Laurent Duchêne :: Equilibre

By Paris Pâtisseries in Laurent Duchêne, Pastry Reviews
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Laurent Duchêne :: Equilibre

My recent croissant obsession has been taking me all over the city, in search of the best. I believe I’ve now visited every one of the 20 arrondissements – even being allowed into the ultra-exclusive 21ème, where only the truest gourmands are allowed to rove in pursuit of their various and sundry culinary endeavors. The croissant quest has also motivated me to visit pastry shops that, while I was certainly aware of, I never made the time for. One of those shops was none other than MOF Laurent Duchêne’s.

My excuse for never heading chez Duchêne in the past was that his shop is so far out in the 13ème that two realities were probable A. Without substantial tourist traffic (and the euros that come with it), he wouldn’t be able to create pastries competitive with the more centrally located shops and B. No matter how good the pastries were, and no matter how much I might love them, most of you reading this still aren’t going that far out of the way for pastry. Those suspicions aside, being able to double-duty the visit for some croissants made it all worthwhile and allowed me to pick up the Equilibre here. So how was it?

Laurent Duchêne :: Equilibre

Well, calling a pastry Equilibre is pretty ambitious – verging on audacious. Should it being anything but a perfect equilibrium and flavors and/or textures, it’s just not going to live up to the name. In fact, it’s probably only Claire Damon from Des Gateaux et du Pain who could slap that name on a pastry and have me believe it was true; the woman is a wizard of balance. Laurent Duchêne . . . not so much. It’s certainly a very nice pastry, but on the texture front you could only say it was in equilibirum in so much as nothing was radically off-balance or in conflict. In terms of flavors – the raspberry was far too muted. It just got lost in the lemon mousse and pistachio pain de gênes, as well as in the rhubarb.

Nitpicking aside, that pistachio pain de gêne was delightful. And the mousse citron was good stuff, if a bit sweet. Maybe I would have been more into it had the name not set my expectations sky-high.

Laurent Duchêne :: Equilibre

I also picked up another couple pastries of Monsieur Duchêne’s, when I snagged the above and some croissants. One, the Verveine, was nothing to write home about, but his Fraicheur is one to keep an eye out for here on the site in the future. It featured an awesome grapefruit mousse with wee bits of grapefruit mixed in. Yum.

Laurent Duchêne :: Equilibre

So, yeah, if you happen to be in the 13ème and need a snack, the Equilibre is a decent purchase. I’m of course not dazzled by it, but I think you could like the pistachio pain de gêne and the lemon mousse enough – even if the overall work is not quite in equilibrium. Plus, the only other real patissier close-by is Gerard Mulot, and well . . . Laurent Duchêne is a definite upgrade from that.

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11 Responses to “ Laurent Duchêne :: Equilibre ”

  1. Allyn says:

    21? Did I miss something?

  2. Nathanaël says:

    I'm glad you have discovered Duchêne! I was wondering if you even knew he existed. Actually, I believe he opened another pastry shop rue de la Convention, which is not as far flung as rue Wurtz may seem… Too bad you could not taste his wonderful galette des rois in January!

    • Oh, I've known about him for quite a while. There are actually a lot of shops I know of and have heard good things about and which I have not visited for the reasons I listed. There are also others, like ACIDE macarons, which I have visited and have still not put up here because I just don't know if anyone will seriously visit it — it's just so far off the beaten path. So I'm trying to put up a few from some of these places to help balance things out – while not jamming the site with too many obscure shops. Maybe I'll change that strategy in time.

  3. elle marie says:

    This looks so tres chic, I'm not in Paris at the moment, so I'm getting my fare here in Japan, this entremet looks fab.

  4. Ted Niceley says:

    Man, this looks like some hybrid of the Wizard of Oz produced in "New Jack City"!!!.
    Really bewitching!
    Nice Damon name check!!
    I for one would really love to read something I could trust about "Acide Macaron".
    But the next time I get to Paris, chez Duchene ( forgive me the nonuse of keycaps) deserves a visit, I'm a sucker for pain de genes

  5. [...] Adam is “meh” about Laurent Duchêne’s ambitiously-named Equilibre. “It’s positively a really good pastry, though on a hardness front we could usually contend it was in balance in so most as zero was radically off-balance or in conflict…the hiss was distant too muted. It only got mislaid in a lemon mousse and pistachio pain de gênes, as good as in a rhubarb.” [Paris Pâtisseries] [...]

  6. Gerry says:

    When a friend turned me on to your blog I was excited by the prospect of learning of shops in the arrondissements i would not think to go to. Please keep reporting on your new finds.

  7. fancy_castor says:

    Um..actually, there are lots of folks who live in the 13th and the 15th arrondissements…so everything is relative. And IMHO, the best thing at Duchene is the vanilla eclair, followed by the tarte au citron and the tarte a la passion. The chocolate praliné tarte is pretty good too.

  8. [...] 13ème – but it’s a little off the beaten path for most. You may remember that I reviewed his Equilibre a few months ago, but now I’d like to dig into into the Fraîcheur. Is it worth the metro ride [...]

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