A Guide to the Best 100% Gluten-Free Pastries in Paris

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A Guide to the Best 100% Gluten-Free Pastries in Paris
As a lover of Parisian macarons that are naturally gluten-free, I’ve never given much thought to the emerging world of sans gluten in Paris. As I love wheat in all forms, from bread to pastries, avec modération, it hasn’t yet been an issue to bar gluten from my diet. In the space of just a few months, however, chalked signs of “ask for our gluten-free versions” are becoming quite the norm in Paris, from crêperies using 100% buckwheat flour to frozen food stores. Gluten-free bread is not just designated to health food markets these days: traditional boulangeries offering alternatives are also on the rise (couldn’t resist that one), as are a growing number of top patisseries. But for those who are completely intolerant to gluten, it’s important that there is no risk of cross-contamination with products’ gluten counterparts. The options are boundless in Paris where you can take away or sit and enjoy food in a growing number of 100% gluten-free restaurants, bistros, cafés, and grocery stores – out of which many sandwich, salad, and rice bars are jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon. Now bakeries and patisseries are joining in at an even faster rate – and taking it seriously at that. Whether you’re intolerant to gluten or not, these five high-end 100% gluten-free patisseries will have you curious to taste something not just new, but with ingredients that will fascinate the taste-buds. CHAMBELLAND Bakery – café with patisseries Walking into the Chambelland bakery it isn’t immediately apparent that the complete range of breads, cakes, cookies, chouquettes, and pastries are 100% gluten free and organic. Nathaniel Doboin and Thomas Teffri-Chambelland did indeed rise to the challenge in 2014 when they set up this emerging segment specializing in 100% gluten free breads. To ensure their flours are entirely gluten-free, they even built their own mill (in the Haute-Provence region); flours are made from organic rice, buckwheat, sorghum and millet. Although essentially a boulangerie, this bakery also offers pastries such as cheesecakes, lemon meringue and chocolate tartlets. I pounced on a chocolate lava cake, thinking that it would be like the flourless chocolate cakes we often make in France. Curiously, the molten chocolate was as expected but there was a hint of something different – was it buckwheat flour or rice flour? It can open up a new gluten-free tasting sense. Chouquettes are labeled as “gourmands et légèeeeeeres”, along with muffins, brownies, and cookies. This poppy cookie made with rice flour, poppy seeds, sunflower and lemon zest was so packed with poppy seeds that it gave the flavors a whole new healthy tasting experience. 14 rue Ternaux, 75011 (Village Popincourt). Tues-Sun: 9am-8pm HELMUT NEWCAKE Patisserie-Café Following a flourishing opening of the first 100% gluten-free patisserie in Paris’s Canal Saint Martin area 5 years ago, this popular pastry shop and café recently moved to a new prestigious address near La Madeleine. Now it has opened its doors to a pop-up summer boutique located at the trendy Grand Train, centered around the railways in a converted locomotive depot in Paris’s 18th. With around 200,000 visitors expected until October, a whole new curious clientele will be put on track to the pastry world of sans gluten. All the flour at Helmut Newcake is certified organic and 100% gluten free. As they add on their framed certificate, “It’s Gluten Free Paradise”. Pastry chef Marie Tagliaferro – herself discovering she was a Celiac sufferer when she was 20 while working at Lenôtre – and husband François create and revisit the French pastry classics, many including sans lactose (dairy-free), such as Tartelette Normande, a pistachio tartlet with red currants, Paris-Brest (praline choux rings), éclairs and canelés. I couldn’t resist trying a magnificent rhubarb meringue tart and their house speciality, “La Madame de Fontenay,” a coffee Religieuse (also exists in chocolate). It’s honestly hard to believe you’re eating gluten-free, especially as I successfully blind-tested a selection (including the corn bread) on my children, the ultimate test. Chef Marie also makes Parisian macarons on the weekends. Quiches, pizzas, burgers to risottos are proposed for lunch and reservations for Sunday brunch are recommended. 28 rue Vignon, 75009 Paris. Tues-Sat 11.30am-7pm. “Grand Train”, 26TER rue Orderner, 75018 Paris. Wed-Sun 11am-11pm (Pop-up boutique until 15 October 2016) GATÉ Patisserie-Café If you’re looking for a patisserie sans gluten then, like its French name Gâté, you’ll be spoiled. Open since September 2015, this completely gluten-free patisserie is just a couple of minutes walk from Odeon in Saint Germain-des-Prés. Founded by Emmanuel Grenier for his wife who is completely intolerant to gluten, the message is clear: for those allergic to gluten, there’s no cutting back on taste and variety for pastry lovers. Pastry chef Anthony Denis and his team can be seen in the gluten-free lab from rue Dupuytren, preparing light pastries – with at least one option of dairy free and vegan – from ChouChou Fraises or Vanilla: choux buns with crunchy craquelin (crumble) toppings, strawberry tarts, chocolate opera cakes, and “Onde de Choc”, a sophisticated chocolate mousse encased with creamy and crunchy praline. As the lounge’s décor had a cacti theme, I succumbed to their bright red “Crock Cactus”. If you particularly love white chocolate this is completely covered in it, encasing a lighter than light sponge interspersed with rhubarb and cactus compote. Savories are also proposed, ranging from daily baked potatoes, soup, quiches and salad. 11 Rue Dupuytren, 75006 Paris (corner of rue Monsieur Le Prince). Mon – Sat 11am-7.30pm (ME) MON ÉCLAIR Patisserie Since October…

Lead photo credit : gluten-free pastries at Helmut newcake.

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Jill Colonna is author of “Mad About Macarons” and newly published “Teatime in Paris: A Walk Through Easy French Patisserie Recipes”. She lives just outside Paris in the land of the Impressionists with her French husband and two teenage girls near Saint Germain-en-Laye. You can read about her life around Paris, travels and recipes on her blog: www.MadAboutMacarons.com


  • Mia
    2017-12-01 08:07:22
    Oh yes please! Some of us eat gluten-free because we have no choice, not because we want to. It's good to see that they're starting taking us celiacs in consideration!