Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sadaharu Aoki, Paris

After trying some classic french pastries, like the eclairs from Stohrer  or La Maison du chocolat, the excellent religieuse violet from Laduree, the ispahan, the tarte au citron from Pierre Herme and more, I wanted something odd, inspired and strange. While being in the gourmet store of Galleries Lafayette I noticed there was a corner of Sadaharu Aoki, the Asian pastry chef. 

Sadaharu Aoki was born in Tokyo, arrived some 20 years ago in France to work in restaurants of Paris and Switcherland. After 7 years, in 1998 he opened his first atelier in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. A year after he moved to the 13th making pastries for tea rooms, restaurants, hotels and during the fashion shows taking place in the city. His first boutique opened in the 6th in 2001, his second in the 5th and his Galleries Lafayette corner soon after. Now he has two more boutiques in Tokyo. 

His french based pastries are asian oriented. You can see bamboo, matcha, sesame noir, yuzu in his cakes, macarons and eclairs. Not that common. 

The first pastry I tried was the bamboo cake. A croustillant chocolate-matcha base, four thin layers of matcha cake with matcha(green tea) or chocolate cream between. Not too sweet, strange at the first bite, but quickly getting very interesting. At 6,10 euros, this may sound a lot but the harmony of the flavors and mastery in it is enough to keep it in your memory for quite a lot of time. Getting this to the hotel, destroyed it a bit, so excuse me for the photos. 

The second pastry, was an Eclair sesame noir. The classic french pastry filled with cream of black sesame. Freshly made, light cream, not too sweet either, but not that memorable too. At 4.50euros. Matcha eclairs are available too. 

I will surely return to Sadaharu Aoki in the next possible occation and I would suggest that you visit one of his stores too. 

See also:

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Jacques Genin, Paris

Paris is full of excellent patisseries. Being there as a tourist, makes it hard choosing which one to try and which one to leave behind. Bakeries or boulangeries and chocolatiers make the list even longer. 

My first time in Paris I went with the safest choices, trying Laduree and Pierre Herme (reviews to come). This time I wanted something different. The name everyone was talking about as a must to try while in Paris was Jacques Genin, the self-taught french chocolatier. 

After working in restaurants and being the head patissier of La Maison du Chocolat he opened his own place near Marais. Genin supplies chocolates to many Hotels and restaurants in France like Le Crillon, Plaza Athenee and Le Meurice.

His cafe is a minimalistic decorated place, a big walk from Paris most famous places in a quiet street, la rue de Turenne. To find it take M8 line of the Metro and reach the station, Filles du Calvaire. Open from Tuesday to Sunday. 

His pastries are traditional with a modern twist. You will not see ''inspirations of the moment'' or strange combinations. Every pastry is made after years of trying to make it perfect. He has even written a whole cooking book for the tarte au citron. The store now, serves pastries, only made upon ordering and only if you take a sit inside, takeaway is not an option any more. You will see many people in a queue waiting for the next empty table. 

Famous pastries of Jacques Genin are the millefeuille, the Paris-Brest, the eclair au chocolate, the saint-honore, and the tarte au citron, costing around 6,5 to 9 euros . Mostly though his is known for his chocolates and caramels. 

Chocolates come in metallic boxes and are some of the best I had in Paris, or anywhere else in the world. Pretty much amazing, with intense flavored silky smooth ganache in a thin layer of outer chocolate cover.  

Caramels, costing about 1 euro each, were good but not great. Generally I don't like caramels so I may not be the most suitable person to tell you if they are worth buying. 

There is now a new store near Saint Germain, a few steps away from la Patisserie de Reves. You can also buy pastries for take away, if they are already in the shelves. I went for a tarte au citron. He has a whole book dedicated to this tart, remember? what can be more reasuring than this, for his attention to detail and aim for perfection.

The tart was the best I have ever had, also one the best pastries of my life either in patisseries or restaurants. The pate sucree was thin and crunchy, full of butter, the lemon cream, silky with a perfect balance between the acidity and the sweetness. On top some basil.