As I stare through the plate glass window of Bontemps Pâtisserie I can’t help but think about Ted Lasso. Why bring him up here? By here I mean Paris. Shouldn’t I have a more romantic subject in mind than an Emmy-winning mustachioed fictional soccer nerd? Well I do. I’ve always had a love affair with simple shortbread biscuits. The kind Coach Lasso famously brings his boss each morning. So I guess I can thank him for leading me to this window where pâtissiere Fiona Leluc has transformed the coach’s deliciously outdated biscuit into a modern marvel of a fruit-filled sablé cookie: soft, buttery, crumbly, with just a hint of fleur de sel.
I don’t have to tell you this but there are a lot of pâtisseries in Paris. Some are known for one thing, some for another. There are windows full of elegant confections on many corners in every neighborhood. Mille-feuilles, profiterole, madeleine, chouquette, éclair. How does one choose?
With much showier fare on display, sweet sablé biscuits are often overlooked at typical Parisian pâtisseries. But not at Bontemps where some of the best French sablé can be found beyond the pale blue door at 57 rue de Bretagne in the 3rd arrondissement. The shortbread itself is enough to earn this pâtisserie a place on your Parisian agenda. But it’s the departure from chocolate and jam to fresh seasonal fruit that distinguishes these sablé biscuits and fruit-topped shortbread tartes from so many others in the city.
But there’s more to recommend at Bontemps. Many pâtisseries force their clientele to awkwardly manage their pastries on the sidewalk, which is a very Parisian way to enjoy these treats. But for those who prefer to linger Bontemps Pâtisserie has a “secret garden” in the form of a powder pink and tourquoise tea room furnished with dainty tables decorated in mismatched vintage charm. Come for dejeuner or Sunday brunch and try out the savory selections: salade chorizo Bellota, barely scrambled eggs with smoked salmon or truffled ham, and delectable little buns garnished with Coppa or tuna belly. Exquisite little snacks that are as good as the pastries themselves. GREG