Pain de Sucre :: Millefeuille
If my calculations are correct, I’ve eaten just north of 200 different pastries in the last 2+ months. Some of the shopboys at Hermé think it’s funny that I’m there every other day. Some of the shopgirls at Ladurée light up when I walk in. And, at Rêves, they wait with bated breath for me to make my selections when I enter. The point is, they all know me too well because I’ve exhausted their supplies. Sure, they slowly roll in some seasonal pieces, but I’m now in the phase of clearing out the cases of some of the more distant patisseries. Pain de Sucre’s always a fun one; it’s just challenging to get up to the Centre Pompidou, near where they are. But I made a point of venturing up there on Thursday. Monsieur Mathray, one of the owners, was behind the counter, as always, and patiently waited for me to make peruse the case. It was actually this millefeuille that had me hung up. So humble and ooey-gooey, as millefeuille tend to be, I wasn’t sure I could find good camera angles when I got her home. It’s certainly been a challenge when I’ve done shots of Ladurée and Marletti millefeuilles. Then again, it looked so ooey-gooey and delicious that I couldn’t resist. So I stared it down and then gave Monsieur Mathray a, “Et la millefeuille, s’il vous plaît. Je pense que . . . ou’ay, c’est tout!”
When I’d set up my camera, I went to the fridge to whip out quartet of Pain de Sucre treats I’d snagged. I barely had the box open when the scent of the vanilla crème hit me and elicited an immediate, “Sweet God, that smells good!” from my lips. I half thought about skipping the photos and just eating it right away. But if it really was going to be that good, it was better that I document it for all of you before indulging. After a torturous 30 minutes of shot after shot, I picked it up, plopped it on a plate and dug in. Did it taste as magnificent as it smelled? No. Not at all. It tasted way better! This is the best standard millefeuille I’ve ever had. The crème was relatively thick and didn’t explode out as I bit into the feuilles, so Pain de Sucre gets a big gold star for that. It was also obviously sublimely vanilla-laden and with just the right amount of sweetness. The feuille, in one sense, were even more incredible. They’d been cooked literally perfectly. Not too crisp, not too chewy, not too bland, not too overcooked & overly complex. Best of all, they had the subtle hint of marshmallow, which I still can’t figure how they managed to coax out. The entire thing was a masterwork of flavor and texture. The only reason I won’t hand down five stars at the moment is that nothing gets that rating until I’ve had it at least twice, but this is certainly a contender.
Even better than the millefeuille was that I had the chance to speak with Monsieur Mathray about doing a little photo shoot in the shop and getting some behind-the-scenes pictures, too. I started the conversation by showing him the blog on my iPhone, and he immediately said, “Oh, yes, I’ve seen it… The Augusta…” I quickly chimed in that indeed that pastry was a big hit with my dear readers and that the Corto I’d recently reviewed was even more popular. Especially entertaining was that he repeatedly asked, “So this is you?…That’s your blog?” He couldn’t quite believe it. So we’ll see what we can firm-up, but even some simple yet well-composed in-store shots would be a treat, as they’re otherwise a big no-no in their shop.
While the aforementioned Marletti millefeuille and Ladurée’s strawberry millefeuille are also quite notable, Pain de Sucre has something exceptional here. When I visit them this coming week, I’ll be sure to grab another just for the pleasure of indulging once again. There’s nothing I love more than enjoying a classic done to perfection.