Aux Merveilleux de Fred, 15e and 16e Paris
Absolutely go. Haven't tried the coffee yet, but I doubt I'd like it as much as I LOVED the speculoos (chocolate was good too, but speculoos blew my mind). They are not too sweet, and the textural contrast of the croquant meringue with the thick cream is just heavenly. It's a must.
Yes, they're great. Modern versions of the old tête-de-nègre classic. Lovely old-fashioned treats.
They may be sweet but they're not cloying and heavy with gelatins, colorings and texture agents like today's trendy fashion pâtisseries. It's a sweetness that makes sense because there's taste with it. It would be a shame that the current trends make people increasingly unable to appreciate the delicateness and balance of more traditional-style sweets.
Actually I didn't find them all that sweet. The meringue itself is sweet, but so light, and there's only a thin layer of it (unlike the tête de nègre which is usually one huge ball of hard meringue with a thin chocolate ganache around it). But the whipped cream part which is most of the pastry was nicely balanced I thought.
Well, it seems that I don't agree at all with mbcraw4d and chicagoparis' comments.
One often describes gnocchi like little air pillows, or small clouds... An omelet can be light and fluffy (although I prefer mine melting and gooey)... But let's get back to Earth, shall we ? No (legal) food will make you takeoff.
I found a pastry made of egg whites, sugar and whipped cream that can make you lighter ; your stomach falls asleep, your throat spreads its wings, and your zygomaticus muscles try to reach the sun.
If Fred was a guru (and he probably is), I would become an unconditional disciple of his church.
In his 15th arrondissement shop, he does three types of whipped cream covered meringues.
Le Merveilleux (The Wonderful)
A delicate meringue "tartelette" topped with a cloud (hackneyed expression but absolutely on the spot) of chocolate whipped cream, sprinkled with chocolate shavings and a little hat of chantilly cream.
L'Incroyable (The Incredible)
Same thing but with white chocolate and spéculoos instead of the dark chocolate.
L'Impensable (The Unthinkable)
This time the nice cream scoop is coffee flavored... I didn't taste it... I'm kicking myself... but it gives me a good excuse to go back on the other side of Paris.
The flavors are subtle, mild, there are no thundering contrasts, no chocolate dark as the earth or spéculoos cringing with spices. The textures twirl with finesse as well, a meringue which vanishes in an instant, chocolate shavings that won't do any better, and a cream whipped with helium.
A cloud in your mouth really does exist. And now I summon you to all join hands and follow me in the quest for a light stomach and a light soul. Ommmmm...
For a few (not so crappy as usual but still not top-notch) pictures and the review in french : http://www.chezfood.com/2012/05/13/au...
I went to the one in Passy--looked in the window, saw the pastries, bought immediately, much to my friends' amusement. I think we tried the merveilleux (chocolate) and a coffee-flavored one. They were good, but not oh-my-God-I-have-to-go-back good. Kind of sweet--but light and fluffy. If you're going to go, the coffee one is definitely the one to go for.
I so didn't need to know that those exist.
I think they qualify as a religeuse under my son's definition-- as he ate the little puff on top, he told me that he knows why they're called religeuse...because the first thing that goes through your head when you eat one is "oh my God".
Well, this is certainly not what I wanted to hear! Like DCM, I can walk by the best patisserie and not feel the slightest lust, but, for some reason, these somehow sounded an alarm. If you good tasters find them worthwhile, I guess I'll have to make a raid.
Rats, indeed! Meeeeeeerde, aussi.