品悅糖 Pâtisserie La Douceur @ Taipei
永康街 Yong Kang Street in Taipei’s 大安區Da’An District is not merely known to many as a single road but rather, a collective network of interweaving small lanes packed with interesting restaurants and cafes to visit. Its famous for many things, most notably as the birthplace of 鼎泰豐Ding Tai Fung, known for the 小籠包 xiao long bao steamed dumplings. DTF’s flagship store still helms the entrance of Yong Kong Street, often seen packed not just the restaurant within but also along the corridors, with tourists from Mainland China brought here by the tour bus loads. But we are not here to eat xiao long bao. I’m sure there’s a better place and better occasion for them. Instead, we are to visit “Pâtisserie La Douceur 品悦糖 – 法式甜品专卖” one of the pâtisseries we’d come across quite frequently over our research for the last trip. Since we would be visiting them again in 2 weeks’ time, I thought I’d better roll out the write up for last year’s visit first!
Pâtisserie La Douceur is not located along Yong Kang Street but instead, along 金華街 Jin Hua Street near the other somewhat quieter end of the cluster of small roads, away from the hustling and bustling of street traffic on the main Xin Yi Road. Navigating to this place may require some effort and thus not merely coincidental.
Once inside the small shop, we were immediately overwhelmed by how packed it was. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait very long for a table as a couple was getting ready to leave as we arrived. Lucky! All female diners, young missus and tai tais enjoying a leisure afternoon tea over a chit chat session. Not counting the service staff over the counter, we were the only men in the house! Well, not surprisingly so actually, as this was not the first time we were met up with such an “imbalance” of the yin and yang. Gotten used to it already… somewhat. 🙂
We ordered 4 petite gateaux to share and sample. First was a dark chocolate and morello cherry tart called “皇冠” which literally means “Crown”. Well, looking at how it is designed, it is not difficult to imagine why it named so.
The composition was both simple and intriguing. A dark pate sucree aux cocoa based filled dark chocolate ganache. topped with a savarin shaped sour cherry mousse with morello compote in the cavity, it is almost like a forêt noire disguised in a tart.
One who enjoys extremities in flavour would probably like this piece. The bitterness from the dark chocolate ganache is well balanced by the acridity from the sour cherry mousee and of course, the sour cherry slices within. And yet, the richness and velvety textures of the ganache is offset by the delicately light set mousse. Seemingly disagreeable separately, the flavours came together quite well when enjoyed on the whole.
Tahiti 大溪地, a gigantic macaron filled with Tahitian mousseline vanilla cream and a fruits aux rouge gelée in the middle, topped with a lightly macerated blackberry. The whole piece is glued by couverture onto a graham cracker!
Visually very very stunning, with the macaron shells very well-made. Reminds me of a similarly propped up gigantic macaron I had at Pâtisserie Kanae back in Kyoto. Afterall, how often does one get to enjoy a gigantic macaron like this? And I dare say that Pâtisserie La Douceur’s Tahiti is better!
We were initially skeptical if a vanilla mousse cream filling would be too boring and cloying. Yes its made from premium Tahitian vanilla, but still! Thankfully, the heart beared a lovely surprise in the form of a thick slab of gelatinised mixed mashed berries that helped to break any monotony and prevented this piece from ever reaching a point of having too much cream . Despite its size, we’d finished it in quick sucessions, unlike the disaster we’d had of yet another similarly large macaron we had at Paul Lafayet in Hong Kong. The latter was honestly beyond being palatable.
Using 72% chocolat noir from Michel Cluzel, bitterness is one of the overtones highlighted in this piece. Studded with perles craquantes chocolat before being robed by a generous layer of chocolate glacage, the appearance is quite dramatic and somewhat disturbing.
Well, some hits and misses in this piece. the brownie was surprisingly on the dry side, given the number of components which could potentially lend it moisture, e.g. dark chocolate mousse, chocolate glace etc. But the dark chocolate mousse can hardly be faulted. There is a missing “link” in this piece as we were informed of the use of a confiture made up of rose, lychee and raspberry. But this ispahan-like combination of flavour which ought to be really prominent against dark chocolate, was unfortunately hardly noticeable. Virtually non-descript really. I was kind of looking forward to it, only to be disappointed by its absence.
The amount of work put into the details is quite impeccable, from the neutral glacage over the redcurrants to help maintain that glossy polished finish look in the cavity, to the studding of really small silvered dragees around the circumference
The flavours are also quite interesting. It is primarily a white chocolate and mascarpone mousse sitting over a biscuit aux joconde aux yuzu. The centre is a mixed berry pâté， somewhat like the filling in Claude, but definitely its textures and flavours seemed to have been adjusted according to the more delicate flavour profile of Camille. Had just hoped that the combinations could have been more diversified in the overall selection of their desserts instead of the typical “mix and match” which some patisseries do. The aroma from the yuzu joconde sponge was quite apparent. A lovely change from the usual lemon and mascarpone pairing.
Wall being embellished with caricatures of the same motif
Another “refreshing” detail for qwirky me as the executive pastry chef-cum-owner of this patisserie graduated from L’Ecole Lenotre in France, unlike many others who are old boys and girls of LCB from all over the world. Like I’d said, just qwirky me to have noticed such things. 🙂
So please pay them a visit if you happen to be in Taipei and is in the mood for something sweet and refreshing. I’m pretty sure that you would not be disappointed with what Pâtisserie La Douceur has to offer 🙂
Pâtisserie La Douceur
品悦糖 – 法式甜品专卖
No. 223 JinHua St.
1PM – 9PM; fri/sat until 10PM