Paris and the Best Japanese Pastries or the Beautiful Art of Sadaharu Aoki
May 31st, Tuesday night in Paris.
Why did I feel so high and hyper that night? I think I ate too much sugar. From noon until later in the night after dinner, sweets and more sweets. The culprit is called Japanese Pastries and more Macarons. I can tell you what happened.
It might sound very cliché, but I think I have found a little treasure spot in Paris. On Tuesday, as P. and I were enjoying our few days in Paris, I was very lucky to be able to meet a Parisian woman who took me on a short tour of some fascinating places where to savour delicate sweet pastries. She made me discover a side of Paris I did not yet know. Is there a better way to discover the Parisian Food World than explore it with a food lover living in Paris? I don’t think so!
What on Earth Do Two Food Bloggers Do While in Paris?
So here we are, at 12:00 on Tuesday May 31st, I was due to meet Anne from Station Gourmande at Lafayette Gourmet near the Opéra. How fun! I had been at Gourmet Lafayette before of course, but had never come close to the first stop that Anne introduced me to, called Sadaharu Aoki. My first word at the sight of his stand was “Wouah, c’est beau!“. There were so many pastries to choose from that I felt a little disoriented at first. Sadaharu Aoki has a stand at Lafayette Gourmet like many other pastry chefs, but I have to say that his stood out on its own. Not too big, not too small, just elegant like the Japanese know well how to; it was a pure feast for the eyes. Beautiful shapes and design, colours jumping in your face, flavours that are out of the ordinary. Right away I knew I would be faced with a problem known in Béa’s land: what will I choose? I wanted to try so many things. This one, what about that one, oh no wait, what is this one? Easy for Anne who knew them all as she pointed out that she regularly tasted his new creations. But what about me who does not know any? In any case, we had to choose. After much talk about it, following Anne’s recommendations, we settled for a classic revisited Opéra cake with Matcha Tea, a Yuzu Tartlet and a Pistachio Fruit Tartlet (with a tiny pistachio macaron attached). Yes I know, we were only 2 people but we bought 3 cakes. Think what you have a right to think about this. We were greedy! But for a good reason.
I loved the lemony taste of the Japanese Yuzu (Japanese lemon*), and the Matcha tea with a chocolate filling of the Opéra. As a matter of fact, as we stood inside eating our cakes, our animated conversation was often punctuated with sounds-of-mouth-full like “Mmmm, c’est bon!, mmmmmmm”. The Pistachio tartlet however triggered a discovery in me. I had a few bites of it and told Anne that this last one was my least favorite of the three because of the strong pistachio flavour. She replied: Mais Béa, tu aimes la pâte à pistache ? (Do you like pistachio paste?) Do you know what? I guess I just realized that I was not a big fan of it, although I love pistachios. As mentioned by Anne, Sadaharu Aoki’s pistachio paste was of great quality. Incredible to me that I just discovered there that I was not a big pistachio paste fan. The full opposite of a flavor like yuzu which is lemony, tangy, always a flavour I would choose over others as I love citruses of all kinds.
*The yuzu [YOO-zoo] is a Japanese citrus fruit (Citrus junos (Rutaceae)) of about the size of a tangerine. It is quite sour. Most commonly, the rind is used to flavor various dishes such as vegetables, fish or noodles. The Yuzu is difficult to find in the U.S. You can obtain bottled juice or dry, powdered yuzu. Occasionally you may find fresh fruit but it is quite rare in the U.S. (Source GourmetSleuth.com)
I wish I could have had more of the desserts, of course. But no matter how greedy I felt, I had to pause. But our bodies are fantastic machines and this is why.
