Why You Should Opt for the Croissant au Beurre

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Breakfast in Paris? It’s time for a croissant, bien sur! But don’t make the mistake that many visitors to the City of Light make when popping into one of Paris’s many fantastic boulangeries/patisseries and simply ordering “un croissant.” You’ll more than likely end up with a product made with margarine. And considering one of the hallmarks of a good croissant is a rich, buttery flavor, who wants a mouthful of fakery? Continue Reading →

Angelina: Coco Chanel’s Favorite Hot Chocolate

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Have you ever daydreamed of sipping hot chocolate and sampling pastries in Paris with the legendary fashion designer and glitterati mainstay Coco Chanel? While that’s a lovely but unattainable fantasy, we’ve got the next-best, real-world option: paying a visit to Angelina, a world-famous patisserie-tea room on the Rue de Rivoli that was a favorite haunt of Madame Chanel—and of Marcel Proust, Audrey Hepburn and virtually every luminary in the haute-couture fashion design world throughout the 20th century. You’ll become an instant fan, too! Continue Reading →

Paris’s Perfect Pastries

Pastries at Stohrer

Paris is home to some of the world’s best pastry shops (called patisseries), and the delectable desserts they produce every day are simply to die for. Here are some pastry perfections from my favorite Parisian bakeries: Angelina, Laduree, La Loir dans la Theiere, Mariage Freres, Le Gay Choc, Pain de Sucre and Stohrer. Continue Reading →

Saint Honore Pastry: A Classic French Dessert

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An iconic French pastry—and one I always order multiple times when I visit Paris—is the Saint Honore, a decadent dessert made of puff pastry, pate a choux (cream-puff dough), creme chiboust (a thick pastry cream made with stiffened egg whites) and creme Chantilly (the French term for whipped cream). Named after the patron saint of French patissiers this stacked pastry comes in such flavors as caramel (also called the “classic” Saint Honore), pistachio, rose-raspberry, chocolate, vanilla-chocolate, chocolate-strawberry and pistachio-sour cherry. Continue Reading →

Try the ‘Guimauves’ at Delightful Pain de Sucre

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Visitors to the Pompidou Center should most definitely take a two-block detour to check out one of the most interesting patisseries in the Marais–Pain de Sucre. The award-winning shop was founded in 2004 by pastry chefs Didier Mathray and Nathalie Robert, both of whom honed their craft at Paris’s Michelin three-star restaurant Pierre Gagnaire. Unusual flavor pairings are the hallmark of Pain de Sucre and appear in many of the shop’s avant-garde tartes and cakes. Believe it or not, though, marshmallows (guimauves) are the patisserie’s specialty, and are prominently–and artfully–displayed in the boutique’s window. Continue Reading →

Laduree: Pastry Perfection!

Raspberry Saint-Honore

Paris is the pastry capital of the world. And there are scores of patisseries scattered throughout the city’s 20 districts (called arrondissements), from elegant, upscale tea houses to small neighborhood mom-and-pop shops.

But a few have grabbed well-deserved international acclaim. One of my favorites of these exceptional salons is Laduree. Specifically, the Laduree boutique and tea house on the Champs Elysees … Continue Reading →

Desserts Rule at Le Loir dans la Theiere in the Marais

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The amazing Le Loir dans la Theiere in the Marais is among my very favorite dessert spots in all of the City of Light. This funky, gay-friendly tea room offers a daily changing menu of homemade tarts and cakes, usually with five or six choices available for €8.50 and discounted to just €6.50 after 4 p.m.—if any are left. There’s usually at least a couple of desserts remaining, but if you don’t want to take a chance on missing out, show up around lunchtime when the selection is abundant. Delicious! Continue Reading →

Taste the Dessert Revolution at L’Atelier de l’Eclair

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Eclairs today are to Paris what cupcakes have been for the past half-decade to the U.S.—the latest dessert trend. Sure, there are many French pastries and baked goods that are eaten far more often that eclairs by Parisians. Macarons chiefly come to mind, but there are also madeleines, financiers and even croissants and pain au chocolat, all of which are perennial favorites in the City of Light. But much as the humble cupcake rose to beloved status in the U.S. and spawned an entire cottage industry of elaborate, inventive cupcake creation, so has the ordinary eclair led to a revolution in crafting these torpedo-like pastries in Paris. One of the best places in the city to experience this new fad is L’Atelier de l’Eclair (The Eclair Workshop) in the Montorgueil neighborhood.] of the 2nd Arrondissement. Continue Reading →

Mora: Everything a Pastry Chef Could Desire

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Paris is a top destination for cooks of all stripes, from amateurs looking to improve the dishes they serve to family and friends right up to professional chefs seeking top-notch instruction and unparalleled kitchen experience. There’s a Parisian destination that’s a favorite among bakers and pastry chefs—Mora, a culinary supply store founded in 1814. This large shop in the Les Halles district is crammed top to bottom with more than 5,000 items (all of which also can be purchased online) to meet just about every culinary need. And many Parisians and tourists do, indeed, head to Mora for all of their cooking needs. But Mora is absolute heaven on earth for pastry chefs and bread makers, offering more specialty items for these cooks than any other shop in the City of Light—and quite possibly in the entire world. Continue Reading →

How Did the Croissant Become a French Staple?

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Croissants are ubiquitous in Paris. Every pastry shop and boulangerie makes them. Every café sells them. A typical Parisian breakfast? Croissants and coffee. And for travelers to the City of Light, indulging in a buttery, flaky croissant (or several) is every bit as important as a trip to the Eiffel Tower or a bateau ride on the Seine. But how did this simple pastry become so ingrained in French culture? No one is absolutely certain, but theories abound. (And here’s a guide to where you can find the 10 best croissants in Paris!) Continue Reading →