Pain au chocolat orange

Perhaps the single best thing about living in Paris is that now, when I come across references to specific restaurants, boulangeries, pâtisseries and chocolatiers, I can actually visit them. Given my well-documented addiction to food blogs and food writing more generally, I've managed to accumulate quite the list already, athough I hope to make short work of the backlog.

In February 2007, Linda Dannenberg published an article in Travel and Leisure magazine with her picks for the best boulangeries in Paris, by type of pastry. Crowned the king of pain au chocolat, Boulangerie Bechu was my first stop on the list a few weekends ago. I set out from my humble abode on rue Pétrarque with the kind of anticipation that comes only with the prospect of butter and chocolate for breakfast. Just when I thought pain au chocolat couldn't possibly get any better, it went ahead and proved me wrong.

What makes this pain au chocolat orange are the small pieces of candied orange peel sprinkled alongside the sticks of rich dark chocolate. It is possible that there was also a hint of orange glaze to fix the decorative peel on top, but I'd really need another before coming to a firm conclusion on this point. While I'm a huge fan of the dark chocolate and orange combination in all its incarnations (and this was no exception), my official recommendation is to stick to the pure, unadultered pain au chocolat more often than not. Save the pain au chocolat orange (and its equally enticing cousin pain au chocolat coco-banane) for the occasional treat.

Too much of a good thing, and all that.

Boulangerie Bechu
118 avenue Victor Hugo
16eme arrondissement
75016 Paris

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