Dessert queen Rachel Khoo loves the sweeter things in life.
The My Kitchen Rules-guest judge travels extensively, and while exploring the world, she makes sure to satisfy her sweet tooth.
“Patisseries are always inspiring places to visit – it’s amazing how different forms of pastry can be used to make such a huge variety of delicious treats, that vary hugely from place to place and culture to culture,” she tell us.
“What makes a patisserie excellent can even be just one signature item. For me personally, it’s eating something really memorable that will encourage me to return whenever I’m in the vicinity,” she adds.
Exclusively for Luxury Escapes magazine, Rachel reveals her favourite places around the world for a sweet treat, and what to order from the menu!
I met Kate, the founder and head baker of Lune Croissanterie, when I was filming my TV show, Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook Melbourne. We immediately bonded over our love for croissants (I’m bit of a croissant snob and will only eat one if it’s good). She trained in Paris at my favourite bakery (included in the list below). Her croissants are the best I’ve tasted outside France!
Favourite item on the menu: Kouign Amann! A traditional pastry from Brittany, France. It’s very rare to see outside France as it requires real skill to get it right. Think croissant pastry which is caramelised and crispy on the outside and flaky and buttery on the inside.
Even though this isn’t technically a patisserie, I couldn’t not mention Du Pain et des Idées. It’s the one place that I always go when I’m in Paris, even if I’m only there for 24 hours. Initially this place became famous for their ‘pain des amis’ (bread of friends), which is a sort of sourdough with the most amazing deep, savoury crust. It’s been nominated several times for the best croissants in Paris (by Parisians) and you’ll see a mix of locals and tourists queue around the corner for their wares.
Favourite item on the menu: Fig tart. It’s only on offer when figs are in season during the summer months, so you have to be lucky to get one. The juicy and sticky figs top a crispy buttery pastry. Simple but utterly divine.
Janice Wong turns patisserie into art. Her flair and creativity is reflected in a variety of delicious delights from chocolates, desserts to pastries. She combines traditional French techniques with her Singaporean heritage and international travels.
Favourite item on the menu: Chocolate pineapple tarts. A classic Chinese New pastry with a Janice Wong twist; she coats hers in dark chocolate. The bitterness works well against the sweetness of the pineapple
I discovered Pump Street Bakery when I stumbled across their pop-up shop in Shoreditch, London. They’re based in the little village of Orfold in Suffolk (east England) and make hearty breads the old school way. They started using rye crumbs in their house-made milk chocolate (they roast and grind their own beans), topped with a sprinkle of sea salt. This chocolate bar is very hard to resist.
Favourite item on the menu: Eccles cake, it is a really old school British pastry. The butteriest puff pastry encases sweetly spiced currants. You eat this both on it’s own or with a hunk of tangy, mature hard cheese. The last time I bought two of these I ended up eating both of them in one sitting. Too good!
Kanel bullar – cinnamon buns – are probably the most famous Swedish pastries and this bakery makes some of the best in the city. Bageri Petrus also has a fantastic selection of Swedish biscuits, breads and more buns.
Favourite item on the menu: A Semla is a Swedish cream bun: a light brioche-esque bun filled with a cardamon almond paste and topped with the lightest cream. It’s usually only available before Lent (around February) as it was traditionally made to use up all the ingredients you weren’t supposed to eat during Lent.
You can’t go to Lisbon and not have a traditional custard tart, Pasteis de Nata. I’ve eaten my fair share of them (they are extremely moreish), but Manteigara is my favourite place to enjoy them. They ring a bell when their tarts are hot out of the oven.
The best way to eat them is when they are still slightly warm, and the custard still has a little wobble, with a dusting of cinnamon and washed down with a strong espresso to balance out the sweetness.
I recently went to Bread Ahead at London’s Borough Market with the Khoollect team. There was no doubt that the highlight of the day was biting into head baker Justin Gellatly’s amazing doughnuts, or what he calls ‘pillows of joy’.
No-one is as passionate about doughnuts as this man; he perfects each and every one, ensuring he never compromises on quality. Justin has taken years to perfect his recipe, and they are a thing of beauty. They come in a range of amazing flavours but the simple custard donut is my favourite.
For more gourmet and travel inspiration, head to Rachel Khoo’s new lifestyle website www.khoollect.com
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