March 9, 2009
If you happen to be in Northwest Portland, you HAVE to stop by St. Honoré Boulangerie. I very rarely say this, but this little café and bakery rivals many that I have visited in New York and has easily become a favorite of mine in Portland.
Although I have only tasted two items on the menu, I was blown away by the flavors and sheer visual artistry put into their desserts. Master Baker Dominique Geulin and his baking team – many of them students at Portland's Western Culinary Institute - are some of the finest talents I've seen outside of Paris.
Although it was difficult to choose - everything I saw in the pastry/dessert case had my mouth watering - I chose the following two desserts to sample:
Puff pastry and pate á choux base filled with pastry cream and whipped cream, topped with caramelized cream filled choux.
I chose this particular dessert for three reasons: 1.) It incorporated the name of this blog, 2.) It caught my eye the second I peered into the dessert case and 3.) I'm a sucker for whipped cream and caramel. I don't believe the pastry could have been more delicate and the cream was just right the texture to melt in your mouth.
Tarte au Citron
A smooth and rich lemon custard on a bed of almond cream in a paté sablé shell.
Lemon tarts are probably one of my all-time favorite desserts. My best friend Emily makes a mean lemon tartlet, and if you had been there the first time she whipped up these little beauties you would have seen how ravenous I ate my piece. So, when I saw that St. Honoré Boulangerie had their own version, I had to try (and really, who cares if you eat two desserts before 10:30 in the morning...). And boy, I'm glad I did. The lemon custard was divine and nailed the accurate flavor. My only complaint was I found the crust a bit too tough, but the almond cream made up for that in the end. All in all, I'd eat this tart again (and again...and again...).
My experience at St. Honoré Boulangerie was absolutely the best food I had while visiting Portland. I can't speak highly enough of this place. From the Parisian atmosphere, DELICIOUS food and extremely nice staff, I can't wait for another trip out west so I can indulge my St. Honoré obsession once again.
On an interesting side note, I learned why the bakery has its name. According to what I learned at the shop, St. Honoré Boulangerie is named for the patron saint of bakers, Saint Honoré. History says that a young man named Honoré became the Bishop of Amiens in 554. During his service a number of miraculous events occurred, which spared farmers, millers, and bakers from natural disasters. Residents of France connected the miracles with Bishop Honoré and in 1204 a Parisian baker built a chapel to commemorate him. Today, the chapel is no longer standing, but the name, Saint Honoré, is etched in a gate leading to Faubourg and Rue Saint Honoré in the heart of Paris.
When in Portland, visit:
St. Honoré Boulangerie
2335 NW Thurman Street
Portland, OR 97210
P: (503) 445-4342