Sometimes the only thing one longs for is to escape time for a while, and indulge in a delicious moment to contemplate the clouds in a wide open blue sky. We are transported by their weightless meanderings, and filled with an impression of boundless freedom. But a question troubles us: can this pleasure for the eyes be transcribed into one for the palate? Can we find this exquisite lightness in a simple pastry? Such is often the mark of a well-made Pavlova. Let us inspect the one made by la Maison de la Chantilly, with this criteria in mind.
This cake has a fairly simple construction. The base is made of a snail-shaped meringue, which is covered in Chantilly cream and crowned by a thin meringue ring. Fresh chopped-up mango and pomegranate seeds are nestled in the center of the ring.
The Pavlova by la Maison de la Chantilly has a diameter of 80 mm and a height of 38 mm. The specimen we purchased weights 53 grams and costs 6€.
This cake is very fragile, and must be handled with care. The personal box which it comes in is too big for its size, and it is not fastened to its plastic base – thus requiring clients to be extremely vigilant when transporting it, in order to avoid breaking it into a million pieces.
The Pavlova’s base is a spiral-shaped meringue disk. Its shape is nicely regular, and we appreciate its thinness, being less than 7 mm high. The meringue cracks immediately upon being touched, being very light and crumbly. Perfectly dry without being overcooked, it crumbles apart entirely, with no trace of the chewier center which can be found in thicker meringues.
The Chantilly cream is this pastry shop’s star product, and we therefore expect it to be irreproachable. It is expressed here in its simplest form, with no vanilla and very little sugar. It is light on the palate and very airy, but its simplicity nevertheless allows us to detect a discreet greasy touch, reminding us that it is made of crème fraîche. Its neutrality brings a nice balance to the abundant sweetness of the meringues.
The surface of the Pavlova is crowned by a simple meringue circle, in the center of which are displayed fresh fruit. This meringue appears to be less cooked than the one used for the base, its color being of a brighter shade of white. It is however equally fragile, and adds to this general sensation of lightness. As for the fresh fruit, the mango pieces are ripe and melt in one’s mouth, while the pomegranate seeds are tart and intensely red.
If we were to choose a light, almost diaphanous dessert which could be consumed in one breath, this Pavlova would be a good candidate. The nicely shaped meringue, which breaks apart at the slightest touch, enhances the cake’s fragile and precious aspect. More attention could however be given to its presentation and packaging: it would benefit from being better protected in its box to prevent accidents, by fastening the meringue to its plastic base, and sticking this base to the cardboard box with one the shop’s adhesive logos. As for flavors, the light and unsweet Chantilly cream is the perfect accompaniment for the crystalline, brittle meringue. The latter instantly breaks into a million crumbs in one’s mouth, creating a most pleasant contrast of textures. The cream is abundant, and the neutrality of its flavor allows a slightly greasy touch to pierce though. To balance this out, the fruits should be more plentiful and juicier. This is indeed the case for the mango, but the same cannot be said of the pomegranate, which does not appear to be a wiser choice than berries, for example.
Score: 4.0/5 Very good
47 rue Cler, 75007 Paris, France
Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 7pm
Tel: +331 45 50 44 35