Tag Archives: patisserie

Pilgrimage to Tony Wong’s Kingdom

28 May

Patisserie Tony WongExcuse the exaggeration of my title, but it sure seems that way nowadays with Tony Wong opening more and more stores in Kowloon City. First there was Cookies Quartet…then he opened this patisserie, then more recently he opened a froyo store called Smile. Why has he enjoyed such great success? One can speculate. More at the end of this post as I know you want me to talk about the food. 😉

The first cake I got was the Mixed Berries Napoleon ïŒˆćƒć±€é…„ïŒ‰. For any overseas readers, we call mille-feuilles, Napoleons, in Hong Kong.  Also, unlike in Paris, Napoleans in HK are almost always filled with creme AND fruits, especially mangoes, which really should be our city’s official fruit as Hongkongers are so obsessed with it lol. I choose the mixed berries Napoleon because it was the only one which looked vaguely traditional, as opposed to the circular cherry Napoleon and mango-laden Napoleon.

So, back to this Napolean. Was it any good? Frankly, no. I know many locals rave and shower praises on his Napoleans. But even if you’ve just had ONE mille-feuille from a patisserie in France, even a random neighbourhood patisserie, you would be completely dissatisfied with this. The pĂąte feuilletĂ©e is really thin, compact, and even slightly soggy where it touches the similarly thin and meagre layer of custard. It didn’t taste or feel like the lush, generous crĂšme pĂątissiĂšre in Parisian mille-feuilles, like the one I had at Pain de Sucre. At least the berries were sweet. And there were real vanilla seeds in the custard, although the custard was too diminutive in amount to actually taste it.

Patisserie Tony Wong One Two Tea

The One Two Tea is one of Tony Wong’s recent creations. From top to bottom: white chocolate plate, Earl Grey CrĂšme BrulĂ©e, Earl Grey Mousse, Sponge Cake, Earl Grey Crisp. The flavours were quite good in this one, unlike the too sweet Starbucks Earl Grey cake. On the other hand, it’s more than 50% more expensive, so I’d expect the flavours to be better. The pale layers were smooth and tasted like a milky Earl Grey, slightly floral in nature. Not as smooth as the Pierre HermĂ© Tarte Infinitement Vanille though. Damn I miss that. The bottom layer had tea leaves in what was supposed to be a crispy layer (I think), although it was quite soggy when I ate it. This was an enjoyable cake. My only gripe is its size; for the same price, I can probably get something bigger and more interesting from a patisserie in Paris. But I guess they don’t have HKD$2 eggtarts over there either, so I won’t complain too much.

Read on for more thoughts on Tony Wong’s success…

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Ladurée Collection

24 May
Pretty Ladurée box

Pretty Ladurée box

Since my last post was of Pierre HermĂ©’s macarons, it would be natural to follow it with a post on LadurĂ©e. As I mentioned yesterday, I love both and they pretty much stand equal on my favourite macaron list, both being #1. Although I only brought back 6 LadurĂ©e macarons, I already finished off plenty in Paris, and also brought back a box of 8 for my Mum. So, what is featured here is only a tiny fraction of what I actually had.

Mmmm yummy in my tummy!

Mmmm yummy in my tummy!

In the box of 6 I brought home, there were 5 of my favourite flavours (rĂ©glisse, cafĂ©, caramel, rose, et vanille), and one flavour I hadn’t tried yet (citron vert et chocolat). LadurĂ©e does the classic flavours very well.

The licorice was a shocking midnight black, but the filling was a creamy beige. Rather than having the weird licorice candy flavours, this was more caramelly and slightly herbal. The fleur d’oranger, rose, and vanilla all tasted strongly of what they were supposed to taste like, while not being artifical. The caramel is my all time favourite macaron. The filling is wonderfully smooth and runny, while still holding it’s shape. It accentuated the slight chewiness and delicate, crisp shells of LadurĂ©e macarons. The seasonal citron vert chocolat, on the other hand, didn’t fare so well. The lime green shell was specked with chocolate flakes, while the filling was chocolate ganache. I found the whole macaron tasted too perfumy. In fact, my mum even described it as tasting like citrus dishwashing soap.

My 3 favourites: Vanilla, Caramel, RĂ©glisse

My 3 favourites: Vanilla, Caramel, RĂ©glisse

The best part of LadurĂ©e is that they always manage to get the shell-to-filling ratio perfectly. Sometimes, I find that PH’s fillings are a bit overwhelming. LadurĂ©e never has this problem. Their intense flavours mean that a modest amount of filling is enough to bring out the taste. As mentioned yesterday, LadurĂ©e’s shells are very delicate on the outside, and quite chewy and distinctively almondy on the inside. Classic.

Just for comparison, I purchased some macarons from a well-known local patisserie, Paul Lafayet.

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A Day with an Old Friend

16 Apr

Today I hung out with my friend from Vancouver who moved to Paris. Her parents are French, and she moved to Vancouver when she was 18 months, then moved back to France 3 years ago. What a lucky girl! We went to lots of places, including the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides where Napolean is buried, L’Arc de Triomphe, Galleries Lafayette etc. She also brought me to less well-known places, including some far off arrondissements and the covered passages. (Photos to follow…too lazy to edit them now.)

After the long, long walk throughout half of Paris, I needed my nourishment! As our walk ended at Rue Montorgueil, I headed there for more amazing food shopping. I wish we had something like Rue Montorgueil in HK!! I guess our wet markets are something like that…where you can find veggies, meat, and bakeries all in one spot. But everything is so much more “gourmet” in Paris sob sob.

