Today’s instalment comes from glorius Western Australia. The courageous and determined, Christine, from sunny Perth went to not one but three patisseries in search of éclairs. What an effort! Special thanks to her husband, Jason, and daughter’s, Isobel and Abigail for supporting their mum on her brave journey. Go team WA! Here is her story…
My Western Australian éclair hunt began on a promising note… The destination was aptly called “Patisserie and More”, and located at the Hillarys Marina, a mere stones throw from where I live. As it turns out the “more” in the shop name refers to the German sausages that they sell (and not very good ones at that according to Bratwurst-tasting husband). And they didn’t have éclairs. Nor do they ever, apparently!
Not to be discouraged, I piled my husband and two year old Isobel into the car and headed for the next on the list: Chopin Patisserie, one suburb over in Sorrento. Stepping inside was like stepping inside your average suburban bakery, circa 1989. But they had éclairs! Based on looks alone, I was dubious. And rightly so. The pastry was more “shoe” than “choux”. The filling contained a smear of something yellow. I suspect either custard powder or food colouring was involved in its creation. Definitely not crème pâtissière! There were also lashings of what appeared to be whipped cream, but… wasn’t. Even Isobel told me very firmly “no clair mummy”, and wisely chose a shortbread dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with sugar butterflies instead.
The next day I recruited a new helper in the form of six year old Abigail. My miniature lover of all things Parisian turned out to be a good companion for my drive south on a spectacular Perth winter’s day. Our destination: Choux Cafe in Swanbourne. Initial observations seemed very promising. A customer was speaking French, and was answered in fluent French by two of the three staff behind the counter. The tiny cafe was packed. And the display case was loaded with a selection of the most delectable looking treats I had seen in a long time. Including éclairs. This time they looked far more promising. Unfortunately the café éclairs had sold out, so I settled for the chocolat. Abigail chose a selection of macarons (her first love), and we also selected a peace offering for the husband and Isobel, who had been left behind. We took our take away package and stopped off at a park at City Beach on the way home. Oh my. The choux was very near to perfect. Light, springy, divine! And it was filled with silky smooth chocolate crème pâtissière. The top was glazed with chocolatey goodness that was just right. I reluctantly let Abigail taste, and then had a great deal of difficulty getting it back! Choux Cafe, thank you!