I don’t love best-of lists for obvious reasons — they are entirely subjective and liable to isolate those whose tastes fall somewhere beyond the selection. I also find that picking favorite restaurants, coffee shops, pastries, or even Parisian neighborhoods, is akin to being asked which of my cats I adore most; it’s a painful and futile exercise that leaves me feeling guilty. But (and you knew there would be a but), when it comes to pastry and chocolate in Paris, there are far too many options and not all of them merit your hard-earned dollars or your time.
So when my editor at the New York Times T Magazine came to me and said they were launching a new series on the best of one thing (they began by ranking the most divisive dish in and out of Los Angeles, avocado toast) and wanted my thoughts on the Parisian specialties to cover, I instantly thought of my usual cravings: chocolate, bread, cheese. Instead, we kicked things off with macarons, the perennial crowd pleasers, and followed up last week with top chocolatiers.
The lists are by no means exhaustive (I wanted to include Maison Chaudun and Chapon on my list for chocolate but alas, I was forced into that uncomfortable exercise of picking my favorite children and had to draw the line somewhere) but they should steer any pastry or chocolate lover in the right direction. Think of them as starting points to prepare your palates. And should I have the opportunity to (literally) break bread and rank my go-to destinations for le pain, I’ll let you know.
Here’s hoping you discover a shop or maker you didn’t know before and may your bellies be forever satisfied!