Taste spotting in Paris! French dessert and pastry

This is a very fun thread to watch but now I’m so jealous and craving Paris-Brest - which I never find here in the US … keep posting.

I would have though Paris Brest was fairly easy to find in the US. I’ve managed to find it in India (Darjeeling to be precise). Had a fair few with the mid morning pot of tea.

Nah, too much backstory and giggling over Brest for Americans.

Thank you very much, indeed you should!

This week’s pastries were from Les Belles Envies in Paris 5th district. They all had a little label IGC®. Originally, I thought it was the shop’s or the chef’s name, in fact, it’s a label signifying that Index Glycémique Contrôlé, Glycemic Index is less than 25, meaning people with diabetes can consume without problem.

Apple tarte with basil - La Tartelette Pomme Granny Basilic
Apple taste is mild in this jelly, not acid but with strong basil taste. Not bad at all.

Raspberry and passion fruit éclair - L’Eclair Passion Framboise
If you like acid taste, you will sure like this. Very refreshing.

Chocolate cake - Le finger Chocolats SG
Strong nut taste balanced well with the chocolate, lovely marriage.

Lemon tart
It’s good, but I think my Jacque Genin’s recipe is still a bit better. I think it’s because the Genin recipe uses lots of butter…

All of them were really good. I like the éclair and the chocolate cake the best.
I was surprised after eating 2 pastries, I didn’t feel “heavy” or filling at all.
Sure I will return for more. If this shop is successful, I think it will be a big game changer. Cakes in the future will be lighter and healthier. No more guilty feeling!


Walking past the shop of Patrick Roger yesterday in Saint Germain, was impressed by this sculpture of orang-outan made of chocolate.


Yesterday, I was quite late when I arrived in the Christophe Michalak’s shop after my Asian food shopping. At 7pm, there were some bigger cakes (4-6 servings) and some Kosmik left. The cakes looked good, especially the Yuzu tart that was 45 euro, but since I think we should consume less sugar than more (we were only 2), I opted for the individual portion Kosmik. The dessert was presented in a format similar to in a glass verrine like Pierre Hermé, but in a plastic jar, ready for take away. You could even ask for a spoon if you need to eat it right away.

Kosmik Bounty - coconut with chocolate. For those who love coconut, the presence of dried coconut is undeniable. Generally, I’m not a coconut flakes fan, I think it was rather good.

Kosmik figs with white cheese. You can see a macaron on the top with the creamy white cheese and a fig jam at the bottom. It was okay, nothing very spectacular in the taste.

For 7.50 euro a jar, I find them too simple for the taste for that price tag. Maybe it’s Michalak, I had too high expectation. I had never tasted his dessert when he was still at Plaza Athénée. Next time I will definitely try his non jarred pastries.

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We were strolling in the outlet boutiques place in La Vallée Village in Serris, close to the Euro Disney last Saturday after an afternoon appointment. It was still early for shopping Christmas but we saw lines queuing in front of many stores. We saw several pâtisseries, Pierre Hermé selling mostly chocolate and macarons, Amorino selling waffles.

We stopped by La Maison du Chocolate and took 2 éclairés, 1 dark chocolate and the second one a coffee dark chocolate that they claimed using Hawaïenne coffee beans. The Chocolat éclair has a beautiful shiny dark colour glaze with a golden leaf decoration. We love the intense flavour of the toasted coffee, nothing to compared to the neighborhood éclair au café with just the coffee aroma. 5,50€ each, for sure it isn’t the neighbourhood price.


Wonderful photos, top to bottom!

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I’m an enormous fan of chocolate eclairs, when they are done well. Unfortunately, they are rarely done well by most places here - poor quality chocolate and soggy pastry is the norm.

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What’s that old saying? A bad éclair is better than no éclair at all. :sunglasses:

Éclaire is also one of my favourite dessert, my preference is café. Likewise, most of them were bought in bakery stores were quite tasteless and soggy. I think they are mostly unfrozen industrial ones in the Parisian bakeries.

