A good celebration is one that continues on for many days and possibly even weeks, and that is what will be happening in honour of National Éclair Day! Today’s guest blogger is the lovely Ali, who volunteered to represent Victoria in the great éclair hunt of 2014. Over to Ali…
I’ve often passed by Le Croissant’s Toorak Rd shopfront and wondered at the pastries inside. I’d heard for years that the edible goodies produced by the little Camberwell bakery were nothing short of amazing, and rumours that the owners shut up shop for months over summer, to return to France, only added to the authenticity of the baked goods they produced. I was certain that this French patisserie would be worthy of representing the Victorian contingent for the national éclair day “éclair-off”, and therefore Hayley’s request for me to critique a Melbourne éclair offered the perfect excuse for a weekend sampling.
So on a sleepy Sunday morning my daughter and I ventured out into the crisp Melbourne sunshine (yes, the winter sunshine in Melbourne is indeed crisp) in search of a Le Croissant éclair. And perhaps a croissant or two…
Upon entering the French panelled door we were greeted by the warm, sweet smell of baking flour, and a tiny shop space barely big enough to accommodate the three or four other customers who arrived shortly after us. Rows of exquisite custard, mousse and butter-cream filled cakes and petit fours lined the glass display counters, while bags of biscuits and other edible treats sat stacked on wall shelves alongside baskets laden with freshly baked breads (one of which was a rather unusual magenta coloured beetroot bread!), baguettes and croissants. It was going to be difficult to stop at just one éclair each. After five minutes deliberation we left the small shop with three toile patterned bags filled with delicious treats and a promise to keep returning until we’d sampled at least one of everything.
My first bite into the little pastry revealed a mix of perfect choux, creamy custard filling and sweet sticky icing. The texture of the pastry was puffy and light with an ever-so-slightly waxy crust. A generous amount of delicately flavoured, silky-smooth coffee custard sat within and, pleasantly, did not overly ooze during consumption. The glossy caramel-coloured icing covering the length of the éclair had a distinct but subtle coffee bean taste. Oh my goodness. Is this what a real éclair tastes like?!
Thank you Hayley, for offering me the opportunity to try an authentic French éclair! I’m ashamed to admit that despite visiting France some years ago, up until following your blog my idea of an éclair was the cream filled variety bought at the local pie shop. I’m delighted to have my eyes opened to the wonderful world of authentic French pastries. This experience has been somewhat reminiscent of my discovery of Lindor chocolates in the late 1980’s… Uh Oh… I’m not sure my girth will thank you, but my taste buds certainly do :o)