The Art of French Patisserie
Harbour City Focus
When it comes to a treat over tea, the sweetest – and chicest – options have always come from la belle France. With a rich tradition of excellence in cuisine, this nation of food obsessives continues to produce some of the most exacting and passionate pâtissiers in the world.
Take Pierre Hermé Paris for example; the pastry chef, now globally-renowned as “The Picasso of Pastry”, started as an apprentice to Paris maître pâtissier Gaston Lenôtre at the age of just 14 before honing his skills at both Fauchon and Ladurée. Launching on his own in 1998, Hermé now has 40 stores worldwide – including three locations here in Hong Kong – and is fêted for his creative work with macarons, incorporating exciting and unexpected flavour combinations that are regularly updated with the seasons.
Hermé’s alma mater Fauchon is another French institution that Hong Kong connoisseurs have welcomed with open arms. Founded back in 1886, this iconic Parisian fine provisions provider has expanded far beyond its Place de la Madeleine home, and now graces our shores with its world-famous chocolates, biscuits and pastries; the éclairs being a particular standout.
Often credited with inventing the macaron in the early part of the 20th century, Ladurée patissier Pierre Desfontaines’ legacy is still felt within the company today. With beautiful packaging that is almost as mouth-watering as their contents,Ladurée have become as well known for their highly collectible boxes as they have for their light-as-air macarons and chocolates, and the brand’s focus on luxury and aesthetics has lent itself well to a range of home scents and candles.
With this tradition of excellence comes the freedom to innovate, creating brand new interpretations of these delicate classics. Pierre Hermé Paris first incorporated traditional Breton salted caramel into his macarons back in the 1990’s and we now see salty-sweet blends on dessert menus around the globe. Hermé still experiments with unexpected flavour combinations – foie gras and chocolate being just one recent example of his originality.
Meanwhile, both Fauchon and Ladurée regularly work with fashion brands to produce creative new desserts that are as beautiful to look at as they are delicious. Fauchon’s bright and beautiful Givenchy éclair takes the patisserie’s trademark pastry and adds a fashionable rose and vanilla twist; and while Ladurée’s recent partnership with Nina Ricci featured fruity flavours inspired by the designer’s newest fragrance, a previous collaboration with Tsumori Chisato paid homage to the designer’s Japanese heritage with a macaron delicately flavoured with cherry blossom.
And it’s not just fashion brands that have their treats tailor-made. With limited edition flavours designed to appeal to the Hong Kong palate, it’s clear that the leading patisserie brands see their future in Asia and are using local flavour preferences as a springboard to further creativity. Pierre Hermé is a strong advocate of incorporating regional ingredients in his creations, such as his “Le Jardin sur le Bai Tu Long” macaron, which combines coriander, lemongrass, coconut, lime zest and juice, and ginger to make an aromatic Vietnamese-inspired macaron. In the words of the man himself: “It makes an incredible perfume.”
So for those that appreciate heritage and craftsmanship in their food, these three iconic pâtisseries will delight your eyes as much as your tastebuds with their innovative – and delicious – creations.
Pierre Hermé Paris, Shop 2410, Level 2, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui; +852 2155 3866
Fauchon, Shop 3233, Level 3, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui; +852 2657 7908
Ladurée, Shop 3224, Level 3, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui; +852 2175 5028