There is only one thing I can say with the current uncertainty of travel – thank God I went to Paris when I could even if it was in August. I had the pleasure of visiting the Hugo & Victor Boutique in Paris. It is located between the 6th and 7th arrondissements; the Saint-Germain-des-Prés, in the heart of one of the oldest and most aristocratic districts of Paris. I had a wonderful tour of the boutique, their best sellers and a chance to learn more about Hugues Pouget, the person behind this award winning patisserie.
What I love about the brand, is their use of natural products and seasonal ingredients. There are no artificial flavours – hence no need to feel guilty!
What is your first ever memory of pastries?
For sure one of my mom’s deserts, a tarte tatin or her incredible chocolate mousse.
Who inspired you in your early years?
The recipes my mother used to religiously cut out of the magazine “Avantages”.
What is your vision of commitment in pastry? What is committed pastry?
Like Oscar Wilde, I’m a man of simple tastes; I’m always satisfied with the best. For me pastry has to be made with seasonal fruits with high quality sourcing, no added flavoring, no artificial colors. I’m getting even further with the expansion of my garden. We started by producing our own verbena, strawberries and red fruits. Commitment is about doing what you say and being fully transparent about what do and how you do it.
How have things changed in the world of patisserie and chocolate during your career?
Over the past 2-3 years, seasonality is much more present, working with fresh fruits. There is also the discreet disappearance of artificial colorings from laboratories in the kitchens, which is essential for me. With the surge of outstanding pastry, collaborations with other creators and artists are making our job more and more interesting, as we were able to do for instance with Agnès B or Catherine Deneuve.
Do you feel people are becoming more aware of quality?
Yes indeed. I think everyone pays more attention to the quality of the ingredients as well as their origin.
What is your advice to a first-time visitor to Paris?
Come and visit my boutique Hugo & victor of course!
What should a first-time visitor to your boutique try?
The grapefruit tart and our traditional “financiers”: both are a “must-taste”.
Where do you find most peace in Paris?
It’s complicated to find peace in Paris!!! However, I like to stroll under the arcades of the Place des Vosges, near Victor Hugo’s house.
What is your favorite dining spot in the world?
What a difficult question!!! I have the chance to travel a lot, so I would say the Issaya restaurant in Bangkok owned by my friend Frédérique Meyer.
What dining experience recently blew you away?
Undoubtedly at Hugo Roellinger’s restaurant in Cancale (Brittany) “Le Coquillage”: an incredible cuisine around sea food.
What do you have planned for the coming months?
Our collection of Bûches de Noël (yule log cakes), and a chocolate charlotte. I can’t tell you more: come and see by yourself!
This is a must visit in Paris and absolute visual treat as well!