Ever since Profiterole Chérie opened in Paris’s upper Marais in December, I’ve been itching to go. The two times I’d managed to get there from our banlieue outskirts on a cold, wintry evening on the way to one of my favourite restaurants in the area, I’d see the boutique closed with its beckoning pink and black decor and neon lighting. That takes some going, I have to say, as the boutique doesn’t close until 8pm. Luckily I was given a push when Lindsey of LostinCheeseland proposed we went for a tasting.
The boutique is the latest brilliant concept of celebrity pastry chef, Philippe Urraca, who won the accolade of Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) in pâtisserie in 1993 and since 2003, has been Président of the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France Pâtissiers. He is not only seen frequently on French TV but he was a most kind and approachable personality at the annual Salon du Chocolat in Paris – but I shall not embarrass him here with my goofy smiles with our look-at-me-simple-mum-with-top-pastry-chef pic taken together.
Notice the shop across the street? Jean Colonna is a haute couture designer – we perhaps share the same surname and dentist but one day I’ll pluck up the courage to step into his fashion boutique. In the meantime I’ll just munch on choux puff profiteroles and gaze across the road in ecstasy.
Freshly prepared in front of you at the pâtisserie bar, all profiteroles are based on a small choux bun with craquelin (crumble topping) and once you’ve chosen from the tempting choice of current 11 “Ma Chérie” flavours, the welcoming staff delicately mount the sweet piece of art in front of you.
Either sit at the bar and admire the assemblage (requiring an extreme test of will-power as you watch each concoction pass by) or choose a relaxing – albeit squeaky – light grey leather chair from one of the spaced out tables, as you admire the dusky pink and shiny black interior reflected by giant mirrors.
I chose Ma Chérie Caramel, filled with caramel ice cream and served with a little plastic pot of caramel sauce. I also couldn’t resist this Ma Chérie Citron meringué, with a lemon cream, candied lemon, meringue sticks and frilly meringue collar, finished off with lime zest, gold leaf and its little accompanying pot of tart lemon sauce. I was so in awe of gazing at Lindsey’s Mont-Blanc that I completely forgot about the sauces. The Earl Grey tea I chose was spot on, although next time I do hope they’ll serve their teas in teapots; somehow, paper cups just don’t give the beautiful pastries justice.
There are plenty more exquisite iced (glacées) or cream profiteroles (pâtissières) like this one to choose from. Chef Philippe Urraca has also written a book in French entirely dedicated to his choux pastry art, and it’s no surprise at his title: Profiteroles.
Well I managed to restrict myself to only two flavours with good old French-style willpower so that just means I’ll have to return to try the others! You’ll love it.
Open Tuesday-Friday 12.30-8pm
17 rue Debelleyme
75003 Paris (North Marais)
Metro: Fille du Calvaire (line 8)
Vélib’ stations 3003, 11045
Disclaimer: I was not in any way sponsored or invited as a guest by Profiterole Chérie and all opinions are entirely my own.