I almost want to keep this address a secret. Last week I discovered this new patisserie, Foucade, in Paris – the difference is that all pastries here are entirely gluten-free. Opened just since December 2015, tucked between the Madeleine church and Rue Saint Honoré, this stylish bright violet boutique oozes chic. From the inviting entrance with violet hydrangeas, #healthy ‘ashtags and intriguing pastry postcards splashed on the window, the pastry counter leads through to a quiet and secluded tea salon.
I met the boutique’s energetic founder, Marjorie Fourcade, who explained the concept behind Foucade. Discovering she was intolerant to wheat and dairy (lactose) plus problems related to sugar, she worked together with nutritionists for three years. The result was the creation of this healthy “Patisserie Positive”.
The focus is on top quality products for a total gluten-free cast with the majority of pastries also dairy-free (sans lactose). Marjorie insists on using natural ingredients with contents both low in fat and sugars – without forgetting the utmost detail to taste and flavour.
An emphasis is on fresh fruit and vegetables – yes, vegetables. There are no food colourings used: to achieve the vibrant crimson red on a Fraisier, for example, her Japanese pastry chef, Saori Odoi, adds beetroot juice. I could even taste the beetroot’s subtle presence, which is unusual in a classic strawberry French pastry, but hey, I’m flexible.
As everything is totally healthy, my excuse was to try as many pastries as I could fit in their extra large pastry box, especially interested to taste with the family at home and test out their reactions.
Each Foucade pastry comes with its corresponding postcard, detailing the nutritional facts – a touch that is no doubt appreciated by any sensitive Celiac sufferer or anyone prone to food allergies. For us, we were simply curious to know more behind the pastries.
All pastries are very much reduced in sugar, allowing each ingredient to shine. Let me give you a sample tasting:
La Citronnée – Acidulée! With an 81% reduction in sugar compared with its traditional gluten versions around Paris, we were preparing our cheeks for a complete puckering session. WRONG! (I think the most puckering sensation I’ve had with a lemon & lime tart is at Carette.) Although still tart, the creaminess of the lime, lemon, and yuzu were all slightly sweetened by a hint of basil. The crunchy texture of the tart base of unrefined almonds finished it off beautifully. My girls were impressed that they’d also had a +269% dose of vitamin E, at that.
L’Eclair Spicy – Spicy it is. The choux dough is so light, made with colza and chia grains, topped with a crunchy almond and hazelnut praline. The apples are sautéd in three spices and the Chantilly is particularly heady with a strong kick of cloves, which makes for a totally new éclair experience.
L’Opérette Puissante (dairy-free) – This is the ultimate dark chocolate treat and powerful it is. With a mixture of 70%, 85% and 100% raw cocoa, with a light crunchy mixture of buckwheat and chia grains for the most deliciously healthy protein boost. I thought my girls would find it too “raw” and lacking sugar, but they totally loved it – it’s true that it’s robust in chocolate and so a little goes a long way!
Speaking of buckwheat, Marjorie insisted I buy a packet of the Foucade special gluten-free granola. As I normally make my own breakfast oat granola with no added sugar except roasted in maple syrup, I was expecting (more or less) the same thing. I’m still trying to get my taste-buds around it and, even although there’s no label on the packet to list the ingredients, I can tell there’s a strong play of buckwheat in amongst all the lovely nuts and cranberries. Personally I prefer buckwheat in galettes (traditional Breton savoury crêpes) or a lighter version in their Opérette. Their cute mini moist lemon cake (Cake pur citron) was more my cup of tea – although buckwheat in granola is so intriguing I may become hooked!
One particular pastry which struck us at first as being a total classic surprised us the most. Described as “Authentique”, it’s cheeky ingredients made it our overall winner:
La Rustique – a crunchy base of chestnut flour and brown rice, sweet potato and cinnamon purée and topped with baked apple. We loved the different textures and although not powerful, the hint of sweet potato is a clever touch. At 145 calories, it’s apparently 64% less than its traditional pastry, with 40% less sugar and has 97% more Magnesium and 44% more vitamin C! No gluten, no egg, no nuts and no soya.
If you’re a demanding gourmet who pays particular attention to well-being and are sensitive to the most natural ingredients, then add Foucade to your best patisserie list on your next visit to Paris.
Maison de Pâtisserie Positive
17 rue Duphot
Tel: (33-1) 42 36 11 81
Tues-Fri 10am-7.30pm; Sat 11am-7pm
See my article about the top 100% Gluten-free Pastries in Paris at Bonjour Paris.