Montpellier is certainly not a place to live if you’re on a diet. There is a patisserie at every turn, always brightly coloured with an array of mouth-watering bakes posing in the window and the aroma of sweet bakes beckoning you inside. Who could resist?
I must have visited over twenty bakeries during my stay there, but three became my regular stops.
1. Pistache et Chocolat
First up, Pistache et Chocolat, also known as my biggest downfall in my fight for health. This bakery was conveniently located right outside my gym. I’m sure you can see what happened there – one hour of sweating completely ruined with 5 minutes of setting foot outside.
I’ll accord the prize of best pain au raisin to Pistache et Chocolat. Their’s was by far the best tasting one that I have ever eaten – glowingly golden, generously filled with a smooth custard bursting with vanilla flavour and brimming with plump raisins.
Another of my favourites was the pistachio and apricot tart, with buttery pastry and a seriously moist pistachio filling, topped with fruity glazed fresh apricot halves.
Pistache et Chocolat
9 Rue Proudhon
T: +33 (0)9 51 25 27 76
Open 8:00-19:00 (Mon-Fri), 8:00-18:00 (Sat), closed Sun
L’authentique is without a doubt Montpellier’s best bakery in my eyes – they could do no wrong and everything that I bought there was absolute perfection. Out of the depths of their wood burning oven came batch after batch of crusty, flour-dusted breads of every shape, size and flavour. And their cakes, tarts, pastries and savoury treats were equally as spectacular.
Every country has their own take on a cheesecake and L’authentique does France proud, offering a tart and fruity fruits rouges version and my personal favourite, the pear and dark chocolate cheesecake. The cheesecake filling is as light as air, sweet with vanilla and sits upon a crisp pastry base. Not overly rich – I could eat an entire cake, although it’s probably advisable to stick to a single generous.
Pistache et Chocolat may have taken the cake for their pain au raisin, but L’authentique’s pain au chocolat was unmatched. Flawless is the only word to describe it – buttery, flakey, and using a high-quality, cocoa-rich dark chocolate with a wonderful balance of bitterness and sweetness. Despite having been out of the oven a little while and cooled, the chocolate had not returned to a set state – it was wonderfully smooth and creamy – delectable.
The apple puff pastry tart didn’t disappoint – soft, caramelised apples sliced thinly and arranged with precision onto a golden, crisp base.
Savoury creations are also top-notch here. The caramelised onion quiche made for a lovely light lunch. A smooth and light fresh egg filling, seasoned with local herbs and baked inside a buttery, golden pastry case.
7, Faubourg Saunerie
T: +33 (0)4 67 92 68 69
Open 7:00-19:00 (Mon-Sat)
3. L’épi Gaulois
My final pick; L’épi Gaulois. This patisserie was my local, situated right on my doorstep. I loved popping in for a freshly baked baguette, or stopping by for a croissant and coffee before and early morning start at university. The selection here was traditionally french, with…
…light and fresh chocolate éclairs…
… juicy, caramelised tarte tatins…
… chewy chocolate macarons…
…fresh cream frasiers…
…layered, custardy mille-feuilles…
… oozing chocolate fondants…
…smooth, intensely vanilla custard flans…
… elegant opera cakes…
… and of course, breakfast pastries such as pain au chocolat and croissant aux amandes.
470 Rue Paul Rimbaud