Want to eat like royalty in Paris? Follow the royal family among others and grab a pastry at the oldest bakery in Paris, Pâtisserie Stohrer, for a notable and unforgettable experience.
Imagine this. It’s 1730 in Paris and till this day there was not one place you could go to buy baked goods and pastries. You either made them at home or had them at a friends house. Nicolas Stohrer, King Louis XV’s pastry chef, was the first to come up with the idea of a bakery or pâtisserie. He created Pâtisserie Stohrer and opened up his doors to the public to come and shop his creative and uniquely paired pastries. Not only can we credit him for having the oldest bakery in Paris, but we can almost credit him with the creation of the concept of a bakery. Needless to say, Pâtisserie Stohrer was on the top of my list.
Nicolas Stohrer was the first to combine various bakery skills into one profession. Rather than have pastry making, cake-baking, waffle makers etc. all under separate professions, he brought them all under one roof at Pâtisserie Stohrer. In 2017, the Dolfi family, who owns Paris’ finest and oldest chocolate-making house À La Mère de Famille, took over the business preserving it’s unique and high-quality goods.
Pâtisserie Stohrer is listed as a historical site and was designed by the man who decorated Opéra Garnier, Paul Baudry. I don’t think the exterior decor is overly lavish in anyway. In fact, it’s very unobtrusive. It’s the inside that is very French, decored in marble walls with elaborate details and drawings and a colorful assortment of pastries that lines every corner of the tightly-packed pâtisserie that fits only a handful of people.
So what do you order in a such a rare find? You may be tempted to order everything when you step in…but here are some of the bakery’s highest recommended goods to help you narrow down your options:
- Rum Babas: By far the most famous pastry at Stohrer invented by Stohrer himself. They say that the King of Poland once complained that his Kouglof, a brioche from the Alsace region, was too dry. To fix it’s dryness, Stohrer dipped it in Tokay and Malaga wine, which he later replaced with rum creating the Rum Babas–a pastry soaked in a delicate rum syrup with candied fruit.
- Chiboust Cream Tart: Also invented by Stohrer, is a tart with a light pastry cream now used in many pastries including the Saint Honoré.
- Puits d’Amour: Also invented by Stohrer, were specifically requested by Queen Elizabeth II when she visited this oldest bakery in Paris back in 2004. This hollow puff pastry is filled with crème pâtissière and caramelised using a traditional, ancestral branding iron.
- Traditional Style Religieuse: Also invented by Stohrer, is an impressive layered cake made of eclairs on a shortcrust pastry base. Each eclair is piped, filled, and iced by hand.
- Vol-au-Vent: On the savory side, people flock to Stohrer for the vol-au-vent, a puff pastry with fresh poultry quenelle, slivers of foie gras, chicken breast, mushrooms and bechamel sauce with a touch of port.
With all these options and all the eating I had been doing as I wandered around Paris, I went for something I had never had before. I’m embarrassed to say that I had never had an éclair before, which is why I opted for the traditional chocolate éclair. Patrick and I bought a single one and brought it outside. We unwrapped the long chocolate covered pastry from it’s beautiful parchment paper and I starred at the gold embossed label on the chocolate that read Stohrer. The logo glistened back at me calling my name. I took a single bite of the choux pastry with its creamy chocolate filling and chocolate fondant icing and my eyes immediately flew wide open (a tell-tale sign of mine when I eat something that I find extremely good). Pat laughs at me every time I eat something that I love because of my expression.
Although I could’ve had a whole éclair to myself, I’m glad I didn’t. Although the chocolate melted in my mouth and was rich and soft, it was almost too rich for me to eat on my already full stomach. Note: Come here famished so you can enjoy all of Stohrer’s pastries. Otherwise you’ll end up having to split a pastry like Pat and I did. When it comes to the oldest bakery in Paris, this is not the place to hold back. Come, observe, take it all in, ask questions, choose your selections, and indulge in what are considered some of the finest pastries in all of Paris while exploring the 2nd arrondissement. Good enough for royalty.
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