For those in the know, Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe on Alberni Street in Vancouver seems to generate some controversy. Some love it, some feel it is over priced, pretentious and all together a waste of space. Since I come down firmly in the former camp, I tend to think that the latter could stand to broaden their horizons some. Yes, the price is an issue, but since my patronage at Thierry’s is a rare indulgence I can forgive them that. Besides, you very much get what you pay for here thus I don’t really see the source of the complaint. Any complaints about the quality of the various confections seem to me to be way off base as well. In my opinion, Thierry Busset is one of the top Pastry Chefs in the city.
This last weekend was a time of particular indulgence seeing as it was something of a special occasion. An old friend of my lovely fiance was in town and Thierry’s was chosen as the place to meet up. The nice thing about groups is it allows for a wide variety of sampling, and this was very much the case.
So let’s break it down and hopefully dispel any fears about whether or not it’s worth the trip. The macarons are always a big draw for me. Regular readers will know all about my interest in these fancy cookies. What boggles me is that I’ve heard people claim that they are nothing special here. I must disagree. Industry rumour is that Thomas Haas (another giant in Vancouver’s pastry scene) is in at least once a week trying to get the recipe. The flavour of the macarons at Thierry’s is always perfectly balanced and the texture equally superb. Compare to French Made Baking on Kingsway and there is no contest. Theirs are (being charitable) quite mediocre. For a true macaron experience, you really can’t beat Mr. Busset’s.
Interestingly, today it was really the hot chocolate that brought us out. There’s something of a special event to do with hot chocolate right now and at Thierry’s they have Maranon Hot Chocolate, which is apparently a ridiculously rare breed. This hot chocolate is Thick and Rich and Smooth. Almost too much for me, really, though worth it for the experience. Expensive too, but I can still recommend it, though you might be better off sharing. We also sampled two cakes whilst there: the tiramisu and the Vanilla and Chocolate Cadeau, a fun confection with chocolate and vanilla mousse wrapped in a chocolate package. The tiramisu was flawless and not over sweet. If I had to level a complaint it would be that the mousse in the cadeau was very slightly grainy, which is a common problem when using gelatin.
So that was the gist of my latest (though certainly not last) trip to the Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe. I am usually so very critical of pastry, but this place is a rare treat. It’ll cost somewhat, but in my mind it is very worth it and one of the few places I know that consistently delivers the best quality product.