Well, unless very hungry, I will pass. I had some really bad ones that were moist cardboard like in texture and taste…(from supermarket bakeries)

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A few days ago, I finally bought a cake for both of our birthdays! His in October and mine in early November! We were too busy to even do anything until now. So hooray for this Yuzu lemon tart from Christophe Michalak.

I love lemon tart and could make a pretty decent one. This one is one of the best I have ever ate! (the second best one is from Pierre Hermé)

The crumble tart base is excellent, I don’t know how technically one can do it, but in the crumble, there is actually some sugar (unmelted), so it gave a very crunchy texture. As you can see, there is a layer of lemon cake, on the top of it with the Yuzu cream, topped with a fine layer of lemon and Yuzu jelly. On the jelly, you can find classic meringue and lime chantilly, some coconut flakes around the cake. It’s so good. Don’t under estimate this pastry though, it’s quite filling, normally it’s for 8 but we ate it as if for 4.

I took this picture too late in the shop, the tart was already being put in the box to go… I had been hesitating a lot actually which out of the 3 I should get.


Tarte au citron is a firm favourite Chez Harters.

There are too many good pastries shops in Paris. This time my choice is Blé Sucré. Fabrice le Bourdat had an impressive CV: pastry chef in le Bistrot, le Plaza Athénée à Paris, le Martinez à Cannes… before finally opening his own shop in Square Trousseau in the 12th district, not too far from the Place de la Bastille.

I nearly missed the place when trying to search the address yesterday, I noticed a shop selling sandwiches with several outdoor tables, next to a children playground. I was thinking like many successful pastries, they open a second traiteur next to the pâtisserie. Walking to and fro several times, but no, there is only 1 shop. So that’s it, a tiny neighbour hood place.

The shop might be small, but it is full of goodies…all the flat surfaces you see sometimes on it, from cakes, to bread, sandwiches, viennoiseries, huge and small madeleines, macarons, chocolates… I had difficulty in choosing… I saw a glass display with classic pastries like Paris Brest, lemon tart (around 3,50 euros) and more elaborated pieces that are about 5,50 euros.

Not to missed is their viennoiseries, very impressed with the puffy pastries, only 1,30€ for a pain au chocolat and they are XL puffy (in contrast to most flat smallish bread in most shops). Blé Sucré got elected nº2 in the recent 2016 edition Le Figaro’s best chocolate croissant in Paris.

Tarte Tatin - caramelised Golden apple topped on a Brittany shortbread

Pomelo - Bavarian almond and vanilla - grapefruit in the centre with a cookie base
Actually I have no idea why they are talking about grapefruit here and shown, instead an apple.

Goût de Paradis - really a taste in paradis - coconut sandwich, milk chocolate ganache, a touch of passion fruit and coconut milk, the outside has a very sticky rubbery texture, some people dislike it. Me while I’m not a big fan of coconut, I like the mix of coco, chocolate and passion fruit.

Snickers - peanut cream with whole peanut and caramel. Very good, but very heavy. It’s difficulty to eat the whole cake, in our case, we divided the cake into 2, and the portion was just right.

Sorry, no chocolate croissant photo… they were gone too quickly. There were good.
My Nº1 is still the one I ate in Hong Kong by Robuchon, the pâte feuilletée is exceptional and they were still crispy even in the inside.


These days, I’d like to eat more traditional food, than new creation. Today - salted butter caramel caramel religious by Christophe Michalak.

I know, now it’s the month of galette des rois. But doesn’t particularly want that today, want some normal cakes than another festival cake.

The religious is simply E X C E L L E N T. We are very impressed by the pastry, it is done just right, not hard, not dry and airy, with the big choux filled with cream. I like this cake not too sweet and actually quite salty, very good. I tried choux specialist Christophe Adams’ éclair some time ago, his choux too was filled with cream, but the pastry wasn’t airy and too dry…the result wasn’t very satisfactory. The second time I bought it a few months ago, he improved a bit, but compared to this pastry from Christophe Michalak, this one is a real killer!

