Tag Archives: review

paris pâtisseries: l’éclair de génie

6 Feb

les eclairs de genie

The cupcake is dead, long live the cupcake. Everyone is looking for the next trend, that one simple item that can be customised in a million ways and sold for a fortune.

The man behind L’Éclair de Génie  may indeed be a genius. After the multi-coloured macarons, the American cupcakes, on the heels of Popelini’s range of cute choux puffs, comes the éclair in infinite flavours. Christophe Adam knows what he is doing – not least because he made the éclair into a luxury item at Fauchon back in 2003 – because he now has a designer boutique in the Marais, that sells only éclairs and truffles. Even at 4.50-5€ each, it is apparently doing so well after only six weeks he plans to open another shop straightaway.

I had to see what all the fuss was about – and to see, more importantly if his éclairs could beat the neighbouring pasteis de nata. Those custard tarts are my favourite example of one quality product, made fresh and perfect every day.

The boutique is egg-yellow and white, with elegant vendeuses wearing sleek black gloves. The line of éclairs stretches almost the length of the shop, a rainbow selection adorned with rose petals, striped icing and the Christophe Adam classic: arty transfers that make the pastry into a Louvre-worthy painting. I paid €14 (somewhat begrudgingly) for three small eclairs and carried the box home as if it contained delicate jewels.

The choux pastry seemed just right – not too tough nor too flimsy. The cream inside was liquid silk. Pistachio and orange was more subtle than I expected, the crème de pistache the palest green with just a touch of bitter orange. The Madagascan vanilla covered with a rubble of toasted pecans was a nice contrast of textures – with enough real vanilla seeds to pop between your teeth if you listened carefully. While the lemon and yuzu was rich and lovely, the extra-bitter twist that should have been the yuzu flavour – another ingredient à la mode at the moment – was a little lost. But that is the only criticism I can find; they were excellent eclairs. Well, that and the cost. Half the size of a boulangerie éclair, and twice the price. But they are special enough to rival even my beloved custard tarts. L’Éclair de Génie is inspired.

l'eclair de genie box


L’Éclair de Génie – 14 rue Pavée, 75004 Paris, métro St Paul – closed Mondays

*The name means ‘a flash of inspiration.’

paris restos: boco

12 Nov

Only the French are this good at transforming the ready-made into an art form.

Three courses, designed by three-star chefs, for only €15. In a city where a plain jambon-beurre baguette and a can of fizzy drink will set you back at least €8, this is amazing.

Boco is a play on bocaux, jars or goldfish bowls. Each starter, main course and dessert comes in a sleek glass jar that can be sealed for takeaway or heated instantly to eat in. Of the chefs (whose faces can be found on stickers on the jars they designed) I only know the patissiers. Michalak and Conticini are big-hitters: the former is a world champion, the latter owns of my favourite corners of Paris, La Patisserie des Reves. His rice puddingdid not disappoint: real vanilla, whipped cream and a marmalade caramel elevated the humble pudding above its usual bistrot status.

All of the jars, sweet and savoury, have clearly been created for a visual effect: tomato and fennel “tiramisu” shows off its colourful layers, marinated tuna sits on a pale green courgette flan. The desserts too play with the presentation: strata of pear compote, maple mousse and maple jelly look elegant and taste subtly sweet.

I was thoroughly impressed by the perfect poached eggs with star-anise spiked lentils – the yolk stayed runny even after a blast from my microwave.

Everything is bio, or organic, and freshly prepared. If the jar size portions leave you a little hungry, grab some of the giant sourdough loaf sliced on the counter or an extra three-star chocolate chip cookie.

At lunchtime, the menu du jour is only $15. Even better, if you take away, they let you keep the glass jars to smarten up your fridge. But you will certainly want to come back for another visit; Boco is the best of France and the best kind of fast food.

Boco – 3, rue Danielle Casanova, 1er – metro Pyramides (open for lunch and dinner, closed Sunday)

or 45, Cour Saint-Émilion, 12e – metro Bercy (open everyday for lunch and dinner)

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