There are a few ways your pâtisserie can become famous in Paris. You can create amazingly delicious work. You can do a masterful job of marketing your products. You can get lucky and become a media/blogging darling. Or you can craft the most ridiculously ornate and beautiful pieces. Of course the best approach is to somehow put all four of these elements together. But even if Café Pouchkine didn’t have their fingers well into the first few of those techniques, the aesthetics of their pastries are so much more eye-catching and arresting than anyone else’s that they’d succeed just on that final facet alone. And what’s crazy is that no one’s really trying to compete with them on that front [yet].
Should the above shot not tickle your personal fancy, I’m sure you can still see how it would set most people to drooling. That’s to say nothing of how tempting pieces like their Gâteau Citron or Roulé Pavot are. And then there are the even prettier pastries from them that I’m saving for the weeks and months ahead. There’s a reason I sometimes rag on the other shops for poor work; once you see something like this, it’s hard to understand how another team could do less complex compositions with nary a thought to the way they slop them together. That’s not a worry chez Pouchkine. So let’s dig into the Chloé.
The sablée base is a delight – smooth and pacific – with a gentle crumble that’s pleasant without venturing into the realm of being too grainy. That sparklingly iridescent coat of caramel, too, is fairly mild and not too pronounced. But once you get into into the body of this little one, the coffee-imbued crème unleashes its brilliant tones and marries with a far more present caramel and deep notes of a lovely chocolate biscuit. It’s a glorious dance of textures and warm flavors. Yum. But we’re not quite through all the layers…
The one criticism I’d have is that the chocolate caramel heart seemed to include a fair amount of sarrasin (buckwheat) honey, which at least for me doesn’t quite resonate. Perhaps it’s one of those things like how cilantro tastes like soap to some people and not to others, but that sarrasin-chocolate fusion never clicks. It’s really a minor point though. I hate to question the brilliance of Emmanuel Ryon.
The orante chocolate chapeau is also quite something to take in, as you can see from the numerous angles I saw fit to get on it here! And it’s really more of a true garnish – quite sweet – and maybe not as much something to chow down on and it is something whose aesthetics you can admire.
Can’t you just taste the sparkle?
I should remind everyone that Monsieur Ryon is a French Champion pastry chef, a World Champion pastry chef and an MOF in ice sculpture and frozen desserts. There’s a reason he turns out so much more elaborate work than anyone.
What do you think . . . even more beautiful from an aerial view?
Whoever on the team is putting these little ones together is doing a fantastic job. Thumbs up, team!
So, yes, I’ll give the Chloé my approval. The caveat is, of course, to be sure you’re cool with chocolate and sarrasin honey together in one. That aside, if you like buttery sablée, caramel, coffee, and chocolate ensemble . . . you are set! And make sure to check out tons of the other goodies Pouchkine has waiting for you. I for one can’t wait to get back and inhale their vanilla croissant, Coeur Pistache macarons, Napoléon, Tutti Frutti and another dozen goodies.