Favourite chocolate, and sweet confectionary shops in Paris

Pure 100% Cacao Chocolate Mousse Recipe by Patrice Chapon

How many chocolate storefronts do you know resemble dark chocolate?  Every time I walk past the Chapon boutique in Paris’s growing sweet-lined rue du Bac, I could almost lick off the writing imagining it’s made of cocoa butter and gold leaf.

You may remember my visit to the first ever Bac Sucré Event in June this year (update: and again here in 2016), where I already wrote a bit about Chocolaterie Chapon. During the event, my daughter Lucie and I signed up for a short talk by Patrice Chapon, explaining how he has been making his chocolate since 1985 from “bean-to-bar” from his workshop in Chelles (a suburb 20km north-east of Paris).

Chapon chocolate maker Paris

Originally a restaurant chef then pastry chef in Deauville, I love how Monsieur Chapon then popped over the Channel for a short stint as official ice-cream maker to the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace – how cool is it to have had the Queen Mother surprise you one day with rose petals from the royal gardens, asking you to make a sorbet with them? After inspiration from Harrod’s food hall, he realised his real vocation was back in France making chocolate and by 2005, he opened this second shop in Paris.

It takes 10 days to make the chocolate as we see it in the store. Even the cacao growers in the tropics (10° North or South of the Equator) are amazed at what final result can be achieved from these simple looking beans.

He procures the beans after they’ve been fermented and dried, then does the rest himself. He grills them – 20 kilos at a time – for about 30 minutes at 105°C until they start to smell and taste like chocolate, even if still bitter at this stage. After grinding to obtain cocoa nibs then 8 hours maturing, he adds sugar (and powdered milk for milk chocolate), he continues to grind then liquify the cacao by a method called conching. Any acids or bitterness disappear after at least 48 hours and as if by magic, the end result after tempering and mixing, we’re left to discover the end result.

Chapon chocolate shop Paris rue du Bac

Tasting our way through the characteristic tropical-patterned packaged chocolate bars, each variety has its own subtle but particular flavours: Cuba has notes of spice and exotic fruits, Lucie agreed that Ghana has banana notes, and Madagascar has real after-notes of red fruits.

With wide-eyed children looking on at the generous samples laid out in front of us, Chapon surprised them with his witty Willy Wonka remark in French, “With this ticket, adults have a tasting of a chocolate mousse cone; children have their tasting of salsify” (which is a popular root that’s served as vegetable here, especially I hear at the school canteen). Their confused expressions were quickly transformed as their eyes feasted on chocolate lollipops.

domes fondant au sel or salted dark chocolate domes best award paris

My eyes were for the salted praline Dômes au Sel, winners of the Mairie de Paris Chocolate Grand Prix in 2003.

Chapon chocolaterie Paris rue du Bac

True to the chocolate bars, the mousses were so dense in chocolate, yet light and airy.  Chapon states that he uses about 20-30% less chocolate in his mousses due to the high cocoa content than more standard chocolate mousses that our grandmothers made.

As I left the boutique, realising again that I’d bought way too much chocolate (confessions of a chocoholic), I noticed that the recipe for the legendary chocolate mousse was printed on the brown paper bag.

pure dark chocolate mousse Venezuela Chapon

With so many chocolate varieties to choose from, I thought I’d be adventurous and go for the 100% pure cacao Rio Caribe of Venezuela.  On the tablet’s back label, it even specifies “100% minimum”, which would excite any cocoa connoisseur!

If I have to make one remark, the recipe’s chocolate quantity of 185g isn’t that ideal for us shoppers, since most of the tablets are 75g and so with two bars I was 35g short of pure Venezuela.  As it’s 100%, also note that it’s drier than most classic mousses.  The aftertaste is intense – a little goes a long way to appreciate the flavours. Just as in wine-tasting, I’d even go as far as to say that this chocolate mousse is earthy or as we say in wine terms, “sous bois” or undergrowth (for more on tasting, see my post about different notes on the nose).  It was almost leafy or, dare I say, mossy. In French, moss is mousse – so I’ll leave you to groan at your own pun!

