Tag Archives: Sadaharu Aoki

sadaharu aoki photo meg zimbeck

Sadaharu Aoki

Master  pâtissier Sadaharu Aoki combines French techniques and Japanese flavors.

Practical information

Address: 35 rue de Vaugirard, 75006
Nearest transport: Saint-Placide (4)
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11am-7pm, Sunday 10am-6pm; Closed Monday
Telephone: 01 45 44 48 90
Website   Facebook

Additional Locations

Address: 56 boulevard de Port Royal, 75005
Nearest transport: Les Gobelins (7)
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-7pm, Sunday 10am-6pm; Closed Monday
Telephone: 01 45 35 36 80

Address: 25 rue Pérignon, 75015
Nearest transport: Ségur (10)
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11am-7pm; Closed Sunday
Telephone: 01 43 06 02 71

Reviews of interest

L’Express (2015) “Il est le premier à avoir intégré des produits typiquement japonais (matcha, sésame noir, yuzu ou haricot rouge) dans des grands classiques de la pâtisserie hexagonale: opéra ou millefeuille au thé vert, éclair au sésame noir. Grâce à une force de travail et de création exceptionnelle, Sadaharu Aoki a également sublimé des recettes plus traditionnelles comme la tarte au citron ou au caramel salé.”

Sugared & Spiced (2014) “Tarte Caramel Matcha (€5.30), a recently launched variation on Aoki’s Tarte Caramel Salé, is an eye-catcher and no less intense in taste. The perfectly piped green spiral of matcha mousse has a strong taste (in comparison to the more subtle flavors in Aoki’s other matcha pastries), and underneath it is a salted caramel that’s both very sweet and salty. I quite liked it, but only in small doses – 1/4 of the tart at a time is perfect.”

Rosa Jackson (2012) “Japanese cake guru, Sadaharu Aoki, mixes flavours from the East with traditional French pastry ingredients to come up with some of the most surprising (and delicious) cakes in Paris.  For those less adventurous, his traditional mille-feuille (vanilla slice) and fraisier (strawberry cake) are perfection incarnate. Or if you fancy something new, try inventions like the Kimagure (choux pastry, vanilla cream, matcha and azuki beans); or the Saya (strawberry mousse with pistachio crème-brûlée and strawberry macaroon).”

Paris Pâtisseries (2011) “I was quick to grab a black sesame éclair (a classic!), but I also spotted a new entrant into la gamme – the Sudachi…It’s a mélange of lemon, mandarin orange and pine, quite acidic and 100% delightful. All the layers of gateau and crème were textbook excellence, as well.”

Dorie Greenspan (2010) “…the lovely young woman who sold me this ice cream sandwich at Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki.  The ice cream is my favorite Aoki flavor, black sesame, a marvel, and the cookie is a thin, not-very-sweet (which means perfect) chocolate sable (or shortbread).”

Dorie Greenspan (2009) “Also new are these macarons a la rusk from Sadaharu Aoki.  They’re the shells that would normally be filled to make macarons, brushed with butter, sprinkled with sugar and baked again, so that they’re drier and crunchier than macarons.  In other words, they’re macaron biscotti. And they’re fun.”

Arnaud Larher Tarte au Citron Photo Meg Zimbeck

Mapped: Paris’ Best Lemon Tarts

Earlier this week, we published the results from our taste test of the best lemon tarts in Paris and you’ve been clamoring for a map of the addresses ever since. Your wish is our command. Go forth, eat tarts, and let us know which tarte au citron you want to be your main squeeze.

1. Arnaud Larher – 93 rue de Seine, 75006

2. Sébastien Gaudard – 22 rue des Martyrs, 75009

3. Sadaharu Aoki – 35 rue de Vaugirard, 75006

4. La Pâtisserie by Cyril Lignac – 24 rue Paul Bert, 75011

5. Jacques Genin – 133 rue de Turenne, 75003

6. Blé Sucré – 7 rue Antoine Vollon, 75012

7. Carl Marletti – 51 Rue Censier, 75005

8. Carette – 4 place du Trocadero, 75016

9. Pierre Hermé – 72 rue Bonaparte, 75006

10. La Pâtisserie des Rêves – 93 rue du Bac, 75007

11. Ladurée – 21 Rue Bonaparte, 75006

12. Hugo & Victor – 40 boulevard Raspail, 75007

13. Gâteaux Thoumieux – 58 rue Saint-Dominique, 75007

14. Stéphane Secco – 75 Boulevard de Grenelle, 75015

15. Liberté par Benoît Castel – 39 rue des Vinaigriers, 75010

16. Helmut Newcake – 36 rue Bichat, 75010

Lemon Tart Line Up Photo Catherine Down

Taste Test: Paris’ Best Lemon Tarts

Each month we’ll put the focus on a particular Parisian pastry, collect the best examples of classic & creative interpretations, then invite an esteemed panel of food experts & enthusiasts to evaluate them in a blind taste test. This month: Lemon Tarts. 

