Paris, France — It is just another one of those great Parisian gastronomic innovations. The Grand Colbert brasserie nestled into the rue Vivienne on one side and the Colbert passageway on the other is one of those old-time elegant plant-filled restaurants serving seafood platters, home-made foie gras, French onion soup, green bean salad with hazel nuts and plenty of traditional main courses like rich veal stew and Chateaubriand with Béarnaise sauce. The desserts are of the grand tradition, too. But with a twist. The houses has opened up its very own pastry shop dubbed Les Secrets de Muriel (Muriel’s Secrets) within the restaurant with traditional pastries featuring seasonal ingredients to take out with you or to enjoy in-house for the dessert course or during a special tea time held daily from 3pm to 6pm (do not miss the house’s homemade hot chocolate served with a pitcher of hot milk, a pitcher of hot chocolate and homemade whipped cream). All of the desserts and pastries are made in-house by an energetic, creative yet traditional pastry chef, Muriel Aublet-Cuvelier.
All of the traditional desserts are on hand, including the lemon pie, the Paris-Brest, the chocolate dome and the baba au rum. But with a twist for Muriel incorporates into each of her creations seasonal and sourced products. The Paris-Brest, a marvel of puff pastry and praline-flavored cream garnished with hazelnuts, is named for the famous bicycle race between the two cities although it was created in 1910 by a pastry chef in the chic Parisian suburb of Maisons-Laffitte. Muriel uses hazelnuts from the Piedmont, one of the finest hazel-nut producing regions in the world and which enjoys the Protected Geographical Indication label.
Meanwhile the lemon pie is made with the famous lemons of Menton, the lemon producing town on the French Riviera. The lemons are known for their powerful flavor and the pie is served only during the lemon-producing season, technically from December to September, but the lemons, produced in a limited quantity and also benefitting from the Protected Geographical Indication label, tend to run out by June.
As the winter months approach we will be heading into citrus fruit and nut season, products that Muriel will be using in her upcoming creations. And for the ambitious and adventurous, you can also pick up one of Muriel’s recipe boxes in which the ingredients for the desserts are weighed out and ready to be used. She even explains where to source the fresh ingredients like milk, butter and eggs which cannot be included in the box.
©Trish Valicenti for the Gourmet Gazette
Le Grand Colbert
2 rue Vivienne
75002 Paris, France
33 (0) 1 42 86 87 88