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Saturday 24 Aug 2019    The French Pastry Guide

Opera - A Guide to French Pastries

We dive into the many layers of the Opera cake - and find out where it gets its name!



©Dalloyau

Perhaps one of the most technical, elaborate cakes in the French repertoire, the Opera is in a league of its own. It's a cake defined by its thin layers of various delicious components - almond sponge sponge (known as Joconde) soaked in coffee syrup, buttercream, ganache, and topped with dark chocolate icing. It's a thing of beauty, and if you're a chocolate and coffee fan, you're going to love it. 

The Opera is actually a relatively recent addition to the Paris pastry scene, unlike the ancient macaron or the honey-coated canelé. It was only in around 1955 that the Opera was first created, although its grand name might have tricked a few people into thinking it's been around a lot longer!

For its creator we must look to Cyrique Gavillon, a pastry chef extraordinaire at a rather famous pastry institution - Dalloyau. His creation took cake to a whole new level; a decadent, richly flavoured dessert in a rectangular shape. 

Known for its avant-garde creations, Dalloyau opened its "Maison de Gastronomie" in 1802 on the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, but by that point they'd already been supplying Versailles with delectable treats since 1682! The original Paris boutique remains, still showcasing Gavillon's ingenious creation to this day, though these days the recipe calls for 70% cocoa chocolate blend from Venezuela and Italian roast coffee, which gets our vote. 

Why is it called an Opera? Good question! The legend goes that when Cyrique's wife, Andrée, saw the finished article she said it reminded her of the stage at the Opera Garnier - the name stuck! 

There are competing theories of course, as there always seem to be when it comes to the invention of a classic. Gaston Lenôtre, another famous name still found in the Paris pastry world, claimed the discovery in 1960. But then perhaps it was Louis Clichy - a famed pastry chef who claimed to have unveiled the Opera cake - his newest creation - at the Paris Culinary Exhibition of 1903? All we know is that Dalloyau is usually the establishment credited with the Opera - but as we know, history is written by the victors.

You'll find Dalloyau: 101, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris 75008

Central Paris Location

Last Minute Course Places

19 Sep 2019

  • Elegant Entertaining / Marais à la Table
  • Explore the most dynamic area of Paris, Le Marais and visit some of the finest food stores in Paris. Then, enjoy a hands-on cooking class creating a Traditional 4 course French meal.

  • La Cuisine Paris, 80 Quai de l'Hôtel de Ville, 75004 Paris     Time: 16:00 - 20:00
  • Price: €165.00     Availability: 2 places left

20 Sep 2019

  • French Market Tour and Cooking Class / Marché Monge
  • Spend the morning like the locals, with a typical Parisian experience. A full immersion in to French culture with a French Market Tour followed by a hands-on French Cooking Class right in the heart of Paris !

  • Meet outside of Metro Station ‘Place Monge’ on metro line 7. Upon exiting the Metro, please take exit ‘Sortie 1 (Escalator) : Place Monge’     Time: 9:30 - 13:30
  • Price: €165.00     Availability: 5+ places left

20 Sep 2019

  • Elegant Entertaining / The Art of the Parisian Apéro – Entertaining with Hors d’Oeuvres
  • Join us for this quintessential pre-dinner social experience as you create beautiful hors d’oeuvres! An essential part of Gastronomy Française!

  • La Cuisine Paris, 80 Quai de l'Hôtel de Ville, 75004 Paris     Time: 15:00 - 18:00
  • Price: €99.00     Availability: 1 place left

24 Sep 2019

  • French Market Tour and Cooking Class / Marché Maubert
  • Spend the morning like the locals, with a typical Parisian experience. A full immersion in to French culture with a French Market Tour followed by a hands-on French Cooking Class right in the heart of Paris !

  • Meet at 18 Place Maubert in front of 'Café le Métro' outside Metro Station Maubert Mutualité     Time: 9:30 - 13:30
  • Price: €165.00     Availability: 1 place left

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