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London, Patisserie

Melba at The Savoy, London

The Strand just got a little bit sweeter with the opening of bijou patisserie Melba at The Savoy, a Fairmont managed hotel, this week.

Located at the corner of Savoy Court, the gourmet counter is perfect for tasting executive pastry chef Ludwig Hely’s daily creations on the go.

Open seven days a week, Melba offers a dazzling selection of fresh sandwiches, savoury croissants, pastries, macarons, cupcakes and chocolates, as well as signature éclairs and exquisite cakes.  You can also pick up a coffee, tea or an indulgent hot chocolate with whipped cream.

Melba launches with a dozen éclair flavours, including Crème Brulée, Pistachio & Cherry its namesake Peach Melba, so be prepared for much indecision at the counter.

Ludwig Hely said: “As a child it was only about a simple, coffee éclair and now as a pastry chef I can play with different flavours, some classic and some more unusual, while also being artistic with the presentation. The ultimate goal is to create something that will make people smile.”

I was tempted by the Orange and Hazelnut Éclair, but was eventually swayed by the Violet and Blueberry Tart (£3.50).

The lovely server was super-friendly and packed my cake in a sleek window-panelled box and branded bag to carry it home safely.

The buttery shortcake base was topped with a violet dome filled with Madagascan vanilla cream and a thick layer of blueberry compote.  It was fruity, fragrant and light while still being rather decadent.

For such an elegant patisserie by a five star hotel, prices are surprisingly reasonable, ranging from £1.50 to £5.25 (all éclairs are £2.95).  I can’t wait to go back and try some éclairs and maybe a posh hot chocolate.

For more information, visit:

Photos by Chérie City and The Savoy 


Afternoon tea, Paris, Patisserie

Afternoon Tea at Profiterole Chérie, Paris

On my recent trip to Paris, I caught up with my friend Coralie for an afternoon of shopping and a bite to eat in the Marais.  Steven headed over to the Palais de Tokyo to check out the latest exhibition, allowing us a few hours of girl time.

We met up at our hotel Bourg Tibourg and headed out into the Marais for a bit of an adventure.  We shopped at Maje, American Vintage, Comptoir des Cotonniers and Repetto and Coralie showed me her favourite jewellery boutique, Marine de Diesbach.  It has the feel of an artist’s studio with handmade pieces that you can’t find anywhere else.

Another stop was at the wonderful Palais des Thés, where we sampled green tea and jasmine tea paired with financiers.  Continuing the tea and cake theme, we headed up to rue Debelleyme in time for the ‘quatre-heures’ (tea time).

Coralie took me to a new profiterole place that had recently opened, but she left the name as a surprise until we arrived (needless to say I was thrilled).  Profiterole Chérie is a bijou little patisserie and tea salon that simply offers traditionally French choux with a twist.

Profiterole Chérie is the first Parisian patisserie by acclaimed pastry chef Philippe Urraca (awarded Best Craftsman of France in 1993).  It’s pretty and oh so Parisian with dreamy pastel pink walls, marble tables and highlights of dove grey.

Profiteroles are freshly-baked at the store and prepared to order at the open counter.

The menu features choux filled with ice cream or pasty cream in a variety of flavours, as well as a special profiterole of the moment.

Knowing that I would be eating dessert later on, I went for the light and fruity Ma Chérie citron meringué (€6).  The crisp, freshly-baked chou was filled with smooth, cool lemon curd cream and topped with meringue sticks and lime zest.  It was accompanied by a pot of zingy, sharp citrus coulis to pour over the top.

Coralie’s Ma Chérie Paris-Brest (€6) was a delicious blend of velvety praline cream, roasted hazelnuts and rich chocolate sauce (if you love Nutella, this is the one to order).

We washed down our profiteroles with cups of Earl Grey tea (€3), although I would be tempted next time to try the chocolat chaud.

Profiterole Chérie is a delightful spot for an afternoon pastry fix and a good gossip.  It’s surprisingly affordable for the area and feels friendly, intimate and unpretentious.  I can definitely see it becoming our new Paris tradition.

For more information, visit:

All photos by Chérie City

Afternoon tea, London, Patisserie, Stores

Pierre Hermé Paris Fetish Infiniment Vanille

Pierre Hermé’s creativity never fails to amaze me, but his innovation goes far beyond presenting unexpected new flavour combinations.  Even classic tastes are elevated to divine new levels.

