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Sweet Stopovers in Paris

A gourmand is someone who relishes good food and hearty eating. Those of you who identify with the word “gourmand” have the perfect excuse to visit Paris this coming May and hone your skills at the Taste of Paris. This gastronomy festival, to be held from 18 to 21 May in the Grand Palais, will feature the best culinary creations and products from Paris and environs. Here, we propose a tour of the sweetest establishments in the French capital to whet your appetite. Oh là là!

Fine Chocolate
Among the accolades won by Patrick Roger is his first prize in the Grand Prix International du Chocolat in 1994 and the award for the Meilleur Ouvrier de France in 2000. He is unquestionably the most famous chocolatier in France and a sculpture enthusiast to boot. Combining both these passions of his, he works his raw materials into amazing, large-scale chocolate creations, so it’s quite an experience to visit his shop. And, while you’re there, be sure to try his praline with roasted almonds or hazelnuts, his truffles or his dark chocolate, which he coats with bitter orange. Delightful!

A Great Brunch
Brunch is on the up-and-up in Paris, where numerous cafés and pastry shops offer this breakfast-lunch combination. As we were unable to decide which was our favourite establishment, we have opted to recommend two of them. Biglove Caffè makes the tastiest pancakes in town – plump, light and soft. Fillings include caramel, jam, chocolate and others. Then there is Peco Peco, where you will discover the finest Japanese brunch. Here, the traditional scones have been replaced by sashimi, algae salad, tatakis, etc. and they are all scrumptious!

A Fine “Saint Honoré”
The folks at the Hugo & Victor pâtisserie define their creations as “sweet gastronomy”. They have risen to become one of the leading establishments in Paris in just a few years and have earned acclaim mainly for their fruit tarts, choux pastry filled with custard and, above all, their “Saint Honoré”, a French speciality consisting of profiteroles set on a cylindrical base of pastry coated with custard and whipped cream. One of the peculiarities of Hugo & Victor is that they adapt this traditional pastry to match the products in season – chestnuts, strawberries and even mojito. Oh mon Dieu!

Fine Gluten-Free Pastries
specialises in all kinds of gluten-free pastries – brioches, escargots (snails), chouquettes (sugar-topped pastry puffs decorated with icing sugar), pain au chocolat (a chocolate viennoiserie sweet roll), croissants… The brunch menu is rounded off with jams, butter, honey, gourmet teas, cold soups and natural fruit juices. All homemade. Yummy!

A Great Rum Baba
Pain de Sucre
is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious pâtisseries in Paris. Their fare reveals a perfect combination of flavours and meticulous attention to detail in the presentation, so that all their items look mouth-watering. Their chocolate and mint eclair is as intense as it is fresh and refined, while the rum baba (baba au rhum), above all, is unique. Lighter than a sponge cake, it is coated with whipped cream and soaked in rum, with a rum-dripped dropper which allows you to drench this pastry creation to taste.

Macaroons, Cream Caramel and Pain au Chocolat
If you happen to be in Paris and are sweet-toothed, you are bound to have programmed into your tour schedule a visit to Ladurée, an acclaimed pâtisserie with a classical aesthetic renowned for their macarons (macaroons). These are sold in boxes and vary in terms of current trends and seasonal fluctuations. And, they’re really worth getting hold of because, apart from the establishment’s major marketing splurge – which has earned them international fame – their creations are truly exquisite. But, Paris is also home to another master pastry chef who some say makes even better macaroons than his main rival – we are referring to Pierre Hermé. His shop offers an endless array of intense flavours, and you should also taste the vanilla cream caramel (well worth the €5 tab), as well as theirpain au chocolat.

Delicious Croissants
It defies all logic that in the capital of the croissant it has become increasingly more difficult to find a good homemade specimen. However, at Blé Sucré you will encounter a croissant made by the master pastissier, Fabrice Le Bourdat, who has trailblazed his career in the world’s leading kitchens. His puff pastry, which resembles a stack of micro-leaves, wrapped in the most appetising gold jacket, reveals an intense flavour of butter and caramel. Crisp at first bite, giving way to a creamy yet consistent interior. Have one with a good café au lait on the small, pleasant terrace with views over a park to celebrate the return of the good weather.

Fire up and bring out the gourmand inside you – book your Vueling here.

Text by Laia Zieger of Gastronomistas.com


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