‘Tis the Season for Citrus

Citrus is in season right now and lemon tarts, a perennial Parisian favorite, are in abundance at pâtisseries all over town.  Because your time – and calories – shouldn’t be wasted on mediocre pastry, we organized a panel (more about our judges below) to blind taste and identify the best tarte au citron.

The Results: 

Our favorite comes from MOF pastry chef Arnaud Larher

Lemon tarts from Sébastien Gaudard, Sadaharu Aoki, and Jacques Genin all ranked highly, with more #1 votes than the tart from Arnaud Lahrer. However, those tarts were more divisive, and dissenting votes brought down their overall scores. The meringue topped tart from Larher had very high marks – if not always the highest – and that accounts for the upset victory.

1. Arnaud Larher

Arnaud Larher Tarte au Citron Photo Meg Zimbeck

Almost all the judges were surprised by the big win from Larher, but it was consistently rated across the board for good lemon flavor, buttery crust, and an appealing top hat of meringue. 

2. Sébastien Gaudard

Sebastien Gaudard Tarte au Citron Photo Meg Zimbeck

Gaudard’s brightly flavored lemon curd was excellent, even if a bit messy and loose. One judge lauded it for its “soft, strong lemon taste” and another found it had “the best crust to date.”

3. Sadaharu Aoki

Sadaharu Aoki Tarte au Citron Photo Meg Zimbeck

The elegant presentation, balanced lemon flavor and crunchy crust made this a favorite of one judge who said “I thought Aoki nailed it pretty well.” Another said there was “a grittiness to the crust, but I liked it” while others found it a little two sweet.

4.  La Pâtisserie by Cyril Lignac

Cyril Lignac Tarte au Citron Photo Meg Zimbeck

This outside the box lemon tart, inside of a box, was mostly well-received. One judge noted its “well-balanced flavor but not very useful meringue as there’s too much bitterness.” Another raved about the drops of lemon emulsion between the small peaks of curd.

5. Jacques Genin

Jacques Genin Tarte au Citron Photo Meg Zimbeck

This made-to-order lemon tart was a favorite of the PbM editorial team (both our Editor-in-Chief and Assistant Editor ranked it as their top pick) but one judge wrote “I was disappointed. It wasn’t as subtle as in my memories, compared to the others.” Opinions were divided about the incorporation of lime zest and basil – one judge declared that it “smells amazing, like pure spring!” and another felt these overshadowed the lemon.

6. Blé Sucré

Ble Sucre Tarte au Citron Photo Meg Zimbeck

The tiniest of the tarts had an eggier consistency and rustic crust. It was solidly liked by the judges who declared “tart but not too sweet” and “wow so much lemon!” but found the crust a little too thick.

7. Carl Marletti

Carl Marletti Tarte au Citron Photo Meg Zimbeck

The well-cooked crust was generally a hit, and judges noted the balanced acidity of this silver topped tart. One declared the curd “a little artificial tasting.”

8. Carette

Carette Tarte au Citron Photo Meg Zimbeck

The texture of the curd was generally applauded but judges were divided on the intensity of the lemon flavor. One found it “quite strong and very fruity” while another declared it “one note.” Several judges noted that the crust was a little too thin.

9. Pierre Hermé

Pierre Herme Tarte au Citron Photo Meg Zimbeck

Judges were surprised that the “Picasso of Pastry” didn’t perform better. The presentation was stunning, but the darker crust overpowered the too subtle “milky tasting” lemon tart with “acrid” candied lemon on top.

10. La Pâtisserie des Rêves

Patisserie des Reves Tartes au Citron Photo Meg Zimbeck

The whimsical lime scented meringue cap was striking, but ultimately overwhelmed the lemon curd which one judge declared “too mellow”.

11. Ladurée

Laduree Tarte au Citron Photo Meg Zimbeck

 This was another surprise– Ladurée actually exceeded most of the judge’s expectations and performed much better than anticipated despite an eggy and sweet curd. The “well cooked crust” was a hit, but one wondered if it was “too buttery?!” Another found the texture too loose and the glaze too old-fashioned.

