Once Mireille Guiliano added ‘French women don’t get fat’ to the American lexicon, it’s been impossible for me not to think about the line whenever I’m in Paris. The city is filled with treasures small, smaller and tiny. But, if you’ll forgive the pun (it’s so irresistible), the pastry chef Sadaharu Aoki takes the cake.
Ranged along the shelf that runs the length of his thin-as-a-reed patisserie on rue Vaugirard are a series of packed-to-go sweets; small packs perfect for gifts or for elegant snacking. The further into the shop you walk, the more petit the pastries seem to become, until you find this chocolate cake
Found in the section labeled ‘gouter’ – think after-school snack – the treat weighs one-half ounce and costs 80 cents (Euro) or $1.07. It’s two bites worth of fun and, given how tiny an espresso is here, it’s just enough to get you through a shot of Joe. Looking larger, but weighing in at only 5 grams more, is the chocolate sandwich cookie. Although they look as though they could have been made in an Easy-Bake Oven, they’re as perfect as everything else in the shop – just mini, mini, mini.
Not as small, but still not so big that you’d be willing to share, are the eclairs from the Genie of Eclairs, Christophe Adam. When Adam was the executive pastry chef at Fauchon, he made the éclair the symbol of the house and riffed on it endlessly, creating fabulous flavor combinations and even fabulouser looks. I’ll never forget the Mona Lisa éclair. (I recently read that Fauchon sold 40,000 a year at their flagship shop on the Place Madeleine.) Now Adam is on his own. He’s got an éclair shop – it’s also got truffles (some like looking cake balls) and chocolates – in the Marais and a couple ofAdam’s Tartines et Cafes in the city. I love the way the little cakes are packed at Adam’s. Wouldn’t you love to find these in your lunchbox?
And to finish, the fabulously beautiful eclairs from L’Eclair de Genie.