Macarons, crème brûlée, Paris-Brests, and soufflés—the amount of French sweets found in Vancouver probably tops the number of ice-cream cones you have had this year.
But no one can (or should) complain about the arrival of more sugary treats in the city, right?
L’Éclair de Génie—a Paris-based pastry shop that specializes in éclairs—will be opening up its first North American location at 1210 Robson Street tomorrow (April 29).
If you’re not familiar with this type of dessert, they are basically long john-shaped pastries. Its shells are made from choux (light pastry dough) and filled with different flavours of cream or custard.
Pastry chef Christophe Adam is the mastermind behind L’Éclair de Génie. He has opened over 20 of these éclair shops around the world, including Paris, Japan, Hong Kong, Milan, and Moscow.
“We have 257 kinds of éclairs, and I still have fun playing with new flavours, textures and colours,” said Adam in a press statement. “The éclair must have oomph, with a dazzling, modern look.”
Once you take a look at its offerings, you will indeed be dazzled. Besides delicious flavours, Adam has also made it a point to create éclairs with bright colours and intricate toppings.
Guests can expect signature éclair choices such as no.1 caramel beurre salé (salted caramel and mascarapone cream), no.217 praliné noisette (caramel mascarpone cream, hazelnut praline, and caramelized hazelnuts), and no.224 citron yuzu (lemon yuzu cream and crispy meringue).
Other flavours that will likely please the Vancouver crowd include no.144 matcha bamboo (matcha cream and white chocolate) and a special “I love Vancouver” feature that is specially made for the city—no.37 sirop d’erable (maple cream).
So how do the éclairs at this pastry shop different from other places around town that also serve up the same type of dessert?
“What makes our éclairs different from others in the city is that we try to source the best ingredients that we can to get the real fruit or chocolate flavours,” explained Melanie Patricio, L’Éclair de Génie’s Vancouver pastry chef, to the Straight in an interview at the new shop. “We try to have things that are natural and also very intense.”
But it’s not just about getting the flavours right—Patricio notes that the pastry team works very hard to achieve a certain kind of choux and cream texture for their éclairs.
“The choux recipe is something we’ve been working on,” said Patricio. “It is temperamental, and it is susceptible to the humidity, ingredients, and fat content. We try to perfect it so it’s a nice soft texture but can also hold its shape.”
“All our creams are put into a machine that is used for making gelato,” she added. “With the continuous movement of that arm in there, it creates a very silky smooth cream.”
The 1,400-square-foot space incorporates a window for guests to take a peek at the pastry chefs working hard at the back of the shop. So if you’re curious as to how these small bundles of goodness are created, just wander over to where it smells amazing (yes, the kitchen).
The first Vancouver L’Éclair de Génie location seats 24 guests, and offers plenty of lighting for your Instagram shots. It also carries a range of other L’Éclair de Génie products, including chocolate bars, chocolate spreads, and a variety of caramel-coated nuts.
Of course, what’s a dessert shop without a beverage menu? Drink options range from cappuccinos to espressos, hot chocolate to iced lattes, and a variety of imported teas.
So why should Vancouver be excited for this imported dessert chain?
“I think we are just starting to get those little holes-in-the-walls and little niche restaurants that people flock to and they know they’re going to have a good time,” said Patricio. “We take a lot of pride in our product, and we really don’t have anything like this in Vancouver.”
Scroll through the photos below for a sneak peek inside the new L’Éclair de Génie.