12. Hugo & Victor

Hugo & Victor Tarte au Citron Photo Meg Zimbeck

The crunchy meringue peaks were captivating, but contributed to the judges’ unanimous declaration that the tart was “too sweet”. The thin lemon curd to thick crust ratio was another drawback, with one judge stating it was “too candy like.”

13. Gâteaux Thoumieux

Gateaux Thoumieux Photo Meg Zimbeck

The sablé crust was given demerits for being “overly thick and sandy”, “too buttery” and “dry and tasteless.” The lemon cream lacked intensity and was “not bright or acidic enough”.

14. Stéphane Secco

Stephane Secco Tarte au Citron Photo Meg Zimbeck

Judges liked the buttery crust and all-natural look of the tart with the inclusion of the candied rind and seeds, but were put off by the harsh, abrasive lemon flavor that one described as “really acrid and inedible.” Another loved it and was “quite sad for Secco’s tart, which was so powerful in lemon and acidity.”

15. Liberté par Benoît Castel

Liberte by Benoit Castel Photo Meg Zimbeck

One of the most visually distinctive tarts, the dominant flavor was not lemon but overwhelming vanilla flavor from the shortbread-like crust. Descriptors included: “rubbery”, “artificial”, and “synthetic tasting”.  One judge will “definitely stay clear!”

16. Helmut Newcake

Helmut Newcake Tarte au Citron Photo Meg Zimbeck

This gluten-free tart put up a good fight against its carbo-loaded brethren, but just didn’t have the same crisp texture and buttery flavor sans flour. “Too crumbly” came up in several comments. The overly sweet lemon flavor and curd to crust ratio could have been improved as well. Note: it wasn’t penalized for the unfortunate squishing it received in transport. Several judges noted the “nice meringue.”

The Process

We asked for your recommendations on Facebook and Twitter (thanks!) and sought the opinions of trusted French pastry experts and Contributing Editors Dorie GreenspanPatricia Wells, and Camille Malmquist about what makes a quality tarte au citron.

It’s not an easy pastry by any means. As Dorie Greenspan explains “Lemon tarts are tricky business. Almost by definition the filling must be puckery tart and scream lemon, but the line between tart and bitter is a fine one, and so the fruit’s bite has to be tempered by just the right amount of sugar.  And there needs to be butter, too – butter to thicken and smooth the texture and to make the lemon flavor last and last… As important as the filling is the crust – it’s not just something to hold the filling in place.  The crust should be golden brown… and thick enough to play crunch-and-crumb to the velvety smoothness of the filling.”

Patricia Wells feels “a good chocolate tart and lemon tart are two of the most essential pastries in the world… To my mind, the ideal lemon tart has a truly crunchy crust that will  contrast perfectly with a bright-flavored, tart lemon curd.”

Camille Malmquist explained that for the best lemon tart “You want [a crust that is] thin and crisp, but it needs to support and balance the lemon flavor, while also contrasting the texture of the curd. The curd should be very smooth with no graininess at all. Obviously, you want really good lemon flavor. That’s the most important thing…”

The Judging Parameters

To that end, our score sheet was divided into five components with the most weight being given to pure lemon flavor, above all other criteria.

  • Lemon Flavor
  • Texture of Lemon Curd
  • Flavor & Texture of Crust
  • Flavor Enhancements
  • Aesthetic Embellishments

Judges tasted each tart blindly and were asked to tally up their scores, then rank each tart accordingly.

The Judges

Many thanks to our panel of judges that included:

Additional Reading

Jour du Macaron

Free Macarons on March 20

Here’s a sweet idea for those in Paris next Tuesday, March 20: grab a cookie and help to celebrate the Jour du Macaron. This annual fête for the quintessential French cookie will find Paris pastry chefs giving away free macarons and collecting donations for Autistes Sans Frontières. The shops that we’ve plotted on this map and listed below will all handing out complimentary macs. Two of them, Pierre Hermé and Jean-Paul Hévin, were just ranked among our all-time favorite Five Great for Macarons.

Near the Louvre:

In the Marais:

In the Latin Quarter:

In Saint-Germain:

Near the Champs-Elysées:
  • Dalloyau – 101 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, 75008
In or near the big department stores:
  • Dalloyau – 48-52 boulevard Haussmann, 75009
  • Pierre Hermé – inside Galeries Lafayette at 40 boulevard Haussmann, 75009
  • Sadaharu Aoki – inside Galeries Lafayette at 40 boulevard Haussmann, 75009
  • Jean-Paul Hévin – inside Galeries Lafayette at 48 boulevard Haussmann, 75009

Near the Eiffel Tower & in the 15th

Near the Butte-aux-Cailles:

In the 16th:

In Montmartre: 

Related Macaron Reading