A Pastry Tale
I have a tale for you, a tale of pastries. Pastries in Paris.
It's a happy tale.
On our brief but beautiful 4 day visit to Paris on our recent honeymoon, Ben and I gallivanted across the French capital in search of pastry perfection. It was a croissant crusade, fuelled by a long-time love of the buttery crescent, and it was entirely wonderful.
Let me show you what we found. And please do share any delicious croissant corners you may have also found in Paris. And while we're at it, let's think on a larger scale and share with me your croissant finds from every corner of the world. The best croissant I've tasted outside of France was in San Francisco, at Tartine. That was a happy day.
Here we go, our pretty little Parisian pastry tale...
First up we have Au Levain Du Marais, where we sampled a plethora or pastry treats one morning for breakfast. Ben and I woke early and went for a run - let it be know that I take working up an appetite very seriously - before venturing out. David Lebovitz praised this Bastille boulangerie (despite ownership changes last year), and as I am a huge fan of Mr Lebovitz, I heeded his advice and paid a visit to this quaint, adorable store.
We left with a croissant au buerre (this is the variety to select, people), an escargot and a chocolat pastry. Ben and I took out loot and sat in Place des Vosges, which is a lovely, tranquil spot, especially first thing in the morning.
We sampled our buttery breakfast, oohing and aching at awfully frequent intervals. As we ate, a flock of firemen in athletic gear ran sprints back and forth right in front of us - early morning training session. A rather humorous juxtaposition, I felt.
The croissant au buerre
And the chocolat pastry...
I was amazed (yet not surprised) at the quality we were experiencing. These delights were very buttery, very flaky and very much pastry perfection. This was not my most favourite escargot, however I found the croissant to be earnestly perfect and the chocolate pastry terribly scrumptious. I don't think I could have asked for a more intensely delicious introduction to this, my croissant crusade...
Part two of this pastry tale took us to Montmarte, where we visited Gontran Cherrier. Clotilde from Chocolate and Zucchini is a firm fan of Gontran's croissants and bread, and as I adore her I felt I would also fall for this dashing baker. I absolutely did.
When in Paris, I implore you to grab a loaf of Gontran Cherrier's spectacular bread. From the fantastic, jet-black sesame loaf to rye and miso, it took all my strength not to buy the whole lot.
Peta, Ben and I had breakfast at his boulangerie one Sunny morning. Propped up on bar stools we peered out the window, watching locals on their morning rounds.
This croissant was less rich, but no less fabulous. As Clotilde highlights, Gontran uses a different pastry with his croissants, and as a result it is incredibly flaky. Flaky is a good thing. I truly enjoyed my dainty bite. It felt more modest, more approachable than Au Levain du Marais' croissant.
Ben also sampled a tarte au citron, which he wholly enjoyed.
In addition to our pastry bite, we shared some superbly delicious baguette with über scrumptious jam. And butter. Oh France...you do breakfast well.
So where does that leave my pastry tale? I feel these two croissants would be suited to different occasions - or rather, different cravings. One is best consumed on a park bench watching athletic men stride in front of you, while the other is less indulgent, more of a functional week-day croissant, if you will. Both are very welcome in my life.
And that's where my pastry tale ends, my friends. I dearly believe in quality, not quantity, and so yes, these were the only two croissants I sampled while in Paris. I appreciate that more research is required before I become a Parisian pastry expert, and I firmly support my election for said job.
For now, this is my Parisian pastry tale. And I quite like it.