I recently became addicted to the French television show ‘Le Meilleur Pâtissier’, the French version of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ (for which there is also an Australian spin-off, ‘The Great Australian Bake Off’). Contestants are amateur bakers who compete in a series of technical and creative baking challenges over a period of weeks for the ultimate title of meilleur pâtissier (best pastry cook). The skill of the French contestants makes this series quite impressive to watch. The aspiring pastry chefs are guided in their baking journeys by two judges, one of whom is Michelin-star celebrity chef Cyril Lignac who has become my latest French crush.
So when I last visited Paris, I made it my mission to visit his flagship patisserie, La Pâtisserie, located in the swanky 16ème arrondissement. La Pâtisserie is beautifully sleek and has a vintage feel, with a dark cherry-coloured shopfront and a wood and marble interior accented with ivory tiling and a gorgeous ceiling fresco.
But I didn’t come all this way to admire the decor. I was greeted by rows and rows of the most intricate and delicious-looking pastries which were all calling out for me to eat them! The selection was vast and colourful, and beautifully presented – from eclairs and macarons to specailty tarts and cakes. Alongside classics such as Rum Baba and Lemon Tart were some signature Lignac treats such as Le Caraïbe (chocolate mousse with cocoa biscuit, salt flakes and orange zest) and Fraisier (almond biscuit with vanilla cream and fresh strawberries). I couldn’t go past Lignac’s hallmark signature creation, L’Equinoxe (bourbon vanilla ganache with praline, speculoos and a salted butter caramel centre), and La Tarte aux Framboises (raspberry tart made with sugar dough, almond cream and fresh raspberries). For good measure I added La Tarte Citron to my selection – I couldn’t resist the very creatively presented lemon tart, with a long nut-flavoured shortbread base topped with a row of lemon cream and finished off with a strip of white chocolate. Everything was sublime, and well worth every delicious calorie.
La Pâtisserie also sells fresh-baked organic breads, sandwiches and viennoiserie, as well as a range of spreads and fruit jams. But I didn’t get around to sampling those. I was saving room for the main event later that night: dinner at one of Cyril Lignac’s bistros, Le Chardennoux.
La Pâtisserie Cyril Lignac
24 rue Paul Bert, 75011 Paris