Patisserie Paradis

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved anything having to do with dessert.  I am always so surprised to learn when someone doesn’t like dessert.  How can you not?  The perfect chocolate chip cookie, a sweet buttercream frosting complimenting a dense cake or the rich mascarpone custard of a Tiramisu.  There is something so endearing about dessert.  Whether enjoyed with a cup of tea, a glass of champagne, eaten alone or shared, it always brings a smile to my face.  Cookies, cake, cupcakes, ice cream, custard or pie, the options are endless.  I have often heard that women tend to crave sugar more than men.  Women want chocolate, men want a burger.  Who knows?  I just know that to me life without dessert isn’t life at all.

France, world-renowned for their mastery of the patisserie, has a rich history of pastry dating back to the 13th century when the actual craftsmanship of the patisserie brotherhood was made official.  The intricate delicacy that goes into making pastry is an art form in and of itself, with the best pastry chefs being crowned MOF, Meilleur Ouvrier de France (best craftsman of France), the highest distinction awarded.  Crème brulée, choux, mille-feuille, Paris Brest, macarons... and this is just to name a few of the delicacies offered.  I have much to learn about the history of French pastry and look forward to doing so while living here, in the meantime I am happy to taste the many different creations so readily available.

I finally made it to a proper patisserie this week, which was long overdue after being here for two weeks.  Much to my dismay we have not yet found one located near us so we must drive to Aix En Provence, the nearest "city", to fill our pastry cravings.  I have decided that I want to try all of the patisseries in Aix to find my favorite.  First on the list is Weibel, where in her day Eric’s grandmother visited daily for her peché mignon, (sweet temptation), and so makes it the perfect place to start.  Located on Place Richelme, it remains a staple in Aix serving beautiful pastry and tea. 

The sizes, the shapes, the flavors, the fillings... there are so many options to choose from that it can be overwhelming just to decide what to buy.  Before you know it you will end up leaving the patisserie with an overflowing box of pastry, much like we did at Weibel.  Our choices included mille-feuille, Paris Brest, baba au rhum, coffee éclair, lemon meringue, castel praliné, l’aixois, tropézienne, tarte au citron and I know that I am still missing a few.  My favorite was the mille-feuille, Eric’s was the castel praliné.  All delicious and all very quickly eaten.  Oh la la... am I in pastry heaven!  Weibel did not disappoint.  The next pastry spot to be visited soon…