Last week, I visited the gorgeous new Pierre Hermé store on Covent Garden’s Monmouth Street for an exclusive preview of the new Fetish Infiniment Vanille collection.

Vanilla often undeservedly has the reputation for being safe and unadventurous, but Pierre Hermé sees vanilla as a ‘diva’.  When done right, vanilla can be indulgent, sensuous and very luxurious.  It is the second most expensive spice after saffron, of course.

Fetish Infiniment Vanille celebrates the fragrant spice with an extensive collection of gourmet vanilla treats.  The tasting started with examining the appearance, textures and aromas of three different vanilla pods from Madagascar, Tahiti and Mexico.  Vanilla from these three origins make up Pierre Hermé’s ideal vanilla flavour (his signature ‘house’ fragrance).

The most striking use of this specially composed vanilla is in the macarons.  The delicate yet robust flavour is intoxicating and the macaron is punctuated with tiny, crunchy vanilla seeds.  This is pure, velvety luxury and I’ve never tasted any vanilla macaron as exquisite as this.

I’m always a fan of Pierre Hermé’s delectable pound cake and the new Cake Infiniment Vanille is very satisfying with subtle flavours of almond and vanilla.  I liked the sweet vanilla ganache studded with crunchy pieces of almond and the decorative vanilla pod on the top.

We also tried a rich and mellow Bonbon Chocolat Infiniment Vanille with a velvety vanilla-infused ganache and a buttery little Sablé biscuit left a pleasant sea salt taste in the mouth.

The star of the collection for me is the green tea fragranced with vanilla.  I’ve tried black tea with vanilla before, but the green tea had a fresh, clean flavour and worked perfectly with the vanilla.

Also in the Fetish Infiniment Vanille collection is a glazed croissant filled with almond paste, Paris Brest, millefeuille, Rum Baba, tart and choux.  Pierre Hermé’s signature vanilla flavour is a sensation that all pastry lovers should try at least once.

The Pierre Hermé Fetish Infiniment Vanille collection is available now in-store and online until 19th April.  For more information, visit:

Patisserie, Stores

Pierre Hermé Easter Collection

Pierre Hermé brings a touch of elegance and fun to Easter with his festive chocolate eggs and adorable chocolate bunnies.

Not only is the Easter collection a feast for the eyes, but in typical Pierre Hermé fashion, the chocolate is out of this world.

I was delighted to attend a special chocolate tasting at the Pierre Hermé store in Belgravia this week to try a selection of dark and milk chocolate from around the world, alongside new macarons flavours.

The Oeuf Galets is the ultimate Easter egg made with Pure Origin Peruvian Dark Chocolate and studded with Pierre Hermé’s signature galets in flavours such as yuzu, raspberry, intense chocolate, vanilla, passion fruit and salted caramel.  The delectable chocolate is known for its citrus notes and contains 64% cocoa.

Interestingly, we were told to forget the notion that the percentage of cocoa content reflects the quality of the chocolate, as the flavours and notes can also affect the taste.

The Oeuf Mendient is another grown up Easter egg, made with Grand Cru Caraïbes Dark Chocolate (66% cocoa) or Hermé Milk Chocolate (45% cocoa) and covered with layers of chunky hazelnut, almond, pistachio, candied ginger and orange.  The Oeuf Dentelle, made using the same choice of chocolate, is chic and delicate with a pretty lace pattern.

Most charming, of course, are the Lapin de Pâques and the Famille Lapin adorned with orange or yellow ribbons.  All of the Easter products come garnished with a selection of delicious mini filled easter eggs in colourful foil wrapping.

We also had the chance to try some of the limited edition Fetish Satine collection.  Perfect for spring, Satine combines silky cream cheese with juicy orange and tart passion fruit.

The Macaron Satine consist of a soft mousseline cream and an orange and passion fruit compote packed inside a crisp meringue shell.  It brings to mind the zesty, indulgent flavours of a fruit cheesecake and ideal for those who can’t decide between a fruity or creamy macaron filling.

The Fetish Satine collection includes a wide range of products such as the Cake Satine, Saint-Honoré Satine, Baba Satine, Brioche Satine, Confiture Satine, Calisson and Thé Satine.

