Recently, while walking along Rue Montorgueil in the 2nd arrondissement, I couldn’t pass by the Stohrer bakery without dropping in. This is not your ordinary bakery. Established in 1730 as a royal bakery, modern-day royalty including HRH Queen Elizabeth have actually graced this establishment with a visit (and a taste, of course). Even if you don’t care for sweets, a stroll down the pedestrian Rue Montorgueil is well worth the detour. I always think of Montorgeuil as being Sarah Turnbull’s ‘hood’ (author of
lAlmost French). In fact it was Turnbull’s beautiful description of this street which first brought me to Montorgueil. Stohrer’s is one of the several landmark shops and restaurants.
A good way to judge the quality of a patisserie (pastry/bakery shop) is by tasting its eclairs. The outer shell made with eggs should be light and airy. The cream is rich and velvety without being too cloyingly sweet. A difficult balancing act. Eclairs normally are chocolate with chocolate or vanilla cream filling or coffee-flavored with coffee-flavored filling.
Figaro newspaper rated Stohrer’s custard cream-filled eclairs as being the best in Paris – but they must have missed one of the bakeries in my neighborhood – the Bonjour Bakery. It’s hard to compare a cafe-cream eclair with a vanilla bourbon eclair.
But I think if one of the Bourbon kings had stumbled into the ‘Bonjour Bakery’ (newly opened) at 16 Ave Rene Coty in the 14th arrondissement, he may have preferred this delicious treat over the Figaro’s choice for best eclair. You can pick up your eclair on your way to Montsouris garden. There is something exquisitely decadent about vanilla cream laced with bourbon. Marie Antoinette would have lapped this one up. “Whatever you do, don’t let them eat my boubon eclair!”
You can try a mini vanilla bourbon eclair at the Bonjour Bakery for less than one Euro (60 centimes) thereby convincing yourself that your diet is still in effect. A full size eclair at Stohrer will set you back 3.50 Euros not even considering the calories. BTW, it’s amazing the difference in price between eclairs in Paris compared to the price in other major cities such as Angers (where a large eclair goes for 2.50 Euros).
Anyone who’s interested in doing an ‘eclair tasting’ should let me know. I’ll be setting a date around June 20/21 just in time for the Fete de la Musique . Bonjour Bakery and Stohrer will both be tasted side by side. If you have suggestions of any other bakeries that should be included in this eclair contest.
51 Rue Montorgueil
Metro: Etienne Marcel
16 Ave Rene Coty
Metro: Denfert Rochereau