Category: Special Features
Last Thursday, I headed to Strasbourg, France to see everyone’s favorite Alsatian pastry chef, Thierry Mulhaupt, in action. I was only expecting to get some shots of him preparing a couple pastries, but I wound up getting much more. So today will merely be Part 1 of the “Mulhaupt Chronicles”, as I wanted to quickly show off some of the Pâques (Easter) treats he and his team were busy creating.
Too bad for you that smell-o-vision doesn’t already exist though. The scent I experienced upon entering his labo – a potent blend of fresh chocolate, macarons, muffins, brioche and more – filled the air, veritably like your grandmother’s kitchen on steroids. It was intoxicating. There Monsieur Mulhaupt was (above), busy glazing the day’s lemon tarts. And just to his left was a virtual field of Lamalas molds . . .
I asked the lambs what they were all queuing up for. “The oven,” they said. Ouch. “No, no, don’t worry about us. Once you see the delicious golden, sugar-dusted Easter cakes we become, you’ll understand why we love it there.” The aforementioned scent left me no reason to doubt the veracity of their claim, plus I had something more important on my mind. Chocolate…
In the United States, children are excited to get some cheap foil-wrapped Hershey’s chocolate eggs in their basket – perhaps some Cadbury mini-eggs, if they’re lucky – or a Cadbury cream egg, if they’re been particularly good tykes. In Strasbourg, children have Thierry Mulhaupt, and something like the above is par for the course. God forbid the Easter Bunny gets mixed-up one year and swaps an American child’s goodies with an Alsatian child’s. The American kid’s head might explode, from the twist of good fortune, and the Strasbourgian kid would probably collapse into tears – never able to forgive the Bunny or their parents for the cruelty.
Strasbourgians also have a much more refined aesthetic sensibility when it comes to chocolate Easter eggs. For all the lovelies I saw in other shops’ windows during my visit, none compared to Monsieur Mulhaupt’s . . .
From the modern art’esque…
To the festively seasonal…
And to the elegant, eating one of these must be the height of Easter opulence…
Monsieur Mulhaupt unwisely left me alone with all of these eggs, so everything pictured was summarily consumed. No small task, btw, as they’re all as large as they are delicious. My unsupervised time also gave me a chance to sneak some shots of yet more eggs, still in production. Shhh, don’t tell on me.
With all the eggs photographed, and my blood slowly converting to milk chocolate. I popped out to see Monsieur Mulhaupt doing a final stir of milk and butter for a huge batch of choux he was preparing. He asked if I had time to stay for lunch, and honored at the suggestion, I gladly accepted. But you’ll see those photos and the rest of our in-kitchen adventures another day.
And if you’re wondering what ever happened to those little Lamalas, here’s what they become…
So, if you in or near Strasbourg, head over to Monsieur Mulhaupt’s shops (addresses and website below) for your Easter chocolates, Lamalas and more . . . now! And if you won’t quite make it there for Easter, fawn over the goodies on his Facebook page, and then be sure to stop by as soon as possible. The man makes some amazing pastries (try his strawberry tarte and Picudo apricot entremet) and what is verifiably the finest Kugelhopf in the whole city. Seriosuly, I bought many kugelhopfs from other shops while I was there – and his was light years ahead of the rest.
Thierry Mulhaupt Pâtisserie
18 Rue du Vieux Marché aux Poissons
6700 Strasbourg, France
Tél. +33 (0)3 88 23 15 02
Thierry Mulhaupt Épice et Chocolat
5 rue du Temple Neuf
67000 Strasbourg, France
Tél. +33 (0)3 88 32 43 80
Like Him on Facebook: Thierry Mulhaupt Pâtissier Chocolatier
Continuing the fun of reader-submitted entries that began with Chelsea’s Parisian Adventure, may I present to you Janae’s Parisian Adventure. Prepare to see some goodies from la Maison du Chocolat and the famed Angelina’s . . .
The day began with breakfast (croissants and coffee) in our hotel. My sister noted that even though this was our third day in Paris, she had yet to see the city during the day time. While I ate, I quickly figured out the metro stops to take us to our first destination for the day: Musee d’Orsay. My cousin would end up meeting up with us later in the afternoon, so it was just me and the twin. Fortunately, we did not get too lost on our way to d’Orsay, mainly due to the number of signs pointing us in the right direction.
