Michalak pâtisserie came highly recommended by Foxcroft Chef Glen Williams for top pâtisseries to visit in Paris. It has a modern and funky feel, and I got the feeling that its owner Chef Christophe Michalak has had fun in creating his Michalak pâtisserie range.
I noticed the funky logo on the shop window immediately, being a classic design VW Kombi, with a Michalak number plate and a surfboard on the roof, looking very Cape Town! I visited the rue de la Verrerie branch in Paris, one of three in the city. The pâtisserie has an eclectic mix of products, less befitting of the pastry descriptor.
I recognized the pannacotta-style pastry products and cream in perspex jars, which are sold at Foxcroft, a sort of breakfast-in-a-jar. There were a number of flavours, and I chose the Paris Brest one, being fascinated with this pastry, and having eaten a number of variations of it on my trip. They were available in Baba orange with passion fruit, Mont Blanc chestnut and vanilla, a Valentine’s Day one with raspberries, the Paris Brest, Millefeuille, and chocolate mousse.
The range of Michalak cakes is breathtaking, consisting of a Tarte Citron Yuzu lemon meringue; an Opéra Menthe Chocolat with mint (left); Cheesecake Exotique with orange, passion fruit, and Chantilly cream (right); and Torte Chocolat Praline. A Kombi-shaped cake was made in pink especially for Valentine’s Day. The cakes were indicated to be for six to eight persons, and cost €48 – 50.
A range of Koonies is sold too, described as ‘Mr Cookie + Mrs Brownie’, in flavours of pecan, yuzu, raspberry, and chocolate.
The really funky products are audio cassette tapes (€7), video cassettes, as well as flip flops (klakkettes, at €9,50), all made from chocolate! I laughed at the audio and video cassettes, thinking that younger clients of Michalak would be unlikely to recognize these!
Chef Christophe is the Pastry Chef at Chef Alain Ducasse’s 3-star Michelin restaurant Plaza Athenaeum in Paris, running his three Michalak chocolate boutiques on the side. Originally he wanted to become an architect, perhaps reflected in his creativity, but at 15 years he began his pastry journey, studying at a trade school. He traveled the world, working at a number of well-known restaurants and pâtisseries, including the Hilton in London and Brussels, the Hotel Negresco in Nice, Fauchon in Paris, Kobe in Japan, and at Pierre Hermé in New York. Four years ago he established Michalak’s Master Class in Paris, a pastry training school. He has published six cookbooks, one of them jointly with Chef Alain Ducasse. He has been involved in three TV programs focused on pastry.
As far as funkiness and creativity goes, Michalak was the definite winner of the pâtisseries I visited in Paris.
Michalak, 60 rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, Paris, France. Tel +33 01 42 46 10 45 www.christophemichalak.com Twitter: @byMichalak Instagram: @pattisseries_michalak @christophe_michalak
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein