Perhaps you may or may not know that I have a sweet tooth, especially when it comes to all things dessert. I also happen to work in France, aka “the dessert capital of the world” (well, by my standards…). You can bet, then, that I’ve had my fair share of trying the seemingly hundreds of different types of pastries, breads, and treats out there, almost all of which are made with lots of butter and lots of love. ❤
Although there are so many delicious regional desserts out there (e.g. kouign-amann, clafoutis aux cerises), this post will only include the ones that you can get just about anywhere in France. Perhaps you can see it as a list to check out, should you decide to visit the country someday. They are my personal favorites, and I hope they will be yours, too!
My Favorite French Desserts
1. Pain au chocolat.
The ultimate crowd-pleaser for just about any local or tourist, the pain au chocolat is my all-time favorite French pastry that I don’t hesitate to buy whenever I go food shopping. Not only are they usually the least-expensive item after the croissant, but also they’re just simply buttery with just a hint of chocolate to keep you happy until dinnertime!
2. Torsade au chocolat.
Literally meaning “chocolate twist,” this braided pastry will certainly have your tongue in knots from the sheer goodness of its unbelievably layered crust and smothered chocolate paste inside. Interestingly, I haven’t seen a whole lot of boulangeries or viennoiseries make this particular pastry (after all, it’s not much different from the pain au chocolat), so I make it my mission to get it whenever I find it!
Resembling a sort of fatter, rounder éclair, the salambo is basically a loaded cream puff that’s distinctive for incorporating pistachios into it. I first discovered it my first year teaching in France after a colleague bought one for me, and since then, I’ve only ever had it twice. Thick with sweet cream and a cloying glaze on top, the salambo is the perfect “treat yo’self” treat to have after work!
Another cream puff variety, the religieuse is made of two pieces– one big, one small– of which are symbolic of the body and head of the church, respectively. Although it’s traditionally made with chocolate, I’ve also had caramel versions which were just as excellent– after all, what more do you want besides not one, but two pieces of pastries…together?!
5. Tarte aux framboises.
Finally, this dessert has got to be one of my favorite fruit tarts in France. With the crusty, shortbread-like tart and the bright raspberries on top, it’s both a beauty and a delicious treat to admire, all the while savor with pleasure. The raspberries seemingly melt into the custard underneath, and while I don’t usually like custard, its neutral taste counterbalances with the sour red fruit, thus making it good in the end.
What is your favorite dessert? Bon appétit!
— The Finicky Cynic
Check me out on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/thefinickycynic