We arrived early enough to not have to wait in line too long, and the first section we hit was the Impressionism. One word: WOW. At one point, my sis’ said to me, “I can’t believe I’m actually seeing this with my own eyes.” There was Van Gogh, Degas (which turned out to be my favorite), Manet, Monet, and Cezanne…just to name a few. I loved the ballerina paintings by Degas. There were little things that my sister (a half-art major in college) pointed out to me, such as the way Degas highlighted the ballerina’s slipper by using color. I loved it. We spent a few hours here, just soaking up the sights around us. Quite a bit of the museum was under renovation and some pieces were even missing because they were donated to other exhibitions around the world. I’m definitely going to have to come back and see everything in its entirety one day. When we were done, we went to the gift store and I ended up buying a few prints of Degas art to hang up at home.
We departed Musee d’Orsay and started walking down Boulevard Saint-Germain to take advantage of the Soldes going on. Soldes is France’s government regulated sales that happen only twice a year. It was very hard for us to even walk a block because we kept stopping in stores, then crossing the street to go in the stores on the other side. We bought some gifts for friends as well as purses and clothes for ourselves. Time seemed to fly when we were shopping! I don’t even think we made it through half a mile of Saint-Germain. For lunch, we stopped at a sidewalk cafe and enjoyed croque monsieurs (my sister’s first in Paris). It was yummy, but not the best I’ve had.
Next on our itinerary was Musee Marmottan. We were to meet our cousin there at about 2 p.m., and we actually were able to find the place without getting lost! The museum was packed with people, mostly all French. I didn’t know this at the time, but apparently the Marmottan was having a special Monet exhibition, that included every piece of his work that was in its collection. We waited for our cuz’, but decided to go on without her since her lunch with friends was running late. The Monet pieces were fascinating; the entire bottom floor contained many pieces of his Nympheas, or waterlilies, and a lot of the Weeping Willow pieces. One room was dedicated to his caricature drawings before he was famous. It was literally a Monet heaven of hundreds of his Impressionist work. Sadly, I seemed to unknowingly overlook his famous piece Impression, Sunrise, from which the Impressionist movement took its name. Oh well, I’m just going to have to go back! I ended up getting a poster of this painting, which I will hang in my apartment.
We met our cousin at the metro stop next to Palais Garnier, an opera house that shows ballets and operas. We were about 10 minutes too late, so we only got to see the outside of the building. We made our way towards the Madeleine church, which was beautiful inside. We also stopped into La Maison du Chocolat, which, as you can see from the name of the store, is known for their chocolates. We picked up more gifts for some friends and sampled the yummy chocolate.
We walked along the streets of Paris along the Tuileries, and I made a mental note to come visit it on a separate trip when the flowers are in bloom and the trees are green. We walked into Angelina’s, a restaurant known for its delectable sweets.
After waiting a few minutes for a table, we ordered their famous hot chocolate, known as L’Africain, and a chocolate eclair to split. It tasted heavenly, although it did feel a bit weird eating something so sweet before dinner. Nevertheless, it was a comforting treat that complemented the cold weather outside perfectly.
A ride on the metro a little later, and we encountered the sparkling Hotel de Ville and the picturesque ice skating rink in front. We did some souvenir shopping and I am now kicking myself for not buying more souvenirs for myself. We passed the Pompidou, and I made another mental note to visit the inside of this building. The Pompidou’s architecture is designed so that it has an exposed skeleton of all the mechanical systems and pipes. So cool!
Our next stop (via the metro) was at the Arc de Triomphe. We made our way through the underground tunnel to the entrance, then climbed the stairs (almost 200!) to the top and admired the spectacular views of the Eiffel, Champs Elysees, and La Defense. We lingered at the top for awhile, taking many pictures.
We were all hungry, so we went in search of dinner on the Champs Elysees and arrived at Leon des Bruxelles, a famous Brussels restaurant known for its moules et frites (mussels and fries). For starters, I ordered a warm goat cheese salad, and we all ordered kir vin blanc to drink. For the main entree, I passed on the mussels and instead ordered Flemmish Carbonnade, a traditional beef dish similar to a beef stew with a beer-base sauce. It was delicious! For dessert, we all ordered waffles. I accidentally poured too much chocolate sauce on it, so I only ate a few bites. As it turns out, there IS a limit to how much chocolate one can eat in one day.
