Move over, macarons and doughnuts—it’s time for the éclair to shine. Beyond their French roots as simple cylinders of choux pastry filled with cream and topped with icing, éclairs these days are getting the artisanal touch. Savour the mouth-watering creations of these North American spots.
Duchess Bake Shop, Edmonton
This incredibly popular locals’ spot in Edmonton’s Westmount neighbourhood is known for its focus on quality ingredients. Like many of the shop’s menu items—among them macarons, brioche and madeleines—the éclairs change monthly; past flavours have included peach-raspberry, spiced black plum and lemon poppyseed.
Maison Christian Faure, Montreal
Skip the touristy spots in the city’s old town in favour of this perfect lunch spot/pastry school. The simple tartines and salads let you leave room for the pastries, which include three varieties of éclair: coffee, chocolate-hazelnut and Paris-Brest filled with a praline and hazelnut mousse.
The Tempered Room, Toronto
The Tempered Room is a casual, bright café that opened last fall in the city’s west-end Parkdale neighbourhood. It serves up a variety of sweets and savouries with a French theme. Pick a spot at the big communal table near the window to sample the pretty éclairs on offer, such as chocolate-passionfruit, pistachio-cherry or Nutella-banana.
Les Jardins de la Duchesse, New York
Also newly opened last fall, this Lower East Side patisserie makes nothing but éclairs, with six sweet and four savoury options to choose from. Start with the salmon-wasabi, perhaps, topped with wasabi-coated peanuts, or the bacon-wrapped goat cheese with thyme and honey; then satisfy your sweet tooth with the salted butter caramel or lemon, ginger and yuzu.
The global hotel chain pays homage to its French roots with a worldwide éclair program offering classic and locally inspired flavours at each location. Meridien locations feature takes on the pastry by award-winning pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini. Must-try American flavours include salted caramel peanut in Chicago, Texas praline in Dallas and, in San Francisco, carmelized corn and blueberry with raw honey and almonds.