If you’ve ever been to Paris, you already know that literally every direction you look there are desserts. Decadent desserts. Devilishly decadent desserts. Devilishly decadent desserts that are begging to be desired, devoured and on very rare occasions divvied between friends or lovers IF and only if you really fucking love them.
The good news about Paris desserts is that it’s nearly impossible to go wrong. That goes for food in general. You’re not going to walk into a patisserie and buy a shit bon bon. I’m also not a Paris expert, although it is a goal of mine. *maybe someday* What I can say is that before I went to Paris I extensively researched the best dessert spots. I read a lot of blogs before my trip and went with a serious dessert game plan. I probably ate about 5 desserts a day (no, I’m actually not over exaggerating) and I came out with five desserts that haunt me. These are things I dream about.
So, what I propose is to remember these bad boys and if you ever happen upon them don’t fuck around and get the damn dessert. Like I said, everything in Paris is delicious. It’s just true and it really doesn’t make sense because the laws of nature dictate that everything can’t be a win all the time, but I guess France (and Italy and Estonia – because these are the other two countries I’ve found impossibly delicious) have figured out something the rest of the world can’t. So, you don’t need to plan your food per say when you go to Paris. You just remember the especially magical ones just in case you happen upon them because it’s PAARREEEE. Do as the French do and let the day guide you.
Macarons @ Ladurée
I’m starting with Ladurée because this is probably the most basic and obvious on this list. Ladurée is world famous for it’s macarons and has stores all over the world, but they’re the best in Paris. I don’t know if they’re actually different straight from the source or if it’s just the ambiance or the feeling that the city gives, but they’re just better! Be careful though. These will ruin all macarons for the rest of your days. Nowhere else compares. Ladurée will teach you what a proper macaron ought to be and fuck with your chi every time you eat a macaron again. Proceed with caution and low expectations going forward.
Eclairs @ L’Eclair de Génie
The morning I had a blueberry éclair at L’Eclair de Génie still makes me laugh. Dave and I were visiting Paris with two friends and we all went for brunch that morning. The prices at the restaurant we were at were so cheap, so we thought the portions must be very small. We all ordered multiple things. When our food came, we couldn’t fit it all on our table. The portions were HUGE. We looked like the dumbest Americans with our table full of food and excess. It was hilarious. Afterward, and I can’t remember if it was planned or happenstance, but L’Eclair de Génie was just around the corner and it was a bucket list check, so skipping was not optional. I was so full that it hurt to walk, yet I was in line to buy an éclair. The rest of the group wouldn’t get one and couldn’t eat another bite, understandably so. I felt it had to be done though. I think this was my lowest fat kid moment of my life to date because I was so full that I felt sick. The crazy thing was that these eclairs were so good that I forgot how insanely full I was. They were out of this world. I dream about them and I ate them on a full stomach. If that doesn’t say something, I don’t know what does. And guys, my éclair was floral print. I mean…epic!
Hot Chocolate @ Angelina Paris
I must admit that the hot chocolate at Angelina is not really my draw here. Let me explain though. What I didn’t realize before trying hot chocolate for the first time is that there’s a difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa. If you’re an American, you probably love hot cocoa. It’s thinner and usually milk and cocoa and some sort of sweetener paired with other seasonings and topped with marshmallows. Hot chocolate, or drinking chocolate, is basically just liquid chocolate and it’s RICH. I mean, really rich. If you’re the person who goes to a restaurant and orders German chocolate cake for dessert then you would love is. For me, it was a bit too much. I’ve always wanted to have the real thing though! In literature and movies there’s always such a decadent picture painted of hot chocolate, so I wanted to do it right. I wanted to have the Marie Antoinette moment with my drinking chocolate and impossibly lavish desserts sitting in a sun-drenched room and laughing at the bourgeois. I did a ton of research to find Paris’ best drinking chocolate and Angelina was the conclusion I reached. I learned that hot chocolate is not for me. But wait! If you’re with me and don’t love the crazy rich stuff that does not mean you should skip this. The desserts there were FABULOUS, and the experience was beautiful. There are multiple Angelina locations in Paris, but the one I went to was on the edge of Jardin du Luxembourg, which made for the perfect afternoon. My suggestion is to take a long stroll through the gardens, pack a light picnic for lunch and park yourself literally anywhere in the gardens and afterward head to Angelina for your drinking chocolate and dessert. It’s basically the perfect afternoon.
Caramels @ Sebastien Gaudard
It kills me to even mention these caramels. If there was one food item I could magically transport from Paris it would be these caramels. I’ve had a lot of caramels in my life, both good and bad, but they never stuck. I didn’t even think I was a caramel person. If a gentleman offered me a caramel I would maybe say yes, but only if he were especially nice or handsome. It would have nothing to do with the caramel because I could give or take them. However, I had read a blog about Sebastien Gaudard before my Paris trip and it was particularly convincing. So, on a lazy afternoon, Dave and I casually sauntered into this little patisserie in search of these supposedly fabulous confections. The first time I ate one I was floored. THEY WERE SO FUCKING GOOD! Dave and I couldn’t stop eating them. We went back to Prague the next day and ended up finishing the entire bag in a mere few days. Then we were angry at ourselves for not eating less and savoring them. If we’d eaten one a day, they could have lasted a month or even longer if we took days off! There was much discussion about ordering more, but in the end, we couldn’t trust ourselves to practice self-control. After all, we are but fat Americans and they’re basically crack. I still think about them though. We’ll always have Paris. We’ll always have caramels.
Gelato @ Amarino
Guys, last but not least is another chain that you might be able to find in your own backyard! I know we have one on NYC, so maybe you’re lucky too! Amarino is one of those desserts that’s both delicious AND insanely Instagrammable. Who would have thought a Parisian company would nail gelato in such a big way? Surely, you’ve seen them floating around the Internet in Business Insider or Buzzfeed or whatever. Amarino is gelato cones, made into flowers and topped with a macaron. There was one relatively close to me when I lived in Prague and it was trouble. I had to have it a minimum of once a week. Unlike Ladurée, Amarino seems to be the same no matter where you eat it. I’ve had it in four different countries now and it was equally delicious everywhere, so I’d jump on this one anywhere you can find it. Pro tip: they have the best and airiest stracciatella I’ve ever had.
If you love dessert and will be in Colorado in the future check out my top 10 places for dessert in Denver!