That’s French for “What a sweetheart!” It also means “Which cabbage?” But ever since this weekend I’ve been thinking about yet another definition,”What a great puff pastry!” On Saturday mon chou, Mr French, and I were strolling through the Place de Furstenberg near St Germain des Pres when he espied La Maison du Chou. In this heavily touristed, bakery deficient zone, he had spotted a bijoux of a pastry shop with checker tiles floors, stone walls and pastries. Gorgeous, golden puff pastries in pristine glass jars, on marble counters and in a large woven basket. We had a hard time believing our eyes, as just weeks ago it seemed that the space had been a tiny art gallery.
The place was so darn, well… chou that I had to go in and learn more. Turns out we weren’t imagine things, they had just opened shop. And what a shop! Meilleur Ouvrier de France and Michelin 2 star chef, Manuel Martinez is the mastermind behind this new concept and I intend on becoming one of his biggest cheerleaders.
Lately, I’ve had a bone to pick with all the English language foodies who come to Paris because they simply love French food and then start raving about food trucks and taquerias and cupcakes here in Paris. Not that I have anything against food trucks or tacos. I love ’em both, but I’d never stand in a long line for them and I see so need to share the idea in the English language press. Not to mention that they are both better in the US (or Mexico). I’d rather encourage anglophones to support local delicacies and with La Maison du Chou, I get to do just that.
Forget cupcakes, head to La Maison du Chou where the choux are filled to order, a pastry chef injecting plain, chocolate or coffee flavoured cream on demand as customers wait in line. Mature, stoic, elegantly clad Parisians, looking over the counter like hungry school children. Its fabulous. And the pastries are not filled with just any cream. Instead of the traditional pastry cream, these choux feature an original fromage blanc mousseline. Simply delicious.