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Saint Honoré Paris: A Pastry Party and a New Healthy Menu

The words, Saint Honoré Paris, mean more than the ever-so-chic luxury shopping street in the first arrondissement. Saint Honoré – the patron saint of bakers – is now given a double tribute at the Mandarin Oriental, the most modern of the Parisian Palace hotels, just around the corner from Place Vendôme.

Saint-Honoré-Paris-street

This week, la fête du Saint Honoré (16 May) was honoured in true Parisian Mandarin Oriental style, with celebrations centred around the famous Saint-Honoré pastry, originally invented by Chef Chiboust on the eponymous street back in the 19th century (1847 to be precise).

Whilst the location of Chef Chiboust’s original patisserie isn’t known, thanks to the Mandarin Oriental hotel on rue Saint-Honoré, it’s now an address (that I’m personally glad to see, as it was previously lacking) which honours the patron saint with their very own signature pastry, completely re-modelled in the hotel’s modern style.

(Did you know that the actual location of the hotel used to be on the same spot as a circus?  See my article all about the Bento Teatime and the true story of Chocolat the clown, who was made famous here.)

saint honore paris pastry mandarin

It’s a double whammy, as such a contemporary re-model of the pastry classic (originally designed by David Landriot) doesn’t stop there.

l’Honoré: New Healthy Menu

The Saint Honoré celebrations announced the opening of l’Honoré, the start of a new style of a healthy-eating detox menu experience from breakfast, lunch to teatime – served in the re-looked stylish lobby and the more discrete cosy alcoves.

Mandarin-oriental Paris

Butterflies follow us around the hotel: starting from the reception area with 138 Swarovski butterflies, representing each of the hotel rooms, to every stylish nook and corner.

saint honore paris

Michelin-starred Executive Chef, Thierry Marx – one of the pioneers in France by indicating vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free or nut-free on his menus here – takes it a step further with l’Honoré by offering menus to cater for those with dietary requirements, or for those who simply like a particularly healthy but gourmet option.

l'honore restaurant mandarin oriental paris

Photo credit: Alexis Anice

(Update 24 May) Honoured to try out the new l‘Honoré menu, I plunged right in with a taste of the carrot, apple and ginger detox drink. The detox concoctions change daily, but I would easily drink this every day given the chance: it has the perfect dosage of reviving ginger without it being too strong and the carrot is balanced beautifully with green apple (checking my complexion in the mirror today to see the benefits!).

The 100% vegan options on the menu are a mix of light quinoa style salads to avocado toast but the vegetable burger is more substantial, served in a rice-flour bun with pickles, salad and the most addictive parsnip chips. Spice lovers will adore the green vegetable curry with coconut and delicate rice: I found it hard to imagine that seasonal vegetables without meat or fish would be so satisfying, especially with its fragrant mix of fresh Thai basil and coriander.

honore paris new healthy menu
Dessert options are fruity and light – but if you’re feeling a bit more decadent, you can choose a pastry from the cake shop that sweetly beckons across the hall.  The one downside is that the new plush seats are so comfortable – it’s just too easy to wish to linger for teatime and, as you’re slightly hidden from view (not from the attentive service), it’s tempting to get working on your next project in such a discrete, peaceful haven.

Saint-Honoré Pastries on Rue Saint Honoré Paris

Back to the pastry party! Chef Thierry Marx and his prestigious pastry team had exceptionally created SIX different flavours of their signature Saint-Honoré pastry just for the occasion: including Matcha green tea, praline, and rose-raspberry. I’ve put in a word that they continue them during the year, so fingers crossed!

Saint Honore pastries Paris

But there was no time to stop and marvel at the Cake Shop’s window. Out in the leafy courtyard during a brief Parisian heatwave, Chef Thierry Marx was kicking off the Saint Honoré celebrations – starting with a demonstration of a giant Saint-Honoré savoury pastry.

Thierry Marx Demonstration Saint Honore

Renowned for his molecular gastronomy with touches of Asian exoticism, chef Marx explained his techniques with an impressive, speedy precision – interspersed with his charismatic sense of humour we’ve loved watching over the years as jury on the first few episodes on French TV’s popular Top Chef on M6. He’s my idol. He may be a celebrity chef but he’s a most modest human being and helps others to succeed.

He fires off a number of baking tips: from how to create the lightest puff pastry in the blender; to the preparation of an avocado and mascarpone cream with a hint of spice, while he pipes it out like luxurious clockwork using a special Saint Honoré piping tip. Finishing flourishes of the most delicate garlic flowers, spots of preserved lemon compote and lime zest are added before popping on the crab-filled choux with scallop coral hats. Et voilà!  As he sprays the masterpiece with ice, he announces that the tasting begins.

Saint Honore Paris by Thierry Marx

Before we know it, he hands us our aprons and we’re in Giraud’s hands to learn how to make a sweet Saint-Honoré cocktail.  Each cocktail coupe is decorated with their Saint-Honoré signature mini caramelised choux. Our tasting group is given a doser, the vanilla syrup, caramel and coconut water – and we learn to shake that ice shaker like a pro, right up to how to pour the cream to rest on the top.

