Nathalie Salles has done it. And lovers of authentic French choux pastry should be delighted.
She came to England from France to study product design at De Montfort but eventually tired of the corporate world. It turns out she’s an old friend of a friend and is baking out of her home just around the corner from me near Victoria Park, Leicester.
She’s now on a mission to broaden our awareness of just what can be done with choux pastry – and not least to correct our notion of the éclair. “Here you see eclairs filled with whipped cream – but in France that’s not an eclair! We use different flavours of crème patisserie.”
Her core range then includes little choux buns filled with divine praline or chocolate crème pat, and chouxquettes, favourites back in France but relatively unknown here, which are simply sprinkled with pearl sugar.
Then there are savoury versions – gougères topped with cheese or filled with bacon or, in the case of “le petit toad”, sausage. She’s also now producing non-choux savoury loaves, speckled with ham and olives or sundried tomato and olives. Wherever possible she’s sourcing from local traders – “It’s really good to develop a relationship with your suppliers,” she explains. “And the quality tends to be so much better than supermarkets.”
These treats are beautifully light and very versatile. Whether sweet or savoury they are perfect for a mid-morning break and as snacks or finger food at meetings, parties and events.
Nathalie would love to help establish the French tradition of turning up to friends with a little gift of patisserie. Bigger, showstopper items such as Gateau St Honoré a spectacular Piece Montée can also be ordered.
She’s currently building up awareness at fairs and foodie events and direct sales are taking off too – they can be picked up from Victoria Park Road or orders over £20 can be delivered free within two miles. If you want to give them a try call on 07974 140515, or check out more information www.facebook.com/tryit.itsfrench or on instagram it’s @choux.tique
Reference: Tim Burke, https://riponia.wordpress.com