Cake for breakfast? Well, we are on holiday. Many a Brit would opt for beer abroad but not us, we fancied something a little sweeter to kick off our day in Strasbourg. We arrived in the city around mid-morning and found ourselves, after a tram ride, in the middle of the Grand Rue. With it being a weekend the place was busy with shoppers and tourists alike.
I had read about a patisserie that specialises in many different sweet creations – but a choux bun kebab? Surely this couldn’t be right. We just had to go and investigate for ourselves. L’Atelier 116 is in a prime spot. Just before you hit the beauty of Petite France and the correct distance for your legs to recover from climbing the steps of the nearby Notre Dame.
Outside seating is available, as long as you don’t mind inhaling a Frenchmans morning fag, or inside where you can gaze lovingly at the cakes. We joined the line heading out of the door (always a good sign) as the charming, multilingual service behind the counter answered a flurry of orders for drinks and sweet treats.
I found a good way to order was to get one of you to hold a place in the queue (this method does kind of rely on there being two of you) and the other to head to the cake cabinet, which is inexplicably at the end. There I found beautiful creations, the real sort of stuff that you head to France for. Citron Tarts with Meringue, Millefeuilles, Tarte au Framboise and all other enticing creations.
We narrowed it down to two. A Raspberry Macaron – the type that you find in Pierre Herme’s dessert parlours (Herme incidentally is from Colmar, Alsace) and of course, the choux bun kebab. Or, to give it’s official title ‘Brochette des Choux’ which does sound a lot better. That should really have been it but just before paying, I spotted another sweet on my hit-list, the Bordeaux Canele.
We took our seats in the small seating area while watching the line grow ever longer. The cakes were a welcome distraction, as I dug my spoon effortlessly through the perfectly made macaron. The taste was heavenly. Such a delicate shell but interestingly a cream without sugar. The sugar element is the Macaron shell itself and everything else comes together to balance the flavour. Incredible.
The choux kebab was just as filthy as a kebab should be, in the nicest possible way. A combo of vanilla cream, chocolate, salted caramel and almond. Absolutely perfect. Each and every choux bun was crispy and filled to the max with sweet goodness, shout out to my personal favourite – the salted caramel choux bun.
So how does the Canele rank in amongst all this? Well, it was superb. A firm outer ‘shell’, if you can call it that, of dense sponge with a soft centre made for a very interesting contrast of textures. The flavour though is where it’s at with a Canele, beautiful vanilla goodness. I loved it.
It’s worth mentioning that this place does baguettes, which were a popular option for the budget traveller in need of lunch on the go. Drinks, both hot and cold, are in good supply here also. If I could open the perfect cafe then L’Atelier 116 wouldn’t be far off my blueprint. Sensational cakes and really nice people serving them at half the price of Pierre Herme, what more could you want?
Opening times: Monday – Saturday 0700-1900
Nearest Tram: Langstross/Grand Rue