Sunday, June 2, 2013

The best kouign-amman in the world is by Chef Cyrille Soenen of Brasserie Cicou in Greenhills

The Blanco Museum in Angono

Yesterday, after our morning in Angono, visiting the Blanco Museum and living a Travelife, we headed to Greenhills for lunch at Brasserie Cicou.



I don't get to Greenhills often, so I had never eaten at Brasserie Cicou in this new location before.

I did enjoy Chef Cyrille Soenen's cooking, when he was still cooking in Makati.

A VERY MEMORABLE DINNER



And once I had a most memorable dinner at a friend's home in Forbes Park.

Chef Cyrille had cooked a private sit-down dinner for 16 that had included the most delicious turkey I'd had in a long time, and my all-time favorite kouign-amman with salted caramel ice cream for dessert.

MY MOST FAVORITE PASTRY IN THE WORLD

Kouign-amman ranks as one of the best pastries in the world for me.

I would happily gain 2 kilos for a very good one. It's a pastry from Bretagne in France that's incredibly delicious, and it also looks relatively simple to make. It is just a pastry, after all, with nothing added to it.

Ironically, I've had so few truly good ones.

ON A SEARCH IN PARIS


When I'm in Paris, I walk around all the famous bakeries, trying their kouign-amman. And even if I'm very full, I buy one and eat it anyway, in an effort to find the best.

Ironically, the best kouign-amman I've ever had in France (so far) was at a hotel, and not at a brasserie.

I often used to stay at the Park Hyatt Place Vendome, especially during sale season in Paris, as it has the perfect location for almost everywhere I want to go. It's also quite a private hotel compared to the others.

THE BEST KOUIGN-AMMAN IS AT PARK HYATT PARIS

Park Hyatt Place Vendome, Paris

Anyway, the Park Hyatt Place Vendome has the best kouign-amman I've ever tasted.

It's so good, in fact, that it always runs out at the breakfast buffet -- at least during the times I've stayed there. I used to stay there a lot many years ago when it first opened, but I haven't stayed in the last few years.

And next weekend, I'm staying at Paris' most talked-about hotel of the moment. Just because I want to see what the fuss is all about. If I like it, maybe it'll become my next new favorite hotel...

THE GOLD STANDARD FOR KOUIGN-AMMAN



But back to my favorite kouign-amman.

So my gold standard for kouign-amman is the Park Hyatt Place Vendome.

I've really visited all the great bakeries of Paris and I still haven't found one as good.

About ten years ago, especially, I used to visit Paris about twice or thrice a year for several years, with a Japanese girl friend who was really crazy about pastries.


She bakes so she's as OC about pastries and bakeries as I am about hotels.

She would research the best places in excruciating detail, and we would spend every morning of a week in Paris walking from bakery to bakery to try their goods.

So this is how I came upon the conclusion that the Park Hyatt Paris has the best kouign-amman.

CHEF CYRILLE'S KOUIGN-AMMAN

Brasserie Cicou in Greenhills


And then I had Chef Cyrille's kouign-amman for dessert at my friend's private dinner, topped with salted caramel ice cream. I swear I didn't talk for the rest of that evening.

And then yesterday, I had this kouign-amman again for dessert at Brasserie Cicou. Chef Cyrille happened to be there and he told me that he had the kouign-amman. I almost jumped up and hugged him, when he said this.

Of course we ordered it.

TWO SCHOOLGIRLS ENJOYING A SWEET TREAT



I was eating with an ambassador and his wife. The wife was in raptures like me, as we both had one kouign-amman each, topped with salted caramel ice cream.

You must really have the kouign-amman with the salted caramel ice cream, as it's a perfect combination.

The ambassador was very amused. He said: "You look like two schoolgirls, enjoying that dessert."

It was true. I was giddy as a schoolgirl.



In my busy never-endingly eventful Travelife, I'd actually forgotten how delicious Chef Cyrille's kouign-amman was.

Ironically, I'm on my way to Paris next weekend for a short trip. Maybe I'll find a better kouign-amman on this trip, that involves stays in some of the loveliest hotels in France.

But for now, Chef Cyrille's kouign-amman at Brasserie Cicou in Manila, is at the top of my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.





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