La Pâtisserie des Rêves, Jacques Genin, and Nuit Blanche, Paris
Monday, October 3, 2011

On Saturday, some friends and I had planned to go to the Paris Expo (Metro: Porte de Versailles) to check out the Salon à Croquer. It’s an exhibit of bread, cakes, and cookies. I was looking forward to some good sablés. However, when we arrived, we discovered that the entire exhibit had been cancelled. How does an event so big get cancelled overnight? And if it was cancelled well in advance, why was the website not updated? Very disorganized.

So I pulled out my streetwise map, which is marked with all the pastry shops I plan to visit, and we decided on another destination. We headed off to La Pâtisserie des Rêveswhich translates to the pastry shop of dreams. Since we were looking for a sit down spot, we mostly browsed and bought some petits fours, though I wouldn’t really call my madeleine petite at all.

Giant madeleine. I should've held it up with my hand for reference, but it was bigger than my palm. The madeleine is studded with vanilla bean seeds. It was very moist, with a slightly tender crumb. However, I like my madeleines more cake-y and buttery, but that's just personal preference.

Langues de Chat, cat's tongue. A thin, crispy, buttery cookie, very good.

In our last art class, our Chef talked about logos and how it should tell a story and reflect your concept. I thought that this pastry shop did a great job at this. Their pastries and cakes are displayed in glass cases that are strung to the ceiling. The interior is clean and light, with mini lights on the wall that make the place feel almost dreamy. This definitely a place I want to revisit. Next time, I will go to their other location in the 16ème which has a dine-in area.

Inside the pastry shop of dreams.

A closer look at their glass encasing.

I just adore their pastry boxes. It's not a box, it's a pink pyramid!

Afterwards (remember, we didn’t eat any pastries yet), we headed to Jacques Genin, a chocolaterie and pastry shop. For many years, Jacques Genin made chocolates in a private kitchen only for top hotels and restaurants around France. He finally opened his own boutique in 2008 where he serves mille-feuille to order and the most delicious caramels and pâtes de fruits I’ve ever tasted.

Jacques Genin, inside his boutique. When you enter, you will find his caramels and pâtes de fruits on the right side, his pastries and chocolates on the left side (as shown in picture) and a very comfortable lounge in the back. We must have sat down for over 2 hours. Although there were many customers in the store, it was surprisingly quiet.

Selection of caramels and pâtes de fruits.

Caramels. These are made overnight, every day, and only good for 2 weeks. The flavours are just amazing. I tried the mango-passionfruit and caramel with pistachios. The texture is softer, not like your usual extra chewy caramels. But what it might lack in chewiness, it makes up for infinitely in flavour. I don't know how he preserves the intense and fresh flavours of the fruit in a caramel which requires cooking past boiling point. I highly recommend trying his fruit-flavoured caramels.

Pâtes de fruits. I almost never like these because they tend to be overly sweet, and lacking in fruit flavour. These were the exact opposite. They were so good that after trying one, I had to buy a box.

We sat down in their lounge and enjoyed three pastries with drinks amongst the four of us. Their café crème was the best coffee I’ve had to date in Paris. It was coffee in a large mug that came with a pot of hot steamed milk. It’s taken me 1 month to find a proper coffee! I don’t understand why Parisians can be so picky about everything and not care about their coffee, or do they actually like it bitter and burnt?

Mille-feuille to order. Highly recommended! The flakes of pastry are so fine and delicate you can fork through it without squeezing the pastry cream out which is what always happens with mille-feuille. Either that or the pastry cream is too thick.

Tarte au citron et basilic. I don't usually like the taste of herbs in dessert but this was surprisingly very good. The basil was not overpowering. The tart crust was crisp and buttery and the lemon filling velvety smooth.

Opera. Good, but not spectacular. The chocolate ganache on top was very good though.

Our happily crowded afternoon tea table.

Complimentary chocolates. The milk chocolate was a praline and the dark chocolate, we couldn't recognize. I find that his chocolates are a bit mellow in flavour. They are very smooth and melt beautifully in your mouth but hard to identify the flavour. Maybe I just need to taste more.

After resting our feet and satisfying our tummies, we began our walk around Paris for Nuit Blanche. It’s an annual event where the entire city becomes an art gallery, open through through the evening and into the wee hours. There were so many people on the streets, it felt like the entire city had poured out of their homes for a night.

One of the most interesting exhibits I walked by was called Purple Rain. There was a line up stretching more than 4 blocks so we couldn’t get in. They illuminated purple light throughout the courtyard, enclosed inside a historic building. It was raining within the courtyard and they played Purple Rain by Prince in the background. When you enter, they give you an umbrella to walk in this ‘purple rain’ and experience the nostalgic atmosphere the artist has created.

 

Well? Let me know what you think. Write me a comment below!