In an interview with Michalak, a journalist commented his pastries were too expensive. His reply, for his religious that was sold at 9 euros, it weighed 150g (it’s true, very heavy), most other shops sell cheaper, but they weren’t even half of his weight…

This is our third try on Michalak, we find the Kosmik is fun, but not very convincing yet. The lemon tart totally won us! Now with this religuese, besides Pierre Hermé, he is now our favourite pastry chef!

The pastry is sold in a dome as individual cake.

Notice the volkswagen van chocolate cake on the top, I want that too! (Next time)
Strange that the window display, the emphasis is not on the galettes, everybody is buying that. I think he still has to know how to market his stuff. Pierre Hermé’s was just around the corner, long queues outside the shop, while the shop of Michalak was kind of empty, a few people looking around, but nobody was buying.


Enjoy it while you can. The moment big media profile the shop everyone will line up there… (assume they don’t fold, that is.)

Since the terrorist attack in 2015, the food and hotel industry is suffering financial lost. 2016 has been a difficult year, of course no problem for Pierre Hermé, as he has been recently elected as world pastry 2016 by the media. But even Hermé, when he started his first shop and tea house, he has gone bankrupted.

Michalak is big, he has been on a TV cooking show for 3 years, he has worked in Ducasse’s 3 starred palace for 15 years, and he and the french team has won the champion world best pastry chef a few years ago.

To be honest, his shop is strange. It’s very white, with some cartoonish graphics (which I like), but the general feeling is a bit too cold, I think it is due to the lighting that is also very white (LED). He doesn’t sell a lot of individual cakes, only [Kosmiks] (Taste spotting in Paris! French dessert and pastry) in a bottle (looks like fast food?!) and the pastry I bought today, there are family size pastry that is around 48 euros… If you are tourist, you won’t be able to bring it back to hotel to eat the whole cake. There are many chocolates, but if you are a chocolate lover, you will go to a bigger name specialist shop. He also sells a lot of “cake”, cake in French is more an English or US thing, so I don’t know many French really crazy about it. So the positioning is not very clear. I think he wants to show he is very avant garde and people doesn’t quite get it…


Tried the famed TV chef Cyril Lignac patisserie this time, bought them in rue Paul Bert shop, the pastries were beautiful, like jewels. The shop sells always sour dough bread which aren’t at all bad.

Noisette / Hazelnut - Crispy sugar dough, hazelnut and gianduja ganache

Framboise Cassis / Rasberry Blackcurrant - Crispy sugar dough, raspberry and blackcurrant fruit jelly and compote, mascarpone mousse - DH said the taste was subtile, personally I found it wastn’t very balance, between the fruit jelly’s strong flavour with the quite bland mascarpone cream.

Éclaire - salty butter caramel
DH found the choux a bit hard. I find preferred the caramel of Michalak, the taste has more dimensions than this one… Nothing very special

Lemon tart - Crispy sugar dough, sweet hazelnut biscuit, lemon cream, confit and compote
Our favourite for the taste, strong acid taste especially enhanced by the lemon confit, there was very thin layer of cream. I find the execution was still leave to be desired, the tart base was totally filled and was quite hollow.

Both of us noticed that even after eating 2 pastries by each of us, we were still very hungry. Size wise was small and too light. They were too beautiful to be substantial.

La Patisserie Cyril Lignac
24 rue Paul Bert
75011 Paris


Lemon tarts lovers will find this article interesting. Tasting on 24 lemon tarts found in Paris.


The day normally to celebrate Epiphany is 6th January, and the celebration continues all the month. But shops start selling Gateaux des Rois, the cake to celebrates the kings in end of December for commercial reasons.

In the south they celebrate the event with the Couronne des Rois, a crown cake made in brioche, decorated with fruits confits, while in Paris, situated in the north, their king cake is a puffy pastry centred with usually with frangipane (Pierre Hermé version from last year).

This year, I didn’t really intended to buy this cake, but saw it accidentally when buying my bread in Thevenin Pastry shop near Montparnasse.

The fève, this year a bear and I won it!

The fruit confits was very good, not too dried. The brioche was a bit hard, we suspected it was baked the day before. Disappointed because it looked very promising. Next year, I will make mine, I made it twice, and I believed my brioche was superior to this one, though I need to source better fruit confits.