Paris-based French pastry chef Pierre Herme revolutionized the industry by creating defiantly modern signature seasonal sweets - and presenting them at edible fashion shows.
This year he previewed his work to the press not in the context of couture clothing - but quite the opposite. This line - dubbed Desirs - Desires - was unveiled at Crazy Horse - the club internationally renowned for the Art of the Nude.
That's right - I said nude.
I tragically did not witness the - er - unveiling. It was shortly after we won our second Michelin star at Les Ambassadeurs at the Crillon and I could not in good conscience tell my chef that I needed to abandon our kitchen to go to a nude club to taste pastries.
I said pastries - not pasties.
But I have had more than my fair share of Pierre Herme creations since then - from the limited edition collection as well as the classics. Pictured above are what might be the two most lasciviously viewed ice cream sandwiches in the food blog world. They first made their debut on chez pim. I believe they are only rivaled by Clement's masterful patisserie riffs. What you see here are mine and Pim's Pierre Herme Miss Gla'Gla's - macaron ice cream sandwiches - moments before they met their destinies. They were had after our wondrous lunch at L'Astrance with Clotilde.
The chef/owner of L'Astrance - Pascal Barbot - is a gastronomic artist, gentleman, and scholar. I've had the great honour and pleasure of accompanying him on his weekly pre-dawn visit to Rungis - just hours after closing the night before. He's also quietly experimenting with a molecular gastronomy scientist I know who works with Herve This.
The desserts were a generous and beautiful procession of sorbets, emulsions, flawless fresh fruit, buttery herbal madeleines, and ethereal custards in egg shells - yes, more egg shells! They were an absolutely perfect finale to a luxurious lunch.
But I have a weakness - I consider it almost a personal failing - in that I have a strong need for chocolate and/or ice cream for dessert. Sorry my pastry chef friends - I'm one of those clients.
Clotilde had to leave us after lunch - but I told Pim I knew just the perfect thing to satisfy our unsatiated dessert needs - but that it'd be a secret. On that unseasonably warm afternoon, we walked purposefully under the Eiffel Tower, through the Champ de Mars, hopped on the number 87 bus - in which we were promptly shushed by a 7th arrondissement matriarch because of our audibly feverish anticipation.
Pim - while she'd never been on a Paris bus - knows the city's culinary hot-spots well-enough that she sensed our destination before we disembarked - Pierre Herme on rue Bonaparte. And there - waiting within - was our journey's prize - Miss Gla'Gla.
The legendary line moved quickly - I chose the chocolate and Pim selected the Ispahan. We slipped out, crossed the street, and wordlessly - profanely - devoured our treasures on the steps of St. Sulpice.
The chocolate was richly aromatic - macarons delicately crisp yet firm - embracing ice cream deep in flavour, studded with crunchy cacao nibs, and enlivened with a suggestion of a turn of pepper and the fleeting finish of fleur de sel.
Pim and I swapped briefly - her Ispahan revealing a whole other world of sensations in an exhilarating rush - the rose fragrance intoxicating, the raspberry sorbet electrifying, and the lychee sorbet elusively seductive.
Pierre Herme currently has no website. He has two boutiques in Paris currently closed for summer vacation. They re-open on August 24th - at 10AM. Miss Gla'Gla's will be available until sometime in mid-September - depending on weather and availability. Ice cream by the liter is sold year-round - flavours vary according to availability - at 24E per liter. A Pierre Herme isothermic bag - resembling his coveted teardrop-perforated shopping bags - is available for 8E - it holds two precious liters.
Miss Gla'Gla Spring/Summer 2005 Collection
- Montebello: pistachio ice cream, strawberry sorbet, macaron sandwich
- Eden: peach sorbet, saffron and apricot ice cream, macaron sandwich
Miss Gla'Gla Classic Collection
- Celeste: passion-fruit ice cream, strawberry sorbet, rhubarb/strawberry compote, macaron sandwich
- Satine: fromage blanc sorbet, orange coulis, passion-fruit sorbet, passion-fruit macaron sandwich
- Ispahan: lychee/rose sorbet, raspberry sorbet, rose macaron sandwich
- Chocolat/Chocolate: single origin Madagascar chocolate sorbet, cacao nib nougatine, fleur de sel and pepper, chocolate macaron sandwich
- Caramel au Beurre Sale/Salted Butter Caramel: salted caramel/caramel crunch ice cream, sable sandwich
All for a mere 5.50E each.
72 rue Bonaparte
01 43 54 47 77
185 rue de Vaugirard
01 47 83 89 96
This is the third in a summer series on ice cream in Paris.
Each post is dedicated to a charity that works in the fight against worldwide hunger. Please donate now to Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders. Thank you.