Among the many flavors and forms of Paris’s sweets, there is something for all tastes. Those in search of novelty will be intrigued by the creative work of young chefs and leading chocolatiers while those hungry for comforting classics will have new places to enjoy them.
After pastry chef Nicolas Haelewyn spent the last 10 years of his career working for Ladurée (and opening shops around the world during the last five as head chef for international development), he went solo for his next challenge. Driven by a love for caramel and its versatility in both pastry and chocolate, he opened this boutique tea salon in the Seventh arrondissement to display the recipes he developed over the past year, all incorporating caramel in some way. “It’s indulgence par excellence,” insists the chef. The space itself invites you to test your palate from the second you step through the door: wood shelves packed with chocolate-caramel bars—some with honey, others with red berries and sea salt—meringues, granola, spreadable condiments, flavored caramels (called Karamels), mendiants, and other easily transported packaged treats. To the right, seasonal pastries line up in serried ranks: from a twist on the caramel eclair and a croissant-dough pastry monikered the Kararoll to a lemon meringue tartelette (with just a touch of caramel) that was named best in town by Les Echos newspaper. For modest appetites, opt for the trio of mini pastries offered Friday through Sunday only.
Pierre Marcolini Chocolate Bar at Printemps
Belgian chocolatier Pierre Marcolini is no stranger to Paris. With three shops and one pop-up in the Carrousel du Louvre, his bean-to-bar talents are well-known and well-loved. But through May 6, chocolate fans have a new opportunity to experience his craft. The Pierre Marcolini chocolate bar, the first in Europe, has settled into the atrium of the Printemps department store. It’s outfitted with bar stools and a long counter for customers to throw back hot or cold chocolate drinks—the Belle à Croquer is milk hot chocolate with Madagascar vanilla and a dollop of crème fraîche; the iced version includes fresh raspberry puree—and infusions made from jasmine-soaked cocoa shells, alongside a macaron or financier. On the other side of the bar, a pop-up boutique carries a wide selection from the permanent collection, including his best-selling chocolate hearts.
Paris Fashion Week is a busy time for Le Bristol—and not only for editorial photo shoots in gargantuan suites and post-show cocktails in its award-winning bar. It’s an opportunity to get creative as head pastry chef Laurent Jeannin has done with L’Audacieux, a limited-edition pastry developed as an homage to haute couture designer Jeanne Lanvin, a woman who loved color and embodied elegance. Jeannin’s richly hued pastry is composed of a layer of soft ladyfinger, airy fromage blanc mousse, and blueberry puree coated in blackberry icing and set atop a Breton shortbread and will be available exclusively on the dessert cart at the hotel’s Cafe Antonia from February 28 to March 8.
Out with Les Marquis de Ladurée, in with macarons. The iconic pastry house has shuttered its luxury chocolate offshoot and replaced it with what consumers were asking for most when they browsed the shop at 14 rue de Castiglione—macarons. Oversized cameos that previously festooned the walls of the former space have been left intact save for a splash of violet and mint green pastel paint. If the neon signage wasn’t an indication of what lay inside, the range of 36 different macaron flavors in riotous colors stacked side by side will do the trick. So why visit this outpost over the others? It offers flavors that were previously part of limited-edition collections, like orange saffron, chocolate-Earl Grey, strawberry-champagne, and jasmine-mixed berries. And if that wasn’t enough to draw in the crowds, the limited-edition collector’s boxes and accessories will.
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