Twenty years ago, Frédéric Vaucamps opened his patisserie ‘Aux Merveilleux de Fred’ in Lille, where he perfected his recipe for ‘merveilleux’ – mini-meringues coated in chocolate whipped cream, then covered in chocolate shavings. They were an immediate hit and he has since opened many more stores in Lille, Paris and even London. Yet while other patisseries feel the need to ‘keep up’ with trends, Fred is still doing what he does best –merveilleux come in classically French variations; Speculoos, white chocolate, coffee, nuts, caramel and cherry – in either individual sizes (€3.10) or sharing size (€11-20).
With such airy meringues (imagine a cloud melting in your mouth) and good quality ingredients, it’s easy to see why Fred’s sweet treats have been so successful. But stop by any of Paris’s seven stores and it will become even more apparent. Freshly made in the window every day, pâtissiers smooth whipped cream onto each individual meringue with a spatula before rolling or patting them with chocolate flakes. Prepare to be mesmerised; it’s like a live cooking show – where you get to eat the finished product. Bliss.