Angelina is certainly no secret, but when you step in this gold-and-mirrored “salon de thé” on the rue de Rivoli in Paris, you will immediately feel like you’ve found something special. You have!
I heard about this lovely little gem of a café years ago when a friend raved about the best hot chocolate she’d ever had. “They basically bring you a pot of melted chocolate and a pot of whipped cream and you do the rest!” she said. Well, I was in!
The first time I went to Angelina was on a hot July day. Did this stop me from ordering hot chocolate? Non! I was sweating when I walked through the gold-rimmed doors into the beautiful air-conditioned teahouse. The pastry case with its exquisitely detailed and colorful patisseries called to me in loving tones of raspberry, lemon, and pistachio, but I was there for the hot chocolate.
I sat down and looked around me. Beautiful wall-sized paintings in gold-gilded frames glowed under the illuminated ceiling and crystal chandelier, which filled the room with light. It’s kind of like dining in a museum. Ooh la la! When the waiter came over, I ordered the chocolat chaud l’Africain. When it was delivered to me it was exactly how my friend had described: a pot of chocolate and a pot of whipped cream. And, it was exactly how I wanted it to taste. The memory still makes me close my eyes and sigh.
Unbeknownst to me, Angelina is most famed for its Mont Blanc pastry, a heavenly puff of meringue, whipped cream and crème de marron (chestnut cream- yum!). The chestnut cream “noodles” look strange but taste like magic: a nutty, sweet-but-not-too-sweet paste that blends perfectly with the cream and meringue. I didn’t try this until my second visit, but now I’ll never not order this, too!
You can also get lunch at Angelina. They have lovely sandwiches and salads to devour before you finish with a pastry from the case. I took my granddaughter there once for a special treat during our trip to Paris. She, too, was excited to get the chocolat chaud l’Africain, and assembled it daintily, sipping from the cup with her pinky in the air. Don’t miss Angelina on your next visit to Paris. It will be a highlight of your trip! For more tips on traveling in France, consult my new cookbook Ooh la la! French Inspirations for Entertaining and Travel.