A Guide to French Pastries
Updated: Dec 23, 2020
France is known for its bakeries and the pastries they create. There are bakeries around every corner and there are so many items to choose from! When visiting the country, you want to make sure you try all the best pastries and this guide is so you can do just that! Here is a list of the top 10 French pastries to try.
I’ll start with the classic! Compared to what is found in the U.S., the croissants in France are much flakier. These light, buttery pastries can be found at any café or boulangerie all over France. They go great with jam at breakfast time too!
2. Pain au Chocolat
Although the translation of this in English is chocolate bread, a pain au chocolat is made of the same dough as a croissant, but with chocolate in the middle! These are a must-try! When I lived in France, these were my go-to pastries because no matter what bakery you go to, the pain au chocolat will always taste good.
Chouquettes are the perfect snack items to pick up from a bakery. These bite-size puffs are light and hollow, covered with pearl sugar on the outside, creating a nice crunch. Even with the pearl sugar, the eggy dough ensures it’s not too sweet. There are usually premade bags of around 10 that you can pick up. I’ll warn you that once you start eating them, they’ll be hard to put down!
With so many varieties to choose from, you can’t go wrong with these pastries. The hollow, crisp shell of Éclairs are filled with cream and topped with a ganache. These pastries are light, airy, and refreshing.
Madeleines are another great snack option to pick up from a bakery. These lightly sweetened pastries come in the form of a shell and are of a sponge cake consistency. You can find madeleines in any bakery or store in France.
6. Chaussons aux Pommes
Chaussons aux Pommes are my favorite! I absolutely love them and ever since I left France, I’ve thought about them constantly. They are apple turnovers and the French have perfected them. The dough on the outside is often flaky, with a tart apple filling on the inside. Go to France, eat one of these, and think of me!
7. Pain Suisse au Chocolat (chocolate chip vanilla custard brioche)
This pastry is also one of my top favorites. Pain Suisse au Chocolat are lesser-known compared to croissants or pain au chocolats but deserve the same amount of attention. This pastry has a vanilla custard cream filling and chocolate chips in the center, with a brioche dough folded over the top.
8. Viennoise au Chocolat
If you’re wanting something more filling, a viennoise au chocolat is a great choice. The dough is fluffy, and the chocolate chips add the perfect amount of sweetness. They often come in the form of a small baguette.
9. Pain aux Raisins
At first glance, these pastries look like cinnamon rolls because of the spiral form they have. The dough of a pain aux raisins is similar to that of a croissant, making the outside flaky. Custard and raisins are swirled in, making for a great treat!
These cookies are in the shape of a heart and are sometimes covered in chocolate. Palmiers are flaky, buttery, and have a crunch to them. The sugar caramelizes on the outside, creating the perfect amount of sweetness!
Wrapping it up
Taking a trip to France is exciting and you’ll want to try every baked good there is to offer! You can use this guide to have a better understanding of what everything is. Another great thing about boulangeries are the prices! All of these items are super inexpensive to buy, which if you’re asking me, is a sign to try them all!