What is patisserie and how its different from a boulangerie

6 Jan 2021

Chocolate Knowledge

Get ready to start craving pastry…

We love all things patisserie – we even think that the word itself is delightful. Roll it around in your mouth like a piece of chocolate and you’ll soon be imagining winding parisian streets, chic French people and – best of all – delicious French pastries.

Derived from the Latin pasticium – which means pastry – the word patisserie is used in the UK to describe shops that sell beautiful pastries. In France, the word also denotes the pastry itself. Although it’s a French word and concept, these charming little shops are also common sights in Italy, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. So, next time you holiday on the continent, we heartily recommend making a patisserie pitstop.

cheesecake with fruit on a table

However, you don’t have to catch a plane, train, or ferry to get a taste of patisserie because we’ve captured all of its magic and chicness in our collection of Patisserie Chocolate. From our boxes of chocolate inspired by patisserie to our macarons, we’ve curated a range that encapsulates the flavours and joy of everyone’s favourite pastries, cakes, and desserts.

If you want to learn a little more about the world of patisserie before you tuck in, keep reading…

What do you buy in a patisserie?

Specialising in pastries and confectionery, patisseries are dreamworlds for anyone with a sweet tooth. Their offerings include choux buns, macarons, millefeuille, madeleines, petits fours, bavaroise, and lots more, so next time you’re on holiday and craving a little something sweet, head to the nearest patisserie.

macarons close up

Our personal favourite patisserie item is the macaron. It’s a meringue-based confectionery that has become as iconically Parisian as the Eiffel Tower. We love these so much that we’ve made our own (with a chocolatey spin, of course) and luckily our fans adore them as much as we do.

Featuring a delicate whip sandwiched between two creamy chocolate disks, we offer Orange Macarons, Raspberry Macarons, Chocolate Macarons, and Mint Macarons. We even offer a Macaron Collection featuring three flavours (perfect if you can’t decide which to get). Dip into the perfect marriage of chocolate and patisserie. 

What’s the difference between patisserie and a boulangerie?

In simple terms, a boulangerie is a French bakery whereas a patisserie is a pastry shop. Boulangeries sell everyday items like bread and croissants and you’ll find them even in the smallest towns. It’s hard to walk down a French street without spotting one, or three!

Patisseries, on the other hand, are more specialist. People usually go to them for desserts or sweet treats for special occasions. In France, patisserie is an art form. This means that becoming a master pastry chef – or a maître pâtissier – is no piece of cake. Often they’ll need some sort of diploma in making pastry and years of experience. This diploma is vital in France and Belgium. Without it, a pastry shop cannot legally call itself a patisserie unless they employ a maître pâtissier.

patisserie window with beautiful cakes

Although patisseries are a little more prestigious and arguably more exciting, boulangeries are hugely important in French culture. Our French friends take bread very seriously. From the classic baguette to pain de campagne, you’ll find them all in a boulangerie. There’s even a French saying, long comme un jour sans pain. This literally means “as long as a day without bread”, and describes something that is drearily unending.

Boulangeries do also sell pastries, just not the same sort of pastries that you’d find in a patisserie. Instead, they sell breakfast pastries like croissants and pain aux raisins. When we’re in France, starting our day by feasting on these is our favourite way to immerse ourselves in French culture…

Is cake a patisserie?

Whether cake is patisserie or not is a source of great debate in France and around the world. Some purists would argue that only pastry products belong in the ornate windows of a patisserie but that doesn’t stop some French pastry shops from offering cakes. However, if you’re lucky enough to find cakes there, they’ll probably be a little different from what we’d recognise in the UK. That’s because French cakes usually have lighter sponges and more elaborate fillings such as ganache, mousse, and lots of fruit.

We firmly believe that cake is patisserie. We’ve included chocolates inspired by some of the nation’s favourite cakes and puddings in our Patisserie H-Box and Sleekster, including our Carrot Cake, Billionaire’s Shortbread, and Apple Strudel chocolates. So, whatever your favourite pudding is, you’re likely to find it in one of these boxes. Yep, we’re making it possible to have several cakes and eat them too.

Are croissants patisserie?

Croissants on a white plate

This is a tricky one. Croissants are just buttery flaky pastry, so you may assume that they belong in a patisserie, but this isn’t the case. Technically, croissants are viennoiserie, a term used to describe pastries made in a typically Austrian style (which is why their name is derived from the Austrian capital). In France, if you’re on the hunt for a croissant, you’ll always find them in a boulangerie.

Viennoiserie also include favourites such as brioche and pain au chocolat. Many people consider it to be a bridge between patisserie and boulangerie, because they feature the delicious pastry of patisserie whilst keeping the modest charm of boulangerie. Sweet but not too fancy, viennoiseries are perfect for breakfast when served with a cafe au lait in a dainty Parisian cafe (ideally with a view of the Arc de Triomphe and an accordion playing softly in the background).

Our Patisserie chocolate box

By now you’re probably craving a trip to Paris and a sweet dessert (we know we certainly are). Whilst we sadly can’t exactly provide a French getaway, we can provide the next best thing – a simple way to enjoy patisserie à la français thanks to our Patisserie chocolate box.

Our Patisserie Sleekster includes all of our favourite dessert-inspired chocolates

Enough to make even the most particular maître pâtissier smile, our boxes of patisserie chocolates are bursting with all the charm and deliciousness of an authentic French pastry shop. Inspired by delights found in France and beyond, it offers a spectacular variety of desserts from all over the world. That includes Mousse au Chocolat, our take on the iconic French dessert, as well as a quintessentially Italian Tiramisu chocolate. It’s the perfect gift for that family member who loves a good dessert, that friend who adores all things French, or simply yourself (go on, you deserve a patisserie treat).

However, you don’t need to be big on desserts or French culture to fall in love with this box. Featuring an assortment of milk and white chocolate treats, there’s something in this box to suit everyone’s individual tastes. Our Blondie, our Raspberry Pannacotta, and our Lemon Cheesecake will fulfil any white chocolate lovers’ dreams. Meanwhile, our ultra-chocolatey Brownie, Fudge Sundae, and Caramel Cheesecake will delight any milk chocolate fan. This variety makes it especially perfect for passing around at gatherings and dinner parties (get a Patisserie box and you won’t even have to worry about making a dessert). 

No matter who you’re buying for, our Patisserie chocolates are sure to be a big hit. A box of patisserie paradise, it’s the perfect way to enjoy chocolate in a chic French way.

Now, how do you say “yes please” in French?