can I not go back to Berko, it’s just a few doors down from Pralus after all, and a mere block from Pain de Sucre. Talk about a sweet destination in Paris. Near the beginning of Rue Rambuteau, this one block between Rue Beaubourg and Rue du Temple is just overflowing with food shops. Such a short distance with so much to offer: 2 fruit/vegetable shops, 2 butchers, a Greek caterer, Nicolas wine, 2 boulangeries, 2 small brasseries, a Franprix supermarket, a tiny organic restaurant, a new crêpe restaurant, an Auvergnat food shop, Asian takeout, fishmonger, plus Pralus and Berko… I could hardly believe it myself.
Régis was more than happy to share a recipe with me for you all. However, you can be sure it is not coming from the cheesecake file; that’s confidential! Here’s a preview… it’s made with Carambars, the quintessential candy of French children… and adults alike! Stay tuned, I’ve got my bag of Carambars ready. And if I can bring myself to part with them, I’ll be making that tart very soon.Berko prices: Individual savory tarts: 5 Euros Individual sweet tarts: 3.80 to 4.10 Euros
Mini tarts: 1.90 Euros
Box of 6 minis: 9.80 Euros
Box of 9 minis: 14.50 Euros
Berko, Tartes d’Aujourd’hui 23 rue Rambuteau 75004 Paris France +188.8.131.52.02.44