Chapon Paris Chocolate Mousse Recipe pure cacao

Pure 100% Cacao Chocolate Mousse Recipe by Patrice Chapon

Patrice Chapon states the best chocolate to use for his mousse is either Equagha, équateur, Mexique or 100% Rio Caribe. His new tablet, Brésil, would also be good.

185g Pure Origin Chocolate Chapon (I used 100% Venezuela Rio Caribe)
100g semi-skimmed fresh milk
1 egg yolk
6 egg whites
37g cane sugar

Chapon chocolate mousse recipe ingredients

1. Heat the milk until it boils. Grate the chocolate in a large bowl.

2. Pour the hot milk over the grated chocolate and stir gently until well mixed using a wooden spoon.  Add the yolk and continue to stir until the mixture is brilliant.

3. In a separate bowl, whip up the egg whites using an electric whisk, adding half of the sugar at first and then at the end when they are whipped and fluffy (but not firm).

4. Gradually incorporate the egg whites, folding it in delicately until all mixed together and smooth.

5. Either keep it in the bowl or transfer to individual serving bowls (I would suggest little ones here, as this mousse is so intense!)

6. Refrigerate overnight (I suggest covering with cling film) and enjoy next day.

Pure chocolate mousse Patrice Chapon Recipe

Serving suggestion: spoon into Almond Tuiles from my new book, Teatime in Paris!

100% pure chocolate mousse recipe by Chapon served with French tuiles

Serve with French Almond Tuiles for dessert

If you’re in Paris, either drop in and taste the mousse for yourself at Chapon’s boutiques.

CHAPON
69, rue du Bac, 75007 Paris
Tel. 01-42 22 95 98

Discovering the Best Orangettes, Rue de Miromesnil Paris

“Do you like orangettes?” My friend, Francis was grinning, almost expecting me to react with a shrug and say, “Yes but I’m not their biggest fan, plus Antoine and the kids are not that hot on them either.”

Before I knew it, determined to convince me otherwise, Francis met me in Rue de Miromesnil (in Paris’s 8th Arrondissement) for a taste of Guy Perault’s speciality, Orangettes or candied orange peel covered in dark chocolate.  If you thought you’d tasted Orangettes before, then just try them again here.

Rue de Miromesnil Paris

Growing up in Scotland, chocolate candied orange peel was my Granny’s favourite, my Mum’s favourite and chocolate gingers were always top of Gran’s list at Christmas. As they generously shared them, I would pass since they were a waste on me.  Do you remember Terry’s Chocolate Orange? Well I preferred stretching my pocket money on these popular flavoured chocolate segments with orange oil, wrapped in crinkly orange and silver paper, resembling a real orange; I thought it looked more appealing (or “a-peeling”?) but it was perhaps the packaging that spoke more than the contents. I can’t imagine there was much real chocolate or cocoa solids going on in that orange – or in these other orangettes, either.

Just opening the door of Orangettes & Co. heady wafts of chocolate and orange hit this distant memory.  With chocolate machinery right at the entrance and dark chocolate oozing out of a continuous tempering machine, this signalled a more sophisticated product – far from the industrial kind I had been used to.

guy Perault orangettes Paris

Monsieur Perault welcomed us into his small manufacturing shop, where his orangettes are considered as fresh products, using no preservatives. He dedicates his time to the laborious job of making the candied citrus fruits himself, selecting the best organic oranges from Spain, Sicily, Corsica and South Africa at the market in Rungis.

Although you can’t tell the difference in the taste of their origin once they’re transformed into candied fruit, the only telling factor is texture as a result of the thickness of skin.

how to candy orange peel

He took us into his tiny kitchen where the candied fruit are centre stage in a giant pot.  The jackpot is to replace as much water in the peel with sugar in order to concentrate the flavour and conserve it.  It can take Guy up to 10 days to make this happen.  It’s a real art: he checks the right proportion of sugar to orange using a simple weighing method called le pesage – Rolling Stones style!

We tasted the orange at the point when it’s just ready to be coated with chocolate. Mon Dieu! The orange wasn’t overly sweet, just concentrated in flavour and so soft that it melted on the tongue.

candied orange peel

At this point he coats the peel with 73% good dark chocolate, which he gets from the Chocolaterie de l’Opéra (Avignon).  After trying different percentages of cocoa solids, he arrived at this one, which he feels compliments the orange beautifully.

