10 Must-Try French Pastries On Your Next Trip to France
One of the most indulging experiences of travelling is trying different cuisines from all around the world. And one of the best places to experience the art of food is France. Regarded as a nation of foodies, France is chock-full of delicious dishes with one of the most famous being their buttery pastries. From croissants to éclairs, pastries have a huge part to play in French food culture. Cuz honestly what’s more perfect than an afternoon spent in a French patisserie?
France and pastries go a long way back. Historically speaking, pastries have an incredible 800 years of history behind them, starting in 1270 when baker Régnaut-Barbon rolled sweet, cone-shaped pastries called oubliés and registered the official status of the oublier, the people who made them. Now it is no surprise that French pastries are so delicious! Below, we have gathered the 10 must-try french pastries the next time you are wandering the cobbled streets of Paris or are relaxing in the French Riviera.
The most popular French pastry out there, croissants are a little pastry made from butter. History says that Marie-Antoinette was the one to introduce it in France, but French bakers changed the recipe to make it their own. The flaky, crescent-shaped pastries are the perfect way to start your trip in France, just smothered in butter, jam, or honey. Honestly, no trip to France would be complete without trying at least one.
Éclairs has got to be one of the prettiest french pastries out there. They are made with choux pastry filled with a flavored and sweet cream. The most famous one is of course the chocolate Éclair. Every pastry shop in France has them! But you can also find coffee flavored Éclair, Vanilla Éclair, Strawberry Éclair with actual strawberries inside, Lemon Éclairs and a great lot of other flavors in some specialized shops.
Cannelés hails from the French port city, Bordeaux where you can find great wine too. Flavoured with rum and vanilla, Canneles are filled with a soft custard centre, and covered in a dark, thick caramel crust. It is a true delight on the taste buds and very addictive too. Try not to get drunk over them by overeating.
Our personal favourite, French macaroons cannot be missed! Macaroons are made of two little almond cookies linked together by flavored ganache or jam. You can find the basic ones (like chocolate, coffee, vanilla or raspberry) in a lot of pastries or snacks shops (even in McDonald's!) but some shops make really unusual flavored macaroons! Like for example pepper macaroons or foie gras macarons. The most popular macaroon stop would be “Ladurée” .
Financiers is certainly one of the most underrated french pastries out there. It is basically a little soft almond flavored cake invented in France in the XVIIth century but not liked for a long time because people associated the taste of almond with cyanide. A clever baker that worked in the financial district of Paris in the XIXth century had the idea to make them into the shape of a gold bar and the pastry was a huge success till date!
Beignets are deep fried donuts served hot and covered in powdered sugar. What sets hese tasty squares of deep-fried pastry apart from normal donuts is the sweetened dough and squared cuts. Today, Beignets is very popular in New Orleans, U.S.A., where they were declared the ‘official state donut’ in 1986. But, you gotta try 'em where they originated from.
Madeleines or Shell-shaped cookies are a kind of little cake made with eggs and butter. Thus humble pastry is often served for tea time and they can be dipped in chocolate or jam for a sweeter note. You can find Madeleines even in convenient stores all around France as it is one of the cheapest French pastries that French people frequently have as a snack with tea, coffee or hot chocolate.
8) Crème Brûlée
Now, this is a very pricey indulgence that’s worth every euro. For those that don’t know, Crème Brûlée is a pastry made with egg yolk, vanilla, cream and caramel. The caramelized top is supposed to crack under your spoon to make a contrast with the creamy lower lair of the pastry. You can usually find Crème Brûlée as a dessert in many high-end restaurants but some pastry shops do sell them too.
Made really famous by the sentence “Let them eat Brioche” that Marie-Antoinette is rumored to have said, French brioche can actually be used as bread. At breakfast, French people often trade their usual bread for soft and sweet brioche with strawberry or raspberry jam. You can also find a lot of nice little brioches with sugar pieces on top in a lot of pastry shops. French people eat those as a snack.
10) Rose des Sables
Those chocolate pastries are called Rose des Sables because they look like sand roses that you can find in the desert. They are made with cornflakes dipped in melted chocolate. Those pastries are the kind of pastry that French people make themselves but many pastry shops do still offer them. For a truly French experience however, try to make yourself by attending a one day French food class during your trip.