You didn't think we'd go to Paris and go on a sugarless diet, did you? Of course you didn't. Angelina's is a famous pâtisserie on rue de Rivoli across from the Tuileries Garden.We went there the first time we visited Paris as a family over 20 years ago where I remember eating a mille feuille. Can't remember much else except for the opulence of the dining area.
This time we went to eat my mother's favourite cake, montblanc.
She eats it wherever she can find it, except we can't seem to find it in London. Montblanc is a confection of crushed marron (sweet chestnut) paste enveloping whipped cream sitting lightly on a crisp meringue.
They'd run out of mille fueilles but my father managed to get his favourite: coffee éclair. He also obsessively eats this whenever and wherever he can.
The montblanc and the coffee éclair were amazing, but I'm afraid the coffee tasted like dirt. Not good enough for a city famous for its deliciously smooth and caramelly brew. However the place was buzzing with a lot of tourists and it didn't seem to affect business.
The next day we trotted down to St. Germain-des-Prés and the corner of rue Jacob and rue Bonaparte to our family favourite, Ladurée.
Photos of the cakes and macarons in the shop were prohibited inside, but not in the dining area which was decorated in fabulous chinoiserie. We went just before lunch for coffee and cakes and it was nice to see a mixed bunch of people (tourists and locals) sitting quietly enjoying their food. We even saw two sons with their dad having a meal and bonding. So sweet.
I had my favourite, tarte tatin, which was nice, but I prefer my apples in big chunks rather than delicate slices.
My sister had her favourite, orange blossom macarons. Divine with the scent reminding us somehow of Thailand. I think a lot of Thai sweets are also flavoured with orange blossom water.
My dad had his coffee éclair and my mum her montblanc. Again they were both lovely, but my mum preferred Angelina's montblanc where the texture of the marron paste was more kotteri and akin to anko (red bean paste). She's so Japanese.
And every evening, after a long day walking and eating, we'd stop by this crêpe stall outside the metro Odéon near our hotel and order a Grand Marnier crêpe each. Before dinner.
Oh yes, this is the best way of eating crêpe doused with sugar and lashings of Grand Marnier. So sweet, so fragrant, so perfect. We couldn't possibly share.
226 Rue de Rivoli
Tel: 01 42 60 82 00
21 Rue Bonaparte
Metro: St Germain-des-Prés
Tel : 01 44 07 64 87