In Paris, a city full of spectacular pastry shops, it really takes something major to grab me by the shoulders and shake me to attention. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the other ones, but when you see something as jaw-dropping as the pastries at Café Pouchkine, you can’t help but stop and stand at full attention.
Emmanuel Ryon, the pastry chef, lives in Moscow and runs their pastry shop there. But he has finally opened in Paris on the ground floor of the Printemps department store, and he and his team use Russian ingredients in uptakes on classic French pastries. You’ll find cakes made with buckwheat flour and kvas, which figures into Paris Moscou, a caramel cake spiked with the fermented rye liqueur, rolled-up morning pastries wound up with wild blueberry swirls, and cheesecake made with Russian fromage blanc.
Sharp triangles, layered with Russian spice bread are lined up in exceedingly neat rows, and I’d be interested in seeing how they make those bulls-eye macarons, with a perfect, contrasting-colored dot in the center of each. And when I saw the cakes topped with various slices, scoops, and boules of fresh fruits and berries, my jaw dropped a little and wondered how many people, and how long it took them, to make each and every one of those carefully crafted petits gateaux.
They say you eat with your eyes. And looking at everything is almost as good – or even better – than tasting some of these beautiful pastries. But for those who want to linger, there a small bar where you’re welcome to enjoy your pastry in the small café, or take them home with you. Me? All I can do is stand there, and gawk.
Printemps Department Store
64 Boulevard Haussmann (8th)
01 42 82 43 31
Café Pouchkine à Paris (Passions Gourmandes des Christophe Michalak)
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Le Café Pouchkine à Paris (You Tube/Video)