Are you a chocolate and pastry fanatic? If not, after visiting Paris, you are pretty much guaranteed to join the Pastry and Chocolate fan club! If you are soon travelling to France are you planning to enjoy delicious chocolates and pastries? Why not try out some French with our handy pastry and chocolate vocabulary.
France is a gourmet’s paradise, and Paris is a fantastic city for all pastry and chocolate lovers eager to experience new flavours. In this post, I will also give you a few useful tips for great places to visit to sample Parisian delights
It’s a great opportunity to explore the French pastry world, particularly that of the French pastry and chocolate rock-stars such as the Saint-Germain-des-Près’ Chefs.
The Éclair’s Story – One of the Most Famous French Pastry
The Eclair au chocolate from “Un dimanche à Paris ” is a delight, a real treat and an extraordinary tasting experience: the choux pastry is delicate and slightly crusty and the chocolate fondant. The chocolate’s different textures blend together perfectly.
Until the nineteenth century, the Eclair was called “le pain à la duchesse”, literally “the Duchess’s bread”. Later on, the pastry chef Antoine Carême decided to remove the almonds and stuff it with chocolate, coffee, custard cream or apricot marmalade. Today’s young pastry chefs’, such as Christophe Adam, have modernised the Eclair using new flavours such as salted butter caramel or lime. In 2012, Christophe Adam opened L’Éclair de Génie, a creative concept as original as it is pure delight. With a vast selection of Eclairs and a delicious variety of chocolate-based products, L’Eclair de Génie’s stores offers a truly unique, colourful and luscious experience.
French Pastry Vocabulary
- Un éclair : choux pastry filled with flavoured custard cream
- Une tarte au citron meringuée : shortcrust filled with lemon custard and meringue
- Un Paris-Brest : puff pastry with praline buttercream covered with powdered sugar
- Un Saint-Honoré : choux pastry with puff pastry, vanilla cream and caramel
- Un mille-feuilles : layers of puff pastry with pastry cream and icing on the top
- Un opéra: chocolate sponge cake with several layers of chocolate ganache and coffee buttercream. Chocolate icing on top
- Un macaron: almond meringue filled with ganache or buttercream. Various flavours including the most unexpected ones
- Un fraisier: sponge cake (génoise in French) filled with fresh strawberries and custard cream
- Un baba au rhum : yeast cake saturated in rum which may sometimes be filled with whipped or pastry cream
- Une tarte tatin : an upside-down apple pastry, with the latter caramelised in butter and sugar before baking the tart
- Une profiterole ( used most of the time with plural indefinite article des ) : hot chocolate sauce poured on top of a choux pastry filled with vanilla ice cream
The Iconic French Pastry: Le Macaron
I guess there is no need to remind you that the macaroon is a small round cake made with almond powder. Some are sweet, others salted. But did you know that macaroons vary according to France’s different regions? Their shapes, colours and flavours may change depending on where they come from. Amiens’ macaroons are made with almond powder and honey. Orléans’ones with fruits. Parisian macaroons are divided in two thick layers and filled with ganache between the two.
For the last 20 years, original flavours have considerably increased. For example, unexpected and special flavour combinations such as peach-rose, lime-basil, praline-yuzu lemon, coffee-speculoos, and pear-orange are found nowadays. Pierre Hermé is not only a macaroons top specialist but also a world renowned pastry chef. Baking very sophisticated macaroons, his creative approach resembles that of perfumers searching for the scents perfect balance.
In his boutique at the heart of Saint-Germain-des-, just behind the fountain Saint-Sulpice, Pierre Hermé store resembles a jewellery box filled with pastry gems, where his famous macaroons and others amazing pastries are to be found.
In France, Pastry and Chocolate Chefs are as renowned and considered to be Rock-Stars!
In a country where gastronomy lies at the heart of its culture and pastry and chocolate chefs are real stars, many pastry and chocolate chefs are famous in France and beyond: their fame may well surpass the country’s borders! Vogue even nicknamed Pastry chef Pierre Hermé “The pastry Picasso”. Chocolate chef Patrick Roger who recently created an amazing 2 meters high chocolate monkey sculpture in his Saint-Germain-des-Près shop, is now known as the “Rodin chocolate maker “. And Christophe Adam, the Eclairs specialist, appears in various pastry TV programmes.
French Chocolate Vocabulary
- Un ballotin: a rectangular box used for the chocolate’s packaging
- Une tablette de chocolat : a chocolate bar
- Une orangette: strips of candied citrus rind dipped in chocolate
- Un mendiant: chocolate disks garnished with nuts and dried fruits
- Un chocolat fourré: filled chocolate
- Un praliné: ground almonds and caramelised sugar confection
- Un chocolat Grand cru: bean made chocolate, mostly from Africa or South America.
A Tour in French Dedicated to Pastry and Chocolate Chefs of Saint-Germain-des-Près
There is no better destination than Paris for gourmet lovers! If you’d like to improve your conversational French or learn French with Pastry and Chocolate vocabulary, French à La Carte offers a tour during which you’ll not only learn more about delicious pastries and chocolates, but also savour local specialities in one of St Germain-des-Près best Parisian patisserie. After an hour’s private French lesson in a pastry shop, your French tutor will guide you through the neighbourhood’s streets for an appetising pastry and chocolate tour. A perfect opportunity for you to admire the spectacular chocolate and pastries displayed in the windows.
In addition to private personalised French lessons in Paris to match your schedule, your level and linguistic aims in Paris, French à La carte also offer conversational French lessons where you will have wider opportunities to practise your speaking skills and further immerse yourself in the French culture.
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Christophe Adam – image courtesy of a great French blog: http://www.ge-rh.expert/blog/leclair-de-genie-de-christophe-adam-en-plein-boom/