The night ended with another trip on the metro to our hotel, and my sister and I patted ourselves on the back for not getting lost once we exited the metro. Hooray!
A few months ago, Chelsea here wrote me and said, “Hey, PP, is there a way for readers to post to the blog?” Sadly, there wasn’t, but her request gave me the nudge to make it happen. I promised her that once the new site was up, not only would it be possible but that she would be the first reader featured. The following is all about her romp around Paris this past September, as related to me during a lengthy telephone conversation.
If you’re wondering, “How can I get featured?” Easy. Just check out these submission guidelines, and you too could be staring at yourself on the homepage of the site!
But back to Chelsea’s adventure we go! After arriving in Paris, her first order of business was to hit up Ladurée . . .
Now, it looks like she’s pointing at the bag of goodies, but she was actually using it as cover to motion to the guy on the left of the photo. “That dude looks so French and swarthy . . . kinda hot, right?” she said to her friend taking the photo. Just then, the guy got up, walked right over to Chelsea, smiled and said, “O! M! G! I love Ladurée. They are so totally fierce. They’re like ferosh’.” Immediately realizing that he was neither French nor heterosexual, a wave of disappointment swept over her. She wanted me to point out that she “loves [her] gays” but that it, “would have been awesome to get hit on by a dirty Frenchman.” Regardless, they wound up chatting for a few minutes, during which he managed to scam her out of two lemon-flavored macarons. “I had a bunch of flavors, and I already knew those weren’t my favorite, so whatever . . . I didn’t let him get any of the really good stuff!” . . .
Never one to turn down raspberry anything, Chelsea went for a Tarte Framboise and an Ispahan. They were even better than she imagined, and unlike yours truly, she told me she really took time to savor the pastries, instead of jamming them into her face. She even resisted enough that she had some macarons and more left over, as she moved along to bask in the opulence of the Louvre . . .
You probably think she’s squinting from the sun, but it’s really more of a bummed-out expression. You see, she was totally thrilled at finally seeing the Mona Lisa and “some cool Egyptian stuff”, but a run-in with the melanin-challenge got her hopes up and then dashed them in an instant. What happened exactly? Well, while wandering through the Persian antiquities, she spotted what she thought was the albino Opus Dei guy from The Da Vinci Code. “I almost ****** my pants. At first it freaked me out, and then I was like, ‘No way!’” Chelsea excitedly told me. She continued, “It turns out it really was an albino . . . but just a teenage girl with really short hair. I think it was the combination of walking too much and jet leg setting in, but I remember standing there, almost crying, and saying, ‘This totally ******* sucks.’” PP can relate, as the time adjustment can be a little harsh. No worries; things were soon to turn around for our young traveller.
After the Louvre, she grabbed an early dinner, enjoyed a glass of wine and made her way to the outskirts of the city – to the house she’d managed to score for her Parisian vacation. Chelsea was feeling much more upbeat by then, but this is where things get a bit weird…
The little guy above is her pet hedgehog, Reginald. “I wasn’t going to leave him at home,” she told me. So she put him in a pet carrier, and apparently Air France was totally cool with it. So there in the photo she’s giving him his favorite cat food. I asked, “What’s the broom and dustpan for, Chels’?” The answer: “His poop.” Well, ok then.
Around 10, she scooped the little guy up and headed off to bed. Spooning her critter, she whispered, “Oh, Reggie, wasn’t today just magical?” Reginald concurred, with a lick of her cheek. “Tomorrow, we’re going to find some religion, little buddy!” For the next day was to be all about the great churches of Paris . . .
Chelsea’s first stop was Sacré Coeur. “It was amazing! I even decided to go up into the tower. We had to wait in line for like an hour, but it was worth it. You can see the whole city from inside.” But the best part? “This is so random, but there’s all this graffiti scratched into the wall at the top of the dome, and one scribble seriously said, ‘SATIN RULES’… I couldn’t stop laughing. I guess they meant “Satan”, but being a clothing designer, I was like, ‘Yes, satin is pretty great.’ It made it feel like I was meant to be there at Sacré Coeur, ya know?!” Indeed, Chelsea. Indeed.
