Today I skipped school to go exploring. SHHHH. It was such a beautiful day (and I went to bed so late last night), I didn’t want to go to school.
First I visited the Arc de Triomphe and went up to the top. It’s honestly hard to imagine how they built such an amazing structure so long ago! The same can be said for almost every other building in Paris…
I then strolled over to the Champs-Elysées for…Ladurée of course! What did you think…shopping?
Their Champs Elysées store is very dark inside which gives an air of mystery. There is a tea room and a bar attached. The bar looks super swanky! Unfortunately, I had no one to drink with…
The line was super long, and people were getting tons of things. I saw someone getting a GIGANTIC box of macarons (jealous!). I still had plans later in the afternoon though…so I only got 3 things to munch on the way.
Why oh why can’t Ladurée open a store in HK? Tokyo has so many big name pastry shops, but HK seems to be lacking in this aspect. We’ve got a market alright…sigh. Guess it’s better for my wallet AND my waistline. The macarons were superb. Ladurées macarons have super light biscuits, which almost want to crumble under your touch. The filling is just right in quantity, and is super flavourful, but not too sweet. The fleur d’oranger is very refreshing, and the réglisse is…hmm…unique? It’s licorice, but it tasted vanilla-y to me. It’s also black in colour, which is…cool. Haha.
After Ladurée, I headed to the Opera Garnier, then to the Pantheon for a little tour. The Pantheon is suppppppperrrrrrrr impressive. The crypt is creepy too. Thankfully there were a lot of tourists there with me. If I were down there alone and it was quiet, I’d be super creeped out. There’s a LOT of dead bodies down there, and it’s cold! The ground floor is amazingly beautiful though. I then headed to my next stop, Poilane.
When I got there, there was a long line-up (only a few seconds after this picture, which had NO line-up). I wanted to take pictures inside but I felt bad for holding the people behind me up, so I didn’t. I bought 2 slices of their pain Poilane, which came up to 80 cents. I liked how you could buy it by the slice!! Next stop…
This patisserie is a newcomer to the Parisian scene. It’s known for its pretty displays and innovative pastries.
It was more like a boutique than a cake store! That brown thing you see in the foreground is an eclair. More precisely, an inverted eclair. There’s chocolate on the outside, and choux pastry on the inside.
Even their packaging is so pretty, in colour and in style. It’s like a gift box! And they have styrofoam on the bottom, with toothpicks keeping the pastries in place.
But first, some bread to start my meal. The pain Poilane is a hearty wholegrain bread which is not the norm in Paris. It’s moist, a bit sour. The crust was tough. I actually didn’t like it that much. Honestly, it’s nothing special. I guess it’s something different than the other breads in normal boulangeries. I actually really enjoy wholewheat breads, but this was just blah. I’d rather have a pain complet. I even slathered it with my awesome butter, but it was still just OK and I only finished one slice.
Now, what about dessert? First up, the Saint-Honoré. A traditional French pastry, the Saint-Honoré can be found in any Parisian patisserie. Normally, it has a square feuille pastry base, with choux and pastry cream balls which are fixed to the base by caramel, and finally topped with creme Chantilly (whipped cream). This “dreamy” version has a large rectangular base of feuille pastry. It’s really huge. On top are 2 choux tubes filled with vanilla pastry cream, so effectively there were 2 eclairs fixed with crunchy caramel onto the base. And trust me, they ARE eclair sized. One eclair was topped by a beautiful swirl of creme Chantilly, while the other had 3 caramel coated choux balls. The whole thing was bigger than an iPhone. The best part was the crunchy caramel coatings. The rest? Blah. The choux was dry and had no eggy innards, the pastry cream was a bit lacking and melded into the choux, and the whipped cream was kind of tasteless and didn’t taste like fresh cream. The feuille base was normal, nothing spectacular like the PdS mille-feuille I had.
What about the Grand Cru? It looks a lot less pretty than the St-Honoré. Very shiny though. Almost like a mirror.
THANK GOD I got this with the Saint-Honoré. This was loads better. The chocolate flavours were very deep. I’m not a chocolate expert, but you could tell that this was GOOD chocolate. There were 5 different layers, and they all melded well, but was good separately as well. All 5 layers were flavourful. Even the glacage was yum…it had some berry notes in it. The mousse is light but flavourful, sliding down the throat with milky notes. The rest added textural complexity to the cake. Normally, I’m not one for all-chocolate desserts as I think they’re too boring, but this one was REALLY good and satisfying.
Anyways…if you do happen to visit LPdR, do NOT have the Saint-Honoré. It may be super pretty, but it tastes otherwise. Take loads of pictures of it, then get the Grand Cru instead. By the way, I got the last one of the day…they had to take the one under the glass bubble instead of ones in the kitchen. See? It’s that good that they run out. LPdR also has gigantic madelines…the size of one’s fist. I don’t know why they like to make such huge cakes…perhaps it’s everyone’s dream to eat gigantic cakes?