By Elena del Valle and photos by Gary Cox
Delicious Pierre Hermes desserts
Caramel salted butter, white truffle, tangerine and rose macarons
For many years we have sampled baked goods and chocolates in various neighborhoods in the City of Lights with mixed results. Our tastings and discoveries have led us to a few favorites we return to whenever we are in Paris, France. For example, we like the Pierre Hermes shop on rue Bonaparte in the Latin Quarter. We have been there many times over the years (see Paris macaron maker remains a favorite). It has been our experience that while the shop is small and often crowded the staff members are friendly and efficient. We find the pain au chocolat, Ispahan croissants, Infiniment Vanille tart and single flavor macarons worth hoofing it there from nearby neighborhoods. Our preferred macaron flavors have been caramel salted butter, white truffle, rose and tangerine. Recently, we also sampled the Ispahan Gaufre, a soft cookie sandwich with a waffle like appearance and rose and raspberry filling sold in a single sealed sleeves. In addition to the taste we liked the Gauffre's slightly longer shelf life compared to the fresh baked goods which only lasted a few days.
The Isbahan croissant became a new favorite.
The Lilly Valley from Carl Marletti
In the Left Bank, we liked the vanilla eclairs at La Parisienne bakery on rue Monge. When we were in the mood for our favorite vanilla eclairs we went to Carl Marletti on rue Censier. It was also home of the Lilly Valley, another favorite pastry worth a special trip. It was best to arrive early in the day to avoid leaving empty handed as they sometimes sold out of the Lilly Valley. In the Right Bank, the vanilla eclairs at Stohrer on rue Montorgueil, said to the be oldest bakery in the city, and the mini pain au chocolat were worth a stop.
Vanilla eclairs and mini pain au chocolat from Stohrer
Praline bread from Eric Kayser
We walked to the Eric Kayser bakery on rue Monge for its good cereal baguette and moist mini financier pastries. For small brioches with praline that remind us somewhat in texture and flavor of Hawaiian bread we made our way to the shop on rue des Petits Careaux at the top of rue Montergueil.
Jacques Genin chocolates
For exceptional candy including artisan marshmallows, marron glaces and candied chestnuts (smaller than the marron glaces) in season, and pate de fruit from the Basque Region we popped into Bon Bon au Palais on rue Monge. If craving delicate chocolate bites we headed to Jacques Genin on rue de Turenne on the Right Bank (see Passionate chocolate, candy maker draw to Paris Marais shop) or the new Left Bank location on rue de Varenne (see Paris chocolate, candy maker opened new Left Bank shop).
Mendiant chocolate bar from Manufacture
For hearty extraordinary single source chocolate bars we loved the new Alain Ducasse Manufacture shop on rue Saint Benoit in the Left Bank (see Alain Ducasse new Left Bank shop worth a visit for single source dark chocolate). While smaller than the original shop and manufacturing facility on rue de la Roquette on the Right Bank (see The art of making chocolate Alain Ducasse style in Paris) it had the same products on offer. The staff members we met were well informed, service oriented and helpful. In a pinch we would consider the Manufacture stand at the Gallery LaFayette Gourmet store, but only if we happened to be in that area.
Thick chocolate to go from Angelina
Our favorite way to enjoy hot chocolate was to buy a cup of take out from the Angelina Cafe on rue de Vaugirard on the Left Bank next to the Luxemburg Museum. Served pipping hot it had a dark rich tart flavor that drew us back over and again. The only down side was the take out came without the whipped cream. The rue de Rivoli main shop (and salon) on the Right Bank also sold the hot chocolate to go, but the one time we tried it the hot chocolate was sweeter, milkier and missing the tart finish we liked so much.