London’s Patisserie Valerie is a hit
First there was Turkey’s Hafiz Mustafa 1864 then followed Portugal’s Pasteis de belem and a few others. The thing with world famous pastry shops is that once you’ve begun on a journey to sample their delights they seduce you into more travelling. Arguably there aren’t more than 30 of these renown and often historical, dating back millennia, pastry shops in the world. Tokyo, Vienna, Copenhagen and New York have at least one whereas London and Paris may have two or three each that make the cut.
Patisserie Valerie, established in 1926, is arguably one such renown pastry shop that creates luxury handmade cakes and patisseries. It is a pastry shop that isn’t so high brow that you’d need to walk in as if you were about to be made a Dame or Knighted by the Queen of England. It is “regular” enough to serve cappuccinos and lattes – never mind the more high brow afternoon tea beloved by the British upper classes.
Even though Patisserie Valerie was first opened in Frith Street in London’s Soho by Belgian born Madam Valerie, It is now a chain which means there are a handful dotted in and around its original location. Madam Valerie, I understand came to London on a mission to introduce fine Continental Patisserie to the English. Bold move, but one that has proven to be a success.
My Patisserie Valerie of choice happened to be the original on Frith street near Soho, where after spending a splendid evening in the China town area tucking into a Chinese lunch, I popped into to help myself to a take-away desert. A rather sumptuous gateau that I carried home heartily and couldn’t help but make a show of it in front of the Palace theatre where Harry Porter and the cursed child, the play, was being performed.
The gateau as promised was rich and luxurious. I expected no less. I would, however, make a point of having a sit down Patisserie Valerie pastry experience the next time I visit.