Brunch and the best macarons at Vincent Dallet
Unimpressed by the breakfast offered at our budget hotel and in need of a sugar fix, my friends and I made reservations for a late Sunday breakfast at the Vincent Dallet patisserie in Épernay, France.
On our walk to the bakery, we passed former Victorian-era mansions, now apartments, B&Bs and, most importantly, the champagne houses. Packed the evening before, the Avenue de Champagne was quiet as tourists slept off their champagne buzzes.
Two blocks west of Place de la République was a non-descript ivory building with shops on the ground floor and apartments above. Unlike famous patisseries in Paris, Vincent Dallet's shop didn't have a pastel-striped awning or grand sign. But I knew we were in the right place because of the window cases. Passersby stopped to gawk at the magnificent cakes and vibrant macarons — we joined them.
We walked inside and took our seats at a modern white table. We reviewed the menus, keeping in mind the treats in the window. After a great debate, I ordered a traditional French citrus tart and kouign-amann, a flaky puff pastry with caramelize sugar topping that tasted like a cross between a croissant and French toast.
One dining companion went with a traditional French breakfast: a croissant and cappuccino, the second a savory quiche and strawberry cake.
My other friend chose the café gourmand, a typical French offering that includes a hot beverage (usually espresso, coffee or tea) and an assortment of mini desserts. The black slate plate contrasted with the pops of color from the housemade chocolates, crème brûlée, macaron and cakes.
Our tiny table was jam-packed with dishes and drinks. The sweets were exceptional, the service quick. Staff members were patient, despite our indecisiveness and rudimentary French language skills.
We were buzzing from the sugar and caffeine when we headed home with bagfuls of macarons for later.
Photos by Genevieve Northup