4 OF THE BEST CAKE SHOPS/PATISSERIES IN GENEVA
by Chené Koscielny
Photographs by Caro Blackwell of Caroblackwell.com
Life is too short to say no to cake! (…or champagne for that matter)
In our quest to find the best patisseries in Geneva, we have had to eat our way through mountains of sickly sweet, soggy cakes while sour-faced Swiss waiters look on, but it was well worth it.
All those calories consumed in the name of research helped us identify the 4 BEST bakeries with some of their most special creations! So, you can have your cake and eat it!
PIERRE ET JEAN
This award-winning artisan boulanger and patisserie has two shops – a tiny bakery in the Old Town and an older, slightly bigger tea room and bakery in the Bains district.
They have been awarded the Champion Suisse title for Swiss bakeries at least twice and their display of cakes is simply stunning.
We tried two of their most popular cakes – the Bounty and the Crunchy.
The Bounty – is a chocolate mousse and coconut masterpiece on a shortbread base and it’s delicious, although very sweet. (On the left in our photograph)
The Crunchy – comprises a very rich chocolate filling encased in more chocolate encrusted with caramelised almonds and vanilla-flavoured mascarpone on top! (On the right in our photograph)
They are also famous for their Caramelia slice – (in the middle in our picture)
After visiting the old town bakery three times, we have to say that the service at the Bains café is much friendlier, but hey, the cake tastes the same!
Rue Verdaine 12
Rue des Bains 65
This unassuming little tea room/chocolaterie/patisserie on the plain of Plainpalais was a very pleasant surprise. Although it has had far less publicity than some of the others, it is my favourite – both in terms of service, location and cakes!
The atmosphere is quaint and bright it has a pretty little courtyard at the back with a few tables on the pavement out in front from where you can watch all the action.
This cake shop is owned by two couples with very varied backgrounds, strengths and cultures.
Pilar Ricciardi (Argentinia) and her husband Christophe Berger (Swiss) teamed up with Arnaud de Faletans (French) and his wife Miriami de Faletans (Finland) to create this very authentic tea room and bakery.
We tried the chocolate mousse cake with salted caramel, which was absolutely more-ish with a melt-in-your-mouth light mousse. The salty caramel notes were very distinct and the cake was not too heavy or sweet.
My favourite was the refreshing fresh raspberry and lychee cream macaron, which was deliciously light and not too sweet. Perfect as a summer dessert or afternoon treat.
The patisserie is also well known for their 70% chocolate eclairs and their tarte tatin with speculoos dough, caramelised apples and vanilla!
16 Avenue Henri Dunant
More info here.
AUX MERVEILLEUX DE FRED
Also on Plainpalais – on the Plainpalais round-about, you’ll find an unusual cake shop worth mentioning.
French patisserie chef Fréderic Vaucamps had his first success with his now famous Merveilleux – sweet dessert/cake bombs in Lille – before opening shops in New York and across Europe, including Geneva, from 2015.
We LOVE the beautiful rose decorations adorning the huge and inviting terrace during the summer and the opulent Versailles-style chandelier and stunning wall paintings in this gorgeous shop. You feel like you’re in a chic Paris café and that’s before you’ve even tried one of the Merveilleux or Cramiques that Fred is famous for.
The Merveilleux is something between a cake and a dessert – made from two beautiful meringues stuck together with a sinfully unctuous, delicious cream filling sprinkled with chocolate shavings. This decadent creation is covered in another layer of cream before again being sprinkled with chocolate. It sounds over the top, but surprisingly, the end result is not only yummy, but also feels surprisingly light.
Les Merveilleux come in different flavours, for example:
Le Incroyable – Meringue, speculoos biscuits, whipped cream coated with shaved white chocolate.
The magnifique – meringue, praline whipped cream coated with almond chips and carmalised hazelnuts.
These cakes are available big and in mini, but if you’re going to do it – do it properly, we say!
Fred’s other speciality is Cramiques – something between a scone and a revisited brioche in a different range of flavours, including one with chocolate bits, which is very satisfying indeed.
9 Rond point de Plainpalais
MR & MRS RENOU
In the pretty Italian-flavoured town of Carouge – you’ll find another well-known patisserie/chocolaterie, which is well worth a visit.
Mr and Mrs Renou is the result of the marriage between a famous French patisserie chef Christophe Renou and his wife, Vanessa, who is a tasting expert, specialising in chocolate.
The couple united their passions to create their dream shop in Carouge in 2017.
Since then they’ve also opened a second shop (and patisserie school) in Plan les Oates.
Their cake slices come in many different flavours, including lemon meringue, tiramisu, salted caramel and chocolate passion. They are famous for their deliciously decadent Mac’Sablé – these are a macaroon and shortbread mix encased in Brazilian chocolate and with different flavoured fillings. To die for!
They also propose a big cubic cake already sliced, to avoid family squabbles or messy cutting at the table !
We tried the meringue framboise coco – crunchy meringue and black chocolate slice with a heart of framboise, cream and coconut.
The Pti Chou Paris Brest Noisette is chou pastry filled with cream and sprinkled with nuts and is another favourite with their customers.
Rue Saint-Joseph, 39