Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day Twenty: Le Baiser, Ladurée

Well, I think I logged about three miles in pursuit of today's pastry, which is probably a good thing because it contains approximately 1,837 calories. My lovely friend C (I love how my friends are getting into this and making suggestions, even taking me to their favorite haunts!) kindly passed along a suggestion from "Chocolate and Zucchini" author and blogstress Clotilde Dusoulier about Baillardran, the renowned Bordeuax canelé maker relatively unknown Parisian outpost, tucked away on a platform "facing Track 13" at the Gare Montparnasse, no less.

So, after finally seeing the Doisneau exhibit at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson (small, but lovely! no bisou at the Hotel de Ville though), I began my quest by hoofing it over to the imposing Gare and searching the platform. Not seeing much besides a Quick (kind of France's version of Hardees), and a newsstand, I went to the information desk. The pleasant station worker told me Baillardran had closed. Zut! I don't know what a canelé is (do you think it's like a cannoli?) and I guess I never will. Racking my brain, I remembered a place David Leibovitz had recommended on his blog; couldn't remember the name but did remember the address, 76 Rue de Seine. Another nice, 20-minute walk, at the end of which was....shuttered. That's right, Gerard Mulot (right, that's his name) is closed on Wednesdays, to honor children who have the day off from school. Zut deux, Boogaloo electrique!

In a moment like this, there's only one thing to do: pick oneself up, and head directly to the nearest Ladurée , which fortunately for me was only about 6 blocks away on Rue Bonaparte. I waited in a typically long and crushing queue of tourists and Parisiens alike, finally settling upon a Baiser, because as my Laduree-lovin' friend Michelle can attest, we always stare at it, saying "What the Halles is that?" These big, luscious lips stare up at you from the case, and you just expect them to start purring, "Voulez-vous..." When informed it contained chocolat blanc, blah blah, framboise, yada yada, vanille, I was sold.

When I opened the box chez nous I was appropriately mocked by my husband (I mean really, this is Paris, admit you're dying to stick a cigarette in the center), but when we cut it in half to share, he stopped laughing. A crisp, white-chocolate coating held two layers of raspberry ganache interspersed between layers of macaron biscuit (which explains the perfectly chewy consistency), and crème mousseline, which added lightness and just the right amount of sweet to a very rich combination.

Wow, really delicious and something different from Ladurée. If you can get past the goofy, puckered lipsh, and order it with a straight face, over the raised Parisian eyebrows, you won't regret it for a minute. I didn't get my bisou from Doisneau, but Ladurée sealed my day with a kiss. Mwooah!


  1. That is a really weird-looking pastry.

    I keep in touch with my high school French teacher and told her about this blog. She's loving reading it every day.

  2. Sorry you couldn't try canelés this time, Beth. Just as an FYI, I keep a list of updates and corrections for my book of Paris recommendations in which I've noted the closure of this cart, and given alternate sources:

  3. Yljchicago -- you think this is weird looking...well, I suggest you pair Le Baiser with the St. Honore. That is what the kids are calling the new French Kiss.

  4. Wow, Clotilde, merci beaucoup for the comment and link... I confess, that while I've ordered your book (my friends are all fans) I have not been a regular reader of your blog, but henceforth will certainly be! Thanks again and cheers!

  5. I hope you go back to Mulot -- utterly wonderful.