The passion for all things rose-flavored in Paris has got to be the longest-running trend in a city that runs through trends at sprinter speed. As best as I can figure, it began about 10 years ago. What I know for sure is that the pastry that started it all was the Ispahan, created by Pierre Herme, a guy who has started a lot of sweet trends here.
In its original incarnation-and, as it continues today-the Ispahan consists of two rose macarons, a filling of rose cream studded with litchis and raspberries, and, to top it off, a fresh rose petal touched with a drop of (sugar-syrup) dew. But Pierre has continued to riff on the Ispahan, using that flavor trinity to make, among other things, a buche de Noel, a loaf cake, a galette des rois, a parfait-like dessert in a glass (another Paris trend), ice cream sandwiches, a fabulous jam and multi-layered fruit jellies. This month, the pastry genie is celebrating the Ispahan and introducing a new member of the family: an Ispahan Gateau Saint-Honore.
Pierre says he never tires of working and re-working the combination and, clearly, Parisians never tire of indulging in it. It's almost impossible to go into a pastry shop in Paris these days and not see something rose-flavored. But now it seems as though the trend has spread, breaking out of the jewel-like patisseries of Paris and making its way into supermarkets. Here's what I found in the yogurt section of my local grocery:
I can hardly wait to see where the roses will bloom next.
Dorie Greenspan, special correspondent
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