Orangettes have a much thinner coating than you normally see for orangettes elsewhere.  He takes a bit of a risk with such a thin coating, as it’s more prone to pearls of sugar arising from the fruit. Guy Perault’s theory is that the chocolate should take second stage, as it should be the fruit that shines through. It’s true: elsewhere I’ve seen orangettes with a thick coating of chocolate: this makes it easier for the manufacturer to sell his product since it has a longer shelf life.

Best chocolate orangettes in Paris

Guy doesn’t just make candy oranges: he uses the same procedure for his lemon peel (citronnettes), grapefruit, mandarine, bergamot, cédrat (Corsican over-sized, thick-peeled citrus fruits), ginger and also produces chocolate coated figs.  For lovers of After Eight chocolates, you’re in for a treat with the real thing here.  His mint leaves are not with a fondant centre but are fresh mint leaves taken from the middle of the plant, covered in egg white and coated with chocolate.  So thin, so dainty, so chocolatey minty and healthy with it.

 

Guy Perault's office orangette drawers

We tasted a mandarinette here.  I’m not the biggest fans of mandarines since there are so many pips but the flavour was so prominent – and concentrated like this, I’d rather eat them this way from now on!

I’m sure Gran was watching me test the chocolate gingers from above. Crikey! This is how I like my ginger with a real kick!  For ginger amateurs, he uses organic ginger from either China or South America, such as Peru or Chile and I can second that they have more concentration of flavour!  As it’s pretty strong, only one or two are just enough to have the flavour lingering…

Chocolate drawers

I love the drawers in his chocolate office. Now this is my kind of filing!

You can’t help but be impressed with the filing system here.  What about this for a shoe or handbag drawer? Sorry Antoine, but this is my kind of football.

Chocolate-maker Guy Perault in Paris

I couldn’t resist getting as much as possible for the family to try. Antoine’s first reaction was, “Why did you buy so many? You know I’m not that keen on chocolate orange peel ….”
Then he tasted them. It just goes to show that you can’t say you don’t like something until you try!

Although Guy recommended that we eat them all within 3 weeks, we were still nibbling on them 2 months later.  Not a sugar pearl in sight and I can tell you, I now love orangettes – particularly the citronettes, chocolate gingers and the wafer thin mint leaves.

So, if you like Orangettes, you must taste them; if you love Orangettes, this is a must stop in Paris!  And if you fancy taking part in a 2-hour workshop on Saturdays (up to 8 people max.), who you gonna call?  Monsieur Perault!

Orangettes & Co
110 rue de Miromesnil

75008 Paris

Tel: 01 – 42 65 53 05

Metro: Villiers

The Teatime in Paris Pastry Walking Tour!

It’s great to be back in Paris and settle into a good old routine! As I’m starting to get organised around a more serious school year’s schedule, this rentrée is different.

Thanks to my lovely colleagues at Context Travel, I’m thrilled to be leading a brand NEW macaron, pastry and chocolate walking tour to coincide with my new book.

Welcome to the Teatime in Paris Pastry Walk!

Macarons chocolates and teacakes in Paris for teatime

If you love Paris, pastries, chocolate, macarons and like to bake at home, then this walking tour is right up your street.

Just as I do in the book, I’ll be walking you around some of the finest pastry and chocolate boutiques, pointing out some of the lesser known spots along the way.

Madeleine area and rue saint honore in Paris

Don’t come after a large lunch: we’ll also be tasting many of the finest and award-winning éclairs, tarts, financiers, canelés, madeleines, macarons, chocolates and pralines, just to name a few.  With Autumn on us, it’s the perfect time to enjoy a taste of decadent hot chocolate too.  As we sample, we’ll talk about their Parisian history and how they’re made – so for budding bakers, your questions are welcome.

Patrick Roger Chocolate Madeleine

The tour will take place on Mondays and Tuesdays until end October – ideal for that long weekend trip – as these days are best for enjoying the boutiques at our own pace during 2.5 hours and avoiding the more hustle and bustle of the 8th arrondissement at peak times. And with no more than 6 people in the group, it’s a personal experience.

