The first time I visited Sadaharu Aoki's astonishing little boutique near the Jardins du Luxembourg, a local gourmand was buying every cake in the shop. No wonder: the handsome, unassuming Aoki is the only pastry chef in Paris to put a Japanese spin on French cakes.
Trained as a pastry chef in Tokyo, he spent 12 years perfecting his technique in pastry shops throughout Europe, including the Paris chocolate specialist Couderc, before opening his pristine boutique. His vanilla millefeuille is as good as this classic pastry gets, but what sets him apart is his green tea, black sesame and red bean variations on French cakes.
Perhaps best of all is his green tea éclair, made with Matcha tea imported from Kyoto (the finest green tea, Matcha is used in the Japanese tea ceremony). The recipe wasn't hard to develop, says Aoki. "It just happened." Whether he's filling it with green tea, black sesame, chestnut or chocolate, he never forgets the secret of a perfect éclair. "The pastry is very important; it should be made entirely with butter and cooked until golden-brown. The fondant should be very shiny and the crème pâtissière very smooth." On the day the shop opened he made 15 green tea éclairs; now he sells about 40 a day to his discriminating clientele of French and foreign gourmets, as well as supplying two tea shops and two restaurants (there is nothing mass-produced about his cakes).
35, rue de Vaugirard, 6th
I am embarrassed that it has taken me this long to get back to you. I wanted to tell you that we had the most AMAZING time in Paris! Thank you so much for the itinerary and restaurant recommendations/reservations. Restaurant du Palais Royal was beautiful and the squid ink risotto with lobster was simply one of the best dinners I have ever had! We also very much enjoyed dinner at Racines on our last evening in Paris. The ‘food tour’ as we called it was fabulous! It was so much fun to go from shop to shop tasting a little of this and a bite of that. I loved everything so much it’s hard to even pick a favorite! Nutella crepes were certainly near the top of the list, and we really felt like we fit in when we ordered one in the middle of the marche de president Wilson completely in French! Thank you again! Your service is well worth every penny (euro!) and we will absolutely recommend you to anyone we know that is headed to Paris and will email you the next time we are planning a trip!"
Anne Bengston, Michigan, USA