If there’s one altar of French cuisine that I am fully willing to worship at, it’s boulangerie and patisserie. Let’s face it, the French are unsurpassed in the pastry arts and a trip to Paris without substantial stuffing of pastries into one’s gaping maw is a trip wasted. Since I’ve been here, I’ve had a wonderfully heavy apricot and custard pastry, a chocolate-studded brioche, and a very correct baguette. But you haven’t really had pastry till you’ve been to Poilâne and I try to work in a pilgrimage to the original bakery in St. Germain each time I’m here.
They have the most beautiful little breads, including these cuties with names on them.
They’re also famous for their punitions (the oddly-named punishment biscuits) and flavoured pastry forks and spoons, plus breads made from a wide range of grains including rice and quinoa as well as wheat. Their sourdough is legendary, and the nut loaves are rather good too.
However, there’s one thing I always go back for and that’s the simple apple tartlets. If there’s a better single bite in Paris than Poilâne’s apple tart, I’d be surprised. It’s the Platonic ideal of light, buttery pastry and soft, sweet apple. I could eat them every day and it’s really just as well I’m not in a position to.
Poilâne bakery, 8 rue du Rue Cherche-midi, 6e, Paris