To finish off, included in this one-off exceptional tour is your own copy of my new cookbook and armchair sweet travel guide. For an idea what’s inside, see About Teatime in Paris.

Teatime in Paris: A Walk Through Easy French Patisserie Recipes

For those of you not in Paris, don’t worry; it doesn’t stop here. With Teatime in Paris you can make your own Parisian-style hot chocolate, teacakes, macarons and pastries for a special teatime at home.  Thanks to Waverley Books, there’s a special offer until the end of September on Amazon.co.uk.

It’s also competition time in the UK over at Party Pieces. So hurry – you still have until noon on Monday 14th September to enter the Teatime in Paris UK giveaway. You could be one of the 4 lucky winners… good luck!

Teatime in Paris pastry recipe book and guide to patisseries in Paris

Have you tried these Chocolate – Earl Grey Tarlets with Orange-Liqueur Crumble Puffs yet from the Tea Party chapter? I’ll be continuing to make recipes from the book on my FB page or instagram feed.

In the meantime, I hope to see you very soon on the Teatime in Paris Pastry Walk with Context Travel .

Jill x

P.S. I forgot to tell you the most important part: it’s also simply great fun!

Bac Sucré Event on Paris Pastry Street

For sweet fans who love to awake the taste-buds and discover memorable unique pleasures in pastry, confiserie and chocolate, rue du Bac is THE best pastry street address in Paris – particularly around mid June. The Bac Sucré runs for five days and is the first ever annual event organised to celebrate the famous artisans that have made this Parisian pastry street become so special on the Rive Gauche.

Just before the official opening yesterday evening by the Mayor of the 7th Arrondissement, Rachida Dati, I made my way starting from the Rue du Bac metro, popping in to the first chocolate shops to give you a taste of what it’s like.

Rue du Bac Paris

First stop, Pierre Marcolini. This Belgian chocolate maker is one of the few chocolatiers in Paris who makes chocolate from bean to bar. Normally I love popping in to the shop in Rue de Seine on my (previous) St Germain chocolate walks but for this occasion, the welcome for Bac Sucré was with Monsieur Marcolini’s unique and healthy “Cocoa Infusion”, which has taken three years to master.

It was served refreshingly cold for the summer, inviting a new angle on cocoa drinks. Although labelled as “plain” (the other version is subtly perfumed with rose), this naturally delicate but stimulating infusion is a rich source of polyphenols and antioxidants that play a role in combating cell ageing (I’ll drink to that!). The addition of citrus slices and vanilla is a lovely touch yet in the background is still the hint of cocoa. The infusions can be taken warm in winter or in summer, infused in hot water and left to chill.

Update 2017: Pierre Marcolini’s boutique on Rue du Bac has closed but the nearest is still on Rue de Seine.

Pierre Marcolini Chocolate Paris

Don’t forget to taste Pierre Marcolini’s macarons, too; for the record, he also won the world pastry championships in Lyon in 1995.

Next visit, Chapon across the road at number 69. Patrice Chapon is another rare chocolate maker in Paris who takes the art of chocolate further by perfecting his chocolates directly from the source of the cacao bean.

Chapon chocolate maker Paris

I took notice of Patrice Chapon’s name ever since my first Paris Salon du Chocolat. Every October during the Salon, there’s always a queue in front of his famous Chocolate Mousse Bar. For amateurs of dark chocolate, how can you turn up a tasting of a spectacular 100% pure cacao Venezuela chocolate mousse? Or a Madagascar light and fruity mousse with a slight menthol taste; a Cuba mousse with a slightly smoky, underwood taste (hm – could I have that with a peaty Whisky, please?) or why not a rounder taste in the mouth of the light notes of apricot, dried fruits and caramel with the Perou?

Next time I pop in, I should pick one from the bar to take a mousse cone to go.  Or it could be this deliciously gooey chocolate cake? It’s called VSD: Vendredi Samedi Dimanche – with a name like that you know it’s going to be special. It was another real treat to have Patrice Chapon there himself to take us through the tastings for the event with his lovely team.

