November 20, 2007

The Sweet Life in Paris

In the course of doing research for my latest post on Gridskipper, Algerian Patisseries in Paris, Joe and I had to sample as many delicious Algerian pastries as we could. It’s a tough job, I know, but someone’s got to do it.

If you’ve never tasted Algerian pastries, I would highly recommend them. They are similar to pastries made in other North African countries (including Tunisia and Morocco) as well as the Middle East. The French refer to this whole category of sweets as patisserie orientale, and while there are basic similarities (they usually involve honey, nuts, and pastry, of course), there is a dizzying array of variations. I especially like ones involving pistachio and hazelnut, but also interesting combinations of flavors, like almond and citrus.

Before we moved here, I learned that perhaps the most famous of the Algerian pastry shops in Paris, La Bague de Kenza, was located on our new street. I couldn’t wait to try their celebrated sweets, and was not disappointed when I did. For those planning a visit to Paris at some point, I would definitely suggest a trip to La Bague de Kenza. For those who want to try some Algerian pastries, without the cost of airfare, you might be interested in Les Douceurs de Kenza, a cookbook created by the co-founders of the shop (available from Amazon in France and Canada). Or you could check out this Algerian cooking blog for more recipes.

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