If you were presented with an exquisite display of pastries, you’d decide you needed to taste them all, right? The Accidental Locavore decided it was a mission she could accept and decided to eat my way through all the chocolate desserts at LAC, a lovely, modern patisserie in Nice. And if a couple of stray pastries ended up in the mix, so be it.
It started out innocently enough with Désire, a wonderful stack of praline, chocolate and chocolate mousse. Surviving that (former hazelnut allergies), I decided to see what other goodies they offered. Next up, Guerande, a chocolate mousse oval filled with apple purée and salted caramel.
The deepest, darkest chocolate one, Intense, was well named, being a square of dense chocolate mousse totally covered in an even darker ganache. It got a little mangled on the way home (which is why it’s not the most beautiful picture) and it was super rich with all that chocolate, but I’d been spoiled by the previous two, which were much more interesting, with the layers and textures.
Moving slightly away from all chocolate was les Religieuses Think of it as a round éclair base, with a smaller one on top and you’ve got the basic idea. Good for those days when you need a little pastry and a little chocolate, but not too much of either.
One of my favorite non-chocolate desserts is a St. Honore. On the surface, it looks simple. A biscuit topped with whipped cream, topped with a mini cream puff glazed with almost burnt caramel. It’s rich and scrumptious and then there’s the extra kick from the crunch of the caramel. Done well (and it was) it’s one of life’s great treats. What got me hooked on these were the ones at Maison Kayser in New York, which are still the best in my book (because they have three mini cream puffs, giving you three times the crunchy caramel).
Back on the chocolate trail, but not from LAC, was a chocolat liégeois. More like extremely chocolate whipped cream, this had a surprise at the bottom of the glass – a red currant coulis. Good, but too much like chocolate whipped cream to be a winner.
At another favorite place, Le Safari, the patisserie du jour was described as a gateau au chocolate (chocolate cake in other words). Dummy me was thinking chocolate layer cake for some reason, but what came out was so much better! A round disk of chocolate, very rich, with a swish of even darker chocolate sauce, and some whipped cream if you needed to lighten it up a little (ha!). There was a cookie holding it up, which gave it some crunch and texture.
Which was my favorite? While they were all well worth the calories, I think that honor has to go to the Guerande (that’s why it’s the top photo). The mixture of the cake with the surprise apple filling and the salted caramel accents was a terrific combination. Which would be the first you’d want to try?