Sunday, March 21, 2010

La Patisserie des Rêves - Paris

I Want to Hate It
This isn't the NY Times - I don't have to be "fair or balanced" - I have a bias. I dislike overly-fancy, affected, froofy places. So, when I walked into the "dream" patisserie and saw what appeared to be a jewelry display I knew this was more likely a nightmare. Each treat was guarded like a crown jewel beneath domed glass and there was an employee trailing me with a pda, waiting to tap out my order electronically. "All show and no go" I thought to myself.

I took my time. I was annoyed by the whole concept - the glass domes reflected light, obsuring the offerings, making the choice harder. Puffin was checking me out, probably noting my face grow darker. I thought about the tart citron, but I've tired of unsuccessfully trying to find one to unseat Marletti.

I settled on a Paris Brest and tap-tap went the lady on her pda and out came a small paper ticket. Puffin stepped in, grabbed the ticket and disappeared. I later learned she had to wait in line to pick up the Paris Brest, then get in another line to pay. Why so complicated? I thought maybe she'd ordered a few things of her own when I saw the giant bag, but no - just my lil Paris Brest was in there.

Can you get any more wasteful? One pastry needs a big shopping bag AND a red cardboard box? The packaging looked like it cost more than the 5 Euros I paid (ok, that she paid) for the Paris Brest.

Once I finally got the box open I noted how they pinned it in place to minimize travel damage. A nice touch. I pulled out the pins and tried to lift it out - it was amazingly tender, like it was ready to fall apart. It had to be careful to get it out in one piece. Perhaps the glass domes make sense after all?

One disdainful bite, a few chews and I knew. I was a helpless fish dangling at the end of the line - the hook was set deep. Forget the words you've read to this point, this was one of the best tasting pastries I've had in some time. The choux was delicate but it simply served as a delivery mechanism for the heavenly praline cream. I will go back, no, I must go back and try some other things, as much as this place annoys me. Hey, I know - I'll send Puffin there with a pocket-full of euros and lay back and wait. Life is good.

93, rue du Bac
7th Arondissement

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  1. Yeah.. I have to say how good it taste took me by surprise :) Very light and very hazelnuttish, very yummy!

    I would like to get an eclair when we go back again. I honestly don't think you can send me there alone with a bunch of euros.. I may end up spending it all at Bon Marche and never making it back. You know how shopoholism can get =P

  2. @Dodomode - hello, I'm talking like 10-15 Euros. You can't even buy one sock on layaway at Bon Marche for that price.... I got all the angles covered.

  3. hello, my name is amy ! i love your blog and have followed several of your recommendations to great success !

    re: the tarte au citron. i liked marletti, but have your tried gerard mulot's? after the figaroscope article came out ranking the best, i've tried a ton of them. don't think mulot was on the list, but it has become my very favorite in the city.

    anyway, thanks for this great blog. keep up the good work :)

  4. @Amy - I've not had the tarte citron at Mulot yet, but I will give it a try. I had kinda od'd on them after trying so many. Thanks for the kind words about the blog. Often I feel like I'm yelling into a canyon and only hearing my echo.

  5. no way, your blog rocks - i come to this site all the time for paris rec's. so far, everything has been spot-on. for ex., eating a sandwich from banh mi made me feel like the earth momentarily stopped spinning !

  6. @Amy, thanks again. Glad you like the lil Wenzhou Banh Mi spot, some day I will go down to the 13th on a Banh Mi search.

  7. I want these now. Damn, when am I going to be in Paris though? Awesome post. All filled with piss and vinegar and then you get humbled like the Young Frankenstein hearing the violin.... awesome.

  8. @Niko - yep, I was talking a lot of shit and then I took a bite and got quiet and stayed quiet.

  9. you should try the brioche feuillete - i have never managed to leave the shop without "inhaling" mine at speed yet! ;)

  10. Hey Lil Chan, long time no hear. Zha Jiang Mian has pretty much become my weekly goto at Happy Nouilles - now with a dash or two of black vinegar. As far as PDR, I've had 4 or 5 things and every single one has been awesome, I'll ty out brioche feuillete next!

  11. Hey,
    Thanks for this nice and original review. You did a good job here, also I like pastry and chocolates because I'm a chocolatier & patissier in Belgium. Thise weekend I visit Le Salon du Chocolat, and sure I will visit the new shop of Conticini.

  12. @Geert - thanks. They've also opened up a sit-down patisserie somewhere in the 16th, I believe. I haven't been to that yet. Make sure you put Pain de Sucre on your visit list while you're here.