L’Eclair de Genie
After a morning of walking around the famous Louvre Museum in Paris, and having seen everything we were hoping to see, our feet were tired and we were just looking for a way to exit the museum and move on to our next destination. The exit we ended up taking took us through an underground mall which eventually lead to an escalator that took us back up to street level and out of the museum. As we were exiting this underground mall, we walked right by a little pop up food stand that was so bright and colorful and caught my eye right away. It also was selling a treat that I am absolutely in love with. While we weren’t planning on stopping for a treat, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity and dragged my husband to the little stand to check out the delectable treats.
L’Eclair de Genie sold nothing but a large display of colorful, delectable gourmet eclairs, the likes of which I’d never seen before. The color and design caught my eye, but the fact that they were eclairs is really what sealed the deal for me. I just couldn’t leave without sampling one or two of the eclairs. The brainchild of Christophe Adam, who not only makes gourmet eclairs but also makes gourmet chocolate and bon bons, he has 5 boutique stores in Paris and 3 more in Japan.
If you’re a lover of eclairs, like I am, how can you walk by a display of eclairs that looks like this and not stop and browse? Better yet, how do you prevent yourself from buying one of everything? Ok, so the signs are in French, and while I don’t speak or read French, interpreting the signs to figure out what flavor each éclair was, wasn’t too difficult a task. And it helps that each éclair not only looks amazing, but really looks like a piece of art into itself. The day I was there, the flavors they offered included praline chocolate, crispy strawberry and green apple vanilla. I’m not sure about green apple vanilla as I don’t really like the combination of tart and sweet together, but the praline chocolate and crispy strawberry would be right up my alley. In fact, I seriously considered crispy strawberry until something else caught my eye instead.
There was also vanilla with pecan for those who are nut lovers, apricot and salted caramel. I know that a lot of people like the whole salt and sweet thing together, so salted caramel would be perfect, but I had my eye on something else.
The last three flavors offered were chocolate, citron yuzu and passion fruit strawberry. They all looked so yummy, not only with the flavor glaze atop the éclair, but also with the embellishments added atop the éclair as well. The look and the color certainly draws in the eye.
In the end, my husband and I each decided to select one flavor each. He took the citron yuzu, which isn’t surprising as he’s a big fan of lemon and the citrus tang. I chose the passion fruit strawberry. I really like the tartness of passion fruit and I like strawberry so it seemed to be a good flavor combination. Besides, it’s a flavor combination you just don’t run into every day the way you are used to seeing a chocolate éclair. The sales associate boxed up our eclairs nicely for us and we took them out into the pavilion to enjoy with a view of the Louvre Pyramid.
My husband really enjoyed his citron yuzu éclair. He’s already a huge fan of lemon and the tart and tang of lemon, with the added benefit of yuzu flavoring in this éclair, it just makes the éclair even more tart and adds a terrific sharpness to the flavor profile. Not only do the eclairs have a glaze on the outside of this citron yuzu flavor, but it has a pastry cream filling with the same flavors. The little embellishments atop the éclair also added a little texture, crunch and flavor as well. The eclairs are perfectly baked, and the choux pastry is flaky and light and what you want out of your éclair. My husband, who wasn’t even all that interested in getting an éclair to begin with, was impressed and happy he decided to give in and let me have an éclair.
I loved my passion fruit strawberry éclair. The glaze on the outside of the éclair was all passion fruit and had that wonderful sweetness, and hint of tang to it. The pastry cream filling inside the éclair was passion fruit, with strawberry filling running down the middle. I really liked how they combined by the two flavors by essentially keeping them separated inside the éclair. You definitely tasted both the passion fruit and the strawberry and both were wonderful. The embellishments atop the éclair were almost like crunchy, freeze-dried strawberries. They provided great texture, but they were also a burst of flavor. I loved the uniqueness and playfulness of the éclair and the flavors were perfectly spot on.
It’s always fun finding these hidden little gems. Often times, because we are traveling, my husband and I tend to plan out our meals and research everything so that we make sure not to miss any of the things we really feel like we need to eat. But every now and then, as you’re just strolling by somewhere unexpected and you run into something you just have to try, you find something fun, and unique and special. Sitting outside in the courtyard of the Louvre, watching the crowds stroll along and enter the museum through the glass pyramid, watching the pigeons flying around, sitting there eating these wonderful treats from L’Eclair de Genie, it was just perfect. It’s one of these snapshots in your mind that you just won’t ever forget. Quintessential Paris.