First stop: Stohrer. This time I took a few photos of the interior. As you can see, the ceiling is beautiful. The guys working at Stohrer are also very cute and trùs sympa aussi. I think I mentioned that before? Heh. They immediately switch to English if they sense that your French is moyenne. Of course, for someone who wanted to practice her French like me, that could be bad 😛

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Le Debut

3 Apr Canelé et baba chantilly from Stohrer

SO let’s see how long I can keep this up…blogging. With a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend a MONTH in Paris, I thought it would be a good time to really start some serious blogging. Hopefully WordPress will help too. (Tumblr has been great in letting me pictureblog…but that’s the lazy way out.)

Here I am on my 1st day (well, 2nd if you count yesterday, but I landed at 5:30 so didn’t really get anything done) in Paris, having Fromage Blanc with Raspberry Compote and Kinder MAXIKING (yes it required capitals) which is a crazy chocolate bar with, to quote the package, “le caramel, pour le fondant et le plaisir” in the center, “la mouse de lait, pour la fraicheur et l’onctuositĂ©,” and wrapped in les Ă©clats de noisettes; pour le croquant.” Not a very classy breakfast, but it’s the best I can do when most stores are closed on Sundays in non-tourist areas. (edit later: found out that Le Marais is a few blocks away…and everything is open there on Sundays. And there’s a bakery open next block too.)

This is the supermarket I found open:

franprix

Franprix, the supermarket I found open

I also found GIANT NUTELLA. Which I really wanted to get as souvenirs back home…but it’d probably make my luggage overweight. =[

Nutella

Giant nutella!!!

The chilled area is also LOVEEEEEEEEE x 1000….I wish we had these in ordinary supermarkets in HK…instead we have like…actually I don’t even know what we have anymore. I mostly go to citysuper, where these kinds of chilled desserts sell for $10-$20+ HKD for ONE cup instead of the whole package.

Chilled area in franprix.

Rivals Citysuper...but SO much cheaper!!

Later this afternoon:

Went out for a walk because I wanted to go shopping, but even H&M and Zara and all those other big companies are closed. Rainy day too. Ended up in the Rue Montorgueil area, and thankfully the food shops were open!! Let’s see what I had on my first day…

Stohrer's Sign

My awe-filled gaze at Stohrer...

Stohrer's Storefront

Stohrer's storefront...so enticing, but so is every other bakery's storefront in Paris.

Welcome to Stohrer, the oldest patisserie in Paris (51, rue Montorgueil – 75002). According to their site, Stohrer was the patissier of Princess Marie Lesczynska (how do you pronounce that anyways?) of Poland, who followed her to Versailles when she married King Louis XV of France. 5 years later, he opened his own patisserie at Rue Montorgueil. I gotta say Princess Marie is a girl of my own heart…I wish I could have my own patissier to follow me wherever I went!

Stohrer History

Look...it's even designated as a historical site by the government of Paris!

Stohrer invented the baba au rhum, and that’s what I got (well, a variation of it, the baba chantilly), along with my first canelĂ© in Paris. I struggled with whether or not I should get the millefeuille as well, but decided against it as the Baba Chantilly was huge, and so is the millefeuille. I guess old-school cakes are bigger than the puny ones we make nowadays. Especially the ones in HK (i.e. Tony Wong, Paul Lafayet)…honestly can eat 3 of them at one time and still feel unsatisfied. So goodbye Stohrer for now, I’ll be back for sure (actually their savoury things interest me too)…

Stohrer

Goodbye Stohrer! Next stop is...

Boulangerie Les Petits Carreaux

Another boulangerie/patisserie of course.

Actually I meant to go to Boulangerie Kayser or Paul on the same street, but both were closed for Sunday, so this boulangerie it was. There were loads of people lining up for their dinner baguette, and I did the same. I got a ficelle and tore off the top to munch in the street as is tradition..miam miam. Time to go home! Passed by Pain de Sucre on the way home and got a macaron caramel beurre salĂ© from Pain de Sucre, an AMAZING patisserie on Rue Rambuteau VERY close to where I’m living (along with a dozen other amazing shops). And a saffron marshmallow which I devoured on the way home…

Today's haul

Today's haul: Goodies from Stohrer, macaron caramel beurre salé from Pain de Sucre, ficelle, and pate de campagne

My appetizer was the macaron, which was a very different texture than the Laduree/PH/JPH ones. Less crunchy, more chewy. I have to say I actually like the Laduree caramel macarons better…but there are some who enjoy this much more and I guess it’s just a matter of personal taste. The ficelle was good….with a thick crusty exterior which was bien cuit, to my taste, and a chewy interior. The pate de campagne was a bad idea and I should have bought something fresh from a deli or something…this was from a supermarket. Tasted like…blech. Ended up eating the ficelle on its own which was really really satisfying.

Now for the main show:

Canelé et baba chantilly from Stohrer

Canelé et baba chantilly from Stohrer

Haven’t had a REAL canelĂ© for a longgggggggg time, but this was pretty good, with a caramelized flavourful crust and a moist, sweet, custardy interior. Huge, too. The baba chantilly is a brioche, soaked in rum, and topped with whipped cream and berries. There are other versions like the ali-baba filled with pastry cream or the baba au rhum which is just brioche with rum. This thing was SOAKING in rum…I found it too strong and only had 2 bites before giving up…finished off the whipped cream and berries before throwing it away. 😩 it wasn’t boozy in a nice way either…like tiramisu is. Imagine a sponge soaked in rum which oozes out the liquid when you squeeze it…this was like that. Not for me….

Well, that was my first complete day in Paris…hopefully better foodie luck to come!