The afternoon continued and I will share more of it with you in future posts. What did Anne and I do? We talked about food and our lives (as this was our first meeting), we tasted great food and strolled from spots to spots in Paris despite the rain. I was about to leave when Anne mentioned that Sadaharu Aoki had also 2 other stores, including one on rue Vaugirard, very close to where P. and I were staying. How convenient I thought, so close to my Métro stop! I had bags to carry and was tired when I left Anne. But the sugar call was still there in me. And I was already thinking about dessert with dinner, and really wanted to share this pastry experience with P. and our friends. Tired or not, I decided to swiftly walk my way to find his store on rue Vaugirard. Almost standing on its own and away from bigger more fancy boutiques, I discovered a tiny shop with a lovely Japanese shop assistant inside, all smiling at me, who on top did not mind my picture taking at all.
—”Je peux prendre des photos ? C’est si beau!
—Oui oui! Hi hi hi.”
—”Can I take pictures? This is so pretty!
—Yes, yes! Hi hi hi.”
Such a lovely experience!
I was alone in the store around 5pm. A man double-parked illegally across the road. Common in Paris. No worries. What could stop a man with a purpose? He ran in the store to do the same thing that I was about to do: select beautiful desserts for dinner. The choice was difficult once more, but since I had had already a taste of some flavours, my job became easier. I settled for a Black Sesame éclair as suggested by Anne, another Opéra cake with Matcha Tea, a White Chocolate Mousse with a Passion Fruit filling and a giant Pistachio Macaron with Fresh Strawberries (because it was too pretty).
Gloved hands carefully placing my cakes in a box.
Who could really resist so many gorgeous creations?
And I settled for:
A Matcha Tea Opéra with Chocolate Filling. I personally could not resist the design on top of the cake which reminded me of a forest. Zen and clean.
A Giant Pistachio Macaron with Fresh Strawberries
A Black Sesame éclair
A White Chocolate Mousse (Ivoire) with a Passion Fruit Filling
Can you see this customer there while I was buying my treasures? She is a Japanese customer in a Japanese Pastry Store in Paris checking on where to find good teas in Paris.
Before leaving the store, I caught a glimpse of a display of interesting chocolate bars with Matcha tea and Black Sesame. Expensive at a cost of 10.50 euros for 100 g for sure, but I don’t come to Paris every day!
No need to say that we all loved the cakes taken at our friend Ara’s place after dinner. For sure, I will return to visit Sadaharu Aoki’s stores next time I come to Paris. Every time, my list of places to visit becomes longer.
Thank you Anne!
35, rue de Vaugirard 75006
Tel : 01-45-44-48-90
fax : 01-45-44-48-29
11: 00 am to 7: 00 pm
56, boulevard Port Royal 75005
Tel : 01-45-35-36-80
fax : 01-45-35-34-13
8: 00 am to 7: 30 pm
-closed on Sundays
Galerie Lafayette GOURMET
40, boulevard Haussemann 75009
Superbe, superbe, je savais que tu allais y aller avec Anne et je vois que tu n’es pas déçue, je dirai même carrément intoxiquée!
Bea, one of the good things about visiting his shop is that I can order in Japanese 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your stay!
What can compare with pastry shops in Paris? You, lucky, lucky girl.
Moi aussi je savais déjà tout, mais je me suis laissée charmer par ton récit. Vivement la suite 🙂
The first time I ever had realy sushi was in Paris. Now I see that that Japanese in Paris have MANY more wonderful delights!
You are right Bea, I think he is the best I have ever tasted. I was introduced to his pastry by Anne’s blog, and though I am not a pastry fan, I would walk kilometers for his yuzu tartlet. Et en plus c’est beau!
ET bien moi je me suis laissée charmée par les photos et à présent…je me laisse charmer par la “google-translation”, un autre poème! Magnifique virée, j’ai envie de goûter à tout!
Je note l’adresse pour ma prochaine escapade à Paris. Tes photos sont ma-gni-fiques!
oh Bea! these make me want to cry they are so beautiful!! how did you get away with not ordering one of EACH?! you have more willpower than i do, clearly!
enjoy, enjoy! and thank you for giving us glimpses of the treasures you are finding. 🙂
Oh God, Bea!
I am drooling over my keyboard. It would be such a treat to explore Paris with you.
