About two months ago, this dusty, expensive flower and plant shop directly across the street from our apartment closed. We were not surprised; after an entire year we had not once shopped there. The window displays were consistently unappealing, the arrangements overblown and overpriced. We would miss the cute dog that barked at my daughter through the window, but otherwise this closure did not affect our lives one bit.
Or so we thought. After six weeks of complete inactivity, this corner shop suddenly brimmed and bustled with architects, designers, carpenters, electricians, painters. And during the last few days, the doors were thrown open, curtains around the window gradually coming down. The eagerly awaited sign-painter meticulously announcing in the windows the identity of our new neighbor: Hugo and Victor.
Our British New Mum Friend's husband had postulated the new shop would be fancy sandwiches and upscale deli food. Given the name and the display counters being set up I thought perhaps pricey ties. Thankfully, we were both wrong. Hugo and Victor is a new chocolate and patisserie shop. So new that its website isn't up and running; the domain name is merely parked.
What I can tell you is that they sell a number of breakfast pastries; chouquettes, pains au chocolat, etc., very fancy and delicious looking chocolates, and other patisserie organized by flavor (praline, litchi, vanille, chocolat, to name just a few) and category (these are still a bit of a mystery). Several of them looked extremely appealing, but I had to choose one - I went for the Victor (which seems to be the tarte category) in chocolat. I won't go into the boring details of my day, except to say that it a) began with me locking daughter and myself out of our apartment and b) could only be rescued with a rapid infusion of chocolate.
The extremely helpful and lovely salesclerk took my order and rang me up (a quite reasonable, I thought, 5E); I happily welcomed her to the neighborhood, took a card, and bolted across the street (let's pause to marvel - just across the street! My last several weeks in Paris will be spent with a new patisserie across the street!).
Hugo, Victor, whomever you are, bienvenue! The chocolate tarte is a subtle yet still decadent-tasting wonder. The crunchy chocolate cookie crust, the bittersweet chocolate ganache, the thin, crisp layer of dark chocolate on top - all fab. Paris is filled with numerous desserts, many with layers, different flavors, meringues, fillings, garnishes... but sometimes you just want chocolate. The Victor chocolat is tailor-made for those times. Victor Victorious. Welcome to the 'hood.