Thursday, February 13, 2014

Choux d'Enfer

Last night an outdoor degustation/tasting of cream puffs/choux
The new kiosque, Choux d'Enfer, a collaborative effort by top chefs Alain Ducasse and Christophe Michalak.
The kiosque is at quai Branly and rue de la Jean Rey. A different kind of food truck offering snacks to take to the nearby Eiffel Tower + ChampagnePastry chef Michalak with food designer Coco Jobard. He's won every pastry prize out there including chef of the year at Relais Dessert still you couldn't meet a nicer guy.
He comes up to us (I'm with French Girl) and introduces himself,
"Hi, I'm Christophe Michalak".
He's the George Clooney of Paris Pastry.
The puffs are baked on the spot at this kiosk.
And filled on the spot too with fresh sweet flavors; vanille, café, chocolat, citron, and caramel.
The savory flavors; poivre noir, curry et piment d'Espelett, cumin and piment d'Espelette are flavored gougeres.

Crunchy on the outside and creamy inside. Not too sweet and trés leger/very delicate so it's easy to eat many more than one puff.
There's caramel dipping sauce of course.
Coco dips a vanilla puff.
The vanille is delicious.
A little background history on pate a choux pastry. Catherine de Medici's Italian pastry chef Pananelli invented the dough in 1540. Called choux because the little puffs were cabbage-shaped. Later Antoine Caréme made changes to the recipe. You're eating pate a choux whenever you bite into an eclair, Paris-Brest, croquembouche, beignets, St. honoré, cheesy gougères or profiterolls to name a few. This pastry can be tricky to make, yet you don't need fancy equipment. It must be airy and light, the inside hollow, perfect to fill with pastry cream or ganache. And perfect to stack up into a tall towering piece montée.
The design of the kiosque is by Patrick Jouin
It reminded me of Corbusier's sculpted building.
In fact the swooping organic shapes come from Art Nouveau architect Hector Guimard.
Jouin's designs are everywhere in Paris - from publicity signs to Velib stands. "He's contributed over 46,000 designs to the urban landscape" says Valerie Guillaume, Pompidou curator.

Restaurant designs for Alain Ducasse to boot.
The wind was blowing fiercely as we left the Choux d'Enfer kiosque.
Clutching my gift bag of choux, I thought I might lose them crossing the rainy,windy pont/bridge on the way home.
They are gone now. I polished them off after painting them.
Do stop by on quai Branly and rue de la Jean Rey when you visit the Eiffel Tower. For no other reason than a perfect snack/gouter of deliciousness. 
CHOUX d'ENFER is open 7/7 9 am - 8:30 pm


  1. Very nice drawing and fabulous post. All these choux look delicious. Thanks for the historic remember too.
    Everyone should go and taste them. Much better than cupcakes!

  2. Michalak is lovely and sweet. Lucky you and French girl! Can you imagine Clooney and him getting together serving us coffee and choux puffs at the Eiffel Tower? Hm. Heaven. That vanilla puff also looks ridiculously dreamy. You painting him too?

    1. They are both tall and handsome!
      Les beau mecs

  3. The George Clooney of pastry world just sounds scrumptious! So some of these cream puffs are covered with nuts? We are snowed in today and I know what I'm going to do. Make some cream puffs!

    1. I don't think there are nuts per say...
      Just crunchy bits

  4. Oh those French!

    Design and delectability melded into taste par excellence.

    What I'd do for a bag of those puffs!

  5. From where I sit, there is nothing better than a cute guy who can bake, too! It's all so lovely -- elegant and enchanting. I can smell it from across the pond!

  6. He does look nice..
    You miss rien du tout and I am particularly fond of your choux paintings:)

  7. Well, I must say you look very dashing in your black hat, my dear. And that pastry chef is quite the handsome man! And the pastries, c'est magnifique! Wish I was there. It's blizzarding in NJ right now, we're supposed to get a foot. I'm dreaming of Paris and living vicariously through your blog. xo

  8. Jane G.10:22 AM

    you are either showing us pastries or architecture that reminds us of pastries!
    and all I've got here in snowy Manhattan is a little pumpernickel and a pathetic little hunk of brie . . . grumble, grumble

  9. Corbusier and cream puffs. What a wonderful way to start the day!

    1. Pastry is architecture on a miniature scale no?

  10. Oh wow ! choux puff tasting with such a handsome guy you lucky girl.

  11. Lynn C.11:45 AM

    You made my day!!!!! I want to reach in and grab the the drawing..let me know when you want to sell it...Devine!!!!!!!

  12. I just love this Parisian version of a food cart! With champagne,too! Ooh la la!
    It makes our hundreds of food carts in Portland look tres tackee!
    Thanks so much as I love chouquettes!
    Is there an easier way to leave communication without bothering you with emails?
    I hope you are enjoying your new digs!

  13. Your painting is lovely. Brown food is difficult to photograph so I can only imagine how hard it must be to paint. I love that the sign is in French and English.

  14. Ann in LA1:02 PM

    April 30, I arrive at CDG 9am, 12pm I will be at the kiosque an awesome beginning to my Paris stay!

  15. Oh those French. Who would think Paris could get any better? But it just has. A beautifully designed food kiosk, where the delightful puffballs of deliciousness are baked on the spot and then filled before your eyes! Parfait. I learnt to love chouquettes last visit- I will need to try these on the next.

  16. Nice mix of things: the watercolor, the pastries, your "blue hour" photos of Clooney & the kiosk, and then some of Patrick Jouin's architectural works!
    (And of course, "your" river/bridge......)

  17. Your paintings look almost good enough to eat.

  18. crazy4paris11:10 PM

    Just in time for Valentine's day! It reminds me of our french wedding cake, a croquembouche aka a pyramid tower made of these custard filled choux. Miam!

  19. Oh oh oh! I want some. I want some. I want some! Years ago, when I was a little kid, my grandmother would take me to downtown Detroit to a shop called Sanders. Our treat would be a hot fudge cream puff. The puff was filled with French Vanilla Ice Cream, and the hot fudge was poured all over it. Incredibly good!

  20. great post. You went back even further than the 17th c. Mon dieu! Anyway, not that anyone cares but I love pate a choux and my worst fear is not being able to eat another Paris Brest from Gerard Mulot.

    1. the choux is a highly integrated part of French culture IMHO even if it did come from Italy. I've thought about it more than I've eaten it fortunately ;))


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