Saturday, December 11, 2010

Les Douceurs de Kenza

Pâtisseries Orientales makes its début at one of Paris’ chicest addresses

In a city famous for its vanilla millefeuilles and mocha éclairs, Paris has been experiencing a vogue for pâtisseries orientales (as Middle Eastern and North African pastries are known in France). For those who like to be ahead of the confectionary curve, the latest gift to offer the discerning dinner party hostess is a box of exotic pastries from the haute Algerian patisserie La Bague de Kenza.
This luxe oriental confectioner began life 16 years ago with one store in the bobo quartier of Oberkampf. Recently La Bague de Kenza set up shop in the chichi food hall of Paris’ Printemps department store, where it holds court with other stalwarts of the Parisian culinary scene such as tea purveyor Mariage Frères and Ladurée.

Affectionately known as “B. K.” amongst locals, it is the brainchild of Hassen Rahmani and Samira Fahim, who set out to reveal a side of Parisian cuisine that is not readily found in guidebooks. Despite a national obsession with pastries, Parisians were slow in embracing oriental pastries, which were generally thought to be too sweet and greasy. Yet B.K. has been defying this reputation (and gaining converts) with its mouthwatering selection of billowy honey scented baklawa, pistachio-coated corne de gazelle, and pastries subtly perfumed with rose water and orange blossom.

At its latest outpost, patrons ogle over gleaming silver platters stacked with the confectioner’s namesake doigt de Kenza. Made from almond paste each tiny delicacy comes in the shape of the fruit it’s flavored with: orange, pear, apple, date, and fig. Don’t be surprised to find yourself waiting in line beside an editor from French Vogue or a Kuwaiti fashionista or two, picking up a delectable souvenir before catching the next flight home.

For those who can’t make it to Paris to get their sugar fix, Rahmani and Fahim have published an inspiring recipe book called Les Douceurs de Kenza , which reveals the cultural backdrop of each confection. Amongst our favorites is B. K.'s legendary Ghribia; a delicious cookie made from semolina flour, butter, and just a touch of sugar that melts in your mouth.

La Bague de Kenza
Le Printemps de la Maison, 2e étage
64 boulevard Haussmann
75009 PARIS
Tel: 01 42 82 50 00

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