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Sep 11, 2008 05:50 PM

Where to get scrumptious eclairs in the Triangle

I'm looking for some authentic, homemade eclairs in and around the Triangle. I'm more in the Durham/Chapel Hill area. Gourmandises de France, formerly in North Raleigh, used to have the best! They had coffee and chocolate glazed eclairs. But I heard they no longer exist. By the way, does anyone know what happened to the owners of Gourmandises de France and if they're still in the area baking?

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    1. Gourmandises de France had THE BEST french pastries in the Triangle. Even visitors from NYC and San Francisco were blown away. Hereghty's, Le Farm (and Rockycat's wife) may have fancier stuff but nothing could touch their quality. Perfection!

      I actually made a short student documentary a few years back about their croissant process (55 layers) --shot at 3 am one night. All best quality ingredients, spotless kitchen, masterful technique. The Blancos were wonderful people. Last I heard that Isabel was selling real estate and Denis was working as a nurse. What a shame!

      Unfortunately with all the raves about the mostly mediocre Le Farm and Gugelhupf, this board never gave them any love. I'm so ticked that they were unappreciated here.

      I really, really miss them <sigh>.

      10 Replies
      1. re: TerryG

        You can not compare making real croissants with eclairs and cream puffs. Real croissants are a royal PIA to make right, a lengthy and tedious process, while eclairs and cream puffs only takes the ability to fold ingredients and make a real pastry cream.

        1. re: TerryG

          Bonjour Terry,
          this is Isabelle and Denis Blanco from Gourmandises de France.
          We wanted to thank you for all your support and hope to see you soon.

          1. re: isabelleblanco

            Weaver St. Market, though otherwise not terrific when it comes to pastry, makes what I consider fabulous -- in fact perfect -- eclairs. This is the only pastry item that compares with Weaver St.'s bread.

            1. re: isabelleblanco

              Just found out the "news" about Gourmandises ... must have a moment of silence for my taste buds.

              My wife and I moved to Raleigh in August 2001, and Gourmandises opened not long after. It was the BEST place for us to relieve our urges for sweets. (Moved away in the fall of 2006, so not in touch with the Triangle any more.) I can still taste the croissants, eclairs, etc etc etc. Isabelle and Denis, thank you for your great food and your welcoming spirit. Any time you're in Maine, our kitchen is open....

              1. re: PatW

                Please let us know if you get back into the pastry business. I have been underwhelmed by the pastry options I've found so far. Saturday mornings just aren't right without a delicious pastry and a good cappuccino.

                Thanks ecofoodie for starting this thread. I moved here too late to have the chance to try Gourmandises (although I trust the reviews above) and have been jonsing for a truly tasty eclair or any other pastry for that matter.

                1. re: dinersaurus

                  Have you tried Weaver St. Market? I think their croissants are as good as anything I've had in Paris. The almond and plain ones especially, but the chocolates are usually good too.

              2. re: isabelleblanco

                We miss you a lot, dear Isabelle and Denis

                Dimitri and Agnieszka

              3. re: TerryG

                I have to differ with you on your "mediocre" assessment of La Farm. Their croissant are, IMHO, well on par with those I've had in Europe, and those were to die for.

                I have to agree with chazzer, though - I don't consider croissant and breads to be the same thing as making pastry. I think those are two very different animals entirely.

                1. re: Suzy Q

                  Weaver St. lost their good pastry chef a while back, so their eclairs are ghastly. Valours up in Hillsborough makes very authentic croissants (tho they are now gigantic) he is French.
                  Miel Bon Bon in Car Mill Mall has incredible chocolates and pastries, Bonnie amazing.

                  1. re: Suzy Q

                    I've only had my own eclairs and Weaver St. I like Weavers just fine but it has been awhile since having one. It looks like they put to much chocolate on the top. I have not had Southern Season and I've never been to La Farm as I'm not usually in that area. The first eclair I ever had was when I was much younger and in Baltimore harbor. It was delicious and it was the most enormous eclair I can recall ever having.

                    Croissants if I'm not mistaken are made from almost a puff pastry of sorts. It's been awhile since I read about making them. So I guess it depends on what type of pastry you want to talk about. Yes it is very different and more time consuming than choux pastry.

                    Great now that I'm talking about yummy pastry.. I'm lamenting the fact that I went to Mike's the one time I was in Boston and got a few things from "lobster tails" to a some other items and had to leave them behind...