Lifestyle

The Ritz Paris Opens Gourmet Pastry Boutique

It’s got everything you want – including loads of je ne sais quoi.

The quintessence of French excellence, The Ritz Paris in June inaugurated a new chapter in its history with the opening of The Ritz Paris Le Comptoir, a new gourmet boutique headed by its pastry chef, François Perret. A new destination that’s open to all, this Ritzy urban annex is a new way to share the magic of an iconic hotel and the immense talent of Mr. Perret with all of Paris. With this new development, The Ritz Paris is spreading its savoir-faire to new horizons. You’ll fall in love with it faster than you can say, “Vendome.” It’s the new home to dozens of gorgeous gourmet goodies.

For true fans, all the classics are here at Ritz Paris Le Comptoir, available on a rotating basis and according to the day: Eclairs, babas au rhum, millefeuilles, cheesecakes, Mont-Blancs and seasonal tarts for sharing. You’ll also be able to experience clever “cake shakes.” But more on that in a minute.

The Ritz Paris has welcomed the world’s most illustrious guests and, more than a century after it first opened, its status as an icon of gracious living remains intact. The hotel’s exquisitely appointed 71 rooms and 71 suites bear the names of Coco Chanel, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Marcel Proust, among other luminaries — all of whom considered the Ritz “like a second home.”

The Ritz Paris is as good as it gets — and that says a lot. It has a rich, storied history that would take pages and pages of copy to tell you about. Coco Chanel lived here for 34 years. The Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson stayed here for years, in what is now called the Windsor Suite. The Hemingway bar was named after the famed writer, who used to visit here. There are a thousand more stories here, at the hotel that is also a retreat, a residence, a fashionable destination, a final home, a fine dining spot, a rock-star haunt, a seat of power, a dream of a lifetime, and a diplomatic refuge.

And now it can also be your favorite patisserie.

True to this DNA, The Ritz Paris today with Le Comptoir, can share with Parisians (and would-be Parisians) part of what makes it so marvelous. A veritable destination with a separate entrance at 38 Rue Cambon, The Ritz Paris Le Comptoir fits seamlessly into the neighborhood and into everyday life for gourmets of every kind.

“With the Netflix series ‘The Chef in a Truck,’ I realized that excellence and simplicity could go hand -in-hand,” says Chef Perret.  “The opening of this gourmet boutique offers Parisians the chance to take away pastries and enjoy a taste of The Ritz Paris legend at home. I love the spontaneity and sharing of takeaway — it fits perfectly with a spur-of-the-moment desire to indulge or to treat those you love,” he added.

“It seemed to us self-evident to highlight the talents at The Ritz Paris, a House that counts goodwill among its founding values,” comments Natalie Bader Messian, a member of the Ritz Paris Executive Board who is also behind this initiative. “The hotel has always cultivated the spirit of a family home and our loyal clientele is very attached to that sincere welcome.”

From morning to night, Ritz Paris Le Comptoir serves as a destination for neighborhood residents — professional and otherwise — to drop by for a delicate sweet or savory snack.  Available by click- and-collect, a concentration of François Perret’s best pastries will delight gastronomes from all over. Clients may savor these sweet indulgences right at the counter, or pick them up before strolling through the city or attending a dinner — it’s also possible to find a perfect dessert for a wine or champagne pairing.

First, there’s a short menu of breakfast pastries, revisited so that they may be enjoyed on the run, at the office, or in meetings. François Perret’s puff pastry remains crisp-as-ever, but now croissants, pains au chocolat and pastries of the day are served all day long. How sweet it is!

A lunchtime sandwich is available in three elongated variations: the César – inspired by the salad, Perret-style; the Salmon, in a more traditional version with fluffy sliced bread; and the Vegan, a focaccia sandwich.

Then come François Perret’s iconic treats: Madeleines in multiple variations with fruit confit (such as raspberries and passion fruit) to take away packaged in pretty boxes illustrated with the likeness of César Ritz and Auguste Escoffier; and marble cake, tartlets, and much more.

In a first, pâtisserie beverages take pride of place, featuring “haute couture” cookies-in-milk consistencies and a light-as-air touch. These delicate mousses and creams with gastronomic toppings are made to be sipped through a straw.

Along with the essentials and little tasting rituals, a selection of refined offerings make ideal gifts. Candles with pastry scents keep company with sets inspired by the Ecole Ritz Escoffier (apron and spatula), and champagne and dessert wines carefully selected by the cellar masters, to be paired perfectly.

I spoke to Mr. Perret and asked him the following questions.

Q: What outfit named you the World’s Best Pastry Chef?

A: I was awarded the 2019 Valrhona Prize for Best Restaurant Pastry Chef.

Q: Is this a pop-up location or an entirely new addition to the hotel?

A: Le Comptoir is an entirely new addition to the Ritz Paris. While it is an annex of the hotel, Le Comptoir has its own separate entrance at 38 Rue Cambon and fits seamlessly into the neighborhood and into everyday life for gourmets of all kinds.  With this, it is very accessible for Parisians to be able to take away pastries and have a taste of the Ritz at home.

Q: What are some of the unusual creations that will be available — and what is their price point?

A: All the creations each have their own unique twist. For instance, the sandwiches (13 Euros) all come in elongated variations: the César – inspired by the salad, Perret-style which is salmon in a more traditional version with fluffy sliced bread and the Vegan, a focaccia sandwich. The pain au chocolat (3.50 Euros) and croissants (3 Euros) are elongated as well, though perhaps the most unusual are our original cake shakes (9-12 Euros). The cake shakes are designed to be sipped through a straw, as drinkable iterations of my most celebrated creations from the madeleine to the caramel barquette and marble cake.

Q: Tell me about the patisserie beverages.

A: The cake shakes are an original product that are easy to enjoy and created with a light touch, highlighting the Parisian art of flânerie. They are all inspired by my most popular creations – the madeleine, the caramel barquette and marble cake. Each cake shake combines cookie-flavored whole milk, light whipped cream and notes of either chestnut, vanilla or caramel. The best part is that they are then topped with toasted almonds, marble cake powder, cocoa crumble, sugar powder and nougat sprinkles to complete the look of the “cake.”

Q: What dessert wines and champagnes will you be offering?

A: We are offering a variety of dessert wines and champagne, ranging from various Champagne Barons de Rothschild Réserve Ritz (Brut, Rosé, Millésimé) to Coteaux du Layon “Les Bruandières” 2015. Every dessert wine and champagne option can be perfectly paired with our dessert selections for an elevated tasting experience.

Cheers to what undoubtedly promises to be an exceptional experience!

For more about my Wanderlust Travels, please Follow me on Instagram at @Debbikickham and please subscribe to Forbes.com.

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