Friday, May 11, 2007

Paris 2007: Desserts & Snacks

What is Paris without a mention of its numerous delectable desserts?

Best of the Best!
Desserts from Laduree and Pierre Herme. I can't decide which I prefer so I will name them as my top co-favourites.

From Pierre Herme:
Pierre Herme 02
Signaure Creation: Ispahan - fresh raspberries and lychees sandwiched in between rose-flavoured macaroon biscuits in a delicate rose petal cream. Desserts can't get any finer or delicate than this!
Pierre Herme 01
Macaroons - So, so addicted to this together with those from Laduree's. I daresay that they might have a wee bit more flavours than Laduree. I love Rose, Olive Oil, Jasmine, Abricot and the list just goes on.
BF 13
It was also here where I discovered the best Almond Croissant that I have ever tasted! Light, fluffy, flaky and buttery layers of goodness. "Two" bites are never enough!
My qualms: That I didn't manage to try more goodies from them (I should aim at trying at least 50% of their selection) and that they only have 2 (TWO) outlets in the entire city of Paris and that they do not have an indoor seating area - everything is takeaway. Tsk! Tsk!

My first sighting of macarons was a Laduree standalone stall inside Printemps. I had to stop immediately and bought 2 macarons from them - Caramel and Chocolate Amer. Those 2 were the first macarons I have tasted in Paris and so began my love affair with these delectable morsels.
Laduree 03
Laduree's famous macaroons
I think over the days, all in all, I have tried like over 10 flavours of their macarons. In some shops, the shop assistants are nice enough to let you have one entire macaron of your choice for sampling. My only regret is that I didn't manage to get any back. My fault really for I planned to get them at their shop/restaurant along Champs Elysees on my last day but since it was a Saturday, the queue for takeaways and eat-ins was too LONG for me to wait in-line.
But luckily, few nights before, my friend and I managed to have post-dinner dessert and tea at the same outlet. We had such a enjoyable time then for the restaurant was almost empty (in fact we were the last customers to leave). There was no rush, no long waiting periods; service was pleasant and attentive enough. In fact, we like all the selections that our waiter recommended to us.
Over an excellent pot of "The Melange Special Laduree" tea (delicate blend of citrus fruits, rose, vanilla & cinnamon), we enjoyed two of the finest desserts we have ever tasted. In fact, these are stuff which dreams are made of...
Laduree 02
Pompadour: Soft coconut macaroon biscuit, erotic fruit compote, vanilla cream
Laduree 01
Elysees: Cocoa "succes" biscuit, thin crispy praline, thin crispy chocolate leaves pure origin of Madagascar, smoth chocolate cream, chocolate zabaglione mousse, chocolate biscuit and cocoa soaked in cocoa syrup.
I still feel bad that I didn't get to try their Hot Chocolate (chocolate chaud) as planned on my last day.

Classic snacks in France
With its signature caramelied crust but a moist, soft and slight chewy center, tasting of rum and vanilla and usually small in size, canelés can pretty much be a very addictive snack.
Pornichet 01
Little beauties from the best bakery in the town of Pornichet, so my friend claimed.
My favourite canelé from the famed Dallayou (from the food hall in Galleries La Fayette) pictured together with an amazing Pistachio Paste croissant-like pastry.

I would say that crepes is the unofficial national street snack in Paris or whole of France for that matter. And if it is, I would not be surprised. There is definitely nothing unappealing about a thin, chewy pancake generously filled with sweet filling. My personal favourite? Check out the pic below.
070427 175Nutella Banana Crepe 02
Nutella Banana Crepe 01
Crepe with Nutella! (optional: additional sliced bananas)

A different type of sweet crepe was discovered at a morning market in the town of Pornichet, La Baule.
070427 053Pornichet Crepe
Thicker texture, paler in colour with "burned" spots all over instead of an even golden hue like those found in Paris , this looks to be more rustic. Filled with chocolate, it definitely deserved another thumbs up!
Besides these sweet crêpes (crêpes sucrées), there are also savoury types, typically known as gallettes. And I had a very good meal at one of the many creperies in La Baule which I will post later.

Other desserts
Ice-cream / Gelato
Amarino GelatoBerthillon Ice-cream
Amorino & Berthillon.
Do a google search on these 2 and you will find many posts and opinions on these 2 brand names which are said to be the best/most famous in Paris (or whole of France?).
The first one I tried was Berthillon. About 4.50€ for a double scoop on a cone, the flavours that we chose were a fruity sorbet (can't remember which fruit) and a creamy Honey Nougat. Were we blown away? Nope. But they were yummy enough but not enough for us to be awed by it. We much preferred the fruity sorbet, the tangy-ness and tartness of its flavour overshadowed the latter.

The next day, while shopping in Galleries Lafayette, we saw a long line queueing for what seems like an ice-cream counter. On a closer look, to my delight I discovered that it was Amorino, the other famous ice-cream in Paris. Initially, my friend and I wanted to look for a cafe to rest our poor feet but upon seeing how good the ice-cream looked (especially on cones, where it was expertly crafted to look like a blooming flower - sorry, no pic), we just couldn't resist. We opted for the medium size cup (we thought that it will be more value-for-money since it can probably hold more..hehe). When we asked how many flavours are we allowed to choose, much to our excitement, we were told as many as we like. However, we didn't yield to our greediness. Instead we asked for a very reasonable 3: Amareno, Caramel and Fraises (strawberry). How we chose in view of dozens of available flavours, all equally appetizing was to judge it by its popularity (aka how empty is the container...) In this case, we made the right choice(s). Truly smooth, creamy and in short, yummilicious, we preferred this to Berthillon. And a better bargain too since 3 generous scoops only costs us about 4€!



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