The final touch is edible glitter, which I find difficult to get it in the glass. If you find glitter in their hedges, that’s still my cocktail masterpiece (well, it was my first ever homemade cocktail!)

saint honore paris cocktail

All change to the next workshop: with the lovely Anne-Charlotte giving us the job of decorating the ready-prepared caramelised choux bases.  Our hardest job was decision-making: what cream to use (vanilla vs pink rose)? What piping tips (starred, plain)? What toppings (raspberries, blueberries, chopped nuts, whole almonds, chocolate marbles)?

saint honore pastry

 

Celebrations continued into the evening, with a gigantic meters-long Saint-Honoré pastry – which needed four bakers to carry it while dodging the firework candles!

Here’s my Mandarin Oriental Saint-Honoré. Now I’m wondering how I could have piped out one of these beautiful butterflies: just imagine that stuffed raspberry on its side, fluttering about!

Saint Honore Paris pastry

If you’d like to make the easier classic version of the Saint-Honoré pastry, then it’s the final recipe in Teatime in Paris, as part of the special tea party chapter!

Saint Honore Teatime in Paris

Cheers to Saint-Honoré and to your year ahead of happy baking!

L’Honoré
Detox Menu (Breakfast, Lunch & Teatime)
7am-7pm
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
251 rue Saint Honoré Paris

Saint Honoré, World Baking Day and Birthdays

Happy Saint Honoré Day!  Today on 16th May the French celebrate the Patron Saint of French bakers. Don’t you love it?  What better way to start the day with homemade bread to join in the fête. Truth be told, when bread is so cheap and delicious here, I find there’s not enough motivation to make my own bread. So to change habits this year, I baked something this morning a little different than what we see in our local boulangeries – chocolate bread.

chocolate bread

It wasn’t sweet but pretty solidly packed with good dark chocolate and added extra grains.  I’ll post the recipe soon, as there’s still room for improvement. Any excuse to make it again and lighten it, right?

For more history about how Saint Honoré came about, The Good Life France has a super article on it. Saint Honoré is most famous for its special occasion pastry.  Created in 1847 by pastry chef Chiboust at his pâtisserie in Rue Saint Honoré, it’s the crème de la crème of pastries. With its puff pastry circle as a base, a ring of choux pastry holds little caramelised choux buns and is topped off with a flourish of crème chiboust, which is pastry cream with whipped egg whites and gelatine to hold its hair-do.

It’s the last recipe in Teatime in Paris and it’s not as complicated as you think. It’s all explained in the book but I’ve simplified it a bit for us lazy gourmets plus added a touch of violet.

Saint Honoré pastry cake

Don’t be a shrinking violet – making these Saint-Honorés are not as difficult as you think …

Following on from Saint Honoré, the baking continues tomorrow, Sunday 17th May, for … World Baking Day! Whatever next? I never follow these things since every day could be a baking day when we feel like it.

I saw on the instragram-osphere it’s a day “to remind someone special how much you care”.  It couldn’t have arrived at a better time, as we’ll be celebrating Antoine’s Great Aunt Raymonde’s 94th birthday.  If you have a copy of Teatime in Paris, I mention this remarkable lady in the opening of the Tartlets Chapter. I’m not being cheeky putting her here; her speciality is French colloquial expressions and you’ll see why she’s mentioned as she’s a real cherry on any cake.

Previously, for her 90th birthday, her “cake” had a vie en rose macaron theme. Tomorrow I’ll bake giant but light birthday éclairs with the sweetest Gariguette strawberries from the market (will post on Facebook/Instagram tomorrow).

Gariguette strawberries at the French market

Exactly a year ago, just as I was testing recipes non-stop for the new book, I tried out an experiment for my friend’s 50th. The “5” (outlined in pencil underneath the baking paper as a guide) was stuffed with whipped mascarpone cream (from the cream puffs recipe), topped with sweet strawberries.  The “0” was a long, elongated Paris-Brest (recipes in Teatime in Paris).

rue saint honore sign and giant 50th birthday eclairs

Update! 

Here’s the birthday girl!  Raymonde at 94.  Isn’t she amazing? And the giant éclairs were ideal to serve for a gourmet but little appetite.  Cheers!

Giant eclairs for a 94th birthday cake

The party continues, as it’s also Carol Gillott’s (of ParisBreakfasts fame) birthday too.  Happy Birthday, Carol! She did the most beautiful artwork for the endpapers in the book.

Carol Gillott watercolours in Teatime in Paris by Jill Colonna

See the position of Carol’s lovely watercolour painted cream puff? Well that’s where we’ll be continuing the baking party at 13-A Baker’s Dozen in Rue des Saints-Pères (Saint Germain) for the Teatime in Paris book Event on Wednesday.

If you’re in Paris, it’s still not too late to join us. Click here for more details and to get the last tickets! It’s a good excuse to celebrate these birthdays there too. I’m making macarons, while my chef friend, Laurel is making pastries from the book…

box of chocolate macarons

Giveaways!

If you can’t get to Paris for Wednesday, don’t forget to enter in the free draw to win a copy of “Teatime in Paris!” over at The Good Life France and for UK residents at the FarmersGirl Kitchen.  Good luck!