I found these lovely articles about eclairs in Paris from the blogs “Lost in Cheeseland” and “the hip Paris blog”, which I will share momentarily, but what got to me was the fact that even the Parisians, who are known for doing things a particular way, have taken off down the American path of derivatives…you can’t just have a donut, it has to be a cronut, or a Monut, or some fancy jacked up flavor, like chocolate chai. Now the Parisians are doing the same thing with eclairs, and I’m really not sure I’m ready for such a seismic shift in culture, nor a yuzu flavored sweet…
We Americans have been practicing the craft of derivatives for a very long time (Baskin Robbins 31 flavors anyone?) but the French…mais non!! How do you feel about this overabundance of choice?
The New Wave of Eclairs in Paris
French pastry remains a fierce object of fascination but these days, more for the ways in which it breaks with convention than its storied past. The most iconic in this vast spectrum is unequivocally the éclair, firmly anchored in the national consciousness and a consummate favorite among children and adults alike.
Despite its status as the most preferred pastry among French gourmands, the éclair has rarely inspired the imaginations of pastry chefs who have long perceived its simple form too limiting. But that’s beginning to change with the arrival of two shops entirely devoted to the cream-puff pastry, prepared to usher it into the canons of contemporary French pâtisserie.
L’Eclair de Génie plays up the éclair as an epoch-defining work of art in a concept-store environment (and has since its founder Christophe Adam was revolutionizing the pastry for Fauchon) while L’Atelier de l’Eclair introduces a savory form of the classic treat in addition to their many sweet iterations.
I wrote about both for En Route Magazine (Air Canada) but what I didn’t mention was my personal favorite. By dint of crafting each éclair by hand, irregularities in the shells are noticeable at L’Atelier de l’Eclair and they’re fiercely proud of their artisanal approach, which I love. But Christophe Adam’s prowess in aesthetic, flavor and form trumps all of pastry chef Loïc Bret‘s creations. Flavors change with the seasons, like a fashion collection, but a two regulars get my vote: Madagascar Vanilla topped with toasted pecans and Yuzu Lemon.
Read more about the two and decide for yourself on your next visit to Paris! Click HERE to read my article on En Route.
And from the Hip Paris blog, read about a smackdown between the two revered eclair shops mentioned above…
What do you think on the topic? Like it, hate it, can’t decide?