Chapon chocolate mousse

Tastings from the chocolate mousse bar or a gooey bite of VSD: Vendredi Samedi Dimanche cake

Patrice Chapon explained his method of selecting the beans from across the world; from the Ivory Coast, to Ghana, to Venezuela, to Peru, to Madagascar (there are many more) – to roasting until he’s left with the cocoa nibs (or grué – very edible at this point, even if bitter, ideal for savoury cooking, in my opinion) then the next stage is spent grinding it down in his conching machine.  This machine below is just a small version he uses on a daily basis but normally it’s on a bigger scale in Chelles, 20 km north-east of Paris – something I look forward to posting for you later.

Chapon Paris chocolate-making from bean to bar

Then there are the pralines, with the Agates popular with customers.  His latest are on the same lines but are Smileys, with a crunchy, powerful praline of almonds and hazelnuts enrobed in white chocolate.

Chocolate pralines at Chapon Paris

As a previous marketer, I appreciate packaging to show off and preserve the contents for high-end goods.  Patrice Chapon has something to smile about since not only are each of his chocolate bars given a pretty nostalgic theme, but the wrapper is re-sealable in able to preserve the chocolate as long as possible for dark chocolate-nibbling squirrels like myself.

Chapon chocolate bars

Roll on Saturday, when I’m bringing along Lucie to take part in one of his demonstrations during the day at the workshop behind the shop. (Call 01 42 22 95 98 to sign up for either 15h, 15h30, 16h, 16h30 or email).

Next is Dalloyau, just around the corner on 63 rue de Grenelle. For the event, the institution’s emblem reminds us that they’ve been around since 1682, as it’s firmly nestled into the religieuse heads of these pastries.  Don’t be fooled by their appearance.  These two are savoury! Not sure of the salmon being so yellow, but hey, I haven’t tasted it yet – for the next visit or tell me what it’s like if you get there first!

Dalloyau Paris Savoury Religieuse

Continuing on rue du Bac, just on the next corner to rue de Varenne, is the new boutique of Jacques Genin. Known for his signature caramels, chocolate and exquisite pastries at the Tea Salon in Rue de Turenne, Monsieur Genin was presenting his latest daring taste sensations to add to his fruit jelly range: he’s invented vegetable jellies!

Admittedly, I’d already tried them last week with my friend, Francis. Curious to taste, we tried cucumber, pepper, beetroot and turnip. The cucumber is wonderfully fresh for the summer and fun on the palate. The pepper and beetroots’ sweetness were unearthed too but somehow the originality of the turnip just didn’t do it for me.  As a Scot, I’m perhaps too stuck in my ways enjoying the humble turnip with my haggis and mash. For the rest of the tasting, you can possibly see that the green rhubarb jellies were suspiciously low on stock with me being around the stand…

Jacques Genin chocolate and pastry, Rue de Varenne Paris

Now, Monsieur Genin was definitely demonstrating how cheeky he can become when chocolate is concerned. No wonder he was posing like this for the camera when you taste his latest number! Ladies and Gentlemen, meet his chocolate bars with capers. I love the size of the bars rather than small chocolates, as the saltiness of the capers don’t come through straight away.  There’s a crunchiness in the chocolate that makes it quite a sensation. I’m looking forward to posting more about Jacques Genin soon from his laboratory in the Marais.

Jacques-Genin chocolate caramel capers rue de Varenne Paris

After that wonderful capering around, on to more classic pastries at 108 rue du Bac. Angelina have created a raspberry twist to their signature Mont Blanc dessert especially for the Bac Sucré event. Normally crème de marrons (chestnut vanilla cream) is rather sweet but that’s what makes these pastry houses so special: they are not too sweet at all with just the right balance. Yes, that’s something to smile about!

Angelina rue du bac Paris

The Godfather of the Bac Sucré event is Philippe Conticini, known for making the patisseries of dreams from La Pâtisserie des Rêves. This was his very first store at 93 rue du Bac. Now he continues to make clients dream of their sweetest childhood memories through his creations via his characteristic glass-belled boutiques around the world.

Patisserie des Reves, rue du Bac Paris

For the event, even the taste of his sweeties tasting of sweeties (bonbons tasting of bonbons) were childhood-provoking. A real privilege to meet chef Conticini himself, he was most sincere how he explained how the critic scene in the Disney film, Ratatouille, was a turning point for him and how meeting a group of Japanese tasting something so French and completely different to what they’d tasted before could evoke such déjà vu memories of something they’d thought they’d eaten before.  “It wasn’t possible!”, he confided.  That was the revelation: to realise he could aim to create that intrinsic pleasure of evoking delicious childhood. Sweet dreams, indeed.

