When it comes to local patisseries-shops Cannelle is an institution. Not only has it mastered the art of the classic French pastry it’s also managed to add its own signature touch along the way.
I had the pleasure of doing a confectionary tasting tour at their lovely branch in Dunes Verdun last week. And although I didn’t grow up in Lebanon I am very much aware of the iconic status this establishment holds on many people’s traditional Sunday lunch or dinner tables. When your aunt asks you to pick up a cake from Cannelle, you just do as she says, no questions asked.
I was lured in by a trail of aroma lingering in the mall. For a moment I just stood and stared at the marvel of fresh puff pastries, croissants, crèmes, chocolates, macarons. It was more difficult to choose than I thought.
The lovely ladies walked me through two of the house favorites. First the timeless Macaronade aux Fraises, a true work of art involving two layers of the same marzipan used in Gâteau Succès , filled with a generous layer of glazed strawberries and topped with all sorts of red berries and fine sugar icing.
Cannelle’s second classic is the infamous Gâteau Maison, also known as the Gâteau fondant au chocolat. If you’re into rich, intense dark chocolate mousse then you will love this cake, I especially enjoy this one with an all-natural vanilla bean ice cream.
And of course I had to try the macarons. It was a little larger and less compact than the ones I’m used to but this almond flavored marvel left quite the impression on my taste buds. I loved their carefully selected colors and flavors and I thought they’d make a lovely gesture to take along when invited to brunch.
Next I picked out my own little dream team. I choose them according to the meticulous craftsmanship that so obviously went into preparing them.
I was drawn to this picture perfect Eclair à la Framboise and how wonderfully the berries were sandwiched between two layers of my favorite cream puff dough and rose crème.
I absolutely love tarts so I chose two. First the bestselling Tarte au Citron, a perfect combination of sweet and sour, with a delectable lemon crème on a pâte brisée or shortcrust pastry. As well as the poised Tarte aux framboises with actual raspberries on a bed of delicate gelée.
Take a look at this beauty, a fluffy caramelized chunk of apple sits atop an iced pâte d’amande also known as Marzipan base.
I was absolutely taken by the Cannelle version of the Choux à la Crème, a circle of light Choux pastry with one of the most fluffy dreamy whipped vanilla flavored Crème Chiboust I have ever had, and believe me when I say I’ve had my fair share of these in France. This pastry is one of the most underrated classics but remains my favorite to date.
Verdict: it’s no wonder Cannelle has been able to stand tall amongst the momentary French patisseries sprouting all over town. This classic refined house remains a true Lebanese icon that is resilient and able to maintain its iconic status regardless of time and competition while continuing to bring us some of the best in French desserts.