Another exciting new flavour from Pierre Hermé is the Jardin des Huit Trésors macaron, inspired by Hong Kong’s art of tea.  The rich, fragrant macaron is a curious mix of lotus seed, red date, wolfberry, rosebud, dried orange peel, dried longan fruit, chrysantheum, osmanthus.

It’s a complex, intriguing flavour that is sure to delight fans of the experimental Pierre Hermé Les Jardins collection.  With the jewel-like colours and exotic notes, it’s definitely one of my favourites.

Fetish Satine is available at Pierre Hermé stores and online until 27th April.  The Jardin des Huit Trésors macaron is also available until the end of April.

Paris, Patisserie

L’Éclair de Génie, Paris

L’Éclair de Génie is one of Paris’ most exciting addresses where the humble éclair has been elevated into the realms of haute patisserie.

Following the macaron phenomenon, éclairs have become the fashionable pastry of the moment in Paris and French pastry chef Christophe Adam’s creations are as innovative as they come.

Adam opened his petite concept store last year in the heart of the Marais, dedicated primarily to exquisite éclairs (and a selection of chocolate treats).

Christophe Adam’s pastry heritage is unparalleled, beginning his career at London’s Le Gavroche and then moving over to Paris to invent new sweet delights for Hôtel de Crillon, Laurent Jeannin and Fauchon alongside Sebastien Gaudard.  He was the guy behind the fantastic digitally printed Mona Lisa and Brigitte Bardot éclairs at Fauchon.

Located on rue Pavée, L’Éclair de Génie is impossible to miss with its striking white exterior and swarm of drooling passersby.  Walking through the door, you can’t help but be at the mercy of an intoxicating aroma – freshly-baked éclairs, chocolate and crème patisserie.

The éclairs sparkle like precious jewels behind the glass counter and the friendly staff wait patiently while decisions are made.  There is a permanent collection of signature flavours and limited edition éclairs to keep the interest of its regular connoisseurs.

We chose the pretty Rose Bonbon and Rouge Baiser éclairs to take out and strolled over to the Place Georges Pompidou to devour them.  The delicate Rose Bonbon éclair was filled with a light pink Madagascan vanilla crème patisserie and topped with vanilla frosting, mini marshmallows, rose petals and dots of chocolate.  It was creamy, fragrant, sweet and ever so dreamy.

The seductive Rouge Baiser éclair was completely red and was filled with a mix of crème framboise and chocolat grand cru, topped with a sticky, intense red gloss.  The mix of juicy raspberry and rich, bitter chocolate gave it an interesting tartness.

Most of the éclairs are priced between five and seven euros and are much lighter than traditional éclairs.  I can’t wait to return and try more flavours such as Pistache Orange, Passione-Framboise and Chocolate Grand Cru.

For more information and locations, visit:

All photos by Chérie City

Paris, Patisserie

Sébastien Gaudard Pâtisserie, Paris

On my recent trip to Paris, my mother and I took a trip up to Sacré-Coeur to check out the breathtaking views over the city.  Of course, a more pressing reason for going north was paying a visit to Sébastien Gaudard on the rue des Martyrs.

With a reputation as a foodie haven, the rue des Martyrs is filled with the delicious aromas of rotisserie chicken, freshly-baked croissants and French cheese.  Sébastien Gaudard bridges French baking tradition and South Pigalle’s penchant for high design with his dreamy, elegant pâtisserie.

Born into a family of bakers, Sébastien Gaudard has an impressive pastry pedigree.  He worked under Pierre Hermé at Fauchon, eventually succeeding him as Head of Pastry.  He then wowed the Left Bank with his avant-garde creations by launching the Délicabar at Le Bon Marché.

In 2011, Sébastien Gaudard followed his dream and opened his own pâtisserie, celebrating French delicacies of yesteryear with his own unique flair.

Behind the bottle green shop front is a stunning pâtisserie with pale blue interiors, marble counters, low lighting, smoked mirrors and a patterned monochrome tiled floor.  It’s just so French and sophisticated – the kind of place where you can’t help lingering and being happily indecisive.

Sébastien Gaudard recreates classic French cakes such as the Saint Honoré, Paris-Brest, Baba au Rhum, dainty éclairs and Millefeuille, each with a light, elegant look.  We ordered two cakes to take back to our suite at Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg, saving them as a treat after visiting the Cartier exhibition at the Grand Palais.

