The pandemic has caused numerous restaurants, hotels and cafés to close down for different time periods throughout 2020 and 2021 and this couldn’t have help but impact the players that have stayed stayed in the market. Yet, as I noted earlier this month, savvy entrepreneurs are taking this opportunity to startup. Let’s take a look at what the Parisian pastry scene looks like now and what the must-experience novelties are across the city.
In November 2020, a renowned pastry chef, Nicolas Paciello, opened the CinqSens pastry shop in the 15th arrondissement. It is a much less glamourous area than the location of Fouquet’s, a 5-star hotel of particular distinction and his main place. The new sweet tooth destination is called CinqSens for the 5 senses – smell, hearing, touch, eyesight and taste – all of them awakened by the experience the pastry shop offers.
Chef Paciello focuses mostly on what nature has to give seasonally – the flavours that are most commonly present in the desserts are vanilla, nuts, fruits, coffee and chocolate.
Another new shop on the Parisian pastry scene to check out is Délicatisserie by Nina Metayer, my former chef at Café Pouchkine Paris. A new approach dictated by the epoch is it’s an online store – something Parisians are getting accustomed to since the pandemic began. The chef’s values and aspirations were to make the shop focus on a sustainable development approach. This involves creating pastries on command to make the business as waste-free as possible.
Production wise, ingredients are used integrally: according to Chef Metayer, fruit peels and cores are processed into syrups, toppings or coulis. Having placed an order online, you may collect your pastries from the production lab in Issy les Moulineaux, at one of the collection points or get them delivered to your door.
When it comes to gastronomy in the newly-reopened Samaritaine, the luxury department store under renovation
for the past 16 years, there are three words that come to mind: Chic. Street. Food.
Not the most obvious of moves to mix the high and the low end of food; however this tandem is becoming more and more evident. A prevailing tendency in many countries is for many luxurious establishments to democratize their offerings, and this may be considered a secondary effect of such a trend. In regards to desserts, the Samaritaine boasts two almost opposing concepts: a sleek white marble and glass Pâtisserie L’Exclusive by Dalloyau and a funky, pop-art Sweet Corner by Bogato.
The first one features bestsellers present in other pastry shops of the brand and two exclusive pieces inspired by decorative elements of the department store with milk chocolate and red berry flavours. The second destination for dessert fans focuses more on the “street food” side of things.
Chez Bogato, the team behind the Sweet Corner, specialise in pastries that are not typically French – cakes and individual desserts designed for special occasions with voluminous colourful decorations. With creativity being one of the pillars of the company, Bogato set up a menu of individual pastries featuring chocolate, raspberry and mint Sweetburgers, Fish&Chips with two chocolate sardines and vanilla shortbread fries as well as other interpretations of the classical tastes and combinations. Playful, stylish and Instagram-friendly are the words I would use to describe these desserts.
The boutique itself could be the ultimate place for everyone from Generation Z bloggers to families with children.
Le Comptoir de Ritz
The Ritz Paris, the famous 5-star hotel in the heart of Place Vendôme, first broke the rules by setting up a food truck early last year outside the hotel amenities. Now they’ve opened a classy ritzy pastry shop in the hotel –accessible from Rue Cambon – called Ritz Paris Le Comptoir. The philosophy behind it is simple: you don’t have to stay at the hotel or visit it to experience it.
The sweets on display are inspired by classical French pastries including madeleines and croissants, the latter being served… flat, in a less usual shape than what we are used to. The chef says they are easier to consume this way, and I can’t say I fully agree – time will tell whether I am a minority in regards to this philosophical question.
Another innovation (if this word is even applicable to the world of pastry and the Parisian pastry scene!) is drinks with the iconic Ritz desserts flavours: the madeleine entremet, the marbled cake or the caramel bar. Mostly aimed at tourists, I feel that Le Comptoir may also attract the French from September onwards, since August is usually the time when foreigners reign and rule in the capital while the Parisians are soaking up the sun down south.
About the author:
Elena Kalmykova is a pastry chef, gastronomic guide, arts lover and passionate traveller. She’s originally from Moscow, Russia. It was her love for pastry that led Elena to study and then work in a Parisian pastry shop, a 3-star Michelin restaurant and now in a 5-star hotel.
She loves to discover new technologies as well as the latest trends in food, great spots to eat or drink and share her knowledge.
You can follow her on Instagram at elena_kalmykova.