There’s no denying it – the arrival of Karamel caused quite a stir in the world of Parisian pâtisserie. Instagram photos, recipes printed in newspapers and demonstrations at the Omnivore festival: young chef Nicolas Haelewyn stopped at nothing to herald the arrival of his first shop on Rue Saint-Dominique, which he’s opened up after ten years at Ladurée. The frontage is nothing flashy, but inside, you can feast your eyes on crunchy tuile biscuits, caramels and spreads, before heading to the peaceful tea room in the back. All the pâtisserie options will make your mouth water, and even more so when you hear what’s in them.
The house speciality is poached pear with a soft caramel middle on a praline shortbread. Completely addictive. The vanilla tart comes with vanilla mousse and an oozing caramel praline, on a sweet charcoal base – the combination of smoothness, airiness and crunch is to die for. Don’t miss the tergoule either, Normandy-style rice pudding with cinnamon – the chef’s tribute to his grandmother. Aw.
All sweet treats are subject to seasons – but the overarching caramel theme means that Haelewyn’s dishes will remain creative whatever the time of year. So yes, you can count us into the Karamel fan club, even though the prices are in keeping with the chi-chi 7th arrondissement. For that reason, it’s not somewhere for every Sunday but it’s certainly the dream spot for a special occasion.