Butterfly Pâtisserie and New Pastry Trends in Paris

Butterfly Pâtisserie and New Pastry Trends in Paris
French pastry has been experiencing a glow-up of sorts in the last few years. Chefs are breaking with the super-sweet fillings, stodgy creams, and neon-colored glazes that dominated pastry in the 80s and 90s to pave the way for pâtisserie that’s more seasonal and lower in sugar, somehow managing to be both more approachable and more refined. It’s a trend that’s evident in the advent, at palace hotels from the Meurice to the Plaza Athénée, of pastry shops, a slightly more affordable takeaway option joining the plated desserts that conclude the often Michelin-starred meals served within the hallowed walls of such establishments. After François Perret’s Ritz Le Comptoir, with its luxe filled madeleines and long, elegant croissants or Cédric Grolet’s La Pâtisserie du Meurice, where Instagram’s favorite pastry chef dazzles patiently waiting customers with his trompe l’oeil creations, Matthieu Carlin has become the latest pâtissier to jump on this trend, with his new Butterfly Pâtisserie, a veritable jewel of a boutique within the recently renovated Hôtel de Crillon. “Butterflies symbolize elegance and fragility,” says the chef. “And a certain lightness, too. And of course, something attractive. A butterfly always attracts the eye.” Butterfly Pâtisserie at Hôtel de Crillon. Photo credit: Emily Monaco The offering at Butterfly is indeed eye-catching, not to mention surprisingly varied, considering the diminutive size of the shop. An array of about nine pastries is available at any given time, in addition to a selection of traveling cakes and chocolates. But while it’s certainly tantalizing for guests, it’s not necessarily the project that would have most excited Carlin as a young pastry chef. “When I first started, it was plated desserts that most inspired me,” he says. “But today, I think it’s important to be polyvalent.” It’s a skill required of him at the Crillon, where he and his team make everything from breakfast viennoiserie to tea cakes for the glamorous Jardin d’Hiver to plated desserts for the Michelin-starred l’Ecrin, not to mention special occasion offerings like wedding cakes and croquembouches. Pastry chef Matthieu Carlin. Photo credit: Emily Monaco “You get such a wide range of what the job offers at a hotel,” he says. “Whereas if you’re in a shop, you only make pastries, and if you’re in a restaurant, you only do plated desserts. Here, with my team, we do everything from A to Z.”

Lead photo credit : The pastries on offer at Butterfly Patisserie, Hôtel de Crillon. Photo credit: Emily Monaco

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Emily Monaco is an American journalist based in Paris. Her work has appeared in the BBC, Saveur, Atlas Obscura, and more. She is the host of the podcast "Navigating the French" and pens a weekly newsletter, Emily in France, with tips for dining (and cheese-eating) in Paris and beyond.