Remaining in the 7th, this time for a late breakfast after finally sleeping in one day, our stop at La Patisserie des Reves was perhaps the best breakfast of the trip - largely because there was really nothing breakfast about it. With an elegant collection presented under glass domes and the pastries still warm from the oven the store purporting the best Paris Brest in the city delivered on its promise - unless of course you take into account the version at Le Pre Catalan that costs nearly 4x as much. Flawless choux - crisp on the outside and nearly hollow within - thick praline cream, and a touch of confectioner's sugar - lovely, balanced, and not overly sweet.
Additional selections from La Patisserie des Reves included a densely packed apple croissant, a light and flaky pain au Valrhona chocolate, an enormous lemon accented Madeline, and a uniquely presented St. Honore with Chantilly Cream atop one finger of Vanilla Custard and Coffee Custard laden balls of Caramelized Choux resting atop a second - it was beautiful, it was delicious, and while such generalizations are always hard to make it might have been my favorite non-restaurant item of the entire trip.
Yes, this is the stuff that dreams are made of as Philippe Conticini is a pastry magician and innovator of classic French desserts. The desserts in his shop are displayed like artwork, almost like in a jewelry shop, each dessert is protected under a glass dome.
I had to try the chocolate eclair that was wrapped in a sheet of chocolate, and the Paris Brest, which was voted the best Paris Brest. All of his desserts take on such a modern form. For example the St. Honore abandons its normally round shape and the Paris Brest is composed of a bunch of small choux that you can actually pull apart and share. One dessert that caught my eye, but was a bit too steep for my budget, was the foret noire. When you think foret noire, you think of a cake covered in chantilly and chocolate shavings. Nope. Conticini's foret noire takes the shape of a glistening apple that would lure any Snow White into taking a bite out of it. Perhaps next time I'll have to try it.
I'm not a big fan of the jewelry shop feel of the boutique. When you ask tell the sales lady what you want, she tells someone in the back and its quickly packaged up and delivered to the front of the house. This sort of presentation is becoming more popular in Paris, though I prefer to be able to see and pick out exactly the dessert you're taking home.
However, I LOVE the packaging. I've never seen such ingenious packaging before in any patisserie in Paris. When I arrived home a good 4 hours after purchasing my desserts and being shoved around on the metro, I was sure that my desserts would be massacred. To my surprise they were intact. For his packaging, Conticini employs a foam base at the bottom of each pastry box. The desserts are carefully arranged and then plastic picks are inserted to secure them in place. Why hasn't anyone else thought of this?! Of course it is more time consuming and increases the overall cost, but at least my desserts made it home in perfect condition.
As for the desserts themselves, the chocolate eclair was pretty standard, though I do appreciate that its wrapped in chocolate. When it comes to chocolate, the more the better. The Paris Brest was divine. Each ball contains a praline cream and piped into the center is runny praline adding a burst of flavor. I think the next time I'll stop by his other location to sample more desserts on site.
Having read this was the current 'best' patisserie in Paris, I wandered down to see what all the fuss is about. Rue du Bac is a lovely street on the left bank filled with a variety of interesting shops. La Patisseries des Reves presents itself as a precious pastry and cake museum. The main selections are under refrigerated glass domes with prices above 50euros. My French relatives outside of Paris would faint at these prices. On the right hand wall are found the daily selections of pastries. Since it was late afternoon, there wasn't much left. I bought a couple of items (one was an apple turnover) and ate them while walking around the neighborhood. Not badly priced considering the cost of the cakes and tasted very good (about 3euros each). I can't vouch that they are the best but definitely very good. The packaging of some of their items is something to see in itself.
A nice little find on the Left Band and worth a look if you're a pastry or dessert fan.
This place is adorable. Maybe a tad overpriced for somethings (a foret noir for barely two is €17) but overall reasonable. We had the Paris Brest, the chocolate Eclair and the Tarte Citron. The eclairs are beautiful and very creative. I'm not convinced it's the "best" Paris Brest, but very good nonetheless. And the Tarte citron was lovely as well. All were very sweet, maybe a little overly, but I'm not one to complain about that. Definitely worth the trip, but still not the best value compared to Marletti or Mulot or just overall best in taste compared to Hermé or Genin.
Okay there are a million pastry shops in Paris - one on every block and they all look about the same ( I mean, seriously they all offer about the same things - and they all taste great) This place doesn't try to present itself as just another French pastry shop - it's more like a high end boutique French pastry shop - not as many choices and a bit more expensive. It's definitely worth a visit at least once while you're visiting Paris.
I have always said to my friends that I view bakeries as museums and pastries as works of arts. At Patisserie des Reves, the line between bakery and museum is truly blurred. Each bakery item is kept under large inverted glass containers, with pulleys used to gain access to the delicacies. Moreover, the patisserie keeps a relatively small inventory visible, again making each items seem precious. The Tarte Tatin was quite different than I expected, but good nonetheless. The Kuoign Amman was disappointing. Still, this place is definitely worth visiting.
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