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Flavors sparkle when Chinese meets French

Updated: 2014-09-19 14:11
By Pauline D. Loh (Shanghai Star)

Flavors sparkle when Chinese meets French

[Photo provided to Shanghai Star]

Dessert fads come and go, and we have run through cup cakes, s’mores, whoopee pies, cronuts and the lot.

Now, it’s macarons, or macaroons – depending on which side of the Big Pond you are chewing on your almond meringues. But when they enter China, especially in a gourmet city like Shanghai, you need more staying power than most temporary palate pleasers.

You need to localize. Lots have been said about the similarities between Chinese and French cooking traditions, but when a French pastry master comes blazing into Shanghai, he needs to make a difference.

Le Rêve Patisserie and Art Space by French pastry master Pascal Molines is now at Yifeng Galleria, opposite the Peninsula Hotel, and just minutes off The Bund. True to its name, the pastry shop is serving up dreamy confections, including a range of macarons found nowhere else.

All the favorite Chinese elements are there, including fillings made from lotus seeds, Chinese jujubes or red dates, and a classic, Tiffany-blue colored osmanthus macaron. The light blue confection is more than just eye candy.

The faint scent of osmanthus is like a little cloud that envelops the traditional French sweet, and it is a masterful pairing. Osmanthus has a fragrance very similar to peach or apricot and complements the marzipan flavors of the macaron perfectly.

Pascal has also tampered the sweetness to suit local palates and I can see this one flying off the shelves. Le Rêve also offers éclairs, croissants and light French tea cakes that are ideal for a mid-afternoon break from shopping.


Le Rêve Patisserie and Art Space G/F, Yifeng Galleria 99 Beijing Road East, near Yuanmingyuan Road

LITTLE LADIES: The blossoms of the osmanthus are the flavors of the month. PROVIDED TO SHANGHAI STAR