Since Chels’ didn’t feel like walking all the way back down from the hill, she snagged a ride on the above mini choo-choo that roves Montmatre. From there, it was on to Notre Dame
The most famous church in all of France now seemed like an afterthought, following the fortuitously hilarious turn at Sacré Coeur. “I didn’t see any graffiti when I went up into Notre Dame’s tower. They keep that **** clean! . . . One of the gargoyles had some very obvious nipples, but other than that, it wasn’t anything special.” PP’s not even going to comment. Instead, let’s just move on to her photo of the bridge beside Notre Dame, where lovers affix locks with their names on them to symbolize their enduring bond – and where ill-prepared others MacGyver sad approximations out of plastic grocery bags and tattered shreds of fabric. Nothing says commitment like that!
After another long day, Chelsea took a cab back to the house, where Reginald was waiting patiently for her return. “He had been such a good boy while I was gone that I gave him a macaron. I even let him pick. He wanted the pistachio.” Reggie proceeded to run around like mad man until just before 3AM, juiced-up by a dose of sugar to which he was ill-accustomed. “Lesson learned. Do not feed hedgehogs macarons at any point in the evening . . . or ever,” Chelsea advises us.
Our traveller had many other adventures during her time in Paris – Versailles, Jim Morrison’s grave, the Musée d’Orsay, and beyond – but we’ll conclude with her visit to the Eiffel Tower.
Thanks to some “mad awesome connections”, she got a private, escorted trip to the very top. “I bet this is the kind of treatment the Jonas Brothers or someone else really famous must get all the time,” Chelsea said. As she concluded her Eiffel adventure, she asked a passerby to snap a final shot. “It was just this teenage girl. But right after she took the photo, she slid the camera into her pocket and started to walk away really fast. I was like, ‘WHAT?!’ But then she tripped two seconds later and did a total face-plant. I just laughed and picked my camera up off the ground beside her. What a ******* loser!”
And with that, Chelsea’s adventure came to an end. The next morning she and Reginald hopped on an Air France jet and headed back to the States. “It was the best vacation ever,” Chelsea told me. “Great weather. Great pastry! It’s an awesome city, and SATIN RULES!”
Do you have photos to share from a Parisian trip of your own? Then see how you can get yourself on Paris Patisseries.
Welcome to the new site! PP’s been working hard on this for a few months now, and it’s here, friends!
Over the next week, I’ll be continuing to buff and polish the site to make sure all the images look just right and that the links shoot to the right pages for you guys. So, if things looks a little weird at times, don’t worry; I’m on top of it.
The first new pastry entry will appear on Monday, but you’re going to start to see other entries a bit more regularly than the Monday/Friday routine we’ve been using. Why? Because that’s why I built the new site . . . to take you beyond pastries. So, in the weeks ahead, keep checking back in to see everything from awesome photos from across Paris, London, Rome, and beyond + to keep tabs on my return to The City of lights at the end of March!
Once I’m back in Paris, entries will again be daily. That’s right. If it’s not a pastry shoot, it’s going to be chocolate, or photos from atop Notre Dame, or a fancy pastry chef cooking just for us, or a romp around Milan. Who knows?! And get ready for videos, too!
Paris Patisseries is about to be one of the coolest ******* foodie/travel sites, and I hope you’ll join in the adventure with me. We’re going to have too much fun . . . and get really overweight! – Adam
La Pâtisserie des Rêves is, true to its name, the pastry shop of dreams. I mean . . . who doesn’t love the fantasy of 23rd century design aesthetics? Refridgered pieces of slate, cradling futurisitc pastries, beneath counter-weighted bell jars, arranged about a steel and blonde wood console of sweetness; it’s as much a delight for the eyes as its goodies are a delight for the palate.
Yet some have criticized LPdR for creating something “contrived” and “cold”. Were those haters in front of me right now, I’d have only one thing to say, “Go **** yourselves.” The design is fun. It is fanciful. It is creative. And, together with Hugo & Victor and ACIDE, LPdR has ushered-in a renaissance for Parisian patisseries. They are the conceptual patisseries – shops with an ethos that extends beyond crème and gateau. They are an experience unto themselves. As much as Ladurée is the classic, these patisseries are the future. So, with that said, let’s take a look around the first in that trinity, La Pâtisserie des Rêves. And, remember, you can click on any of the photos to make them extra huge . . .
