London is a riddle. Paris is an explanation. -G.K. Chesterton
I’ve been to Paris once. My sister, aunt, and I were on a month-long expedition throughout Europe in 2015, and we decided to finish the month with a full week in Paris.
Knowing that we’d be tired by the end of our travels, we planned very little for the week. Every lazy morning started with a stroll down the street to a patisserie for pain au chocolat and coffee, and we enjoyed the evenings together with a bottle of vouvray and an assortment of cheeses and baguettes, looking out over the city from the open windows of our 7th-floor apartment (no elevator, I might add….I’ll never forget that!).
It was one of the most perfect weeks of my life.
For centuries, writers have tried to define the one thing that makes Paris so special…and it’s a tricky thing to put into words. (I won’t try, because I don’t trust my writing abilities for such a delicate task.) But when you visit Paris, you know. There’s magic in that city.
Soraiya Nagree, owner of La Patisserie in Austin, was lucky enough to catch that feeling at 10 years old. Although she went on to have a successful career as a chemical engineer, she always knew, deep down, that she wanted to be a pastry chef.
So Soraiya went to culinary school, started a baking company, and then opened a french bakery in Austin, TX. (She makes it sound so easy, right?! She’s also wife, a mom of three, and one of the sweetest people you’ll meet.) Now she owns two locations of La Patisserie: one in south Austin, and one in north Austin.
To me, macarons are the dessert equivalent of sushi: delicate, complex, light, and addicting! I could eat macarons for days.. (And I did, right after this photo shoot!).
The complexity of making macarons is a bit lost on me; I’ve never tried making them myself. But Soraiya explained that there are multiple time-consuming steps involved, including a 24-hour resting stage. And while they may be complicated to make, “one of the best things about macarons,” Soraiya told me with a smile on her face, “is that they get better with age. A macaron will taste better on day three or four than it did on day one.”
The regular flavors at La Patisserie are
- Wild Strawberry
- Toasted Almond
- Pure Chocolate
- Vanilla (<- my favorite!)
- Salted Caramel
- Honey Orange
Soraiya and her team introduce seasonal flavors throughout the year. I sampled a few other fun flavors during my visit, like Funfetti and Strawberry Champagne. They’re constantly changing, so there’s always something new to try.
If macarons aren’t your thing, try a some of their other delectable pastries, like butter croissants, morning buns, and scones. Everything is baked fresh at the north location!
La Patisserie is a little slice of Paris in the middle of Austin. It just makes me so happy!! Macarons feel luxurious, and they’re the perfect little gift to buy for yourself (or a friend!) when you need a treat. For those of us who can’t get to Paris every year (but wish we could…), this sweet bakery is the next best thing.
La Patisserie South
602 W. Annie St., Austin, Texas 78704
La Patisserie North
7301 Burnet Road Ste 102, Austin, Texas 78757
** photos by Kiera Jane of France Photographers
And if you missed them, here a few other weekend coffee dates to check out!
Enjoy your weekend!