My Entremet Chocolat Grand Marnier was a little piece of heaven with almond sponge soaked in Grand Marnier, silky chocolate cream and Corsican candied orange, covered in chocolate ganache and toasted hazelnuts.  What is it about chocolate and orange that go so well together?

My mum tried an equally delicous Entremet Griotte-Pistache with almond sponge soaked in Kirsch, pistachio cream and griotte cherries.  Both cakes were exquisite and indulgent while still being light – the perfect afternoon treat.  We also picked up an Kugelhopf made with orange blossom, which was fragrant and not overly sweet with a light brioche texture.

Prices are surprisingly reasonable (for Paris) with most individual cakes ranging from 4 to 5 Euros.  Other tempting delights include chocolates, macarons, meringues, pates de fruits and artisan ice cream, complete with beautiful gift boxes.  Sébastien Gaudard also offers his own brand of jam, honey, fine tea and coffee, wine and Champagne.

My mum also couldn’t resist buying Sébastien Gaudard and Francoise Bernard’s cook book titled Le Meilleur des Desserts.  It is filled with classic French pastry recipes with a precise yet unfussy approach.  I’m looking forward to going home for freshly-baked Madeleines now that she has this book!

For more information, visit:

All photos by Chérie City

Paris, Patisserie

Aux Merveilleux de Fred, Paris

My recent trip to Paris with my mum was set to be a real foodie tour with a daily pilgrimage to a leading Paris patisserie scheduled each day.  I briefed her on just how much cake she was expected to eat (hardly a chore) and the first stop on our itinerary was supposed to be Gateau Thoumieux, the high end patisserie by Jean-Francois Piège on the Left Bank.

An epic travel research fail meant that not only were we greeted by closed doors at the Cartier exhibition at the Grand Palais, but our planned après-exhibition cake craving was similarly unfulfilled.  Who knew that Paris on a Tuesday would be so tricky!

Disappointed (mostly in my half-baked planning), yet undeterred, we strolled through Saint-Germain in the hope of finding another suitably luxurious cake stop.  Paris is the capital of patisserie, after all, so it would hardly be a difficult task.

Luckily, we stumbled across Aux Merveilleux de Fred, a little further along the Rue Saint-Dominique.  Aux Merveilleux de Fred is a delightful patisserie that focuses simply on ‘les merveilleux’ – traditional French sweets made with meringue and whipped cream.  I instantly fell in love with the refined store, with its cream illustrated walls, black and gold pillars and elegant chandelier.

Pastry chef Frédéric Vaucamp, who trained at Lenôtre, reworked the recipe for the much-loved Northern French classic and opened his first shop in Lille.  The boutique chain has since expanded to Paris, other regions of France, Belgium and London (on the King’s Road and Clapham’s Northcote Road).

The eye-catching merveilleux are freshly-baked in the store’s open kitchen and you can watch them being assembled by the bakers by the window.  Well-heeled Parisians and tourists can’t help but peer through the glass and be lured inside

We chose a few of the adorable Mini Merveilleux (€1.50), packed in a pretty little white take-out box, so we could sample the different flavours.

My bite-size Speculoos Merveilleux was made of light, airy meringue enrobed in a subtly-spiced whipped cream and covered in fine chocolate shaving.  The Praline Merveilleux had a richer flavour and was topped with crunchy pieces of hazelnut – both melted in the mouth and were sweet but not overly sugary.

My mum also tried the Speculoos flavour and a pretty pastel pink Cherry Merveilleux.  Other flavours include chocolate, coffee and caramel.  They were perfect little indulgences without being too naughty and just as satisfying as eating a macaron.

Aux Merveilleux de Fred is a beautiful, whimsical store that captures the decadence and lightness of French patisserie.  I can’t wait to visit the London store and try one of the enormous snowball-size merveilleux…and have it all to myself.

For more information and locations, visit:

All photos by Chérie City

Cafes, London, Patisserie

Krug Kreperie, Covent Garden

Krug Champagne gets December off to a sparkling start with the arrival of the pop up Krug Kreperie at Covent Garden’s East Piazza.

