mercredi 23 janvier 2013

Recon Mission - Dessert!!

 Today, I brought out the David Lebowitz Pastry App and checked out a couple more of his pastry recommendations, heading over to the 16th. This is a posh area anyway so you can be sure everything is upscale, and with it, a hefty price tag. The first stop was Aux Merveilleux de Fred on Rue de l'annunciation. I love the name of this pastry shop as it has a bit of sentiment for me being the namesake of my Uncle who recently passed away and he loved all food and loved dessert and he would have found these just maavelous!

I love that you can be a voyeur in the front window and take photos and the workers inside take no notice as they have this neat little trick of leaving a window shade just about half way down so all you see are their hands working the creme and rolling the merinque around in the nuts. These merveilleux, which are traditionally from the North of France and Flanders come in 5 different flavors. The merinque is copiously covered in thick creme and rolled in dark chocolate, nuts, praliné or other coating. They come in 3 sizes - mini, individual, or a large cake to share.  Even better - no guilt if you opt for mini or individual serving!

This is just crying out for a spoon!

The chef has taken a bit of French history and tied it in with the names of the 5 flavors of Merveilleux. Back in the late 18th century, after the Reign of Terror, a new decadent and fashionable subculture emerged in Paris. The people associated with this new era were called the "incroyables" and their female counterparts were the "Merveilleuses". Paris was now a time of pleasure-seeking and entertainment  - basically foot-loose and fancy-free, wearing clothes that were outlandishly decadent and doing all sorts of illicit things. Hence, the names of the pastries to imply a pleasure-seeking, decadent dessert to do nothing short of tantalizing the taste buds. Oh and did it!! The French have a knack for play on words and this is a perfect example!!

Complete with a chandelier adorning the inside of this tiny shop


Such cool packaging!!

They also serve a Cramique, which first appeared in 1830 in Belgium and the north of France. The pastry chef has paid homage to this original brioche and added his own touches by having a choice of baked with sucre, chocolate or raisins inside - breakfast! Be sure to stop by and sample these goodies!!

The next stop was Desgranges on Rue Passy. The display of pastries stopped me cold as I stood and drooled at my choices. The cashier kept asking me what I would like, but I was at such a loss as everything looked fabulous. She said with a grin, well, we're here till 8:00 pm so take your time. (It was 4 when I passed by) I opted for an orange eclair, a mousse like cake covered in caramel beurre salé and a Baba Rhum.  Well, I was not disappointed. My favorite was the orange eclair - the creme inside was a coffee/caramel flavor and the orange fondant topping was very different from any I had ever had before. The Baba Rhum was so strong - I didn't care for it that much. The mousse cake with the caramel beurre salé was very subtle with good flavors, but I was hoping for a bit more of that salty caramel taste.

beautiful packaging
As you can see, the caramel mousse on left had a rough train ride home!

All in all, a good recon mission and next time you are in the area, have a go at one or both of these places.

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