I requested a list of suggestions for pâtisseries to visit whilst in Paris from Chef Glen Williams of Foxcroft, who had visited Paris for a week last year. His top recommendation out of a list of about ten pâtisseries was L’Éclair de Génie.
I visited the tiny Marais Branch of L’Eclair de Génie, and struck a problem in that the shop assistant could not speak a word of English, using sign language to show me that they have nine outlets in Paris. She seemed anxious, hiding behind a screen at the back of the shop, and we really struggled to communicate. I was relieved when the charming Davide arrived in the outlet, to take over a shift change. His English was good, and his attitude customer-orientated, bending over backwards to assist me. My first problem was taking photographs, there being a yellow light in the outlet, not doing justice to the produce in the store, especially to the eclairs. Davide allowed me to go behind the eclair counter, and the light here was very much better, and white. He offered me a chocolate bonbon to taste. I bought a gift pack of a tube of caramel sauce, and it contained a slab of chocolate which I did not like the flavours of, so he swopped it for a dark chocolate one I preferred.
Davide told me that he is Italian, and is a student of Neuroscience. It became a very small world when he told me that he is a huge fan of Professor Mark Solms of UCT, telling me that he had heard Professor Solms speak at a conference in Trieste, his student town in Italy. He also has studied the Professor’s books. He was astounded when I told him that I know Mark, and his farm Solms-Delta in Franschhoek.
The focal point of the outlet is the most unusual decorated eclairs, usually known only in white and in chocolate icing. This is genius in eclair design, beyond compare. The ten flavours they had in stock were the following:
#. Citron Yuzu
# Chocolat Taïnori 64%
# Beurre Sage
# Passion Framboise Crispy
# Praliné Noisettes
# Barlette Praliné Croustillant Amandes Crème Noisettes
# Barlette Pistache Framboise
#. Rouge Baiser Créme Chocolat Framboise
# Vanille Noix de Pécan
L’Eclair de Génie has a number of branches in Paris, as well as in Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, Russia, and Canada. The eclairs cost € 5 – 6. Other products sold are chocolate bonbons and slabs, sauces in tubes, and books by its owner Christophe Adam.
L’Eclair de Génie. Tel +33 01 45 08 86 52. www.leclairdegenie.com Twitter: @chefpatissier @leclairdegenie_ Instagram:@leclairdegenieofficiel
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein