Sunday, 8 March 2009

Little Chan's patisserie excursion

One of the great joys of living in Paris is being able to visit (and sample!) the numerous boulangeries and patisseries which are scattered generously across the city. My first port of call this week was to renowned Japanese patissier, Sadaharu Aoki. He has a handful of boutiques across Paris, one of which is 5 minutes walk from school. The decor inside is minimalist, with a pastry case showing off jewel-like cakes and macaroons, surrounded by a few shelves of biscuits and jams, all packaged immaculately.

As usual, there was too much to choose from - since I went for something classic at Carl Marletti, I decided to push the boat out this time and go for something a little more innovative. Eventually, I plumped for the dome au chocolat, a couple of macaroons (sesame and yuzu) and a packet of matcha financiers. 

The verdict? The dome au chocolat was certainly innovative but am not sure how well the flavours worked together? Shards of chocolate on the outside (tick) surrounding a dome of chocolate mousse scented with ginger (interesting at first but then rapidly got a bit icky) with a centre of salted caramel (semi-tick, but a bit too sweet), dried apricot and fig (so wrong!) on a twin base of chocolate (tick) and coconut (nope) biscuit. Complex and ambitious but sadly, it failed to wow me. The yuzu macaroon was passable but the sesame one fell way short of the gooey and delicious one I had at Yauatcha. The financiers were OK but nothing to write home about. When I first entered the boutique, I thought that this was somewhere that I would potentially like to do my stage at but after tasting the goods, I've had second thoughts. It didn't help that they did not allow me to take photos inside the patisserie, which I found a bit rich since not even the great Pierre Hermé objected to me taking snaps?

This weekend, I finally made the trip to one of the bastions of Parisian gastronomy, Fauchon. The patisserie store looks truly spectacular, with lots of mouthwatering pastries on display (including a interesting looking Mona Lisa éclair). The selection of "fours frais" took my fancy but as I had other places to go to, I thought I might pop back at the end of the day to pick some up?

That didn't happen because I then headed to Arnaud Delmontel, winner of the Meilleure Baguette de Paris in 2007. My original plan was to go and visit the Rose Bakery (not impressed, the pastry case had scones which looked like unappetising turds, dull-looking chocolate brownie and remnants of pound cake, all of which I could make better versions of right now!) but a fellow student had told me not miss Arnaud Delmontel whose shop was across the street (감사합니다!!). I fell in love with the shop (a nice blend of traditional and contemporary) and all its goodies and left armed with a Renaissance baguette, an étoile de noisette (hazelnut danish) and a selection of mini-financiers (lemon & poppy seed, raspberry, pecan & cranberry, coffee, pistachio & cherry, orange & chocolate chip). All my purchases were delicious and I'm looking forward to going back to eat my way around the shop!! 

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