Algerian pastries at La Bague de Kenza

December 14th, 2008 by Paul

If you think of the words “Paris” and “pastry,” what comes to mind? A croissant or pain au chocolat? A macaron? How about baklava?

While I don’t think I’ll be able to separate Paris from pain au chocolat, I won’t be able to think about pastries in Paris without also thinking of the Algerian pastries from La Bague de Kenza.

We didn’t even read this article in the New York Times before we happened on La Bague de Kenza on Rue Faubourg St. Antoine, just down the street from us. We were just walking down the street one day and saw through the window a store full of the tiny delicacies stacked into pyramids on silver platters. How could we resist? We walked in, sheepishly, and even with our basic French could only manage to point at what looked good.

We pointed at the cute pastries made from almond paste and shaped to look like whatever fruit it’s flavored with: orange, pear, apple, banana, fig. We pointed at the small rolls or “fingers” filled with pistachios. If the woman behind the counter suggested something, what else could we do but nod, unwittingly, knowing that everything would taste wonderful?

We weren’t disappointed. Despite their looks, the pastries aren’t overly sweet. Some of the fruit can be very sugary, but others are softer and more subtle, and remind me more of halva.

La Bague de Kenza has two locations in the 11th arrondissment, one in the 15th, and another in the suburbs. Paris will always have pain au chocolat, but I’ll always have my memories of Algerian pastries.

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