Ce que j’ai pu gouter de chez lui grâce à Anne de Station Gourmande était divin !
Aie aie aie je crois qu’il faut que je monte a paris immediatement c’est trop pour ma gourmandise!!! Génial continue tes reportages, j’adore 🙂
Oh my gosh, it does look good!! So cruel to have all these wonders under my eyes, out of reach (and mouth)!! I’d have done just like you: get high with too much sugar! Gorgeous, really…Next time I go to Paris, I’ll definitely have to stop there…
Waou, it was really beautiful … I decided, I’m going tomorrow in Sadaharu Aoki !
Superbe reportage qui donne vivement envie d’aller se faire un p’tit we à Paris pour faire une orgie de gâteries et pourquoi pas faire un p’tit coucou à no’s charmante AnneE de Station Gourmande, histoire de l’encourager de vive voie !
Si tu voyais la taille de la flaque de bave à mes pieds… indécent ton billet là !
okay, you convinced me. i’m moving to paris today 🙂
what beatiful works of art they are! it sounds like you had a beautiful day in many ways!!
Et bien, je vois qu’on ne se refuse rien ! Un vrai musée des tentations que tu nous offres là, veinarde ! Profite bien 🙂
I’ll have to go to Paris (again!) didn’t know about all these sweet places! Gorgeous photos!
These arent pastries – these are works of art! I wish I had the time to go Sadaharu Aoki when I was in Paris last – next time for sure!
Merci pour la visite car si cette pâtisserie est très connue parmi les blogeurs(-ses)culinaires français(es) c’est la première fois que je visite plus complètement la pâtisserie…
Eh oui, il n’y en a qu’à Paris…
Lyo niet, Marseille, niet…
Parisianisme aigu hélaaasss ;o)
Merci à ta gourmandise et ton audace ;o)
wow! this is fantastic! I was managing sushi bar in Warsaw for a while… but never saw Japanese sweets. I heard they are sophisticated… So many sushi around nowadays, but no sweets…
Bea can you take me next time? Pleaaaasssee!
Thank you so much for this post and the beautiful pictures! I’ll be in Paris for a week in July, and I plan on exploring it by “connecting the dots” between pastry shops throughout the city. I’ve just added these to my plan. 🙂
These are all so beautiful and so inspiring. Thank you for all the photography!
Thank you all for all of your comments
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hello, I chanced upon this blog by accident. How delicious the photos are, thank you for putting up this blog! What a lovely way to travel from my little room. Even if I am currently debilitated and unable to actually travel just now, it is wonderful to get a glimpse of the sweet perfections of Aoki and Paris! I pray I will get stronger and scrape some money together and be able to travel, perhaps before I end up in a wheelchair!
THANK YOU for your pictures of Aoki!! I just returned from Paris and was cursing myself for not taking more pictures – and unfortunately, my hubbie had the camera while I was at Aoki, so I had NONE! Now I can show my friends the unique pastries of this special place. I had the macha opera cake – it was soooo amazing!
Hajimemashite! I’m the first pastry chef who started to make japanese cakes in Argentina which I stidied in Japan in 1992 and just 4 months ago I opened my own cake shop in Buenos Aires. I would like to visit you some day as I love your new ideas and flavours. I hope we can keep in contact.
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Hi, im yogeswaran from malaysia ,im interest to work wit chef sadaharu aoki can i work ,now im study london le cordon blue pastry course.can i work?
Hello 🙂 i accidentally came across this blog and i was really amazed by all the pictures and pastries!! At the moment im trying to find what i want to be in life and being a pastery chef sounds amazing!!!!!!! is it hard becoming a pastery chef? what things do you learn?
Hire me as your assistent I live in Toky and Love cooking.. I want Open My Own Business in Japan and Brasil…….I am Chef Brasilian and Italian foods. anyway if in need a extra hand drop em a line …arigato gozaimasu.
These eclairs look like perfection! I cannot wait to go here!