Asking around and researching on the net, the first place that caught my attention was Popelini. Exactly like “Un Eclair de Genie”, which sells éclairs and displays them like pieces of art, Polpelini sells one single item: the famous chou. A chou uses the same dough as an eclair and is usually filled with the same cream. It's different in texture, since its size makes it crunchier.
This bakery — named for the Italian cook who supposedly invented pâte à choux — sells only cream puffs. Tiny, adorable cream puffs.
Located on Rue des Martyrs in the 9th District, Popelini is a pastry shop you should not miss on your next visit to Paris. Simple and refined, they have one single item displayed in a long fridge behind the glass facade, which says "Chou a la Creme".
Polpelini uses thin dough, slightly chewy and well baked on the sides and covers it with a craquelin (a crunchy layer of pate sable posed on top and with a crunchy consistency), which is a crunchy layer of sugar, making it special and different from a profiterole.
To start with, all choux a la crème have some points in common:
- The dough is thick but easy to eat
- They are slightly chewy, but have an enjoyable feel
- They have the same rounded size of approximately six centimeters and are topped with a decorative circle of color
- All the flavors are really intense: When you ask for chocolate expect to feel it, when you say coffee, prepare yourself for the big boom...
- Dark chocolate
- Vanilla from Madagascar
- Salted butter caramel
- Milk chocolate
- Rose framboise
The specialties depending on the season:
- Bitter chocolate
- Rum vanilla
- Bitter orange
- Earl Grey tea
- Strawberry lychee
- Grand Marnier
Let's try a sample:
- The dark chocolate is really nice and intense in flavor. Bite into it to start feeling the aromas one after the other. Passing through the dough reveals a condensed and generous filling of chocolate that's firm and offers an intense chocolate flavor that's so enjoyable
- Milk chocolate is also very good. An equilibrated taste that's enjoyable and not sweet. Usually milky chocolates are too sweet, but this one is good
- Coffee: An intense aromatic journey around Latin America as the coffee touches your taste buds. That's a very good one indeed... Maybe one of my favorites.
- Pistachio:The pistachio filling is different, more watery, green in color and tasting exactly as you'd expect; pistachio, without any unpleasant sweetness.
- Praline: My least favorite and too sweet for my taste. It's also too watery so pay attention to spilling
- Salted caramel: The best by far for sure. Caramel, sugar, chewiness and to end the experience in style, a rich salty flavor that caresses your lips and stays around for some time. I'd come back for it.
This week, I've tried four Choux a la Crème shops and Popelini is surely the finest.
- 44 Rue des Martyrs, Paris, France
- +33 1 42 81 35 79