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 just had to write and let you know how much my friends and I enjoyed the Edible Paris tour. You were very generous with your suggestions and we made it to almost all of them over the 2 days. As you suggested, we found Bread and Roses, just down from our hotel, and ate breakfast there both mornings. The first morning, they were putting out lunch as we were leaving and it looked so delicious that we went back late that afternoon and picked up a smorgasbord of what was left and look it back to the Villa Madame. Franck brought us wine to the terrace, as well as plates, silverware, and napkins, and we had a leisurely dinner. It was total relaxation which was perfect since we were really tired from walking all day. Edible Paris was the highlight of our time in Paris. Thanks so much."
Chris Jones, USA