French pastry chef-chocolatier Pierre Hermé is riding high, having been named “World’s Best Pastry Chef” at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants award ceremony in New York. With previous winners including Jordi Roca (El Celler de Can Roca in Girona) and Albert Adrià (Tickets in Barcelona) in 2014 and 2015 respectively, this award adds to a long list of prestigious accomplishments that Hermé has received in recent years. Tirelessly curious, Hermé – the man that Vogue USA once named the “Picasso of Pastry” – has climbed his way to the pinnacle of the pastry art industry worldwide, by stripping classic pastries of superfluous decorations and dissecting flavours – even taming the most unpredictable cocoa beans in the process!
Heir to four generations of Alsatian bakery and pastry-making tradition, Hermé arrived in Paris at the age of 14 to start his first apprenticeship with Gaston Lenôtre. He continued his career at a number of other famous brands, notably Fauchon, where he was Head Pastry Chef for 11 years, before setting up Maison Pierre Hermé Paris in 1998 with his associate Charles Znaty, opening their first boutique in Tokyo. Today, millions of gourmet fans the world over flock to the boutiques of Maison Pierre Hermé Paris, notably at 72 Rue Bonaparte, the first Parisian boutique in the Saint-Germain-des-Près fashion quarter in Paris. The Maison additionally has partnerships with the Raffles and Ritz-Carlton hotel groups, as well as Dior (with the opening in July 2015 of the Café Dior by Pierre Hermé in Seoul).
Pierre Hermé’s latest creations – with the catchy title of mooncakes – have been released to celebrate the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. These tasty treats pay homage to the special, round cakes eaten during the winter solstice festival, celebrated on the 15th of September. In China, mooncakes signify the reunion of family. The flavours of Hermé’s mooncakes include Almond Praline with Lemon Zest, Sesame Praline, Hazelnut Praline and Flaky Almond Praline. The crunchy almond praline celebrates the full moon, whereas the almond praline with lemon zest is a celebration of the new moon. The hazelnut praline and sesame praline, meanwhile, evoke the moon’s waxing and waning crescents. Each mooncake comes dipped in pure origin dark chocolate from Mexico, conveying a luscious and balanced harmony of flavours.
This summer also sees the launch of Pierre Hermé’s mouth-watering collection of ice-creams and sorbets. With the weather getting warmer, these creamy creations are the perfect summertime treat and include flavours such as Corsican Immortelle Flower and Candied Citrus; Pistachio and Strawberry; Milk Chocolate, Passion Fruit and Caramelised Roasted Pineapple; and Lemon and Almond with Macaron Biscuits. “I enjoy exploring contrasts in tastes and in textures,” explains Hermé about his choice of flavours. “Here, I sought to assemble different flavours without mixing them together.” The pioneering sweet and sharp combinations, coupled with the texture provided by nuts and biscuits, are surely set to become summer flavour favourites. Yum!
The ice creams and sorbets are priced at £6.00 per pot and can be found until 4th September, and the Mooncakes are priced at £32 per box, from 22nd August – 18th September at Pierre Hermé Paris boutiques across London. For more information about Pierre Hermé, visit www.pierreherme.com.