Move over macarons… Parisians are having a new love affair

by Margaret Barca

Parisians have found a new delicacy to be passionate about. Yes, exquisite little choux-pastry éclairs are the ‘new’ macaron. They’re airy-light with jewel-like glazes and intensely delicious fillings (think salted caramel, green tea).

Just as Ladurée (and others) have endlessly tempted us with their inventive macarons in myriad varieties (blackcurrant–violet, bergamot, myrtle and ethereal pillows of almond–marshmallow), now Parisian pastry chefs have deftly turned their hands to the éclair, transforming them into a modern morsel. Of course, the classics are still there – Paris does classic very well – so chocolate, coffee and vanilla are as lovely as ever. But the new flavours… oh my!

Parisians are so mad for éclairs that there is even a Quinzaine des éclairs, which translates as a fortnight of éclairs (not a week! an entire fortnight). People vote on their favourite pâtisserie’s éclairs.

And did you know, the word éclair means a flash, or lightning – it’s said these cakes got their name because they were gone ‘in a flash’.

Stohrer
51 rue Montorgueil
75002
Stohrer
If it’s tradition you’re after, head to Stohrer, the oldest pâtisserie in Paris, started in 1730 (that alone makes it worth a visit). It’s smallish and charming, and a little old world, very well stocked, and sells both sweet and savoury morsels. (If you are having friends for a drink at your apartment, the savoury cocktail bites are fantastic). The éclairs (chocolate, vanilla, caramel or coffee) have a classic, creamy filling. Rue Montorgueil is well known for its food shopping, so you can stock up on cheese, bread, wine and more while in the area.

L’éclair de Génie
14 Rue Pavée
75004

L’eclair de Genie
This is the ‘concept store’ of master pastry chef Christophe Adam and it is hardcore – I mean it is JUST éclairs (well, there are some chocolates, but…). I love that the name means ‘flash of genius’! It is sleekly modern, with one long yellow counter, groovy soundtrack and a mouth-watering selection of éclairs. It is basically take-away, but you can eat them there – some clients can’t wait to scoff them – though if you do, wait a moment as they are little too chilled straight from the counter. Parisians buy them by the boîte, with 6 or 10 (around 30 to 50 euro). Mascarpone with salted caramel, passionfruit and raspberries, cassis and vanilla and more – they all look amazing, they taste divine. Adam has another concept store in the 16th, at 53 rue de Passy.

L’Atelier de L’éclair
16 Rue Bachaumont
75002

Latelier de Leclair
Another shop dedicated JUST to éclairs. The little coffret (a chic black box) with 5 mini éclairs is rather adorable – and perfect for sampling. The red fruit éclairs were summery and lovely. They also have their own speciality – savoury éclairs. Yes, with smoked salmon, with chorizo, with pesto and goat’s cheese, even chicken curry.

Yannick Martin
302 rue Saint Honoré 75001
You’ll often see a queue snaking out of this little shop at lunchtime
but it’s worth a little wait. This is a bakery too (with
buttery little quiches, salads and sandwiches). The éclairs include classics, but the pistachio (in a gorgeous Paris-designer green), look heavenly and taste the same. The shop is quite close to the Louvre and Tuileries if you want to enjoy your éclair in the gardens.

So now there is yet another thing to do in Paris – indulge in éclairs!

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paris | eclairs | french | food | french | cuisine