Amongst the world’s finest pastry-makers, how is one supposed to choose amongst patisseries, much less between pastries? There’s a simple solution in Aix-en-Provence: you don’t. Many patisseries and cafés offer un café gourmande – essentially un café (a shot of espresso) with an assortment of bite-sized sweets.
At Brasserie Les Deux Garçons, order un café gourmande from the outdoor patio. With three petite pastries, a macaroon and espresso to cut the sweetness, the only difficulty is deciding which to devour first.
Ideal for people watching, the patio and verdana spill onto Cours Mirabeau – the street to see and be seen in Aix’s centre ville. The building had its share of identity crisis in its early years: first an inn and then a chess club, it finally transformed into a restaurant in 1840. Named after the two founders Guerin and Guidoni, it became a hub for famed figures such as artist Paul Cézanne and author Emile Zola. It’s iconic image continued with visitors such as Pablo Picasso, Winston Churchill and even George Clooney.
The view, history and un café gourmande costs merely 7,5 euro.
At Patisserie Confiserie Riederer, order un café noisette along with un plateau gourmande. The café’s subtle hazelnut flavor compliments the pastries without overwhelming the taste buds.
The establishment opened in 1780 by Franz Riederer, an immigrant from Switzerland. It remained family-run and has been run by Philippe Segond since 1982. Segond’s reign is exceptional, as he is a highly acclaimed Meilleur Ouviers de France (Best Craftsmen in France) recipient for pastries. Reserved for only the most talented in his or her field, the award marks excellence after a grueling three-day competition. The winner is recognized by the President and retains his or her title for life.
Segond’s pastries are true culinary works of art, without any sacrifice of flavor. And his prestige is transferred to the patisserie itself. In 2011, Riederer pulled a Willy Wonka-like stunt by placing ten diamonds in their eggs.
Individual pastries run 4.10 euro, but the platter is only 4,65 euro and un café two. The platter is only available at the Rue Espariat location.
Brasserie Les Deux Garçons, 53 Cours Mirabeau, 04 42 26 00 51
Patisserie Confiserie Riederer, 67 Cours Mirabeau ou 57 Rue Espariat, 04 42 66 32 97