July 15 2013
La Tarte Tropézienne is a bit of an institution down in the South of France.
The story starts in the 1950s with a Polish pastry chef (Alexander Micka) a film crew, and Bridget Bardot... and it had such a resounding success that what started off as one little tart in a cantine now comprises over 20 boutiques in some of the most prestigous locations along the Cote d'Azur.
The tart itself is little more than a fleur d'orange flavoured brioche filled with a creamy layer of decadence in the middle but its notoriety is extensive, with many other chefs all attempting their version.
A Paris branch of the original Tarte Tropézienne has just opened up, right in the heart of the Saint Germain-Mabillon-Odéon district, on the small street leading up to the St Germain Market. I have heard my French work colleagues raving about it and so I made a point of popping by and trying it out last weekend.
Downstairs is a boutique selling the tart in three different sizes (Individual, Large and "Baby Trop") as well as a small selection of éclairs and other pastries. There wasn't much of those other pastries left on the day when I stopped by, but it didn't matter because why else would you go there if it wasn't to get a Tarte? Upstairs plays host to a luxury tea room where you can lounge back in a directors chair and pretend that you're sitting on the beach in a bikini under the hot southern sun.
As for la Tarte, well, I'm afraid, it didn't knock my socks off. I went for the Baby Trop', which could be compared to a small macaron (it set me back about the same amount as one too.) It tasted very much like a chouquette with a (rather too sickly) buttercream filling. (But I'm not much of a buttercream fan either - I know... shock horror!) It was a little too sweet and sickly for me. I didn't quite get what all the fuss was about...
But, I found a recipe on L'Esprit Sud magazine site, and that looks better. The link is below. Once my kitchen is back in working order, I'm definitely going to be trying it out. In the meantime, why not give it a go yourselves and tell me how it works out?