I am not a stalker. I just like following certain people on Twitter or on the web who write about France. One of those people is David Lebovitz and I have realized that I love visiting the patisseries, cafes, restaurants and wine bars that he writes about and trying out the foods or recipes that he mentions.
Updated October 1, 2022 to report on the news about Denise Acabo below.
So, who is David Lebovitz? He’s an American in Paris—a pastry chef who worked at famed Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California and author of best-selling cookbooks that I love, including The Sweet Life in Paris and My Paris Kitchen.
David’s books contain more than just recipes. They are filled with humorous anecdotes and stories about food and living in France. David has lived in Paris over 10 years and he also has weekly posts which are entertaining and informative. If you want to know more about the food scene not just in Paris, but also in France, check out his website: www.Davidlebovitz.com.
[Update: Sadly David removed his Paris Pastry app that I wrote about in an earlier publishing of this post; however, many of his recommended bakeries, chocolate and pastry shops can be found on his website]
I have specifically ventured to places David has mentioned because he really knows his stuff. I am eating truly delicious food and not wasting time (and calories) on mediocre foods. Paris has thousands of bakeries and it can be difficult deciding where to buy a good baguette or croissant!
The following are some of the places I have visited and items/dishes I have eaten thanks to David Lebovitz:
Ble Sucre boulangerie, located just east of the Bastille (7, rue Antoine Vollon) looks pretty ordinary and like a lot of other boulangeries; however, don’t let the appearance deceive you. This place is known for its Madeleines but after seeing David on the television show, “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having”, I had to visit this place and have a croissant instead.
I groaned. Yes, after I bit into the award-winning croissant from Ble Sucre, I was hooked. I went to the park just across the street (Square Armand Trousseau) to savour the rich, buttery pastry that one of my friends said was “the size of a baseball bat”. Hmmm….well not quite that big, but it was big. I also purchased the Pain au Chocolat and it too was delicious. I eventually had to move because the pigeons were surrounding me and eating the crumbs.
À L’Étoile d’Or
A while ago David did a post on the chocolate store, “A L’Etoile d’Or” (30, rue Pierre Fontaine) which is located in Montmartre. Sadly, in 2014 the shop collapsed due to a gas explosion underneath but was recently rebuilt and the owner, Denise Acabo has brought the store back to life and it is stunning.
Update: sadly David reported in September 2022 that after 46 years, Denise would be closing her store.
I had made a comment in David’s post asking what he would suggest I buy and he recommended the Bernachon “Kalouga” bar, which is a chocolate bar filled with salted caramel. I bought one on my recent trip to Paris and then went back a week later to buy another (for a gift) and one with almonds. They are not cheap (3 bars for around $48 Cdn) but they are delicious. Hers is the only store outside of Lyon that sells the Bernachon chocolates.
I got to meet the owner, Denise Acabo and she was so friendly and talkative. When I mentioned David Lebovitz, she was initially taken aback and then spoke glowingly about him. I was the only customer when I visited, so she had time talking to me about her favourite chocolates and pointed out some of the beautifully boxed chocolates.
L’Éclair de Génie
I only bought one éclair: the salted butter caramel éclair David had mentioned from L’Éclair de Génie located in the Marais (14, rue Pavée). The first time I visited the patisserie, they were sold out. I returned and got it! I savoured every bite. I’m sure onlookers thought I was crazy taking pictures of an éclair, but I have to tell you, looking at the partially eaten éclair brings back wonderful memories…..it’s as if I’m eating the éclair all over again.
The macarons are gorgeous (and delicious) and one year I bought a box from Ladurée (34, rue Bonaparte), protected them in an aluminum container and carried them back to Canada for my niece’s birthday. Since then requests are often made for more shipments. Instead, I have taught her to make her own macarons, and although they are good, they do not compare to Ladurée’s.
I have been to so many places in David’s app and from his website but have only listed a few that stood out (you’ll see why):
Le Grenier à Pain Abbesses (in Montmartre): Award-winning baguette for 2015
Angelina’s Hot chocolate: best in Paris served with a LOT of whipped cream. See post here.
Pierre Herme: The Tarte Infiniment Vanille (above) is a work of art and delicious.
Du Pain et Des Idées: Chaussons aux pommes (apple turnover but 1000% better than it sounds)
Poîlane: Chaussons aux pommes (yes, again)
Do you have a favourite boulangerie or bakery or have you tried something David Lebovitz has written about?