Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Out and About on Rue St. Charles, Paris: Aux Merveilleux de Fred

Every section of Paris - called an arrondisement (and there are 20), has a special street that is frequented by the French for something special. With my partner in crime, my daughter, we were off to a new discovery. 

We came upon rue St. Charles in the 15th arrondisement of Paris and it was lined with chocolatiers, patisseries, boulangeries, with bistros, brasseries, delis, and fashion stores in between. From Place de St. Charles and upward on rue St. Charles, it was hard not to get tempted to try out several decadent pieces in different magasins (stores).
But we had purposely come to visit Aux Merveilleux -Fred-
 This elegant store serves as both factory and retail showroom.
It is a boulangerie and a patisserie under one roof.
 The specialty product in their patisserie line is called Aux Merveilleux, after which the store is named. Displayed on the window are the cake-size creations. A patissier named Fred came up with this heavenly concoction.
The basic ingredients needed to make these are a merengue base (on the shelf on the left) and a merengue dome-shaped top (on the shelf on the right). They come in two sizes: the individual serving-size and the cake size. Then, add the whipped cream and the finishing chocolate chips or cookie crumbs, the powder sugar, and  a finishing mound of cream as topping.
How to  make the Aux Merveilleux:
1. A base merengue - which is about  half-inch thick, round, flat - is slathered with the creamy whipped cream. 
2. In this picture, the lady is now placing the top merengue, presses it a little bit in semi-circular fashion, to fill up both pieces to the edge, like a sandwich; the excess cream that comes out is removed with a spatula to create a smooth side, all around. 
3. Then, a spread of the creamy whipped cream is made to cover the side all over, and the top merengue, too. The only part left uncovered with the creamy whipped cream is the bottom part of the base merengue.
4. Here, they are making the chocolate flavored one. The creamy whipped cream covered merengue sandwich is now ready to be rolled on shaved chocolate pieces. 
5. After it is rolled, it is sprinkled with icing sugar and topped with a dollop of cream.
We put in our order. There are three flavors: the brown chocolate - Aux Merveilleux (The Wonderful); the white chocolate - L'Incroyable (The Incredible); and Le Speculos (the Speculos - a cinnamon-flavored cookie.) We decided on "The Incredible."
It was packaged in this elegant container. We barely made it out of the store and we started to gobble it up. It was simply marvelous! Indeed, it was also incredible! It was light and moderately sweet.

 This is also a boulangerie, with a factory on the premises. Here is a line of their sweet breads called Cramiques: sweetened, with raisins, or with chocolate chips.
And of course, they have the various loaves and baguettes - their artisanal products are made just behind these shelves.

What a treat! We got to taste test their specialty and learned - by watching them - how to make it. It's not just French macarons I am raving about now. Add Aux Merveilleux, too, to that list of delightful French pastries.  

Aux Merveilleux de Fred
129 bis, rue Saint-Charles
75015 Paris
Tel. : 01 45 79 72 47

(Please click on the link for other locations)


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