Your visit to Paris will certainly be punctuated with visits to museums and other landmarks, but you’d be missing out if you passed up the opportunity to sample a treat or two at a Parisian bakery.
With boulangeries on nearly every street corner, you’ll have more than a few opportunities to sample the legendary French bread and pastries. And while everyone has heard of the famous croissant, there are a few lesser-known bakery staples that deserve a second glance.
The name of this pastry comes from the French word for “lightning” – presumably because that’s how quickly you finish it once you’ve had a bite! An éclair is made with choux pastry, an eggy batter that cooks up airy and light. The logs of pastry are then filled with pastry cream – chocolate and coffee are the most common flavors, but some specialty shops like Eclair de Génie have come out with innovative versions like passion fruit or gianduja.
2. Almond Croissant
Not for the faint of heart, this buttery pastry starts with a croissant base which is filled with a sweetened almond paste, similar to marzipan. The croissant is usually topped with slivered almonds and a powdered sugar blizzard, transforming what is usually seen as a breakfast staple into the perfect sweet dessert.
Also sometimes known as elephant ears in the States, these buttery pastries are named for their resemblance to the leaves of palm trees. A palmier is made with a simple combo of flaky puff pastry and sugar for a giant cookie that’s the perfect mid-afternoon snack.
4. Flan Pâtissier
While it shares a name with the South American dessert, French flan is a horse of a different color. This eggy custard sets up firm, making it easier to eat than South American flan. It’s usually baked in a tart shell, marrying the best of custard and pie in one delicious, vanilla-scented treat.
5. Moelleux Au Chocolat
Chocoholics, you’ve met your match with the moelleux. This miniature chocolate cake is just barely set in the middle, for an unctuous chocolate experience you won’t soon forget.
Top image care of Marc Kjerland