My latest 'coup de coeur' is a boutique called "Hugo et Victor."
Why is it my favourite? Because it is beautiful. I haven't stepped foot in such a beautiful shop for a long time. It is jaw-droppingly stunning.
Black, white, sleek and modern, it's far from your average patisserie or chocolate shop. Walking in, you appreciate that this is somewhere seriously special, with such a high level of attention to detail that you are seduced immediately. Everywhere you look, everything you smell, your senses are in overload!
The chef-pâtissière is Hugues Pouget, who used to be the Executive Pastry Chef for the three-starred Guy Savoy in Paris and who also won the French Dessert Championship in 2003, before deciding to open up his own place in 2010.
The shop actually made me feel like I'd just walked into a jewellers. Untouchable behind the glass counters, Hugues Pouget and his team's creations are displayed like precious gems - and quite frankly, they deserve just as much respect and admiration.
They have three core flavours which they keep all year round: chocolate, vanilla and caramel. But on top of that, they have four or five other themes which change with the season. The most eye-catching for me was is the current autumnal chestnut theme. Just look at that Religieuse!
I wasn't exaggerating when I said at the beginning of this post that they think of everything. They have even an internationally-renowned expert sommelier working for them who finds wonderful pairings for each of the flavours. These are also available in the shop so you can buy the suggested wine at the same time as the pastry(-ies) - imagine what a magical finish that would give to a dinner party!
Just to make your mouth water a little, let me tell you that for all the caramel treats, they propose a young Pedro Ximenez (a sweet dessert wine made from very concentrated white grapes) and with the chocolatey items, they suggest a Fonseca Port - delicious!!
A few days ago, whilst out on the Croissant Competition quest, and having been thoroughly disappointed by the croissant from Poilane, I knew this was the place to put a smile back on my face.
A moment later, with any drool hastily wiped off from around my mouth and with my little HV bag firmly in hand, I hot-footed it up to the river. I had ordered the "tarte aux pamplemousses" and it turned out to have been one of the best decisions I made that day. The grapefruit had been meticulously skinned so that there was no peel that could have diminished my enjoyment. Neither the fruit nor the pastry could have been fresher and the crème pâtisserie just off-set the acidity of the grapefruit perfectly.
At 5 euros 20 for a slice, it's hardly cheap... but it was the absolute perfect pick-me-up and was worth every centime for me that day!