Dainty Pastries Positively Pleasing

Cover Story Features

May 5, 2013

Story By: Jaimie Kim Farinas | Photos by: Leah Friel

A pastry from Patisserie La Palme D’or isn’t just an indulgence for your taste buds. Each item is intricately and uniquely crafted. The mere act of sitting down at the table and looking at it — with your camera, if you are an avid fan of photographing memorable food experiences — becomes an act of pampering yourself.

Which is why, with Mother’s Day quickly approaching, gifting a pastry (or a few) from La Palme D’or should seem the obvious — and delicious — answer to showing your appreciation for all your mother has done in your life. If you are new to the patisserie, this also is the perfect time to sample a few of its offerings.

Two cakes will be available Saturday and Sunday on Mother’s Day weekend. It also is recommended that you order in advance, since your sweetest cravings will be created on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each cake comes topped with a “Happy Mother’s Day” decal, which also is transferrable to any of the other cakes La Palme D’or offers, if your mom already has a favorite.

The first is Banana Nut Cake ($37 small, serves four to six; $26 extra-small, serves three to four; $4.95 a slice). This dessert makes its seasonal debut for the Mother’s Day occasion, and is a new flavor executive chef Akiko Kimura experimented with.

“I wanted to try a new taste,” she says. “Most people like banana — that’s why I wanted to incorporate banana.”

Consisting of a bottom layer of chocolate sponge cake and topped with a hazel-nut mousse featuring hints of Maui Dark Rum, the subtle banana flavor adds an elegant twist to a feel-good classic. Like all desserts offered by La Palme D’or, it is topped with eye-catching adornments of caramelized banana, walnuts and chocolate.

The second cake is for the mother who thinks chocolate is the answer to everything. Triple Chocolate Cake ($37 small, serves four to six; $26 extra small, serves three to four; $4.95 a slice) features a perfect combination of three layers of chocolate. The chocolate sponge cake on the bottom is made with less flour, making its texture extremely soft and fluffy, allowing it to blend nicely with the other two layers: milk chocolate blended with raspberries in the middle, and white chocolate with vanilla beans on top. It is then topped with strawberries, raspberries and thin, pink-marbled white chocolate circles, giving it a contemporary flair.

With a case full of single-serve decadence, you also may find it tempting to create a collage of desserts. You won’t have to worry about disappointing with any selection. The Parisian-inspired patisserie, which infuses Japanese flavors, is rooted in Kimura’s skilled dedication to honing her craft.

“I start with the easy job, and then learn that first,” she says. “If I can do that (without any) mistakes, I can take the next step.”

Kimura, who has been with La Palme D’or since 2009, says she practices multiple times with a variety of ingredients, and always thinks of taste first.

Staring into the glass case, entranced by nearly 30 hand-crafted pastries is almost as good as eating it — but you’re going to want to eat them.

Picking among nearly 30 single options is going to be both enthralling and challenging. But, we eat with our eyes, and in this case, everything is as good as it looks, so there are no bad choices.

The blend of multiple flavors and textures found in Berry Cup ($3.85) is both visually pleasing, with its colorful mixture, and subtly sweet. A parfait of sorts, although certainly more sophisticated, it consists of cubes of New York cheese-cake, a tropical fromage (mousse), gateau au fraise, raspberry jelly, crunchy white chocolate strawberry flakes topped with whipped cream and fresh berries.

Another selection to sample from La Palme D’or’s case of sugary goodies is Sweet Bliss ($4.95). It made its debut this past Valentine’s Day, but has remained on the menu. It is both memorable and easy to spot, with the petite macaroon on top that will undoubtedly catch your eye.

Others you are going to want to try, or return for, are La Macha ($4.45) and Mont Blanc ($5).

Of course, the best solution to solving the dilemma of narrowing it down to a few choices is to come back for more.

Patisserie La Palme D’Or

Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Blvd.
Monday-Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sunday 9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Ala Moana Center, Honolulu, HI 96814

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