Pierre Hermé :: Émotion Vanille

Pierre Hermé :: Émotion Infiniment Vanille

Despite my sometimes harsh reviews of Pierre Hermé’s work, I think he’s among the four great Parisian pastry [shop] chefs of the moment (Jacques Genin, Hugues Pouget, and Emmanuel Ryon being the others). There’s no one else who so successfully explores such a wide range of flavors that work so beautifully in concert with one another. Take for example his Constellation – cardamom, strawberry, orange, and heavily toasted almonds – not a quartet most people would come up with. Were they nonetheless amazing together? Absolutely. In fact, they were so super amazing together that the Constellation was my breakfast #1 (cause I typically ate 3 pastries before noon) for almost a month.

Even Monsieur Hermé’s humbler/classic pieces tend to be handled quite adeptly. From the exquisite croissant in his viennoisserie lineup to the delights of his recent éclair vanille and millefeuille vanille, one’s palate can be amused time-and-again. Those latter two pieces were actually part of a 6-pastry effort – The Fetish Vanille – which also included the subject of today’s review, the Émotion Vanille. So how delightsome did it prove to be? Well . . .

Pierre Hermé :: Émotion Infiniment Vanille

Overall, this was a pretty lackluster effort. Starting from the top, I found the white chocolate disc to be of a pretty nice quality and quite tasty, if a wee bit grainy. The Mascarpone crème beneath was a wonderfully vanilla’y mélange of pods of Mexican, Tahitian and Madagascan origins – though a smidge too buttery. Below all that gooey goodness, you have a rum-imbibed baba nugget that was . . . ok; the rum was of a solid quality, though by no means dazzling. And then, last – and certainly least – was the tepidly sweet, almost grey-hued Jell-O shooter base. Is it billed as a vanilla gelée? Yeah, but the rum from the baba seemed to have infiltrated, with the help of co-conspirators gravity and osmosis, and pushed any of those pacific vanilla tones aside.

Pierre Hermé :: Émotion Infiniment Vanille

The real issue here is that I had the Émotion Vanille within a couple days of experiencing Jacques Genin’s Baba, which is nothing short of a masterwork. If only for the fact that it’s perfectly bathed in a 30-year-old rum of the highest caliber, it spanks ever other baba out there. But the rest of it is so mindblowing that . . . well . . . you’ll see in a future review.

Pierre Hermé :: Émotion Infiniment Vanille

I just love the photo above, and I think the one immediately below looks like a much tastier version of the Japanese flag. It’s as if their rising sun had been turned into a glowing moon . . . of white chocolate.

Pierre Hermé :: Émotion Infiniment Vanille

I’ve been experimenting with camera angles and depth of field, cause I’m avant garde like that with my pastries . . .

Pierre Hermé :: Émotion Infiniment Vanille

So, no, I can’t recommend the Émotion Vanille. With its constituent parts ranging from good to ehh, there’s nothing in this little guy that really grabbed me and said, “This was 7.30 euros well spent.” That same cash can buy you a baba – made by Jacques Genin himself – that will change your life. I’d still pay a visit to Monsieur Hermé’s for any number of pastries and goodies, but this is just one to snub.

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18 thoughts on “Pierre Hermé :: Émotion Vanille”

  1. Love the photo angles on this one. Too bad it was a bit disappointing. If you could only go to one pastry shop would it be Jacques Genin? I have a limited time in Paris this week and am also intrigued by Un Dimanche.

  2. Welcome back!!! I have some dear friends in Paris right now. It's their first time. I made recommendations to them based on your reviews. The husband generally doesn't eat sweets but I made them some of my French desserts and between that and his wife egging him on, we now have convinced him that French pastries are a must on this trip. Cheers, Stephan

  3. Excellent review!
    Will pass on this sucker.

    I'm excited to try PH's new Ibiza… "pistache, orange, touron & nougatine" oh mon dieu!

  4. Hi Adam, my first time writing to you. I will be in Paris next week to celebrate my wedding anniversary. Have been following your blog to get ideas on where to go for the best pastries. Could you give me your opinion of the BEST place for croissant, been waiting for your croissant roundup but you have not upload new entries lately:( Also, I would like to order a cake to celebrate our anniversary, you suggestions for the BEST cake and where? Thank you in advance, I really value your opinion.

  5. Hi Adam, thank you for your help, i will definitely look into ordering from the places you suggested. I really love chocolate pastries, i remember reading you praising monsieur Pascal Caffet as having the BEST chocolate pastries (Royal) in Paris, but he no longer has a shop in Paris. In your opinion who has the best chocolate pastries now? I think you are "fabulous", we are so lucky to have someone so knowledgable doing all the tasting and sharing all the infos with us, Merci beaucoup Adam!!!

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