Patisserie des Reves, Philippe Conticini Paris

I encourage you to head over to rue du Bac for the Bac Sucré event until Father’s Day afternoon on Sunday 21st in Paris.  There are so many other boutiques to visit yet – I’m aiming for Hugo & Victor, Foucher, La Grande Epicerie and Des Gâteaux et du Pain (Claire Damon is the genius behind the patisserie, seen below) and Eric Kayser over the weekend.

Bac Sucre event Paris June 2015

Thank you to the organisers of Le Bac Sucré and to the wonderful chefs for making this new event happen and for sharing their savoir-faire with us. Thank you, Carol of ParisBreakfasts for spotting this last week!  Loved making new friends too: Virginie, Charlène, Solli – see you soon!

Bac Sucre Event June 2015 rue du Bac Paris

Bac Sucré® Event
Rue du Bac
7th Arrondissement Paris

Tuesday 16- Sunday 21 June 2015 (see Bac Sucré 2016: 2nd Fruity Edition on Paris Pastry Street)
For the full programme, go to BacSucre.com 

—>NEXT 4th EDITION 2018: 13-17 June 2018.

More on Rue du Bac

Would you like easy patisserie recipes and the history behind them, including Rue du Bac? Then you’ll find plenty of inspiration in my second book, Teatime in Paris!

rue du bac paris

It’s Teatime in Paris!

Le Bac Sucré – 16-21 June, Rue du Bac Paris

For the very first time, Paris’s most famous gourmet street is holding a festival this week, entitled Le Bac Sucré. From Tuesday 16 to Sunday 21 June 2015, the Rue du Bac will be demonstrating its glorious deliciousness to the public.

Situated on the left bank (Rive Gauche) south of the River Seine, the Rue du Bac is one of the sweetest streets of Paris, with an astonishing high concentration of high-end pâtisseries and chocolate boutiques. So it’s not surprising that it’s featured prominently in Teatime in Paris!

Rue du Bac Teatime in Paris

Naturally, the Mayor of the 7th arrondissement is proud to show off its area and share the savoir-faire of its talented bakers, pastry chefs, and chocolate makers.

Led by Philippe Conticini of the Pâtisserie des Rêves, six days will be centred around tastings, workshops and demonstrations open to the public, including animations for children.

Rue du Bac Paris Patisseries

Other stars of pastry and chocolate will be there, and I’m sincerely hoping to also get a glimpse of Pierre Marcolini and Jacques Genin.

Participating artists include the famous houses of La Pâtisserie des Rêves, Angelina, Hugo & Victor, Des Gateaux et du Pain (Claire Damon), Eric Kayser, La Grande Epicerie de Paris, plus the historical house of Dalloyau.

Download Le Bac Sucré programme here (in French).

For more information, visit www.bacsucre.com. Each year, the festival typically falls during the annual Baccalaureate (BAC) exams, mid June.

Pascal Caffet in Paris

Don’t be fooled by McDonalds on the corner of Place de Passy in Paris’s 16th arrondissement. It perhaps marks the start of Rue Duban, where the Marché de Passy indoor market adds to the hustle and bustle with delivery vans and florists, but this street has more to it than at first glance.

Last month, as an occasional pilgrimage to stock up on some M&S British goodies for Antoine and the girls, I was  immediately drawn across the road by a most impressive Chocolatier and Pâtissier.

Rue Duban Paris 16

It was the signature of Pascal Caffet en plus that lured me right in. The name rang a curious bell. Nearly 12 years ago, Lucie’s christening cake was personally delivered to Paris by Antoine’s uncle, Tonton Claude, who lives near Troyes. I remember how proud he was, showing off his local pâtisserie’s talents by one of France’s most prized pastry chefs, Pascal Caffet, who now has 3 boutiques in Troyes alone.  Since then he has opened yet another 2 boutiques in the Champagne region, two in Burgundy, plus in Italy and Japan. Thankfully for us there are now two in Paris.

