And now…it’s time. Time to tell about my sweet stops from Paris. I promised to mention it long ago but everytime there was some other things to write or a nice recipe to be shared (editing hundreds of pictures taken throughout the trip might be another reason for the delay, I should admit).
Paris became my favourite place in Europe since the first time I had been there and I try to spend at least one of my vacations every year in this marvelous city. Even though I hardly understand the language I feel so connected with the daily life in here. Whenever I go there, I automatically get up early and rush to a good boulangerie (means bakery in French) to enjoy the fresh out of the oven croissants or a piece of crunchy baguette accompanied with a generous slice of French cheese. Parisians are so good at baking that even smelling these beauties is enough to make you go crazy.
Like for many people who like fine foods, Paris is a culinary heaven for me too. I never and ever think about how many calories were hidden inside the stuff I devoured all day long. Concept of eating healthy is definitely thrown out of the window during such trips. Starting from the early morning my stomach is wide open to anything delicious and I am ready to travel from one corner of the city to another just for the sake of a piece of quality chocolate or a few delectable macarons. So we may call my Paris trips more like a pilgrimage to sacred places for my taste buds.
A typical day should start with a good breakfast featuring a top quality French bread. At that point, I have to mention the most coveted bread of Paris; Poilane miche. Lionel Poilane created the recipe after years of hard work and reinvented the old-school dark French bread. Even though the loaf itself contains basic four ingredients (flour, water, salt, starter), his secret remains in retro-innovative approach he applies while making this highly-reputed bread. He still uses handmolded sourdough, made of stone-ground flour, sea salt from Brittany region and a traditional wood oven but keeps the rest as a family secret.
This bread is simply the best bread for gourmands and that’s why Lionel Poilane is one of the few bakers to take his bread global. By the way, Max Poilane who is the brother of Lionel Poilane has also three bakery shops in Paris with his own name and he is also baking very good artisan breads. No surprise, they had issues with his brothers and everyone went on his way. Even though Lionel Poilane is more well known out of Paris, it is still an ongoing debate among gourmands whose bread is better. I tried both of them and to be honest the difference was not that dramatic, both loaves were quite tasty.
After a long stroll following the breakfast, it is a must to eat something sweet to refill your energy tank. Bluntly, I can make up any sort of excuses for eating sweets but this is the most common one I use. Depending on the area you wander around, there are many different points worth stopping for.
Let’s start with the oldest pastry shop in Paris, Stohrer. It was founded by the patissier Stohrer, an innovative chef who produced lavish patisseries for royal family and Paris aristocracy. Bombes Amandes (lemon almond cake) which gives off an irresistible almond scent, Mousse au Caramel et aux Poires (caramel-pear mousse cake) are some of the specialties. He also invented the famous Baba au Rhum (Rum Baba dessert). Impressive, hand painted ceiling from mid 1800’s of the shop gives you a feeling that you walk into a giant jewel box.
Lenotre is one of the most widespread patisseries with branches in different arrondissements. This beautiful shop is brimmed with cakes, sweets, chocolates, caramels, croissants, brioches and so on. The difficult part is to decide on what to eat, my personal favorite is pain au raisin but cannot resist to taste a piece of their fluffy brioches too. If you see a nice violet colored sun shades over a shop’s window it is probably a Lenotre branch that you should not miss.
Laduree is another classic spot for a sweet tour in Paris. It has such a lovely atmosphere that you feel like you went back in time while sitting in its tearoom. Romantic murals, tiny tables with black marbelled tops, paneled walls adorned with gilded molding add up on its elegant appeal.
It is crowded anytime of the day so you should be patient in order to find a table or wait on the long queue of tourists to get your sweets to go. I personally advise sitting at the tearoom to fully enjoy this elegant place.
Sip the tea you selected besides a mind blowing fraisier (a strawberry and cream cake) or a piece of tarte tatine with its incredibly rich flavor thanks to engagement of butter and apple. I am more than happy to learn that a Laduree branch will open up in Istanbul soon. I could not ask for more!
The place I am about to mention now is not one of those you should get into it if you come across by chance. This is a must visit place for anyone who goes to Paris and has some certain level of interest for desserts, especially macarons. I ate lots of macarons including other ones in Paris but Pierre Herme‘s macarons are a way different than others.
He is more like a fashion designer when it comes to macaron creation. Every season he creates new flavors and elusive combinations to take your breath away. You will see long queues out of his shop when he launches his new flavors for that particular season. This time I lost myself in jasmine flavored macarons he made. You feel a floral summer breeze in every bite you take. Difficult to tell, you should taste by yourself.
Sadaharu Aoki is another inspiring and enchanting figure of pastry scene in Paris. He is a Japanese pastry chef combining particularly Japanese ingredients like black sesame, yuzu (Rolls Royce of lemons) and matcha (green tea powder) in his creations which can be classified as Japanese interpretations of classic French desserts. His meticulous attention to detail (a typical Japanese attribution) can be clearly seen on everything; from cake designs to packaging.
Each and every dessert in the shop looks like a piece of art making you hesitate to take the first bite for the reason you would destroy such a beauty. I love these crayon like ganaches with different colors to match their flavors hidden inside, so subtle and refined. By the way, this was the first time I tasted the milk jam made by Sadaharu Aoki and it is incredible too, you can clearly see the vanilla beans within.
These were some of my main sweet stops in Paris, however, most of the food you will come across here is really good regardless of the location. That’s why I love this place that much, I guess. If you happen to pay a visit, don’t forget to bring your appetite with you and lose yourself in the world of fine pastries and sweets.