I promised you another walk around our Paris environs, didn’t I? Last time we were macaroned on French Impressionists’ Island. Today it’s a lovely day, so let’s take a stroll around my favourite town up the road, St Germain-en-Laye.
We’re only walking up one street today: rue au pain. With a name like Bread Street, you can imagine the smell of boulangeries, right? Wrong.
This street should really be called rue au pain au chocolat, as it has chocolateries, confiseries, and pâtisseries. Oh, why do I get such a lovely shiver when I say these words? This confiserie, La Petite Cousine – which is rather expensive – is totally worth it: their mendiants (chocolate palets with candied fruit and nuts), guimauves (marshmallows), pâte de fruits and chocolate selections are all rather exquisite.
Rue au pain is also the birthplace of one of my favourite composers, Claude Debussy. He was born in rue au Pain on 22 August 1862. They’re currently refurbishing the museum (which also houses the Tourist Infomation point), so I’ll show you it when it’s finished. It’s spooky to think I used to play so many of his piano and flute works (my first BBC radio flute recital was featuring Debussy) and one day I’d end up in the same town; just as eery when I suddenly put on radio classique and Debussy plays as I’m driving around the town, looking for a parking place.
This is all in the space of a 5-minute walk – although given that you’re licking the windows (as the French say for window-shopping), or even buying these sweet treats, then it will take you more like 25 minutes.
This chocolate shop is only a few doors away from Jeff de Bruges and they give them tough competition: usually their window is dressed in seasonal chocolate sculptures and many a time, there’s a chocolate fountain enticing passers-by to pop in. Here they’re luring us with crêpes and real melted chocolate – if you want Nutella you get the cheaper ones around the corner!
Pâtisserie Grandin have recently refurbished their boutique to showcase their pastries and macarons…
My personal preferences are in the other streets (you can perhaps tell by their look, ahem. You see why I make them myself?) I’ll show you my favourite Pâtisseries later, as it deserves another post. And now for the final stop at the very top, facing rue au pain: Patrick Roger.
This is one of the latest branches of Patrick Roger’s Parisian chocolate boutiques. Every few weeks he changes the giant chocolate sculpture in the window; from Gorilla, to Grizzly. I wonder if he could do Kaufman’s statue of Debussy in chocolate? Just an idea, Patrick!
At la rentrée – the return to school – children were greeted with gigantic chocolate pencils and glistening chocolate marbles presented in pencil-cases. Is that not an easy way to instantly become the teacher’s pet, brimming with a packet of mini pencils and marbles?
He’s a MOF – Meilleur Ouvrier de France, but of course. I already showed you his pumpkins – it’s a better photo since it was taken inside, without the reflection and it means I could actually buy something, but what?
The elegant assistant always lets me taste one of their chocolates and I never take a photo of it, as it disappears too quickly. Chocolate-basil was the last one I tried. But my personal favourites are his passionfruit caramels – plus I love the chic green bag! It makes up for him not making any macarons.
What? No macarons? So back home, I’m inspired by something chocolatey this weekend. Don’t forget to add a touch of red to your chocolate macaron shells (just one of the many tips in the book.) You don’t see it but I can assure you when you add it, there’s that instant professional look!
Hm. I wonder what chocolatey flavour we could have this time? What macaron would you prefer?