Paris was supposed to be a patisserie pilgrimage event. My sugar tooth in recent months went into overdrive and the urge to eat French sweet was Real. But I was mostly disappointed in Paris. Even the best patisseries in the city, were underwhelming. In fact I much preferred the savouries to the sweets and ended up craving meat at every meal. At the same time, I missed the Japanese-inspired French pastries enjoyed on my recent trip to Tokyo. The execution demonstrated by the Japanese were more finesse. Each dessert tasted more exquisite making the indulgence so worth it. In addition, the flavours and textures in each entremets/ pastry were more varied and exciting. Having said that, I was glad the Paris’s pastries were not sickeningly sweet as a lot of desserts in New York. The sizes were also, thankfully, dainty. Eating one did not feel like an impending sugar coma was doomed.
Aside from the French patisseries featured on this blog, I visited three others: Des Gâteaux et du Pain, Sebastian Gaudard and L’Eclair de Génie (again). For the last, you may have read about the disappointing eclairs I had from a Tokyo branch. In Paris, I gave it another shot and actually liked it. In fact, out of the three patisseries, I liked L’Eclair the most.
On the day I went on the patisserie-hop, Des Gâteaux et du Pain was no. 1 on the list. However I found her gorgeous petite gateaux to be light but too subtle in flavours. If I am going to indigest so much calories, I need punchy flavours for the calorie intake to be worth it.
Des Gâteaux et du Pain was opened by one of the city’s only female pâtissiers, Claire Damon. Her Left Bank branch which I visited was sleek and the shop was split in two, with one side featuring crusty loaves of bread and the other a dazzling array of flamboyant cakes. Walking in to the display of petits gateaux was unusual as it was not swamped like Pierre Herme or the neighbourhood French bakeries. They were all spaced out generously. No photography is allowed in the shop but when the staff walked to the back, I took these secret shots. Oops! Bad me.
I got myself two that day: (from left) Paradisi (€6.50) and a Pamplemousse Rosa (€6.80). Don’t they look too gorgeous to eat?
There was no seating in the bakery (bummer!) but no worries, take your treats and walk down the road, past La Pâtisserie des Rêves (and if you can resist, kudos to you!), and there will be a small public park with ample benches and FREE wifi.
Paradisi was a tart composed of shortcrust pastry, almond biscuit, vanilla cream, fresh pomelo, and rhubarb compote flavored with timut pepper. This is said to be the perfect example of Claire Damon’s style – clean, fresh, not too sweet, always balanced in terms of flavors and textures. But I found the flavours too subtle and difficult to differentiate. It did, however, taste very fresh and clean. Maybe it was the cold weather that froze my taste buds.
The light pink Pamplemousse Rosa was composed of rose-flavored mousse, grapefruit segments, grapefruit jelly, and rice flour biscuit. The rose flavor was rather strong, almost too much for me if not balanced by the bitter freshness from the grapefruit. Honestly, the mousse tasted like bandung (rose syrup) and the rice flour biscuit was too soft. Without the contrasting texture between mousse and biscuit, this wasn’t exactly addictive.
Sadly the treats from Des Gateaux et Pain were underwhelming and did not leave me waiting for more.
Sebastien Gaudard is another famed pastry chef and his sweet treats have been widely featured on social media and Paris food blogs. Visiting his salon just next t0 the Lourve, the array of its signature entremets surrounded by little nut pieces was arresting. Choosing one was very difficult.
In the end, I settled for an Entremet Griotte-Pistache with almond sponge soaked in Kirsch, pistachio cream and griotte cherries. I brought it to the park nearby to enjoy my little treat.
This wasn’t mind-blowing. For one thing the extremely-strong pistachio cream was wayyy too densed and tasted thick on my tongue. Maybe it was the cold weather that stiffened up the cream or my tongue. Thank goodness for the tart cherries which broke up the monotonous texture of the little treat. Not my favourite or for that matter, I will not recommend this.
I gave L’Eclair another shot upon seeing it in its home country. If you remember, I had a big problem with the dry éclair shells in Tokyo.
We got two that afternoon: #177 Caramel Butter: Mascarpone caramel salted butter and #199 Pistachio Raspberry: Ganache pistache, framboise Ganache pistachio, raspberry
These were surprisingly good! Both éclair shells were not dry!! Hallelujah! Now I can see why this patisserie is so famous and expanded to so many branches around the world. The best part of the éclairs was the filling. Both contained thick luscious ganache that danced in my mouth. And they were so generous with the filling, I could not even taste the éclair shells…
The caramel salted butter cream was the besttttt. I fell in love with the sweet nutty caramel flavor with the noticeable hint of savouriness. This was a very good éclair.
Des Gâteaux et du Pain
Address: 63 boulevard Pasteur, 75015
Nearest transport: Pasteur (6, 12)
Hours: Wednesday-Monday 8am-8pm; Closed Tuesday
Telephone: 01 45 38 94 16
Address: 22 rue des Martyrs, 75009
Nearest transport: Notre Dame de Lorette (12)
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10am-8pm; Saturday, 9am-8pm; Sunday, 9am-2pm; closed Monday
Telephone: 01 71 18 24 70
L’Éclair de Génie (many locations. Click here to find the list)