Pascal Caffet Patisserie Paris

Entering the boutique, it was everything I love in a top pâtisserie and chocolate shop: not just the products and knowledge about them, but also the warm welcome. The owner, Charles Benchetrit, couldn’t be a more friendly and passionate ambassador of Pascal Caffet’s creations.

Last week, returning to buy more, I was in for a huge surprise.  Smartly casual wearing a cheeky smile, Pascal was there himself – totally modest for such a prizewinner, most notably for being the youngest ever Meilleur Ouvrier de France (aka MOF, the highly coveted Olympian of French craftsmen in France) in pâtisserie at age 27 in 1989, and in 1995 as world champion of pastry-chocolate-ice cream in Milan.

Pascal Caffet, Meilleur Ouvrier de France Pâtisserie Paris

What better excuse is that for us customers to taste? Previously I’d particularly loved the Paris-Troyes (top left), based on the classic praline-filled round choux, the Paris-Brest. This is his take on it using an almond praline cream, a light Madagascan vanilla cream and dribbled with a 66% dark chocolate. The ultimate pastry to try is his Las Vegas (bottom left), which earned him the title of MOF with chocolate biscuit, dark chocolate mousse (Venezuela 70%), Madagascan vanilla crème diplomate, crispy almond and raspberries. You can see why.

Las Vegas and Paris Troyes pastries

This time I was treated to a small tasting in the shop with the Exotique (above), with a soft exotic fruit mousse, wild strawberries and sponge. My favourite part was the crunch of the pineapple in syrup at the end…

Pascal Caffet, winning pastry chef and chocolate maker in Paris and Troyes

Did I mention that Pascal is also extremely down to earth and fun, too? I want to frame this shot of him sneaking in at the last second. For all his prestigious line-up of awards, it hasn’t gone to his head!

Macarons in pastry shop window in Paris

He’s also mad about macarons: with 20 different flavours to choose from, they’re all made with the most delicate chocolate ganaches, making them how we love them: ever-so-slightly meringue crispy on the outside and beautifully soft in the inside. Charles let me taste Chocolat passion, Vanille framboise, caramel à la fleur de sel. What is it with salted caramel?  I have to say this one was my personal favourite.

Macaron tasting Paris

Chocolates are another passion: this pure origine Brésil was striking for a 100% cacao ganache in that it wasn’t bitter, just a pure chocolate sensation with a long aftertaste. Oh, and it’s made with Criollo, one of the rare cacao varieties which makes up only about 5% of global production, so it’s the Grand Cru Classé of chocolate. If you love pralines, this is the place to come!

Pascal Caffet chocolate Paris

At first I thought these round nutty chocolate disks were mendiants. They are instead given the tongue-in-cheek name, Croqs’Télé, as they’re perfect for munching in front of the TV (ahem – we don’t munch in front of the telly, do we?).  Filled with praline, they’re topped with caramelised almonds and hazelnuts from Piemonte.

Mendiants, or the praline version by MOF Pascal Caffet

These raspberry caramels hit the spot and would do for Lucie, too, as she has a brace: they’re deliciously clever non-stick caramels on the teeth. Dare I say, she would also appreciate the pots of salted caramel and recognise the huge difference between Nutella and his range of artisanal chocolate-hazelnut spreads (pâte à tartiner) or Chocopraliné, as he calls it.

French caramels

The family have done his éclairs proud.  After tasting so many of them, you could say we’re experts of les éclairs au Caffet! Intense coffee, passion fruit, pistachio, Paris-Brest, hazelnut praline, Chocotartiné®, acidic lemon and salted caramel.  Not bad, eh? Oh, and the Fraise Gourmande is missing since we tasted it in the shop. Gourmande and strawberry it certainly was.

French eclairs

I wonder if we get a tasting medal?  Well, no – we still have many more treats to try out – but in true French style, avec modération… I thoroughly recommend you help me out and taste them for yourself.

Pascal Caffet and Charles at the Paris patisserie in rue Duban

Pascal and Charles – you rock! Thanks for coming to Paris.

Pascal Caffet
13 rue Duban75016 Paris

Tel: 01 – 45 20 08 04
Metro: La Muette


 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I was not asked to write anything about the store and all comments are entirely my own.