The saddest by-product of my ceaseless gluttony is a diminished capacity for being dazzled. Pastries, candies and other assorted confections that would make most people unleash a series of superlatives are just run-of-the-mill for me. After all, I live a block from Pierre Hermé and within 5 minutes of half the other shops I write about here. My 5,000 calorie-a-day diet, as supported almost exclusively by them, ensures only the most mind-bendingly awesome works will elicit more than a, “Well, that is . . . quite nice.”
Now, you guys know I’m no stranger to Un Dimanche à Paris, and you know I adore much of their work. Having eaten and photographed my way through the entire pastry and macaron case, you’re going to see plenty of gems in the year ahead. And, honestly, once I cataloged all those goodies, I thought my work there was “done”. I just kept going back cause I liked eating it all over and over again + cause they have the best hot chocolate in Paris. But one day, about two weeks ago, I said, “Hey, Perrine. What are these?” And she was all like, “They’re our clémentines confites! You haven’t had one yet?! Let me offer you one.” So I stood there, sipping my hot chocolate, and took a little nibble of the clémentine. Transplendent! Yes, it was so good that it transcended splendor. Or perhaps “WHOA!” better sums-up the experience. These clementines have changed my life . .
I now have a 15-20 euro/day clementine habit. No, I’m not kidding. That’ll work out to no less than 450 euros this month. It’s probably cheaper to be deeply into crack. So why opt for clementines? Well . . .
Floral notes pervade the chocolate crowning the piece. Just allowing a little of it to melt against the heat of your fingers begins to release its delicate bouquet, infused ever so sweetly with tones from the clementine itself. In fact, I often enjoy the chocolate tout seul, before delving into the fruit. Having basked in its cacao awesomeness, I bite the remnant of the stem away and inelegantly cast it aside before tipping my head back and suckling on the now free-to-flow sweet nectar within. It would dishonor that golden goodness to refer to is as flavored sugar syrup – for it is a holy and magical union that defies mere words. Within seconds of that first taste, you’re transported to Corsica. What’s that sound you hear? ‘Tis Mediterranean waves slamming into the steep cliffs of Calanches. How is it that you’ve been transported hundreds of miles away? This is not the time for questions. Take another bite, dissolve into the Corsican sun, and bask in the full force of the clementine’s citrus essence. Heaven is woven into every little scrumtrulescent morsel of the clémentine confite.
I’m so addicted to these little guys that I’ve replaced my mid-morning pastry with a clementine, enjoyed “at the bar” of Un Dimanche, together with a little café or, more typically, hot chocolate. It’s there that I force Perrine to listen to me muse on my most recent pastry and viennoiserie finds. Does she care that I think Gontran Cherrier is a croissant master? Almost definitely not, but she humors me . . . and I appreciate it. We chat about other things, laugh, I learn a new French expression or two, and then we carefully select the 3 other clementimes I want boxed-up. I’m always looking for a perfect level of size and deep orange hue. Am I way to serious about these clementines? Absolutely, but I think we’ve long since established that I am totally ******* insane.
I can only imagine what other gems are sitting right under my nose at my favorite shops. There’s no rush in finding them though. That’s what months-long return visits to Paris are for, after all!
Oh, and here’s the top shot from the post, now lit normally – instead of being backlit. Not as dramatic and awesome, but I wanted you to see the true internal aesthetic…
So, yes, this is among the few “your life is not complete until you have one of these” experiences. My only caution is to make sure you do not buy so many that there will be less than three waiting for me, when I walk into the shop.