I’m back from Paris buoyed up by a visit to my favourite city, even though this time it was viewed through the prism of a ghastly virus which did its best to floor my husband, then me, as he recovered. The benefits of self-catering took on a new dimension as I stocked the (large) fridge with all sorts of drinks and easy-to-eat foods, while the plan to fill it with delectable treats didn’t quite materialise….
However before the ill-timed bug struck, we were able to test out a maison du chocolat just around the corner – and thank goodness we did while our taste buds were still fully operative.
Gourmand chocolatier and patissier Christophe Roussel has opened a new shop in Montmartre showcasing his incredible chocolate and pastry creations, but it was to his chocolate bar in the 7th arrondissement that our footsteps turned for some hot chocolate and divine macarons.
Away from the bustle and activity of the rue Cler market and adjacent to the Hotel Cadran, the gentle swish of the chocolate bar’s glass doors offer admission to chocolate-scented heaven. Comfortable chairs and a quiet ambience set the scene for a dégustation to be truly savoured.
The service is unhurried which is just as well, as choosing your hot chocolate flavours and macaron delights is an experience in itself.
We opted for the €6 menu, which gives each person a cup of hot chocolate and 2 macarons (or 2 chocolates). I chose vanilla hot chocolate, which was the most fragrant vanilla I think I have ever tasted and which married perfectly with the silky smooth texture of the chocolate. My husband’s choice – burnt orange – was just superb: subtle yet definitive, but not overpowering.
The rainbow shades of the macarons are a feast for the eyes, with choices including lavender and apricot, caramel and ginger, Mojito and cheesecake.
My macaron selections of coffee, then pistachio (and my husband’s of grapefruit and ginger, along with vanilla and passion fruit) rendered us both speechless – usually quite a feat – as the macaron shell melted away to reveal the smooth, delectable fillings.
At €12 for two people this isn’t a cheap treat, but it really is one to take the time to savour; step away from the hurly burly, soak up the ambience and simply allow yourself the opportunity to concentrate on what is truly a taste sensation.
Christophe Roussel at the Cadran Hotel, 10 rue champ de Mars, 7th arrondissement.
© Barbara Hopkins