Someone call Mary Berry, the French have stolen afternoon tea! Well, that’s certainly seems that case if Pierre Hermé’s newly-launched French Goûter at the Sofitel London St James is anything to go by. Offering a very French take on afternoon tea, the concept combines the French ritual of the goûter: the snack traditionally eaten by children after school, along with the talents of world-renowned pâtissier Pierre Hermé. Best known for his irresistible macarons and inspired flavour combinations (tomato ketchup and white truffle, anyone?), Hermé began his career as an apprentice to iconic Parisian pastry chef Gaston Lenôtre at the age of 14. He has since gone on to receive international acclaim for his sweet creations and today, Pierre Hermé boutiques can be found in London, Asia and the Middle East – as well as his native France.
Partnering with Sofitel – the only French luxury hotel group – The Goûter is served in the elegant surroundings of The Balcon restaurant, with two different options available to diners. Both Le Goûter Mogador and Le Goûter Quatre Heures include slices of Hermé’s impossibly light brioche mousseline, with the latter featuring a most generous serving of hazelnut praline spread with caramelized nuts. If you’re a chocolate lover, this is the one for you; no other chocolate spread will ever be good enough after you’ve tried this. In addition, the Quatre Heures also includes some very addictive chocolate sables, sprinkled with a touch of sea salt, and the deliciously dense chocolate moelleux. And for a serious chocolate hit, we suggest accompanying with a cup of lusciously thick hot chocolate.
Those with more exotic tastes should turn their attention to Le Goûter Mogador which showcases one of Pierre Hermé’s favourite flavour combinations: milk chocolate and passion fruit. Although it might sounds like an unusual mélange, the tang of passion fruit and rich milk chocolate is nothing short of addictive. To top the fresh brioche, there’s homemade Mogador jam: a heady mix of orange, apricot and pineapple – but do make sure you leave a little room. A selection of milk chocolate and passion fruit macarons served with a glass of iced green tea, aromatic with cardamom and jasmine? Suddenly a scone with clotted cream and jam seems like a bit of a let down.
Pierre Hermé’s French Goûters are available at The Balcon at the Sofitel St James now and for a limited time only.