Scout will be reporting from France next month, so when we heard that Beaucoup Bakery owner Jackie Ellis was going ahead of us, we asked her to keep tabs on the top 25 edibles that she came across in her adventures. “After 20 pastry shops, 13 restaurants, 2 pastry courses, and a Valrhona chocolate factory tour,” she says, “these are the results of my 2 weeks of gastronomic research in Paris.” Bon appetit after the jump….
Salted Caramel Apple Macaron Frais from Ladurée – This fresh macaron with roasted apples, caramel almond cream and a centre of oozing salted caramel. The best part was that the roasted apples still had texture and there were almonds in the fresh cream, making this a textural cacophony!
L’As Du Falafel – I know, how many more people need to write about this falafel, can it be that good? Frankly, it’s pretty satisfying whether you’re on the bandwagon or not. It’s about the toppings: pickled red cabbage, white cabbage slaw in a T’hina sauce, fried eggplant, fresh tomatoes and THE BEST part….”that” hot sauce. (groan)
Foie Gras Parfait – Countless Foie dishes in Paris and I’ve tasted many, this one is one of the best IMHO. The Foie Parfait at Frenchie Wine Bar was the perfect balance of salty, sweet, acidic, creamy foie, chewy figs, simple greens and complex gelée. If you eat foie, must try this one!
Ricotta Tortellini with Amaretti and Sage – Another hit at Frenchie Wine Bar. Seems like an overly done combo but…never like this. The filling was so savoury and smooth. It was the first time I actually understood this combo! Amazing!
Tarte Infiniment Vanille – Pierre Hermé | I’ve loved this tart from the time a former PH intern told me about the 30 vanilla beans per litre of milk he used in the pastry cream. When I had cravings for it away from Paris, I even tried to recreate it. It is perfection in deceptive simplicity. Tip: if you go to the Rue Bonaparte location, ask for forks, sit on a bench at St. Sulpice & Macgyver the plastic bag into a waterproof seat if the benches are wet 🙂
Delhi Chocolate – Patrick Roger | Loved this Delhi chocolate with essence of lemon and basil. So bright and complex! Patrick Roger is one of the most celebrated chocolatiers in Paris. He closes his doors during summer to fill his shop window with huge chocolate art sculptures and installations.
Ispahan Croissant – Pierre Hermé | There was a lovely raspberry, litchi and rose pâte in the centre. It’s drizzled with sugar glaze and topped with what I thought was dehydrated raspberries but most say is candied rose. Either way, it’s dang good!
Le Beurre Bordier | Is it silly that butter on Poilane bread at Plaza Athenée made the list? I can’t even describe, there are no words…think of the best, most buttery, unctuous butter…and this is it.
Black Sesame Eclair – Sadaharu Aoki | When I taste dozens of pastries each day, I rarely eat more than one bite or my “wardrobe malfunctions”. So you know when something is really, really good, when you can’t stop eating until it’s gone.
Brioche & Egg – Agapé Substance | Brioche cream, comté cream, brioche crumbs & low-temp egg at Agapé Substance. Some of the best dishes I had in Paris were here. There is no menu, the chef cooks whatever is fresh and inspired that day. The star were the unexpected wine pairings from quirky producers.
Dry-aged beef – Agapé Substance | Dry-aged beef with baby onion mash, baby leek and dark beer sauce. The artistry of the plate itself is reason enough to eat here. The chef shows such restraint by allowing each ingredient to shine while still enhancing each other.
Chausson aux Pommes – Lenôtre | 2 years ago, I fell hard for this chausson aux pommes. It is overwhelmingly buttery, the apple compote is smooth, sweet and tart. The entire thing melts in your mouth and I have yet to find another that rivals.
Pistachio Praliné – Alain Ducasse | Skeptical me didn’t believe that the Alain Ducasse empire could do it all. But his pistachio praliné was among the best I’ve eaten! The flavour blew my mind and I was torn…do I share or eat? I shared 🙂
Caramels – Jacques Genin | Oh my…I heard Jacques Genin made the best caramels in Paris and holy smokes…speechless! The texture and flavour are perfect. If you had to choose a few to try: pistachio and mango passionfruit.
Pâte de Fruits – Jacques Genin | These are hard to make balancing perfect texture and keeping a bright and vibrant flavour. Jacques Genin makes them amazingly with flavours like raspberry, mirabelle, blood orange, banana, mango, and pineapple.
Vegetarian Crepe – Marché Des Enfants Rouges | This vegetarian buckwheat crepe was filled with fresh lettuces, fennel, grated whole lemon (a revelation), olive oil, artisan honey, fresh goat cheese. It was so satisfying, especially after a meat and pastry heavy French diet! The line ups are long but the owner casually dances his way through the crepes, entertaining everyone along the way. The market itself is also a wonderful thing to see!
Paris Brest – Plaza Athenée | Christophe Michelak is as “celebrity pastry chef” as it gets in Paris. He created a large snake-like Paris Brest for the Plaza Athenée because he believes the balance and ratio of elements is much more pleasant than the individual versions. His has praliné fondu which has a special place in my stomach:)
Pâte à tartiner – Un Dimanche à Paris | In this beautiful location on a cobblestone alley, Un Dimanche à Paris has created a lovely modern pâtisserie and one of the only salon du thé open on a Sunday in Paris. They are known for their innovative take on pastries but these pâte à tartiner (goat butter and buckwheat caramel and hazelnut star anise praliné shown here) were unexpected and lovely flavour combinations.
Tortellini with Fresh Herbs – Rino | This dish blew my mind, not only for the wonderfully crafted pasta, or the flavourful broth, but for the unique use of fresh herbs on the dish. There was one on top that added sweetness and I could only venture a guess that the chef used stevia!
Financier – Hugo Victor | I read an article 2 years ago that Hugo Victor had one of the best financiers in Paris. It has crisp edges, chewiness and is tender all in one simple little pastry. Like the love child of a cookie and cake…
Pain Au Chocolat – Pastry School | I KNOW I’m not supposed to choose something that is not available to buy…but this…this pain au chocolat. It was made by my boulangerie instructor, Richard Ludovic MOF, and was the best one I’ve had in my life. It needed to be mentioned!
Chocolate Passionfruit Tart – Arnaud Larher | Chocolate and passionfruit is a classic combination that just works and this one is wonderfully balanced. The ganache sits on top of a circular crust which adds texture. Arnaud Larher is an MOF with mad skills! He just opened up a new location in St. Germain du Prés which makes it that much easier to get his amazing creations.
Beet Root Gateaux – Agapé Substance | Beet root gateaux with beet infused tapioca pearls, Greek yogurt and crispy meringue. I find beets are often best with a tart element to balance the earthy sweetness. That’s the most surprising thing about this dish, the tartness came from the ruby red micro greens on top!
Mont Blanc – Angelina Salon Du Thé | The famous Mont Blanc from Angelina Salon Du Thé (My old workplace) is a crispy meringue topped w Créme Chantilly & covered with vermicelli of chestnut purée, cream and confit. One of my favourite pastries and surprisingly lives up to my hyped memory of it!