My friend Julie and I have been doing “pastry lunches” at some of the city’s finer patisseries. A month or so ago, we had a six pastry feast, complete with caramels and chocolates, at Jacques Genin’s shop. And I believe our next stop is the Mandarin Oriental, which recently opened and began pastry service. But our latest stop was the famed Angelina. Not only did I feel it was time to take a deeper look at their pastry selection, but I felt the need to better explore all the nuances of their famed hot chocolate. Would I still say Un DImanche proffers a superior chocolat chaud? Yes, but Angelina’s was ever the classic and nothing short of excellent. Anyway . . .
Julie and I “sampled” four or five of Angelina’s pastries. She was most excited to get the one that, “looks like spaghetti”. I restrained myself from saying I always think it looks a little like brains. But, really, no matter how you characterize it, it’s not the most aesthetic olden-timey piece in the case. Added to the homeliness was the fact that the woman who boxed it up for me handled it with the finesse of a wild animal. All the compression of chestnut squiggles you’ll notice on the sides of this little one were courtesy of her smashing it back and forth in the box, before almost completely inverting the thing to get it into the bag with the others. Anyway, let’s chat about the Angelina Mont Blanc . . .
It’s great. The crème de marron “spaghetti” on the outside was wonderfully textured and flavored – full of chestnut goodness and neither too moist nor too dry, neither too creamy nor too gritty, and neither too sweet nor too bitter, as some other Mont Blanc’s can be (note: I’m talking to you, Ladurée). Perhaps my favorite part was the vanilla crème within, which I found lighter than Kozy Shack rice pudding – yet, in terms of flavor, virtually indistinct. Yum. And the meringue heart provided a good measure of crispy/crunchy fun, with an added kick of sweetness. It’s a classic for a reason, friends.
I’d be interested to see how Jacques Genin or Emmanuel Ryon might approach a Mont Blanc – and if it could top Angelina here. You might remember my Carl Marletti Mont Blanc review from a few months back – where I was more than a little impressed with his completely reimagined spin on textures, to say nothing of its uber-tasteful aesthetics.
Delicious, delicious gooey gooey goodness . . .
So, yes, I can fully advocate hitting up Angelina for their classic Mont Blanc, paried of course with their even more famous l’Africain chocolat chaud. There might be no finer a way to pass the time between your pre-lunch pastry eating and your post-lunch pastry indulgence.