Thierry chocolaterie and patisserie brings a little taste of Paris to Vancouver

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      A little taste of Paris can now be found in the heart of downtown Vancouver. Thierry (1059 Alberni Street), pastry chef Thierry Busset's chocolaterie and patisserie, officially opened today (August 17).

      I had a chance to check out the shop and café a few weeks prior to opening. The café features indoor and outdoor seating and evokes classic Parisian cafés, with marble countertops and floors, glass display cases, and Bentwood chairs. A service bar, featuring an espresso and Italian soda station on one end and cake and chocolate displays on the other, wraps around nearly half the room, while the pastry kitchen and separate temperature-controlled chocolate-making room, can be viewed through large glass windows.

      French-born Busset learned the art of chocolate making from chocolatier Bernard Sicard in Auvergne and at Pilati Patisserie in Loire Valley, France. He later worked at three-star-Michelin restaurants Le Gavroche and Marco Pierre White in London, England, before moving to Vancouver to lead the pastry kitchens at CinCin and West.

      While Thierry carries typical French pastries (starting at $2.45), such as croissants, brioches, and viennoises; macarons and chocolates are where Busset's artistic skills really shine. The macarons ($1.75 each), which come in more than 15 different varieties, including lemon, raspberry, chocolate caramel, blackberry, and pistachio, are light and airy and true to the naturally-infused flavours. Meanwhile, the chocolates ($1.95 each) may look delicate and small, but are filled with rich ganache and praline. Also on the menu are petits fours (7 cents per gram), including financiers, madeleines, and tuiles; as well as confectionaries ($12 to $14 per 100 grams), such as salted-butter caramels, candied citrus skins, and bloomy pate de fruits. Chocolate cakes, fruit cakes, and tarts can all be made to order with advance notice or purchased by the slice ($5 to $6.75).

      If you're looking to satisfy an appetite before indulging in some sweets, Thierry also has a café menu with items such as quiches ($7.55) and sandwiches ($7.75 to $9.75). Beverages include espressos and teas (starting at $2.75), refreshing house-made Italian sodas ($3.95) (I'd recommend the elderflower/apple for a summer thirst-quencher), wines and spirits (starting at $6.75 per glass), as well as liquid chocolate (starting at $7.45) if you're feeling indulgent.

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