Yes, between Meert’s window dressings and the dangerous, seductive visit to Patisserie Charle, there were other sweet diversions in Lille.
Aux Merveilleux was perhaps the most unique. Rustic, I’d call it. Borderline dated in a Renaissance Fair sort of way, but still charming and delightful.
These are cakes you’re more likely to see in America than France: meringue-coated chocolate whipped cream, rolled in chocolate chips sprinkled with icing and sugar and topped with whipped cream. (I mean, seriously??)
Nearby at Luc Olivier, the dazzling jellies and macarons stood out louder than the pastries.
But what I was most excited about were the chocolates.
Valrhona bonbons in flavors like Tahitian vanilla, Cointreau, lavender, pear and praliné.
I stopped short of buying myself a box of 25, the smallest offered, and instead took a modest 10 home in a cellophane bag.
But it was Patrick Hermand who took the cake. Right?
These little cakes were arresting.
Too pretty to eat, almost?
I’d eat one though. Hell, I'd probably eat eight.