The Next Sweetest Thing?

maitre choux
maitre choux

Out and about in Chelsea last week, we happened upon this colourfully pop-tastic storefront. On display in the window inviting all to salivate, were rows of scrumptiously gorgeous, magnificently hand-crafted eclairs. This is Maître Choux and it's sure to be the next big thing in sweet treats.

Founded by three Michelin-starred chef Joakim Prat, Maître Choux succeeds in indulging multiple senses at once. The playful yet sophisticated pop-art concept is echoed in the packaging and interior design, and reflects a modern and accessible French aesthetic. Though éclairs are a staple in any French bakery, this is a distinctly London shop and by relegating the menu to these few items, owner Prat proves himself not just as a master of baking these delicacies, but as the name suggests, a true pastry artist. His éclairs command attention and are unsurprisingly delicious, perfect as a sweet indulgence that also works as a luxurious gift, as they are almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

maitre choux

As visually stunning as they are delicious, the éclairs, choux and chouquettes baked in this store are little pieces of art. They aren’t the ordinary chocolate éclairs that you’d find in the traditional pâtisserie, but rather, these delicious delicacies have been updated with unique flavours such as Tahitian vanilla, pistachio, Spanish raspberry, salted caramel, and tiramisu. Just like the pastries, the brand identity takes a modern twist on the classic French bakery, striking a perfect balance between fancy and fun.

As our obsession for these vibrantly elegant éclairs began to blossom, we thought about the last time a pretty little dessert got our pulse racing. Not much of a mystery there. Can you say cupcakes?

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The craze for beautifully decorated tiny cakes took the world by storm with bakeries exclusively selling cupcakes popping up all over the place. With Sprinkles in Los Angeles, Magnolia in New York, and Hummingbird Bakery in London, they were the hottest thing in baked goods. But has the gourmet cupcake trend lost its sweetness? The closing of New York City-based Crumbs Back Shop Inc. last year would suggest so.

A Crumbs cupcake shop sits empty on Federal Street Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Boston. Crumbs says it is shuttering all of its stores a week after the struggling cupcake shop operator was delisted from the Nasdaq. (AP Photo Stephan Savoia)
A Crumbs cupcake shop sits empty on Federal Street Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Boston. Crumbs says it is shuttering all of its stores a week after the struggling cupcake shop operator was delisted from the Nasdaq. (AP Photo Stephan Savoia)

There are many theories on what led to the end of cupcake mania from them being too expensive to problems of having a single-product shop. But maybe it's simply a matter of people desiring something different to hit the sweet spot. In the world of everyday luxury, consumers are looking for indulgences that will delight but not break the bank. If a brand plans to thrive in this dynamic space, to transcend being a trend and become a staple of sweet tidings, it will need to learn from these mistakes. Could Maître Choux's éclairs be the next sweetest thing? Only time will tell, but we certainly hope so.

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