Created in collaboration with renowned, three Michelin star chef Pierre Koffmann, the Krug Kreperie brings a luxury après-ski vibe with French chalet inspired dining pods, complete with sheepskin rugs and wood log banquettes, inside giant Krug crates.  A little corner of Chamonix in the heart of Covent Garden.

For an indulgent winter treat, the Krug Kreperie offers six sweet or savoury crepes with flavours including crab, caramel apple crumble and pistachio with caramelised pistachio nuts. Each crepe is paired with a glass of Krug Grande Cuvée for £35.

What could be better than rounding off an afternoon of Covent Garden Christmas shopping (hello Dior beauty boutique, Opening Ceremony and Jo Malone) than with a sizzling hot crepe and a glass of the world’s finest fizz?

The Krug Kreperie is open in Covent Garden from 2nd December to 8th December, before moving to Koffmann’s at The Berkeley from 9th December until mid January.  For more information, visit:

All photos by Krug

Afternoon tea, Cafes, Hong Kong, Patisserie

Afternoon Tea at C’est La B – Hong Kong

A highlight of my recent trip to Hong Kong was afternoon tea at the newly-opened branch of C’est La B in Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui.

Founded by lifestyle guru Bonnae Gokson, C’est La B is a stylish, whimsical cafe-bar where the cakes are just as colourful as the interiors.

A popular style icon in Asia, Bonnae Gokson began her career in luxury fashion retail working with her older sister Joyce Ma, founder of the pioneering designer boutique group Joyce.  Bonnae can also be credited with bringing brands such as Armani, Prada and Chanel to Asia and putting her stamp on W and Ritz-Carlton hotel groups.

Moving seamlessly between fashion and cake, Bonnae’s sweet empire includes two other C’est la B outlets, Ms B’s Cakery on Sheung Wan’s Gough Street and the ultra-chic SEVVA rooftop bar.

The newest C’est la B cafe is located in Hong Kong’s high end shopping mall Harbour City and counts designer brands such as Alexander Wang, Coach, Lanvin and Fendi as neighbours.  It’s the perfect place for a chic afternoon indulgence after a spot of shopping.

The sleek black exterior and a wall of butterflies lead to a petite cafe designed in bold monochrome stripes and vibrant jewel tones.  We were seated and ordered from a selection of teas while the friendly staff talked us through the full range of eye-catching cakes and desserts.

This season’s quirky cakes take inspiration from nature, with stunning checkerboard and layered chiffon cakes finished with exquisite sugar butterflies and flowers.  While the cakes look impossibly vivid, they are in fact coloured using only natural ingredients such as beetroot and taro.

We ordered a selection to share and they came beautifully-presented on a special ‘B’ cakestand and patterned china plates.

I particularly enjoyed the Lady in Red (raspberry mirror with lychee cream and berry sponge), Madame Butterfly (beetroot, pistachio and chocolate layered chiffon with apricot compote and fresh cream) and the cheekily-named Better Than Sex (chocolate fudge cake with choc-coated caramel crunch and salted caramel toffee).

All of the cakes we tried were surprisingly light and not overly sweet, plus there are even gluten and sugar-free cakes, including the brilliant OMG! cake.

I accompanied the cakes with a pot of fine Earl Grey Tea, however wine and Champagne are also available, to make it even more luxurious.

While C’est La B is renowned for its creative cakes, it also offers savoury dishes such as rainbow club sandwiches, pot pies, pasta and salads.  Just be sure to leave some room for dessert!

For more information, visit:

Chérie City was a guest of Hong Kong Tourism Board

Photos by Chérie City (Bonnae Gokson by Tatler)

Cafes, Newcastle, Patisserie, Stores, USA

Sprinkles Cupcakes – Midtown East, New York

All shopping trips in New York should end with a cupcake and if you’re around the designer department stores of Fifth and Madison Avenues, it has to be Sprinkles Cupcakes.  Just a few steps away from Bloomingdales, Sprinkles Cupcakes is known as the world’s first cupcake bakery – founder Candace Nelson opened the original store in Beverly Hills in 2005.

Sprinkles Cupcakes has a small number of high end boutiques across America – just one in New York – and there is even a Cupcake ATM offering cupcakes days and night in Beverly Hills.

The Manhattan Sprinkles is sleek, minimalist, colourful and covered in its trademark modern dots.  The selection of cupcakes is overwhelming, with a mix of classics and daily specials to choose from, alongside coffee and teas.

