PastryParis: the Book, the Author & a Tower of Meringue

It was several years ago when I stumbled on a short film online that was getting quite a buzz amongst Paris lovers and pastry lovers alike.  It was a masterful montage, gorgeous images of colorful pastries in Paris, as well as famous monuments and everyday objects there they appeared to mimic.  I watched with a huge grin from start to finish.  Then I watched it again.  And again.  (Some of you may recall hearing about it on my Paris pastry quiz.)  I can not tell you how many times I ended up watching that inspiring, delicious, feel-good film, but I can say it was the beginning of a wonderful friendship with its creator, graphic designer Susan Hochbaum.  And the discovery of what is now one of my favorite desserts in Paris.

Le Loir Dans la Théière, Paris, FrancePastry Paris by Susan Hochbaum

Susan never set out to write a book on Paris, nor did she plan on falling in love later in life and moving to Paris for a year.  A series of fortuitous events and the fact that everything simply looks like pastry in Paris – well, that’s how it happened.  “It masquerades as a picture book about dessert, but in fact the real story is about pleasure, love, beauty and happiness, all wrapped up in butter, sugar and cream.”  It all began when Susan was eating a cone-shaped pastry from Gérard Mulot, while sitting in the Place des Vosges, gazing at a conical-shaped topiary tree.  Voilà !

The resemblances were unmistakable, and Susan ended up spotting these comparisons every day in her strolls around the City of Sweets.  The Pyramide du Louvre looked just like a financier, the swirl-like designs in Paris’ perfectly manicured gardens were just like palmiers (elephant ears), and the métro sign at Place d’Italie looked just like an éclair !

Pastry Paris by Susan HochbaumPastry Paris by Susan HochbaumPastry Paris by Susan HochbaumPastry Paris by Susan Hochbaum

Just as I thoroughly enjoyed Susan’s original PastryParis video (sadly no longer online), I devoured her book, PastryParis, cover to cover.  Many times.  Simply flipping through the pages, admiring the images, the styling, the creative angles, and smiling along at the associations between pastry and city: “Yes, totally !”   Or reading the descriptions of the pastries, with fun stories and historical tidbits, dozens of flavors of macarons or éclairs, again all designed and photographed by Susan.  And then I went through it yet again with an agenda in mind – I had not yet tasted some of those pastries [gasp] !  On to the list they must go.  Number one was without a doubt an enormous tower of meringue (resembling the high spurting water of a fountain in front of the Louvre) sitting atop a thin tart crust and layer of lemon curd.  That was a slice of heaven I was determined to discover for myself.

Pastry Paris by Susan HochbaumLe Loir Dans la Théière, Paris, FranceLe Loir Dans la Théière, Paris, FranceLe Loir Dans la Théière, Paris, France

And with what better person to share it, than Susan.  After our stroll around Place de Vosges last fall, off to Le Loir dans la Théière we went.  (The name meaning “the dormouse in the tea cup,” a cute nod to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in Alice in Wonderland.)  We’ve bounced around New York City together, sharing life stories and sweet favorites – cupcakes and cookies at Spot Dessert Bar, macarons and chocolates at Payard’s Chocolate Bar, but that latest in Paris… takes the cake.

The Tarte au Citron Meringuée is clearly a signature item at this popular café in the Marais, as Susan and I literally lost count of how many entire tarts whooshed past us from the kitchen to their tempting table of desserts in a matter of two hours.  It reminded me of the dessert buffet at Zum See in Zermatt, piled high with comforting homemade desserts like tarts, crumbles and clafoutis.  Gargantuan slices were carved out of those brûléed meringue domes, with a bit of effort and two knives.  You can’t help but giggle when it’s placed before you.  Yes, the slice is that big. (Fyi, that’s an oversize spoon below too.)

Le Loir Dans la Théière, Paris, FranceLe Loir Dans la Théière, Paris, France

No disappointment there.  I have made jokes before that I could eat an entire bowl of just sweet uncooked meringue or frosting. Wow, I really can.  Truth be told, I may have even traded some of my tart crust for more of Susan’s meringue.  Yes, it was that good.

