E – Eclairs

image source: hk.asia-city.com

image source: hk.asia-city.com

If you ever travel to France, promise me you’ll put “eat an eclair” somewhere at the top of your list. Then, after you’ve thoroughly enjoyed one, please explain to me what all the fuss is about.

Allow me to clarify.

Eclairs– which are France’s answer to the American donut– are practically a French staple– right up there next to wine, cheese and cigarettes. Light dough on the outside, rich cream on the inside, and a smear of icing on top. Seriously, what’s not to love?

However, aside from the brief moment of joy I experienced from eating an eclair at Stohrer Bakery a few years ago, I have yet to experience true happiness eating one of these lovely treats. I have had PLENTY of eclairs since that time at Stohrer (your girl is no quitter), but still, this pretty piece of pastry just leaves me “whelmed.” Not overwhelmed, not underwhelmed. Just whelmed.

My indifference might be due to the fact that I’m not particularly fond of donuts… but since eclairs are a tasty piece of French history, I always try them again.

Last year, I did  a “battle of the eclairs,” pitting a Stohrer eclair against a Religieuse from Dalloyau, THE place to go to for eclairs and macarons. And the winner? Neither.

image source: fr.academic.ru

Religieuse – image source: fr.academic.ru

(A religieuse, by the way, is just a variation of the eclair, named because its shape is supposed to resemble a nun in a habit… um, yeah, sure, okay.)

After so many unsuccessful attempts at enjoying eclairs, I have to ask myself, “Do I really need to be obsessed with every bit of French pastry that’s out there?”

And the answer is…

YES.

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2 Responses to E – Eclairs

  1. Raine says:

    Interesting. I thought croissants were the big French pastry staple. How do they compare in terms of when and how often they’re eaten by the French? Is one made in France unimpressive, too?

    • Croissants are definitely a staple in France, but based on my experiences, eclairs seem have a certain prestige to it. From what I’ve seen, people have been hired simply for their eclair-making abilities, and places known for their eclairs usually draw in the crowds and sell out quite quickly.

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