I ordered the Black and White cupcake – Belgian dark chocolate cake with creamy vanilla frosting.  The dark cake was moist and rich with a thick layer of dense, sweet high quality vanilla frosting and dark chocolate sprinkles.

Steven went for the Triple Cinnamon cupcake – lightly spiced buttermilk cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting dusted with cinnamon sugar.  The cupcake was deliciously spiced and it went well with the lighter cream cheese frosting with the signature Sprinkles dot.

All cupcakes are $3.50 each and are quite substantial and decadent without being too sugary.  I liked that the cupcakes are handcrafted and don’t taste artificial in any way.

If you think you have what it takes to recreate a Sprinkles cupcake at home, home-bake mixes are available to buy in different flavours – what could be a better NYC souvenir for cupcake lovers?

For more information, visit:

All photos by Chérie City

Sprinkles Cupcakes on Urbanspoon

Afternoon tea, Bars, Cafes, New York, Patisserie

Sweet Revenge – West Village, New York

New York is full of high end, glossy cupcake boutiques but Sweet Revenge on Carmine Street in the West Village offers something a little different.  As the name suggests, Sweet Revenge is purely for grown-ups and serves inventive cupcakes paired with wines and beers.

Established by former city slicker Marlo Scott in 2008, Sweet Revenge is a totally unique concept – how many cupcake shops in New York even have a liquor license?

It has a low-key bistro feel with distressed wood chairs, white tiles and a well-stocked bar with glass domes of baked goods displayed between the bottles.  When we visited, there were the four signature cupcakes available as well as a selection of artisan flavours, cookies and two savoury cakes – Croque Monsieur and Jamaican Curry.

The artisan flavours are particularly sophisticated with gourmet flavours including Armenian Flower, Spice Islands Carrot, Fleur de Sel, Mayan Chocolate and German Colada.

For a late-afternoon treat, we ordered two signature cupcakes ($3.50 each) to share.  The Sweet Revenge® cupcake is the house special, consisting of a dense and moist peanut butter cake, a dark chocolate ganache centre and thick peanut butter fudge frosting.  It was sweet and rich without being sickly and the chocolate ganache was a delicious touch.

The Crimson & Cream flavour was a new take on the classic red velvet cake with the addition of fresh raspberries and raspberry sauce atop the cream cheese frosting.  The Crimson & Cream cupcake was less sweet than the Sweet Revenge flavour, so it’s ideal for those who prefer something a little less sugary.

To pair our cupcakes with wine, Sweet Revenge suggests a Spanish Malbec and a Raspberry Bellini, however, on a sunny yet crisp day, we couldn’t resist trying the Spiked Spiced Cider ($12).  The comforting drink came in a large mug and was fruity, potent and packed full of cinnamon and winter spices.  The beer cocktails were also tempting, with different types of Shandy including Monaco, Caribbean, South African, American and Italian.

If you’re in the neighbourhood between 4 and 8pm, don’t miss the Happy Hour for the special glass of Sangria, Pinot Noir or House Chardonnay and a cupcake for just $10.  Sweet Revenge also serves a tasty-sounding lunch and brunch, but be sure to leave some room for a cupcake dessert – they’re a real must!

For more information and menus, visit:

Photos by Chérie City

Sweet Revenge on Urbanspoon

Afternoon tea, Hotels, Hotels - Luxury, Paris, Patisserie

La Galette Des Reines At Le Meurice, Paris

January in France means the return of the delicious traditional Galette des Rois.  Made from layers of puff pastry and an almond paste filling, the seasonal galette marks the feast of Epiphany and features a charm hidden within.  The lucky person who finds the charm, or fève, becomes king or queen for the night.

Iconic palace hotel Le Meurice in Paris instead celebrates ‘the queen’ for 2013 with a colourful Galette des Reines, served in Le Dali restaurant.  Created by pastry chef Camille Lesecq, the galette is made in the shape of an almond and is covered with leaves gilded with gold.

The person with the lucky slice of the Galette des Reine will find a golden almond-shaped charm.  Who wouldn’t want to be the king or queen of Le Meurice for the day!

La Galette des Reines is served in Le Dali until 20th January and is priced at 14 Euros per slice.

For more information, visit: