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review of Boule: mixed (let the flaming begin) (long)

Jerome | Jan 24, 200501:28 AM

OK. Finally went to Boule. First the positives.
The macarons are great. Meringue-y cookes, airy light with an intense flavor. The lemon and the green tea. Both were so full of flavor as to be worth the price.

The other wonderful surprize was the pâte de fruits. These are the most wonderful fruit gelees, or jellies or however you like, had the raspberry and the passionfruit maybe, definitely a strawberry/guava mix. They are slightly chewy, densely flavored, sweet nay sugary but without being cloying. Definite must-buy.

Didn't get any of the marshmallow (rose petal and some other, saw them at the end). The ice creams looked good but didn't have any. Everything is styled beautifully. But beware of beautiful food. Some of the most beautiful dishes don't taste all that great and some of the ugliest dishes are transcendant.

Now for the negative: sorry all. First a note of background. About a decade ago, a fad hit France - the exotic spices. Everything became infused. Savory dishes, sweet dishes, everything. Case in point, Le MOnde (or Le Figaro, don't remember which) for its recipes for new years about three years ago suggested a dinner where everything could be eaten out of bowls. There was a dish of guinea hen croquettes, exotically spiced, a Jerusalem artichoke pureed soup with foie gras cubes, but the ultimate was the dessert: coconut milk heated (for infusion) with vanilla bean, cloves, citronella/lemon grass, some other stuff, and "etoiles de badiane" (which I had to look up - result at the end of the post). Then but some cut up mango inside. It is incredibly busy. The striving for the new taste, the odd combination, it seemed like the hordes were rampaging through the Tongrentang store on Beijing's Dazhalan Street(dashrla for those of you in the know).

Anyway, that is the basis of this trend. Noe in the Omni hotel is heavily influenced by it. some adore it. I'm ok with it, although it can get freakish. Which leads us to the chocolates.

First off, sorry. I got a wasabi lime (don't recall the names of each combo) the sicilian pistachio, the raspberry-jasmine tea (fleur?), and the jasmine tea chocolate. They look beautiful and make a great box, which is Tiffany blue. HOWEVER, no. sorry. no. The chocolate enrobing the filling is too thin for me: we're talking 2-3 mm, a quarter cm at most in general. In my chocolates, I'd like some chocolate, call me mad.
Next the fillings I tried. The wasabi lime - well the wasabi probably accented the acidity of the lime which did contrast with the chocolate. But contrast isn't enough and while the flavor was intense, the mark of the shop, it wasn't successful - it wasn't delicious or something I would have again. The sicilian pistachio was so scented and infused with parfums, that about tne minutes later, I had the distinct feeling that I had eaten soap. Now, there are some who adore a good perfume, and if you like the idea of eating perfume, I'd first recommend the persian ices which I think are more successful than the sicilian pistachio chocolate - REMEMBER this is all IMHO and from the reviews so far, I know I am a distinct minority. Next, the raspberry-jasmine tea. The filling was almost as jellied as the pâte de fruits. Perhaps they use it, can't say for sure. It tasted like nothing so much as the Joyva chocolate bars with raspberry jelly filling. Fine enough, but not given the price and the paucity of actual chocolate. Last, the green tea. Fine. Tasty. But really nothing special. Mind you they look gorgeous. But the proof of the pudding...

I very much look forward to trying their ice creams. The shop reminded me much of the type of chic patisseries I saw in Tokyo with the tiny eclairs that were like a reduction of an eclair, shockingly intense in flavor, much like some of the things you'd find at Frances in Little Tokyo in the honda plaza (although it's more of a shadow of the ones in Tokyo, but it will give you an idea).

The place is eclectic. it is also, given what you get, expensive, not ridiculously so, but more than Teuscher. Each chocolate comes to $2.50, that's $2.50 a piece, and one buys in groups of 2. Given that price, i'd stick to the patisserie, the viennoiserie, and the ice creams. I bought 3 macarons, two slices of pâte de fruits, one package of 6 chocolates, one package of 2 chocolates, total with tax came to just over US$30. Definitely worth it for those who made it to the junket. Worth it to me for the macarons and the pâte de fruits. There are better chocolates elsewhere for my taste, some nearly as expensive, some not so.

But I don't know if there are any prettier ones.

By the way, if you read french, check out the link below. If you scroll to the end of the bottom of the page, on the left there are short synopses of all kinds of sweets from France that YOU CAN'T GET HERE, I don't believe, but are fascinating.


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