The above wall of viennoiserie is not to be missed. From financiers to chaussons aux pommes, there’s always a delicious breakfast treat just waiting to be gobbled down. But my absolute favorite, without question, is their brioche. Produced in the below single-serving size or the €10 giant version, there might be none better in Paris. It is . . . .scrumtrulensent, particularly when slathered in apricot confiture. Yum.
The wall of viennoiseries also holds a few of their finer pastries, like the famous tarte tatin. Monsieur Conticini is a pastry design genius…
On the opposite side of the store, you’ll find a fine assortment of teas, nuts, small gifts, Monsieur Conticini’s “Sensations” recipe book, and gift box options. But, really, who care about tea, when the pastries and those crazy bells jars are right behind us?!
It almost looks as if the circular platforms are suspended mid-air by the jars and their cords, doesn’t it? Too cool. The best part of these jars is that you can stick your face right up to them. Try doing that in the Ladurée pastry case and you’re likely to get slapped and chased out of the store. Here though, it’s encouraged. Absorb your pastries almost as a 360° experience.
Behold the magnificence of it all…
You might be wondering how heavy those jars are and if the weights are perfectly balanced against them? The secret is that the jars are actually a high quality plastic and are relatively light, so the weights are mostly for design effect. It does little to diminish my love of them. And the cords that run to the jars are actually electrical cords, which illuminate the little bulb inside the top of each jar. LPdR is so crafty!
Ok, I know you want to see the pastries in their natural habitat, so here we go. This little guy is the Entre Deux, one of the greatest chocolate pastries on Earth. They usually have it in baby size, but only the king-size was in the house the day of the shoot. A mere €33 or around $42 American for 5 people.
And here we have the [grand] Calisson and Cylan – both of which I’ve covered in past reviews.
The Grand Cru is a marvel of chocolate. Second only to Hugo & Victor’s Hugo Chocolat, this is a can’t-miss chocolate experience. Stay tuned for a review on it early next year. You’ll be licking the screen.
One of my absolute favorites – Alliance. In fact, it was #5 on my Top 17 list of the Best Pastries in Paris. The magnificence of its taste and texture is inversely proportional to the humbleness of its form. It will be the first thing I buy when I get back there; it is a work of genius . . .
Tucked in the back of the shop is a trio of LPdR’s most renowned works: the inside-out éclair, the six/eight-sided Paris-Brest, and the Saint-Honoré that makes all others look ridiculously simple by comparison. It would be hard not to love any of these.
I thought the below was a pretty fun shot. On the left is some flan, on the right is a dot-it-yourself baba au rhum kit. Together, they frame a little viennoiserie display. Wouldn’t you just love to live in the middle of it all?
I said it earlier in the exposé, but I must say it again . . . behold the magnificence of it all!
So, I like to take about 10 trillion photos when I do a shoot. Somewhere around the 8 trillion mark, I was able to capture my favorite salesgirl in the universe, Morgane, in action. Julie Savage of Strawberry Milk Events in DC had come in to scout the best sweets for brides who were interested in having their weddings in Paris, and Morgane was there to answer all her questions with a smile. Did yours truly chime in with a ton of unsolicited information on LPdR and the awesomeness of their work? Yes, of course!
Since Morgane is so super rad’, she was happy to detail the various Conticini/Musa creations for Julie. Here, she’s explaining the Calisson and why it is so super cool.
Julie did a little exploring of her own, too!
You might be wondering, “Geez, PP, you seem to be awfully into Morgane. Are you totally in love with her or something?” The answer is . . . no, but . . . of course, she’s lovely. The reason I mention her in posts and wanted to feature her here is that she is genuinely super sweet and makes the LPdR experience 10x as wonderful as it already would be on its own. And I actually think most Parisian salespeople are really nice to begin with, so it says something that I think she’s the sweetest of the bunch. Next time you’re in Rêves, makes sure to tell her she’s as cool in real life as I’ve made her out to be here. It’ll make her smile like this . . .
I only wish I could visit every day What’s not to love about this pastry shop of dreams?
So there you have it. Short of inhaling everything in the shop, as I have, now you can understand a bit better why I adore La Pâtisserie des Rêves. Tucked a few blocks off the Boulevard Saint Germain, it’s a short walk from a lot of places you’re already likely to be on your next romp around Paris, so definitely make sure to swing by. Until then, here’s how to stalk them . . .
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