A few weeks ago, a colleague of mine talked to me about a patisserie called Liberté, (Freedom) by pastry chef Benoit Castel. He told me that this pastry chef aimed to use only fresh products and sells what he makes daily. (Rather than freeze pastries or sell the next day.)
In the evening, I went online to check out the website and saw a photo of the Patisserie-boulangerie concept, with an open plan kitchen which looks on to the sales display, and I fell in love with the idea.
I was thinking about it for over a month and today I finally wandered over. It's so different to most patisseries you would ever find in France, so modern yet so rustic, and if it weren't for the stressed out managerial lady who huffed and puffed as she jotted upstairs and downstairs right-left and centre, you would almost not think you were in Paris at all.
Liberté is a large white space, with concrete unwashed ceiling, walls and pillars. The lamps hang from metal ropes as well as neon lights which add to the brightness, shining onto the white marble display on which the pastries are displayed. It is almost like an artists studio, and the open plan kitchen shows that this is the idea: to be able to see the pastry-chef artists at work. To break that fourth wall between maker and buyer. Because bread makers and pastry chefs shouldn't always be confined to an underground lab where no one can see them, should they? Benoit Castel obviously seems to think not.
Let's get to the good part- the tasting process.
I wasn't very up for anything this afternoon as I'd just had a very filling Chinese lunch, however I knew I couldn't have come this far and not try anything at all. My chefs at work wouldn't be happy... So I let the chocolate cremeux and tonka chantilly tart take my fancy. Why? Because a couple of weeks ago, I made a pear and caramel chantilly tart and my chefs told me that you can't make a "cream" based tart. Well, Benoit Castel's tart proved them wrong. It was delicious. The cream was lightly infused with tonka bean and the cremeux was light and creamy. The base, a cocoa sablé could have been slightly crumblier to my liking, but that's me being a fuss pot. I finished it all, and I could taste that each ingredient was fresh and made that day.
The coffee I had was at the perfect temperature and surprisingly good taste for what you usually find in Paris, (definitely because they use Italian coffee. )
A place to go, for sure.