the pleasures of parisian pastries

Last week, my husband and I vacationed in Paris; it was the perfect opportunity to sample all the delectable pastries the city has to offer. Our hotel was dangerously within walking distance of Dalloyau, one of Paris’ top patisseries, where we grabbed some baguettes and pistachio croissants for breakfast…

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Here is a closer look at the window display, and the dessert we took home that night, ‘la religieuse’. It’s a classic French pastry with an eclair-like round topped with another.

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Laduree receives high praise for their ‘macarons’, so this tea salon was an obligatory stop. ‘Macarons’ are not to be confused with the chewy, coconut ‘macaroons’ that we know in the US. Perhaps my experience with the latter tainted my expectations of how these would taste, and I was admittedly skeptical of the flavor of these deceptively simple looking cakes. However, one bite of these ethereal creations blew me away. We sampled mini versions in flavors such as bitter chocolate, coffee, pistachio, salted butter caramel, rose petal, hazelnut praline. Ah…sublime…

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I have to admit, though, that my favorite pastries were from those of Sadahari Aoki, a patissier who developed his superb skills in both Japan and France.

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The green zen-like cake pictured above was my absolute favorite, called ‘bamboo’ (then again, I am a huge fan of match green tea). It was composed of what appeared to be alternating layers of green tea cake, chocolate cream, and matcha green tea cream – simply heavenly. Below that was a passion fruit cake, light, and refreshingly citrus-y and also delicious. The aesthetics and presentation of both were gorgeous.

Looking at the photos makes me regret not sampling all the other creations, but alas, there is only so much sugar one can consume within a week, even if you ‘partager avec’ your sweetie…

And at last but not least, I leave you with a befitting shot of kitsch from the animated window displays of Les Galeries Lafayette (looks like Marie Antoinette meets Disney, non?):

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