When in Paris, only a fool fails to gluttonously splurge on the cuisine. And by cuisine, I mainly mean all things sweet; pastries, confections and of course, chocolates. Especially if those confections and chocolates are made by one Jacques Genin, in which case the first thing you should do after getting off the plane, train or whatever mode of transport brought you to the city of lights is head straight to his boutique in the Marais district.
Once there, you have several options for consumption, both on the spot and to take away for later, although it will take all of one’s will power not to devour everything immediately. Start your tasting off on the lighter side, with pate de fruits, the salad shall we say of Genin’s confection wonderland. Flavours range from traditional to exotic, complete with a red pepper variety reminiscent of red pepper jelly. Personally my favourite was rhubarb, as it’s tartness contrasted beautifully with the inevitable sweetness of pate de fruits. However, you cannot go wrong with cherry, blackberry or raspberry either.
Moving on to the caramels next makes for a natural transition through the sweet degustation. The creamy bites can be ordered in an array of fruity flavours, including one of their top sellers, mango passion fruit, or studded with nuts like almonds or peanuts. Save the best for last with the original salted butter caramel. Anyone who has ever tried their hand at making caramels knows that despite the flavour being relatively simple to achieve, the perfect texture is virtually unattainable without years of mastery and expertise. Let the caramel slowly dissolve on your palate, allowing you to truly appreciate its impeccable smoothness. Heaven.
If the pates au fruits and caramels fail to prove the brilliance of Jacques Genin, the chocolates will surely win over even the most bitter, cynical soul. Despite the most valiant of efforts, trying them all in one go would be next to impossible so choose wisely. Luckily for you, any choice is a wise one. Chocolate and vanilla have been a winning combination for centuries and Genin’s version is a classic that does not fail. Yet his more creative inventions like Szechuan peppercorn or Jamaican spices with lime are equally acceptable.
So I’ve heard the hot chocolate, lemon tart and Paris-brest at Jacques Genin are not to be missed either, but when eating your way through Paris, you do have to pace yourself somewhat. Although when I think about that molten mug of melted chocolat chaud that I failed to order, I wish I would have tried it all.