I think my dream pastry shop would be one tucked a few blocks off the Boulevard Saint-Germain – one where large glass bell jars are suspended from the ceiling, hermetically encasing some of the most beautiful pastry in Paris – one where an attentive staff takes note of your order, relays it to a secret world behind the counter and then magically appears with your selections moments later. Lucky for me, I found it all at La Pâtisserie des Rêves. Any my favorite part? They present your pastry to you for your blessing, like a fine bottle of wine, then proceed to secure your pieces with custom pink picks stuck into foamboard at the base of a flip front-front box, which is finally tied with a sliver of ribbon. Consuming this whole experience would be sufficient, but being able to then enjoy something like the Saint-Honoré is the proverbial cherry on top.
I just wish I really loved that cherry . . . or, rather, that Chantilly crème. It’s one of the two deficits in this otherwise delicious Saint-Honoré. Texturally excellent, aesthetically dazzling, those undulating folds still belie actual flavor or purpose. You might say that the flavor is simply Chantilly crème and that the purpose is fulfilling the tradition of the Saint-Honoré. I might say, “And this is relevant how?” Sell me anything out of a floating bell jar and it had better be operating in another dimension of flavor, from tip to tail. Sell me anything out of that same jar, and every facet of the pastry had better be playing meaningfully off of the others. I don’t find perfunctory elements amusing.
The feuille along the bottom of the pastry were also a bit of a let-down. They were somewhat droopy, or dare I say . . . flaccid. But the rest of the Saint-Honoré was something I could enjoy again and again. For those who don’t know the Saint-Honoré, the little balls lining the top are baby cream puffs coated in caramelized sugar. The flavor of that golden goodness was superb. And it played oh-so-well off a very tender and expertly-prepared choux. Maybe next time I head to Rêves I’ll just ask them to fill a bag with 10-15 of those little orbs.
I love La Pâtisserie des Rêves, but this is just the least even of all their pieces I’ve had. I think it actually says quite a bit when I can still love half of what might be their overall poorest effort. At the other end of the spectrum is their “Grand Cru”, but you’ll have to wait until another day for that effusive review.
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