Did you really think I’d tasted enough macarons in Paris after the last post? Admittedly, I make my own macarons at home but when I’m asked regularly which macarons I prefer in Paris, I should be able to help you out. That’s a sign of a macaronivore. There are so many pastry shops that sell macarons, it’s difficult to get around them all. I’ll leave that to you but I can’t let you come to Paris – or go to Montmartre and Sacré-Coeur – without stopping in for macarons and chocolate at Christophe Roussel. It should be part of every guide’s spiel on the petit train in the area to mention this too.
I first tasted Christophe Roussel’s macarons at the Paris Salon du Chocolat in October last year. What was particularly impressive was that each macaron was half dipped in Valrohna’s Guanaja chocolate (70% cacao.) What’s more, I appreciated his main store was in La Baule in France but only recently discovered that he’d opened up a new boutique in rue Tardieu in the 18th, just a few macaron feet away from Montmartre’s steps and the queue to the Fenicular Cable.
Stepping in to this snazzy boutique that was once another souvenir shop, I could see something going on backstage for all to see: Christophe Roussel, the pastry chef in person, placing the final touches to his giant raspberry and lime-basil-raspberry macarons. Adding spots of intense raspberry compôte, he finished off with his unique supplier’s stock of Tulameen bionic raspberries. Who wants another Eiffel Tower lighter or pencil sharpener from a touristy souvenir shop when you can feast your eyes and go up to Montmartre tasting this?
This fourth boutique opened last year and together with his talented aroma-professional-tasting wife, Julie, they have a real creative duo here as the shop’s name implies, ‘Christophe Roussel duo créatif avec Julie‘. Can you imagine waltzing in to such a classy pâtisserie, being able to chat away with the creative genius couple as they offer tasting samples to curious tourists, lured in by the macaron sign and Marie-Antoinette style dress in the window? I can tell you that in Paris, there are not many boutiques like this that give everyone such a friendly welcome!
While relishing in a tasting of the lemony cheesecake and passion-tarragon macarons (with the passion lingering on the palate for a full couple of minutes, followed by the hint of tarragon), I couldn’t choose. Do you have problems making decisions too? So I ended up buying one of each. That way I could share them with the family. They deserve it, I guess. Go for the marron-cassis (chestnut-blackcurrant), raspberry, passion-tarragon, cheesecake, chocolate-banana, coffee and caramel-ginger.
As Christophe was adding a chocolate-raspberry creation to his pastry line-up, I had my eye on his Religieuse. I love how he does a retake on the normal classic of 2 choux buns: he adds a third and I’ve often seen his wacky versions including a macaron shell with a gigantic raspberry on top, presenting a magnificent mitre look.
I take my hat off to the salted caramel Religieuse, with the bottom sablé pastry hiding its gem of ginger. This crafty combination also works well in his caramel macaron just like it, using salt from the Guérande (also another boutique there.) Incidentally, they don’t give fancy titles to their pastries: just helpful descriptions. No wonder they chose the mango dome with passion and citronella for their wedding: that did it for me since the flavours were sublime but the whole experience was so light. Then there’s the Mango compôte with caramel cream, ginger jelly and Indian vanilla. My only complaint? I needed just one spoon so that nobody else could get at it.
Now this is what I call class: choose from the gourmet chocolate bars – an ‘Electro’Choc’ – have it packaged individually, and indulge at the top of the Montmartre steps. Sounds a good program? That Tiramisu one is a great pick-me-up, and orange-speculoos (cinnamon.)
On the right are one of his Buttes de Montmartre (Montmartre mounds). Coated ivory chocolates with a oh-so-fruity peach jelly inside. He also has one that fizzes in the mouth.
For the romantics, you must try his kisses – they’re nothing like the Hershey ones. These are flamboyant lips! Creation obviously reigns in the family, as Julie’s brother fashioned this chocolate bar, housing different varieties of tablets.
So before you race up these steps up to Sacré-Coeur, take a breather of chocolate and macarons then head up that hill. He’s also near the Eiffel Tower (10 rue de Champ de Mars) so you have the same sweet program of what to do when in Paris.
Then perhaps a kiss or two at the top?