Isn’t it wonderful to have one of these glad-to-be-alive days? The other day it was marvellous. With the back finally better after so many frustrating months of agony and the sun out to play, this was a morning escapade in Paris to catch up with my talented friend for a coffee-croissant-chatter before whizzing around the corner in the 16th Arrondissement to the dentist – inevitably showing a toothy display of what I had for breakfast.
My clever friend, Marinella, is Italian. She’s not only a wonderful (yet modest) cook, but she knows Paris like her pocket, as the French say. After 20 years as an adopted Parisian, she’s now sharing her insider’s guide to the City of Light by writing a Paris guide book, soon to be published in Italian. Meanwhile – stop press! – her blog, finestra su parigi (Window on Paris), is just launched. This is ideal for Italian visitors wanting more information on noteworthy Parisian addresses and useful for residents wanting news updates. Gradually, Marinella will also be translating each article into English for us non-Italian speakers.
“Are you taking some Merveilleux home while you’re here?”, Marinella asked. What? Merveilleux? Is it a marvellous cake or a meringue? (Friends are not obliged to laugh at my often ghastly clichéd jokes but for those unaccustomed to silly Scottish speak – ‘a meringue’ sounds like ‘am I wrong?’)
You mean to say I’ve been coming to my Parisian dentist in the 16th all this time and not checked this out yet? (See the first of my blog posts, It’s a Small, Small World in Paris” for the same area.) Sure enough, on the same street – rue de l’Annonciation – in the 16th Arrondissement where I used to work – the posh baby clothing shop on the corner had disappeared since my last visit. Sad, since that’s where I bought my darling niece’s first posh outfit. In its place was an intriguing shopfront.
It wasn’t disappointing after all. One of the happy looking pastry chefs was preparing these particular Merveilleux pâtisseries directly in front of us, as we were just about licking the window.
That gooey chocolate wasn’t all; it was whipped into the lightest chantilly cream. These meringue hearts were then coated in it and rolled in dark chocolate flakes – the final touch being a dusting of powdered sugar then a dollop of chantilly on top. Truly marvellous, n’est-ce pas?
This exquisite display is found at Aux Merveilleux de Fred. There are 2 other boutiques in Paris, 3 in Lille, one in St Omer and one in Belgium. To cater to everyone’s taste, they come in big, medium and baby bear sizes.
What would you go for as a first timer? Medium sounded good for a start.
What’s more, check out their cute logo on these beautiful boxes.
The medium ones deserve a bigger box with a huge logo. Foxy. For the moment, I have my eye on the boxes. They’re handy and chic for storing the homemade macarons later, bien sûr.
A couple of Incroyables (cinnamon speculoos added to the chantilly), a Merveilleux and an Impensable. All fit snuggly into one pastry box.
Next time I’m going back for the Belgian brioche and the BIG ones… What do you think? Marvellous, incredible or unthinkable? The Unthinkable/Impensable was our favourite – rolled in a crispy meringuey coffee but without the little blob of chantilly. We could deal with that, though.
Thanks to Marinella, my trips to the 16th arrondissement have never been the same again: a box en route home is compulsory. She knows – as well as my dentist – that I have a sweet tooth.
I’m looking forward to meeting up again soon with Marinella, my personal guide to Paris. Don’t forget to check out Marinella’s blog, finestra su parigi, for your own window onto an insider’s Paris. It’s packed with many more marvellous and incredible addresses like this one.
Christmas Giveaway Winners!
Waverley Books have announced the following winners, chosen randomly from the Christmas Giveaway. Bravo to Amalia Pagura, Carsley Paige Fuller, Ivy Liacopoulou, Jessica Hose, and Rachel Jacobs, who will all receive a copy of Mad About Macarons from Waverley Books. For those who wish to order a copy, you can find it on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and from The Book Depository, who ship for free internationally.