The last few years has seen a spate of French bakeries in our little Pacific Northwest city, and itâ€™s been fun exploring them.
A few have successfully gone on to open second locations, and I recently saw a sign for a third and possibly fourth location for one of my favourites, this made me think of Eric Kayser, and had me digging around for these photos.
One of the lovely things we did this past spring was pop into the new New York Maison Kayser boulangerie on the Upper East Side for tea.
We were super excited to see this Parisian chain finally make its way across the Atlantic.
When it comes to breads and pastries, Eric Kayser is a genius; some call him a â€˜superstar bakerâ€™, his bakeries are renowned and worldwide, the website lists far-flung locations such as Kiev, Dakar, Seoul, Lisbon, Beirut and of course, Paris.
Plus, he invented his own liquid sourdough-starter leavening process, they do not use commercial yeast at the bakeries… genius!
Itâ€™s the boulangeries on Rue Montorgueil and Place Vendome that made me a fan â€“ I had breakfasts there… some rushed, some unhurried, of tangy crusty chewy baguettes slathered in butter and jam, and for spontaneous picnics in the park, were those colourful tempting pastries and sweets.
Iâ€™ve been so enamoured with their pain aux cÃ©rÃ©ales it inspired this version.
Three more Maison Kaysers have opened in New York since our visit.
The UES location is pretty much identical to the others â€“ open and bright with large glass display cases with rows of luscious and dreamy looking desserts, and beautiful striking breads, croissant, brioches and mini cakes.
The seating area for dining is plain and classic, and towards the back is a glassed-in working bakery, where we watched the breads bake on site.
It was a nice break from running around the city; we had tea with our pistachio financiers, St. Honore cake, flakey buttery croissants and pain aux raisins and relaxed and caught up, and agreed that tea in the New York Maison Kayser is as delightful as its Paris location.
My friend L. calls Maison Kayser a bread empireâ€¦ â€œFrom Kiev to Kinshasa, this is classic empire buildingâ€ he says.