La Patisserie des Reves: the stuff dreams are made on

Patisserie CheckyourParis

My advice here is real simple, so let’s get it out of the way straight off: do not mind the glass jars.

I say that as a dessert-lover and consummate sweet tooth. I can easily imagine how cakes under glass domes might come off: cold, disincarnate, pretentious, French (not in a good way). Ever so slightly reminiscent of The Matrix. And I’m telling you, as a dessert-lover and all that: don’t even pay attention. These cakes are heavenly.

(And I’m a tough judge, I promise. I recently visited a posh new bakery in view of writing an article, but changed my mind when I found their desserts good, but just good. Just good doesn’t cut it for CheckYourParis).

La Patisserie des Reves – the Bakery of Dreams – deserves its name. And it’s a lovely, quaint name – you’re not sure what is supposed to be baking, the cakes, or your dreams, or both. Despite the modern décor, there’s a definite nostalgic vibe to the desserts on offer. The place tackles some old-fashioned French classics: the unassuming Paris-Brest (puff pastry and hazelnut cream filling) is the specialty and top seller, with good reason. It’s intense and addictive. But don’t forget the rustic Madeleine (a small sponge cake made famous by Marcel Proust’s longing description), the outstanding tarte Tatin with mascarpone cream, the Grand Cru dark chocolate cake with a touch of salt at the bottom. And the seasonal creations, such as a limited-edition pink grapefruit cake.

Patisserie CheckyourParis

The results are high-flying and delicious, courtesy of dessert master Philippe Conticini, and a pastry chef he trained to oversee this operation. Conticini rose to fame in the 80s, won a Michelin star at Paris’ Petrossian house in the 90s, and led the French team to the top spot in the world bakery championship of 2003.

His Left Bank bakery has been taken by storm ever since it opened in September. On a good Saturday, 550 people pass through the tiny Saint-Germain store – that’s around 2000 dream-cakes. All are made the same day and served fresh – nothing is frozen. Hot on the heels of that success, a Right Bank shop has just opened. This one has a small, sunlit tearoom area and terrace, as well as a puff-pastry bar. They’re fluffy and generous and prepared while you wait by a young lady in a chef’s hat.

The puff pastry – girly, cream-filled and regressive and known here under the cute name of chou – is Paris’ answer to the cupcake. In French slang, chou also means something along the lines of “cutie pie”. Judging from how the expression “ca va chou?” (“what’s up sweetie?”) is proliferating among the Paris air-kiss set, I predict bright days ahead for choux of all kinds. It’s in the air, and Patisserie des Reves caters to our most indulgent dreams.

Footnotes – You’ll find la Patisserie des Reves at 93 rue du Bac in the 7th. The new Right Bank store opened at 111 rue de Longchamp in the 16th. Both locations close on Mondays.

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