Stohrer is the oldest continually operating pastry shop in Paris. It was started by Nicolas Stohrer, a Polish pastry chef who came to France with Marie Leszczynska (don’t ask me how to pronounce that), the daughter of King Stanislas of Poland, when she married King Louis XV of France in 1725. In 1730, Stohrer opened up his own shop in the very location where it stands today. He is credited with inventing the Rum Baba.
One look at the magnificent croquembouche in the window tells you that this is still a pastry shop fit for a king. It has been under the leadership of François Duthu and Pierre Liénard since 1986, and they are clearly upholding the standard set by the shop’s founder.
Just look at all that beautiful pastry! In addition, behind me there was an array of savory dishes: pâté en croûte, salads, quiches, and so on. It was hard enough to choose, so I focused on the sweet side of the shop to help narrow my options. I decided on a chocolate éclair, chocolate mousse cup, and an orange tart. When I got up to the register to pay, I noticed a freezer case full of house-made ice cream, but resisted the temptation this time. (It helped that I had forgotten my shopping bag that day and my hands were getting full.) I managed to get it all home and even wait until after dinner to taste…
except, of course, the éclair.
This was one of the better éclairs I have eaten in Paris so far. Real ganache on top (at least mostly), with a rich chocolate pot-de-crème filling. And plenty of it!
The orange tart, despite having to wait in the fridge until dessert-time, was fantastic. The tart shell was exquisitely thin and amazingly, still crisp. The filling was an intensely orange-flavored crème brûlée, and I loved the crescent of candied orange peel on top. A nice touch.
I love the way this mousse cup looks. Really, it’s just mousse, fudge sauce, and some chocolate garnish, but the effect is so funky and modern. (Since finishing the contents, we have re-purposed the cup as a pen holder. Happy Earth Day!) The chocolate sticks were delicate, but with a good snap, and provided a nice textural contrast without being distracting flavor-wise. The sauce was a very thick and gooey fudge sauce (I’m thinking there’s a fair amount of glucose in there) with good chocolate flavor. The mousse was a little airy – I prefer a smoother, denser mousse – but tasty nonetheless.
In all, it’s pretty clear that Stohrer is operating on a level above the majority of pastry shops in Paris. From the crust of the tart to the chocolate garnish, no detail is overlooked. True, it’s a little pricier than most pastry shops, but the quality of the product and the care that goes into it make a trip to Stohrer well worth it.