I’ll be back there on my next visit to Paris, that’s for sure.  And I’ll enjoy walking around the city with my usual sweet tooth and gluttonous appetite, but perhaps with a new eye.  And I’m sure I’ll agree… “In Paris, everything looks like dessert.”

Le Loir Dans la Théière, Paris, France

 

Le Loir dans la Théière
3 rue des Rosiers
75004 Paris
France
+33.1.42.72.90.61

PastryParis
by Susan Hochbaum
www.littlebookroom.com/pastryparis.html

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15 Responses to “PastryParis: the Book, the Author & a Tower of Meringue”

  1. Rosa says:

    That books sounds very interesting and so do those places! What an incredible selection of pastries. That meringue tart looks incredibly tempting.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. valentina says:

    I just love reading about these takes on things. It is all in the eye of the beholder. I had not heard of the book. Or the video. Just reading about it in your post has put a huge smile on my face. Delightful. I’ll check Susan’s book next time I’m at the bookstore. And fancy you eating all that desert. LOL..

  3. Samantha Angela says:

    I feel like I missed out on so many pastries while I vacationed in Paris. There’s so much to choose from it’s hard to know where to start.

    That mile high meringue looks like a good place to start though.

  4. Kerrin says:

    Rosa, the meringue tart is tempting *me* again too !

    valentina, muito obrigada ! Love putting a smile on your face. Definitely let me know if you get Susan’s book. I know you’ll love it. …And I’ll keep eating all those desserts for you ! 😉

    Samantha, I agree – so much to taste, so little time. But well said – this tart here is a great place to start ! =)

  5. Michele says:

    Absolutely fantastic! Le Loir dans la Théière will be a place I visit, on an empty stomach, during my next trip to Paris! … Susan’s book is in my shopping cart too. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Emma says:

    Wow, what a meringue. To me, all that tart crust sounds like the perfect topper (well, bottomer) for such a massive amount of sweet goodness. Once again, lucky you:)

    Love that cute little dormouse in the teapot. My favorite part of Alice in Wonderland, without a doubt!

  7. Samual James says:

    oh that is really mouth watering. It looks yummy and tasty. Nice post once again with few more great suggestions.thanks Taxi to Orlando airport

  8. Kerrin says:

    Michele, my pleasure ! Enjoy the book and your time in Paris. Bon appétit !

    Emma, I thought you were going to say, that tart crust wasn’t even necessary… but sounds like we can go here together too; I’ll trade you my tart crust for your meringue ! 😉

    Samual, you’re welcome – and thanks !

  9. Sarah, Maison Cupcake says:

    Love the sound of this book, I barely scraped the surface of Laduree on my visit to Paris last year and would love to know more obscure places to visit. That picture of the religeuse in front of the Louvre is genius!

  10. Silvia says:

    Lovely pictures of sweets! 🙂
    (After living a week mostly of Strudel and cake, it reminded me of the meringue lemon pie from yesterday :))

  11. Alexander says:

    That’s a massive slice. 😀 Nice pictures of the sweets, and thanks for sharing the address. Will definitely pay a visit some day.

    Alexander
    Alex’s World! – http://www.kakinan.com/alex

  12. Kerrin says:

    Sarah, me too, love the concept of the book. And always more sweet places for us to visit !

    Silvia, thank you ! Hey, a week of strudel and cake doesn’t sound too bad… 😉

    Alexander, massive indeed ! =) Thanks ! And you’re very welcome, hope you have a chance to go and see just how huge and tasty it is.

  13. Elisa says:

    This book sounds like a lot of fun! And that meringue tart looks sooooo delicious. How will I be able to think of anything else now??

  14. Alexandre says:

    I’m in Paris for several years I didn’t know this wonderful tarte au citron meringuée and this address.
    Thank you for sharing this discovery.
    Shame on me!! 😉

  15. Athena says:

    I’m not sure how I found your blog but I’m so happy I did! It’s funny, I have Susan’s book in my Amazon cart, and here I find a bit more info on it as well as the lovely woman behind it. I’m going to Paris in June and am abnormally obsessed with pastries, even planning to take a baking course while there. Look forward to exploring your site 🙂

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