Nicolas Bernarde, Meilleur Chef de France
When you step off the train from the Gar St. Lazare in Paris and land in the little suburb of La Garenne-Coloumbes there is a secret hidden in plain sight. The main square like most French villages, is where the weekly markets occur. Making your way through the market of butchers, florists, fishmongers, and household goods you reach the other side and the elegant grey building that houses the Nicolas Bernarde bakery shop. Pastry as an art form is one of the best things about France. So when you find this shop, you will be entering not just a sweet shop but a point of view. Chef Bernarde has modernized the classics, refreshed the basics and brought to the art of pastry making a generosity of spirit.
Peering in the windows, there is an array of delicious delicacies wrapped in cellophane and colored ribbons. Candies, caramels and other treats all created in the shop by Nicolas Bernarde and team. His lovely wife tends to the shop while he holds classes for the public and also has a crew of students each who are studying to become pastry chefs.
My favorite day is Friday when a new cake is revealed or the “cake of the week” is premiered like the opening of the Paris Opera. A Delicious chocolate fudge, decorated with glace cherries, or lemon cake, hazelnut or a Napolean style cake with crispy white chocolate on the top and creamy layers or decorated with flowers. Scrumptious. Delicious. Light and creamy cakes that really melt in your mouth. Perfect with a petite expresso after brunch or evening dinner with friends.
I also recommend the ‘pave du chocolat’ or a box of chocolates hand created by Bernard’s team of chocolatiers who work closely with him. The YULE LOGS is a favorite French holiday cake to highlight the Advent season. Your friends (like mine who live in the town) hope for my visit because they know I am bringing Nicolas’ wonderful cake for dessert.
Pastry Classes with the Chef are also popular and rated 5 stars by Trip Advisor. You can sign up for the seasonal classes for your next trip directly with our concierge. Classes range from “Brioche” or “Chocolate” making and vary each season. Plan a class for your next visit to Paris and speak to our concierge as to how to best arrange your arrival there. (*note: during the lockdown classes may take reservations for a future date).
He recently released a new pastry cookbook entitled “Invitation of a Pastry Voyager” (Invitation d’un Patissier Voyageur) with a stunning cover and many secrets and delights inside (*available on Amazon.com). Our recent interview with the Chef was a delight. We know your chance to try the recipes at home or a personal visit will be well worth it.