After a Macaron frenzy fuelled by pastry wizard Adriano Zumbo, Baroque Bistro (followed by many others), and more recently the arrival of French macaron house Ladurée, get ready for a new pastry trend in Sydney town. Indeed, Eclair is the “new black” of the pastry world, according to La Maison de l’Eclair, the first store in Sydney entirely dedicated to Eclairs which has just opened.
I’m pretty excited that the classic éclair has been given a new, sexy makeover and given a spot in the limelight! In France, renowned French pastry chef Christophe Adam has led the way with his concept store, L’Eclair de génie, where he offers a full range of completely revisited éclairs, with flavours changing every season, not unlike haute-couture fashion collections. You can watch him at work in this video when he came downunder to host a workshop at Savour School in Melbourne earlier this year (check out his sweet “Burger” éclair at the end of the video, very well done!).
I knew when I saw Adam’s crazy éclair display at fine food show SIRHA in Lyon last January, that it was only a matter of time before this new craze reached our shores!
Of course, you could already find excellent éclairs in Sydney, like for example at Black Star Pastry, but the Eclair concept store had yet to be created.
I didn’t have to wait too long… Founded by Frédéric and Laurence Caillon, who have been running Croquembouche Patisserie in Banksmeadow since 2000, La Maison de l’Eclair has just opened in the old Paris Cake Shop premises, and I had the opportunity to attend their launch party.
Not only do they offer classics like chocolate and coffee éclairs, but they have been very creative with new and sophisticated flavours. However the real novelty are the savoury éclairs, which are all named after French cities and represent their regional specialties: for example, Bergerac ($9.50) contains foie gras, a specialty from the Southwest. They are all made with a buckwheat choux pastry (gluten-free), which should somewhat relieve the guilt of the most health-conscious among us ;)
Even though I got to taste a fair few éclairs that night, I only scratched the surface of the large selection on offer. You could choose from Paris (ham, comté, tomatoes, mesclun leaves, mayo), Chambord (Goat’s cheese, sun dried tomatoes, pesto, basil) and many more, but one savoury eclair that I thought worked really well was the Archachon (Salmon, dill & cream cheese).
The question was raised among guests about whether the savoury ones would be filling enough for lunch. To me it probably would, but the biggest appetites might need a bit more to really feel full… maybe a sweet éclair for dessert would do the trick!
We were then served the sweet ones, which ranged from the classic Chocolat, Espresso, Vanilla, to the more “out there” ones, like the Mojito (Mojito ganache cream, fresh mint). Frederic and Laurence have also reinterpreted French classics, like the Tropézienne, Lemon Meringue and Paris-Sydney, a twist on the popular Paris-Brest, which I loooove. The Canadian and the Caribbean, both laden with fresh fruits, are on the pricier side at $7.50. I had a soft spot for the Pistachio and the Grand Cru Ecuador, with its intense (70%) chocolate flavour.
Even though I was able to chose any one of the éclairs on display to take home, I just couldn’t resist the classic Chocolate one – the best way to judge a good éclair I thought… it didn’t last 10 minutes from the moment I got home, which is a good sign!
I hope Australians will love Eclairs as much as they loved macarons and cupcakes. (Except Eclairs are much nicer, in my humble opinion!)
So, what do you think will be the next big trend after Eclairs? (I think it’s going to be Canelés…) ;)
Maison de l’Eclair
91 Bondi Road
Bondi NSW 2026